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Bess Rowen
Bess Rowen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre Program at The Graduate Center, CUNY, a Center for the Humanities Mellon Digital Fellow, and a lecturer at Purchase 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 "Completing the Sentence with a Gesture: The Deconstructed Dialogue-Stage Direction Binary in the Work of Tennessee Williams" can be found in the 2016 issue of the Tennessee Williams Annual Review. 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, Theatre Journal, and Tennessee Williams Annual Review . She has an avid interest in stage directions, female playwrights, Irish theatre, and theatrical riots.

Entries by Bess Rowen

A Wale(s) of a Tale: Bianco at St. Ann's Warehouse

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2016 | 1:10 PM

Delia Ceruti in Bianco. Photo by Teddy Wolff.

I have always loved watching circus performance for the same reason I love watching dance. Both of these forms are at their best when they remind us of the astounding capabilities of the human...

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Tennessee Rising: Orpheus Descending at St. John's Lutheran Church

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 7:19 PM

Irene Glezos and Todd d'Amour in Orpheus Descending. Photo by Ride Hamilton.

The tale of Orpheus, the mythical musical prodigy who went into the underworld to rescue his wife Eurydice, has inspired several plays, but in my mind Tennessee Williams's version is...

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Move to Inbox: Rafael Spregelburd's SPAM

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2016 | 9:23 PM

Vin Knight and Dominic Russo in SPAM. Photo credit: Evan Bernardin.

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is the original version of The Twilight Zone. I think it appeals to the amateur detective in me: how many clues...

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En Avant: The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans Presents Weird Tales

(2) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 4:37 PM

Andrew King as "The Boy" in Tennessee Williams: Weird Tales. Photo credit: Ride Hamilton.

If you had told me five years ago that I would be sitting in New Orleans watching the world premieres of two Tennessee Williams plays, I wouldn't have believed...

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Shine On: Erica Fae's to Keep the Light

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 9:53 PM

Erica Fae as Abbie in a still from To Keep the Light

In 2012 I walked into 59E59 Theaters to see a show called Take What Is Yours co-written and performed by Erica Fae. Fae's portrayal of the...

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Nuns on the Pun: An Interview with Disaster!'s Jennifer Simard

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2016 | 5:49 PM

Jennifer Simard as Sister Mary Downy in Disaster!. Photo by: Jeremy Daniel Photography.

On an evening back in 2013, I sat down with my best friend to see a show at St. Luke's Theatre called Disaster!. I had no knowledge...

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You Gotta Have Heart: The Woodsman

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 10:54 PM


Every time I cry during the first half hour of Up--and let's be clear, that's every time I watch that movie--I marvel at how much beautiful design and excellent storytelling can affect me so greatly. The Woodsman is basically the theatrical...

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Tennessee Williams in 2016: An Interview with Cosmin Chivu About Tennessee Williams 1982

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 7:47 PM

Declan Eells and Kate Skinner.
Photo by Russ Ross.

If you mention the name "Tennessee Williams" around most people with even a passing familiarity with theatre, they probably will conjure images of a shirtless Marlon Brando, fading southern belles, and/or small...

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You'll Have a Grand Old Time: 'The Grand Paradise'

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 4:33 PM

Tara O'Con, Joshua Reaver.
Photograph by Darial Sneed.

The very first piece I ever wrote for The Huffington Post back in 2011 was about a relatively new obsession for the New York theatre scene: immersive theatre. Sleep No...

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Ashley to Ashes, Dust to Dust: Will Holder and Alex Waterman, Public Reading of Dust

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2015 | 11:02 PM


I have always been drawn to the sound of the human voice. I enjoy hearing snippets of conversations as I'm walking down the streets of New York as much as I like listening to podcasts like Serial. I'm not alone in this appreciation....

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Poet Meets Poet: An Interview With the Artistic Team Behind 'Dear Elizabeth'

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 5:48 PM

On the Upper West Side, in a room filled with different generations of female theatre artists, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell are talking to each other. Well, actually, many Elizabeth Bishops and many Robert Lowells, different pairs for different weeks. The oldest theatre company dedicated to producing works written by...

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A Whale of a Tale: Karole Armitage's On the Nature of Things

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 1:19 PM


My first thought as I sat in in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History when dancer Megumi Eda appeared under the scale model of a female blue whale was simply: we are...

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A Living Room of One's Own: Gob Squad's Western Society

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2015 | 7:47 PM


In case you haven't noticed, we live in an age of constant self-documentation. This shouldn't be news to anyone, but I was reminded of this when I stopped in Starbucks and ended up in the back of someone's selfie stick-filmed video. Was this...

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Bloody Valentine: National Theatre of Scotland's Let the Right One In

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2015 | 11:04 AM

Rebecca Benson as Eli in John Tiffany's production of Let the Right One In. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

From the haunting image of Nosferatu rising out of his coffin in silent film to the glittery-yet-angsty Edward Cullen of Twilight, vampires have had a...

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Straight to the Point: Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 9:23 PM

Gary Wilmes, Pete Simpson, James Stanley, and Austin Pendleton in Straight White Men, a co-production with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, written and directed by Young Jean Lee, running at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.


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'The Impossibility of Theatre:' An Interview with Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 12:29 AM

Photo: Jean-Louis Fernandez

A few years ago, I was sitting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music smiling through a production of Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota. The piece was sharply witty and beautifully rendered, and it has remained...

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Nōbody's Business: This Lingering Life

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 11:06 PM

Pictured L to R: Stephanie Weeks, Meg MacCary, Marta Kuersten. Photo credit: Nastassia Jimenez.

Though the average American theatergoer has not seen a play from the classical Japanese theatrical style of Noh (Nō) theatre, they likely have seen playwrights influenced by that style. Bertolt...

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The River of Dreams: Olwen Fouéré Talks About riverrun

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 10:36 PM

I fell in love with the Irish theatre scene, both present and past, after spending a summer studying abroad in Dublin. Since then, to fuel my need to hear the rhythms and spirit of that place that I often miss, I have always kept an eye out for the latest...

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Powering Up: Theater Breaking Through Barriers's Power Plays

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2014 | 1:55 AM

Whenever I see Theater Breaking Through Barriers listed in a season, I always get excited. When I see this company's name together with those of playwrights Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, and Neil LaBute, I get extra excited. You see, as someone interested in...

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Sometimes a Hitchcock Is Just a Hitchcock: The Lovesong of Alfred J. Hitchcock at 59E59 Theaters

(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 9:25 AM

Martin Miller in THE LOVESONG OF ALFRED J HITCHCOCK, part of Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm the first to admit that I'm a pretty big Hitchcock fan. I own several...

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