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Bess Rowen
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Bess Rowen is currently a Ph.D. student and President of the Theatre program at CUNY, The Graduate Center and a member of the faculty at Pace University, SUNY Purchase, and LaGuardia Community College. She completed her MA in Performance Studies at New York University in 2011, after graduating from Lehigh University Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with a double major in English and Theatre and a minor in Psychology. She is an Equity Membership Candidate and has studied acting at Michael Howard Studios, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, and The Gaiety School of Acting (The National Theatre School of Ireland). She has also directed, stage managed, and even done a little playwriting. Her article "Nobler Womanhood: An Exploration of Sororities and Scripted Femininity" can be found in Emerging Theatre Research. Bess is currently an Associate Producer with The Fulcrum Theater and has written scholarly reviews for publications such as Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Theatre Journal. She has an avid interest in stage directions, female playwrights, Irish theatre, and theatrical riots.

Entries by Bess Rowen

All You Need Is Love... and Information: Caryl Churchill's Love and Information

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 9:40 PM

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Left to Right Top Row: Irene Sofia Lucio, Noah Galvin Bottom Row: Karen Kandel, Adante Power, Zoë Winters, James Waterston, Lucas Caleb Rooney


I like to think of Caryl Churchill as the Emily Dickinson of the theatre world. Her dialogue...

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Ruhls of Play: An Interview With Sarah Ruhl

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 10:48 PM

Sitting atop my bookshelf of plays and academic theatre books is a signed program from 13P's production of Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play. It is not just signed, instead it's inscribed as follows: "Dear Bess, Best of luck on your thesis! And thank you for including me in it. Stage Directions:...

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If Music Be the Food of Love, Pig On: Pig Iron's Twelfth Night

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2014 | 3:17 PM

Any play with a character named "Sir Toby Belch" should leave you rolling in the aisles, but it's rare to see a production of Twelfth Night that actually brings this Shakespearean comedy to life. That is why the current production by Pig Iron Theatre Company is such a...

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Mouthpeace: Brokentalkers' Have I No Mouth

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 10:19 PM

They might be called Brokentalkers, but this Dublin-based theatre company says a mouthful. PS122's ninth annual COIL festival and the Irish Arts Center bring Have I No Mouth to the Baryshnikov Arts Center, where once again the question of communication failure seems to loom. At first glance, this piece could...

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The Phantom of the Opera Is Here... and Going Strong

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 11:50 PM

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Photo Credit: Joan Marcus


As I sat down in my seat at the Majestic Theatre to see The Phantom of the Opera in this, its 25th year of performances, I could not help but think of my three-year-old self watching another...

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Neither Wind Nor Rain: Chiori Miyagawa's I Came to Look for You on Tuesday

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 10:58 PM

Who would you think about in the moment of a major catastrophe? And how are the major catastrophes and the major people in our life connected? These questions are poetically explored in Chiori Miyagawa's engaging new play I Came to Look for You on Tuesday, currently playing at La MaMa's...

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The Final Countdown: Otho Eskin's Final Analysis

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 10:43 PM

My favorite part of history is learning all of the fascinating little anecdotes, the personal interactions, and the human drama that lurks inside of every historical event. These are the moments where I remember that some parts of human nature (unfortunately) never change. The theatre is full of such stories,...

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Namaste, Partner

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 12:03 AM

Yoga is all around us in New York City. If I had a dime for every yoga mat and outfit I see every day I could get myself a yearly Citi Bike account easily. Like every good theatre person and New Yorker, I have dabbled with yoga and have many...

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Bringing Shakesy Back: New York Shakespeare Exchange's Sonnet Project

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 6:20 PM

Theater does not begin with the raising of a curtain, nor does it end with that curtain's fall. Those of us who believe in the power of theater and performance experience theater through a variety of spaces, times, positions, and mediums, all of which leave us wanting more. It is...

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Tocca Ferro, (Formal) You: Eliza Bent's The Hotel Colors

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 9:54 AM

Hostels. There is so much to say about these almost-hotels where strangers share spaces like families for a short period of time. There is even more to say about the various kinds of people who pass through those rooms day in and day out. In Eliza Bent's new play

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I Puppet, Part II: The New York Neo-Futurists Present Soft Hydraulics

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 8:56 AM

It is a reasonably warm night in Brooklyn as I sit in a church pew in Brooklyn's Standard ToyKraft listening to Cara Francis remind us that theatre, like war, is often bad, and there are very few of each considered universally good. I nod my head and smile, privileged to...

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Bully for Bartlett: Mike Bartlett's Bull

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 10:17 AM

Be warned: I'm about to tell you a cock and bull story. Well, at least the story is about two Mike Bartlett plays called Cock and Bull, the latter of which is currently playing at 59E59 Theater, produced with Sheffield Theatres as part of their Brits Off Broadway...

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Quoth the Barrie, "Neverland:" The Pearl Theatre's This Side of Neverland

(2) Comments | Posted May 3, 2013 | 2:24 PM

If you know one thing about a man named J. M. Barrie, you most likely know that he is responsible for a story named after its most famous character: Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Yet those of you who know a little bit of theatre history...

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Falling Slowly: Tristan Sturrock's Mayday Mayday

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 6:07 PM

Tristan Sturrock lies onstage on his back, his image reflected back at the audience twofold through the use of a mirror. For a minute we cannot tell where his actual body is. He seems to be suspended in space, floating. This strong visual begins the artfully crafted Mayday...

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Colorful Language: Eliza Bent's The Hotel Colors

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 2:44 AM

There are few times I love my job more than when I get the opportunity to sit across from a smart theatre artist to talk about her or his work. Last week I brought you the words of one such individual, Cara Francis of the New York Neo-Futurists,...

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I, Puppet: New York Neo-Futurists Present Soft Hydraulics

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 2:08 PM

On a slightly cold, but sunny March day, I sat across from Cara Francis of the New York Neo-Futurists to discuss their upcoming show Soft Hydraulics: Inventions, Puppets, and Stunts in the Age of Manipulation. As some of you no doubt know, in addition to their week(end)ly show...

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The Time Is Meow: The New York Neo-Futurists in Rape, Rape, Rape, AIDS, AIDS, AIDS, Genocide, Genocide, Cats

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 12:49 PM

Honestly, if anyone other than the New York Neo-Futurists presented a show called Rape, Rape, Rape, AIDS, AIDS, AIDS, Genocide, Genocide, Cats, I would avoid it like the plague. Yet this past Friday night I found myself standing in line outside of the Kraine Theatre once...

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Wunderkinder: Circa's Wunderkammer

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 4:25 PM

The dark auditorium at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is quiet, but you can feel the excitement in the air. Jessica Connell is perched on a trapeze in a single spotlight as a piece of classical music plays. As I watched her dance on and with the trapeze,...

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And Taboo: Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem'

(2) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 10:15 AM

In the darkness under the large tent in Queens, I am suddenly a five-year-old again. Well, maybe not so suddenly. You see I tend to feel this way when I'm watching a Cirque du Soleil show, and their collaboration with Robert Lepage, Totem, is no exception. The piece...

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Express(ionist) Yourself: Target Margin Theater's The (*) Inn

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 10:00 AM

The curtain rises in the Abrons Arts Center on a whimsical set representing a farmhouse, a wooden cutout cow held by a man, and David Greenspan with exaggerated makeup and a caricatured stance. The next 90 minutes certainly explores Target Margin Theater's stated foundational principle: "that works of art return...

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