by Dana Klosner
(New York, NY) Based on the provocative, poignant, true story of Mary Jane Kelly, Jack the Ripper’s final victim, walks into the Ten Bells pub, looking to sell her last possession. Instead of finding a bar full of regulars, there is only one lone stranger. Will he buy what she’s selling, ensuring her safety? Or will he turn out to be Jack the Ripper.
”This story gives the victims of Jack the Ripper a voice,” said Diana Cherkas, both a star and one of the show’s producers. “People thought of the victims as prostitutes so they deserved this but they were so much more. Mary Jane Kelly was a widow who was trying to make money in different way. There wasn’t a laundry list of careers you could go into. You could either get remarried or fall into this. In this story she’s selling the last of her possessions, a Jack the Ripper artifact that was owned by her best friend Catherine Eddowes who was the fourth victim. She regails stories of Catherine’s life and her own life to try to interest this stranger in what she’s selling. She’s selling her possessions in order to be able to mend a window in her apartment that keeps her from properly locking the place.”
“The play has no violence in it,” Cherkas said. “As a matter of fact Mary Jane leaves the bar on her own, but it is implied that she’s going to her doom.”
The Unfortunates received its world premiere in New Jersey at Centenary Stage in March, where it won both the Susan Glaspell Award and the Gloria Ann Peter Playwriting Award. The Unfortunates, had workshop productions at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca and at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. The critically-acclaimed play will make its New York premiere at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival.
The production stars Diana Cherkas, playwright Aoise Stratford, directed by Ryan Scott Whinnem, set design by David M Kaplan, sound design by Greg Scalera and costume design by Julia Sharp. Produced by Vertical Tasting Productions a co-production of The New York International Fringe Festival.
All performances take place at Teatro LATEA – CSV Center Cultural Center, Venue #4, 107 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor, between Rivington & Delancey, New York, NY 10002.
Subways: F train to Delancey, J/M to Essex Street.
Tickets go on sale July 19th and are available at www.fringenyc.org or by calling 866-468-7619. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $10 students/seniors.
The Present Company, presenter of The Unfortunates, is the producer of The New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts theater festival in North America. It takes place over the course of two weeks every August, spread on more than 20 stages across several neighborhoods in Manhattan on selected dates from August 13th – 24th at the 2013.
Diana Cherkas (Actor/producer) originated the role of Mary Jane Kelly and her entourage at Centenary Stage Company in 2012, having performed in the Women Playwrights Series reading in 2010. Diana also had the honor of originating the roles of Lucy in Left Handed Hofner (American Globe Theatre); Lucy in Haunted House (Audax Theatre Group); Lady Anne in The Dueling Princess (Estrogenius Festival); Margaret in The Naked People Play (Mobtown Theater). Other regional theatre credits include: Liz in Loose Knit, Peg Woffington/Hannah More in the American premiere of A Laughing Matter (Centenary Stage Company); Nikki in Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 (Bickford Theatre); Diana in All’s Well That Ends Well, Witch in Macbeth (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival); Sasia in Rough Magic Rorschach Theatre); Marianna in Sherlock’s Secret Life Pioneer Playhouse). On screen Diana has been seen in: A Haunting (Discovery Channel);Incredible Human Machine (National Geographic); My Little Demon (world premiere at Fright Night Film Festival); Mudvayne: Nexus. Life. Death (official selection Raindance); Modern Love is Automatic (world premiere at SXSW, Boston Underground Film Festival — Best of Fest Feature winner. www.DianaCherkas.com
Ryan Scott Whinnem (Director) founded The Mobtown Players and ran it for eight years in Baltimore. He received his MFA from Catholic University in 2009. He also founded Bright Alchemy Theater in Washington DC, which is dedicated to devised works centering around mystical(ish) themes. In New York, his theater company Vacant Lot Theater is devoted to doing unexpected theater in unconventional spaces (www.vacantlottheatre.org). He has directed about half of Shakespeare’s canon. His favorite productions include New York Masque by Stephen Spotswood, A Child’s Drawing of a Monster by Erik Ehn, Accidente însp?imânt?toare pe terenul de joac? (Gruesome Playground Injuries in Romanian) by Rajiv Joseph and Comedy of Errors by Wiliam Shakespeare and Red Hood: Once Upon a Wartime by Jeffrey Sichel and Ksusha Litvak.
Aoise Stratford (Playwright) work has been produced in Canada, Austria, Italy, Australia, Belgium, England, and throughout the USA. She is the recipient of several awards including the Alan Minieri Award, A Pinter Review Prize for Drama Silver Medal, the Yukon Pacific Playwright Award, the Hudson River Classics New Play Award, and The Last Frontier Theatre Conference Audience Choice Award among others. Her short plays have also won her ‘best playwright’ awards at Looking Glass Theatre NY, Turtle Shell Theatre, NY, American Globe Theatre, NY, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, and others. She has twice been a finalist for the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award and has been nominated for an American Theatre Critics’ Association New Play Award for her full-length play “Somewhere In Between,” which has had productions in Alaska (touring to Seattle) and San Francisco, and was reviewed as “somewhere in between brilliant and amazing” by the Anchorage Daily news and as “seamless fantasia that is always compelling and often funny,” by the San Francisco Examiner. She is a member and regional representative of the Dramatists Guild. She has taught writing workshops for various colleges, theatres and conferences including the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Curious Theatre, the Last Frontier Theatre Festival, and Cornell University. Her work has been published by Smith and Kraus, JAC, United Stages and Merriweather Press.
David M Kaplan (Production Coordinator/producer) holds his BA in Technical Theatre with a concentration in Lighting Design from Hartwick College and his MFA in Technical Direction from Florida State University. Most recently, he has moved into academia, building and instructing at Kean University, Stevenson University and University of Maryland Baltimore County. Technical Director experience includes Premiere Stages, John W. Engman Theater, Rep Stage, and Mill Mountain. Other professional experience includes; Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Shakespeare & Company, Glimmerglass Opera, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and The Theater Barn.