People’s Light presents new web series: America 2am

-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR

Amidst a neverending lockdown, what secrets, scandals, and salacious exchanges unfold in the middle of the night? People’s Light presents America 2ama new web series streaming exclusively on peopleslight.org. Each installment of this original anthology series lets you into the late-night Zoom conversations no one else was supposed to witness, with a new cast and storyline every episode. So, settle in, put on your headphones, and hack into America at 2am.

The first installment of the four-episode series is available March 1, with new episodes added on March 15, 22, and 26. Streaming ends on April 4, 2021. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. A one-time $15 purchase provides access to all four episodes. People’s Light recommends America 2am for viewers 18+ due to mature themes, sexual content, and strong language. Learn more at peopleslight.org.

America 2am is the next premium digital experience to stream on the Theatre’s virtual stage, Always On, as part of its Winter/Spring Digital Season. Among many new forays into digital content, America 2am is the most experimental, not to mention risqué, that People’s Light has attempted so far. The entire series was conceived, rehearsed, recorded, and edited remotely via Zoom. The idea came from Producing Director Zak Berkman, who wrote two of the four episodes, partly inspired by his previous work in daytime television. “I grew up loving soap operas, and wrote for a few. During the height of the first wave of the pandemic, as theatres around the world turned to Zoom as a means of production, I recalled the early days of television when the medium substantially evolved thanks to the inclusion of daytime serials on the networks.”

Berkman continues, “At their best, soaps lure you in with melodrama, then surprise you with their understanding of human emotions and their complex way of tackling politically controversial stories. America 2am isn’t a soap, but it has a similar duality—part voyeuristic guilty pleasure, part social exploration, and lots of subversive fun.” Read more about the genesis of America 2am on the People’s Light blog.

EPISODES:

In Episode 1: “Oh, Canada,” a woman makes a monumental request of her estranged ex-lover to save her troubled son. Written by Berkman and directed by People’s Light Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams, “Oh, Canada” is the first writer/director collaboration between Berkman and Adams, and features longtime People’s Light company members Janis Dardaris, most recently seen in People’s Light’s production of The Children, and David Ingram, last seen at People’s Light in 2017’s Moon Over Buffalo.

Next up, “Leaving Teaching” follows young teacher Cordae as she maintains a secret life online selling sex toys to virgins to afford her mother’s medical bills. Late one night, she’s surprised by a fan with a potentially indecent proposal. Episode 2 is directed by People’s Light Resident Director Steve H. Broadnax III, who most recently directed their commissioned digital short 20/20 Vision, and is written by poet and playwright Candrice Jones. When asked what drew her to the project, Jones offers, “One conversation amongst young Americans is debt. Many times, narratives regarding debt, especially in theater, involve patriarchal figures such as Troy Maxson of Fences and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. I wanted to write about debt in a capitalist society from the perspective of a young Black woman who is doing her best to control her own fate.”

“Leaving Teaching” stars film, television, and theatre actors Sola Bamis, who portrayed Shirley on the final season of Mad Men, and DeWanda Wise, best known for her work as Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s Netflix adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It, and who has a lead role in the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion. The episode also features returning guest artist Eric Robinson Jr., who appeared in 20/20 Vision and 2019’s acclaimed world premiere of Mud Row at People’s Light.

Episode 3: “The Perilous Flight” is also penned by Berkman with Adams at the helm. In early 2021, two lovers and environmental activists differ radically over whether their next move should be to disrupt or disappear. “The Perilous Flight” is connected to the first episode, “Oh, Canada” but can be watched on its own, and stars People’s Light company members Aubie Merrylees, who appeared in Broadway’s To Kill A Mockingbird in 2018, and Claire Inie-Richards, a Philly-favorite who last appeared at People’s Light in Our Town.

Guadalís Del Carmen’s “Lucía and Sophi Moans” is the fourth and final episode of America 2am to stream this spring.  Sexually unfulfilled by her long-term boyfriend, Lucía turns to online persona “Sophi Moans” for help. Soon the two women get more than they bargained for. For director David Mendizábal, the projectis an exploration of our need for human connection. “It’s been almost a year since we’ve been able to safely gather, and the feeling of loneliness and longing for human intimacy is real. America 2am gives us a chance to look into conversations among people who are feeling that longing and finding connections online as a way to reconnect with something they’re missing.” Episode 4 stars People’s Light newcomers Cindy De La Cruz, whose TV credits include The Village (NBC) and Blue Bloods (CBS), and sought-after screen and stage actor Kara Young. 

BIOS
Abigail Adams Director, “Oh, Canada” and “The Perilous Flight”
She/her
Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams has been associated with People’s Light for over 40 years, serving as artistic leader for over two decades and chief executive for the past 10 years. Adams has directed more than sixty plays at People’s Light, including The Children, Our Town, Morning’s at Seven (Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play), Project Dawn, The Matchmaker, Auctioning the Ainsleys, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, The Cherry Orchard, The Rainmaker, The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate, Nathan the Wise, and In the Blood (Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play). She established the New Voices Ensemble at People’s Light in 1990, which received the White House Coming up Taller Award in 2000. She has directed readings and workshops of new plays for Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Circle Rep, New York Stage and Film, and the Public Theatre. Abbey served for ten years on the faculty of Swarthmore College and has also taught at New York University, Bryn Mawr College, Carnegie Mellon University, and The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ursinus College. She is married to Lee Devin.

Sola Bamis Cordae in “Leaving Teaching”
She/her
People’s Light debut. Sola Bamis is an actress, writer, performance artist, and filmmaker. She also serves as the founder of Still Brave Productions, an entertainment production cooperative that specializes in the development, production, and curation of culturally enlightening projects for a global audience. Sola received her BA in Chemistry from the University of Miami and MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts. She earned a SAG Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her work as Shirley on the final season of Mad Men, and appeared as Afeni Shakur, former Black Panther Party member and mother of rapper, actor, and artist Tupac Shakur, in USA Network’s Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. She has worked on the regional theatre world premieres of Office Hour by Julia Cho and Legacy Land by Stacey Rose, performed in countless readings of plays, and has also lent her voice talents to several video games and radio and television commercials. Sola’s filmmaking debut The Event, shot in Nigeria, was an official selection of the 2018 BlackStar and San Francisco Black Film Festivals, and Eléwa, which she co-produced, made semi-finalist in the 2020 IAmAfrica Short Film Competition. The script for her next project, Crocodile, placed finalist and semifinalist in the 2018 Film Daily Screenwriting and Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competitions. She has also written and presented her one-woman show The Tutorial, a multi-part solo piece and social media installation that incorporates the magic of transformative storytelling, performance art, and Revolutionary Theater to deliver a 28-day regimen for improved complexion, an explosive critique of Hollywood colorism, and a vital prescription for blk womyn’s self-love and expression. Ms. Bamis produced and organized the Still Brave Short Film Showcase at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA as an opportunity for blk women to present their short film projects and discuss their work, processes, and identities as blk women filmmakers. Right now, she’s somewhere in Los Angeles working on The Tutorial, developing projects for Still Brave, and reminding folks that yes, blk lives do still matter.

Zak Berkman Writer, “Oh, Canada” and “The Perilous Flight”
He/him
Zak Berkman is a multifaceted, award-winning artist—a director, dramaturg, writer, composer—with over 25 years of experience producing theatre and developing new American plays. Prior to joining People’s Light in 2011, Berkman was the Founding Executive Director of Artistic Programming with Epic Theatre Ensemble, an OBIE, Amnesty International, and Drama Desk Award-winning Off-Broadway company that premiered nationally and internationally acclaimed plays such as Nilaja Sun’s No Child…, Judith Thompson’s Palace of The End, and Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths. Epic Theatre Ensemble was also heralded for its extensive arts-in-education programming, receiving the 2010 Coming Up Taller Award. Berkman served as Associate to the late Broadway producer Margo Lion (Angels In America, Seven Guitars), and held posts at New York Stage & Film and Manhattan Theatre Club. As a playwright, works include a forthcoming adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (with original music also by Berkman), Such Things as Vampires (co-writer/composer, Barrymore Award for Original Music), The Harassment of Iris MalloyBeauty on the Vine starring Olivia Wilde, and A Breath Short of Breathing. He has written for daytime television, including NBC’s Days of Our Lives, and was a directing intern with As The World Turns. He has been a contributing writer for Howlround.com, including a series about the New Play Frontiers Commissioning & Residency program at People’s Light, and has spoken at numerous Theatre Communications Group (TCG) national conference panels. Zak is married to People’s Light company member Teri Lamm. They have two sons, Eliot and Theo.

Steve H. Broadnax III Director, “Leaving Teaching”
He/him
People’s Light Resident Director; credits there include 20/20 Vision (digital short film), Mud Row, Skeleton Crew, The Mountaintop. Steve’s new play with music, Bayard Rustin Inside Ashland, was scheduled to premiere at People’s Light last spring, but has now been rescheduled for the 2021-2022 season. Other directing credits include the upcoming Broadway-bound Thoughts of a Colored Man by Keenan Scott II (produced by Brian Morland, Ron Simons, and Diana DiMenna), the world premiere of The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall (Signature Theatre New York City), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Hattiloo Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre Company NYC, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Apollo Theatre NYC, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Atlantic Theatre NYC, Detroit Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, The Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix, AZ, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Moore Theatre in Seattle, Market Theatre Johannesburg SA, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, National Arts Festival in South Africa, and The Adelaide Arts Festival Australia. Learn more at stevebroadnax.com

Janis Dardaris Allyson in “Oh, Canada”
She/her
Company Member. People’s Light: First appeared in 1974, most recently The Children, Morning’s at Seven, Project Dawn. Theatre Includes: Mother Courage, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Seagull, The Importance of Being Earnest (Quintessence Theatre). Regional credits include Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, InterAct, PlayPenn, Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Pittsburgh Public, Long Wharf, Cleveland Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth, Kennedy Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Three Rivers Shakespeare, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival (originated the role of Susan Slater in Becky Shaw). New York credits include Playwrights Horizons, New York Classical Theatre, Westbeth, Summer Play Festival on Theatre Row, Breaking Legs with Philip Bosco (also national tour with Danny Aiello). Nominated for 10 Barrymore Awards; 1998 winner of Charlotte Cushman Barrymore for her performance as Josie Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten; 2009 winner of Best Supporting Actress in Scorched. Film/Television Includes: The Sixth Sense, Party Monster, Bliss, 1967, Third Watch, Trial By Jury, Law and Order, The Sopranos, Bull, and the lead in Sounding, directed by Joel Coen. Recurring role as Judge Marcia Cross on Power. Most recently a principal character in The Chosen, the most successful crowdsourced project to date, and Grow, an unconventional horror film.

Cindy De La Cruz Lucía in “Lucía and Sophi Moans”
She/her
Cindy De La Cruz is a Bronx bred first generation Dominican American Artist and Producer. She is Co-Artistic Director of The Dominican Artists Collective, where she curates and executive produces “Sharing Sessions,” a free program where artists can hear from industry professionals and share new work. She’s most interested in telling stories that raise the visibility of Black Latinxs and dismantle the anti-black rhetoric in the Latinx community. Most recently she was a top 12 finalist for the Nosotros Organization Ya Tu Sabes Monologue Slam, presented by NBC. Recent credits also include: Off Broadway: The Siblings Play (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); The Niceties (Geva Theatre); DreamHou$e (ArsNova); Storm Still (Sheen Center); Our Town (Olney Theater Center); hop tha A (Drama League/ Asolo Repertory Theatre); Stupid Fucking Bird (Arden Theater & Urbanite Theatre); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (American Stage); Dearly Departed (Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe). TV: The Village (NBC); Blue Bloods (CBS). Film: Kilroy Was Here (Dir. Kevin Smith); What Doesn’t Float (Dir. Luca Balser / Gummy Films). Website:  www.Cindy-DeLaCruz.com Pa’ La Cultura

Guadalís Del Carmen Writer, “Lucía and Sophi Moans”
She/her/ella
Guadalís Del Carmen is an Ars Nova Resident Artist, Co-Artistic Director of the Latinx Playwrights Circle NYC, a 2020 Steinberg Playwriting Award recipient, and an Artistic Associate of Black Lives, Black Words. Her plays include Not For Sale (UrbanTheater Company, Joseph Jefferson Award New Play Nominee 2019), My Father’s Keeper (part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s The Mix, The Kilroys Honorable Mention 2019),  Bees and Honey (The Kilroys List 2019, LAByrinth Theater/The SOL Project 2020 production postponed due to COVID-19), Daughters of the Rebellion (Montclair State University 2019, The Kilroys Honorable Mention 2017, 50Playwrights Project Best Unproduced Latinx Plays 2017), A Shero’s Journey or What Anacaona and Yemayá Taught Me (Yale Magazine 2019, The Parsnip Ship Podcast Season 4), Blowout (Aguijón Theater 2013). She was a Co-Producer for Atlantic Theater Company’s African Caribbean MixFest 2021. She has performed as an actor in Chicago, NYC, and most recently The Repertory of St. Louis in Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles.

David Ingram Aaron in “Oh, Canada”
He/him
Company Member. People’s Light: Moon Over Buffalo, Bach at Leipzig, Noises Off, Tuesdays with Morrie, I Have Before Me…, End Days, Once in a Lifetime, The Skin of Our Teeth, A Flea in Her Ear, Hard TimesMidons, and many more. Theatre Includes: Clybourne Park, Death of a Salesman (Arden Theatre); Cherokee (The Wilma); Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Our Show of Shows (1812 Productions); The Tempest (Act II Playhouse); Tartuffe, Three Sisters, Measure for Measure (Temple Rep); Some Other Kind of Person, The Rant (InterAct); The Government Inspector (Lantern Theater). Training: MFA (NYU). David is on the Theater Faculty at Temple University.

Claire Inie-Richards Miri in “The Perilous Flight”
She/her
Company Member since 2015. People’s Light: Our TownProject Dawn, I and YouSense and Sensibility, The Cherry Orchard, The Emperor’s New Clothes, King Lear, End Days, Eggs, Persians, Getting Near to Baby, Twelfth Night, The Crucible. Theatre Includes: Measure for Measure, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Lantern Theater Company), Completeness (Theatre Exile), The Revolutionists (Theatre Horizon), A Christmas Carol (Delaware Theatre Company), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare in Clark Park). Radio: BBC. Training: BFA, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; MFA, The Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University.

Candrice Jones Writer, “Leaving Teaching”
She/her
Playwright, poet, and educator Candrice Jones is from Dermott, Arkansas. Candrice has been honored to have been a fellow at Callaloo for poetry at Brown University and in London. She has also been a VONA Playwriting Fellow, and CalArts MFA Critical Studies recipient. Candrice’s primary goal as a writer is to write love letters for and to women of the American South. She is the author of the full-length play, CrackbabyFLEX (developed at the 2020 Humana Festival of New American Plays), and A Medusa Thread (developed at The Playwrights Center in 2020). She has been a resident fellow at the Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and MacDowell’s Colony of the Arts. She is scheduled to be a resident playwright at Djerassi’s Colony of the Arts in 2021. Candrice was a 2019-20 Many Voices Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center and is currently a 2020-21 Jerome Fellow. She lives and works in Minneapolis.

David Mendizábal Director, “Lucía and Sophi Moans”
He/him
DavidMendizábal—pronounced dah-veed—will direct the World Premiere of Eisa Davis’ Mushroom at People’s Light in 2022. He is a director/designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of the OBIE-Award winning The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Select directing credits include: Don’t Eat the Mangos (Magic Theatre/Sundance) On The Grounds of Belonging (Long Wharf Theatre), the bandaged place (NYSAF), Then They Forgot About The Rest (INTAR), The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), And She Would Stand Like This (w/ choreo. by Kia LaBeija), Look Upon Our Lowliness, and Bintou (The Movement), and Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic / Drama League Nomination). He is a member of the inaugural Soho Rep Project Number One Residency and Ars Nova Vision Residency. Alumnus of The Drama League Directors Project, LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, NALAC, artEquity, and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. David was a participant in the TCG Leadership U: One-on-One program, where he was the Artistic Associate at Atlantic Theater Company 2017-2018. BFA – NYU/Tisch @ PHTS | davidmendizabal.com

Aubie Merrylees Jayson in “The Perilous Flight”
Company Member since 2013. Aubie has been acting at People’s Light since 2000; performances include Stargirl, Beautiful Boy, A Wrinkle in Time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and End Days. Other theatre includes To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway; Hamlet, St. Joan (Bedlam, National tour); Hand to God (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Stupid F*cking Bird (Arden Theatre); My Romantic History (Inis Nua); The Liar (The Lantern); A Bright New Boise (Simpatico); and The Aliens (Theatre Exile). Training: Brown University; Yale University.

Eric Robinson Jr. Franklin in “Leaving Teaching”
He/him
People’s Light: 20/20 Vision (digital short film), Mud Row. Raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Eric B. Robinson Jr. is a father, educator, and an actor. Robinson holds degrees from Wiley College and Penn State with concentrations in Criminal Justice and Acting. TV: Powerbook II: Ghost (Starz), It’s a Mann’s World (BET). Off-Broadway: The HotWing King (Signature). Film: They Cloned Tyrone.

DeWanda Wise Lilith in “Leaving Teaching”
She/her
People’s Light debut. Critically acclaimed actor & advocate DeWanda Wise is perhaps most known for her work as Nola Darling, the titular character of Spike Lee’s Netflix adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It. An honors graduate of NYU’s Tisch School, with a dual degree in Acting and Metropolitan Social & Cultural Analysis; her acting, writing, and producer credits include work across mediums. Her advocacy work centers on mental health stigma and access for underserved communities. Up next, she will star in Fatherhood alongside Kevin Hart followed by a lead role in Jurassic World: Dominion.

Kara Young Sophi Moans in “Lucía and Sophi Moans”
She/her
Harlem born and raised. Film: Chemical Hearts (Amazon, dir. Richard Tanne), After Yang (A24, dir. Kogonada). Theatre: Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d (dir. Awoye Timpo, The Duke), Culled Wattah (The Public), Syncing Ink (dir. Niegel Smith, Alley Theatre, The Flea), Pretty Hunger (dir. Martha Banta, The Public). LAByrinth Theater Company Member and original member of Thania All-Stars. Film/TV: The lead in Hair Wolf, winner of Sundance 2018 Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction, Random Acts of Flyness (HBO), The Punisher (Netflix), Live Voice Over Announcer for 2018 & 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, MTV’s “Girl Code” (4 seasons). @karaakter


STREAMING INFO
A one-time $15 purchase includes access to all four episodes:
Episode 1: “Oh, Canada” streams March 1 – April 4, 2021
Episode 2: “Leaving Teaching” streams March 15 – April 4, 2021
Episode 3: “The Perilous Flight” streams March 22 – April 4, 2021
Episode 4: “Lucía and Sophi Moans” streams March 26 – April 4, 2021
*Dates subject to change.

America 2am is digitally streamed at peopleslight.org with an online account. Once purchased, episodes can be enjoyed by everyone in the household, anytime, any number of times as they are released. Closed captioning and Spanish subtitles are available. Learn more here.

People’s Light offers a range of discounts to individual Always On Premium titles, including $10 access for theatre industry professionals and 25% off for military families, teachers, and frontline healthcare workers.

Questions? Leave a voicemail at 610.644.3500 or email tickets@peopleslight.org and a member of the Box Office will be in touch as soon as possible. Please note that the People’s Light campus is closed to the public and staff members are working remotely Monday through Friday.

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