Toured Reading of Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer by Inna Tsyrlin.
Part of Renaissance Theaterworks’ Br!NK New Play Festival.
About Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer
Aleksandra, a university student arrested by the Soviets for reading an article from the West, is sent to a Gulag camp for seven-years. To help survive her sentence, she joins the camp’s theatre troupe but when she learns that she’ll be performing for the American Vice-President Henry Wallace, she faces a life or death decision. Will she comply with the charade and pretend she is a free woman so she can survive the Gulag? Aleksandra realizes she has unintentionally signed up for a scheme to deceive Wallace, and the world, that she and other political prisoners across the Soviet Union do not exist. She prepares for two roles: the character on stage – Nina from Chekhov’s The Seagull – and the role of an actor who’s isn’t imprisoned. The theatre troupe becomes Aleksandra’s family, she even falls for the director. While preparing for the performance she realizes that truth requires even greater sacrifice than her arrest. Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer is centered around an actual event where Wallace visited the camp in May of 1944, but instead of seeing a hard labor camp, he saw a façade of a town.
Inna Tsyrlin received the Trisolini Graduate Fellowship (Ohio University) for Stitched with a Sickle and Hammer, and the play is the 2019 Br!NK New Play Festival finalist (Milwaukee, WI) and 2020 Alliance/Kendeda Playwriting Competition finalist (Atlanta, GA). Her work has been presented in New York City at The Rising Sun Performance Company, Emerging Artists Theater, HB Playwrights Theatre, and Manhattan Repertory Theater.
What is Br!NK?
Each year, Renaissance Theaterworks puts a call out for Midwestern women playwrights to submit their work. Two playwrights are selected to receive the Br!NK Residency Award to develop and advance their work. The Br!NK Resident Playwrights spend a week with a director, cast, and dramaturg workshopping their play. Following the workshop week, the plays are presented as staged-readings for the public at the week-long Br!NK New Play Festival (Touring September 3-6 and at NO Studios September 7-8, 2019).
The Br!NK New Play Festival is unlike a traditional theatrical evening. These staged-readings are about the playwright’s work. At Br!NK, audience members are encouraged to stick around after the reading and give feedback to the playwrights. You’ll meet the actors and directors, and hang out with a community of people passionate about creating and enjoying new theatrical works.
The Br!NK New Play Festival also consists of Br!NK Br!efs - a collection of fully-staged 10-minute plays presented September 7-8, 2019. Festival goers are encouraged to enjoy all Br!NK events. We need YOU to help develop these plays!