Imagine that you don’t have a country. It doesn’t matter if you believe you’re American, because no one else believes you—not potential employers, not banks that issue student loans, not the government. There is no way to become legally American. You don’t exist. Worse, you are hunted for deportation. You love this country, but the country does not love you back.
The play interweaves a present-day love story between a Romanian woman and an American colonel from the NATO base in Constanta (a Romanian city at the Black Sea, built on the ruins of the ancient city TOMIS where the Roman poet Ovid was exiled sometime around year 8 AD) and a fictional relationship between Ovid and a Barbarian woman from Tomis.
A poetic monodrama imagining/exploring three threshold moments in the life of famed film director Roman Polanski; a fictionalized tale of desire, escape and punishment blending elements of film and theater as it delves into the brilliant mind of the controversial figure.
Saviana Stanescu is a Romanian-born multi-award-winning playwright. Her work has been widely presented internationally and in the US.
Recent New York productions include “Aliens with extraordinary skills” off-Broadway at Women’s Project (published by Samuel French), "Waxing West" (2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-length Script) and "YokastaS Redux'’ at La MaMa Theatre, "Suspendida" and “Vicious Dogs on Premises” (with Witness Relocation) at the Ontological Theatre, “Polanski Polanski” and “Aurolac Blues” at HERE Arts Center, “The E-Dating Project” at Strasberg Institute for Theatre&Film, and the site-specific "I want what you have" at the World Financial Center.
“Aliens with extraordinary skills” (Inmigrantes con Habilidades Extraordinarias) and “Final Countdown” (Cuenta Regresiva) ran for 8 months in Mexico City at Teatro La Capilla and Teatro El Milagro. “Bucharest Underground” won the 2007 Marulic Prize for Best European Radio-Drama. In Stockholm, Sweden, Saviana’s play “White Embers” produced by Dramalabbet made it in the TOP 3 of Best Plays in 2008, and in NYC is published by Samuel French as one of their 2010 OOB festival winners.
Ms Stanescu has published books of poetry and drama including “The New York Plays”, “Aliens With Extraordinary Skills”, “Waxing West”, "Google me!", "Black Milk", and "The Inflatable Apocalypse” (Best Play of the Year UNITER Award in 2000). She co-edited the anthology of plays “Global Foreigners” (with NYU professor Carol Martin) and “roMANIA after 2000” (with CUNY professor Daniel Gerould).
Her plays have received readings and workshops at The Lark, Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage&Film, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Playwrights' Foundation, Traveling Jewish Theatre, Immigrants Theatre Project, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Origin Theatre Company, PS122, HERE, etc.
Saviana is a member of EST (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop. She was a 2005-2007 TCG fellow with the Lark Play Development Center, where her plays “Waxing West” and “Lenin’s Shoe” had barebones productions. She also was a 2007-2008 NYSCA playwright-in-residence with Women’s Project and writer-in-residence for Richard Schechner’s East Coast Artists.
She holds an MA in Performance Studies (Fulbright fellow) and an MFA in Dramatic Writing (John Golden Award for excellence in playwriting) from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where she is on faculty in the Drama Department. She also teaches playwriting at Primary Stages – Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA).
Ms Stanescu is the Director of Eastern European Exchange for The Lark Play Development Center, the curator of playgroundzero for undergroundzero festival, and the founder/president of Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York (www.IASNY.us).
More About Saviana Stanescu
Indie Theater Profile of Saviana Stanescu [March 26, 2010]
Playwright Chantal Bilodeau profiles playwright Saviana Stanescu
USELESS, my new dark-humored drama about human traffic, at IRT [August 14, 2014]
Useless is a dark humored drama about love, dreams and human trafficking. It has been developed in New York over the past three years, with workshops and readings at Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Queens Theatre. The production is directed by the brilliant José Zayas (The House of the Spirits – ACE, HOLA and Ovation Awards, Southern Promises, Pinkolandia) and features three amazing actors who have been involved in the development of the piece over the last three years: Ana Grosse (Seven Spots on the Sun at Cincinnati Playhouse, La Cena at IATI Theater - Latin ACE and HOLA awards, Fêtes de la Nuit at The Ohio Theatre), Andy Phelan (Galileo at Classic Stage, The Awake at 59E59) and Steven Rishard (P.S. Jones and the Frozen City with Terra Nova Collective, The Bacchae for Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park). Set Designer: Susan Zeeman Rogers Lighting Designer: Ryan O'Gara Sound Designer: David Margolin Lawson Costume Designer: Lisa Renee Jordan Stage Manager: Tierney Nolen Technical Director: Markus Paminger Assistant Technical Director: Alex Gurevich Graphic Designer: Luciano Crossa Producers: Lucy Di Rosa and Ana Grosse
Adam Szymkowicz: I Interview Playwrights