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Bess Rowen
Bess Rowen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre Program at CUNY, The Graduate Center, a Center for the Humanities Digital Fellow, and a member of the faculty at Pace University and 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 "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, 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

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

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 12:02 AM


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 | 6:48 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 | 2:19 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 | 8:47 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 | 12:04 PM

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 | 10:23 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 | 1:29 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 26, 2014 | 12:06 AM

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 | 11:36 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 | 2:55 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 | 10:25 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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The Similarity of Poets and Madmen: The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill: Volume 2

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 12:45 PM

Dylan Marron, Christopher Borg, Cara Francis, Roberta Colindrez, and Cecil Baldwin in The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill, Vol. 2, produced by the New York NeoFuturists. Photo by Hunter Canning.

If you've ever read a play, you've probably wondered...

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

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 10:40 PM

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 | 11:48 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 | 4:17 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 | 11:19 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 6, 2013 | 12:50 AM

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 | 11:58 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 | 11:43 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 | 1:03 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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