Praise for Abortion Road Trip

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Awarded “Best Comedy” at Fringe Festival Audience Awards

Washington Post: “…a rare thing: It’s a zippy, feel-good comedy that has managed to attract protesters before every performance.”

DC Theatre Scene: “…Menendez brings an emotional depth and clarity to Taylor, which in turn helps round out the mostly quiet Driver.”

MD Theatre Guide: “The heart of the play lies with this subtle character and her relationship with her wife Taylor, beautifully played by Thais Menendez.”

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Where Art & Law Meet

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I wrote about our play Abortion Road Trip for Breaching the Fourth Wall, a blog about the intersection of theatre and law. We have three more shows happening this week.

Plays like Abortion Road Trip use theatre as a means to start conversations about these complex issues. In my eyes, theatre as a platform is most successful when reflective of the greater issues affecting our society, bringing to life these human stories and driving them further into our collective consciousness. As artists, we have a responsibility to imbue our work with truth and relevancy that can resonate with a range of audiences—that is the power of theatre. And that is the power of Abortion Road Trip.

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Political Art in a Trump Era

Felt compelled to share this excellently-written piece by my friend Kaiya Lyons on her new blog about the intersection of art and law.

Although it’s entirely legal, the corporations’ readiness to pull out their funding evokes an ominous vision of the theatre community’s future. Especially considering the Trump administration’s proposed elimination of the NEA, corporate sponsorship of the arts in the Trump era is likely to be paramount to sustaining our country’s strong commitment to artistic freedom and, ultimately, free speech. Without active public funds going to the arts, it will fall upon corporations and individuals to prevent the chilling of artistic expression and political speech, which is “indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth” and essential to thwart tyranny and corruption.

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Home

The house is quiet
the door cracked open
hum of the fridge and
unmade bed
soft glow of the bedside lamp and
pictures glisten in their frames of
happier times before you left.

You left, while your body stayed
arms around me in the morning, frayed
and I held your hapless shell, hoping
empty plastic water bottles littering the nightstand
and your many guitars were signs that
you were still home.

Praise for #NastyWomenRep

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Washington Post: “…arresting and appealingly idiosyncratic…Thais Menendez is amusingly frivolous as Amy’s best friend, Reba…the production is gripping enough to elicit an ache of solicitude.”

DC Theatre Scene:  “Thais Menendez is a melancholy Anne, who carries her emotional wounds just below the surface.”

DC Metro Theatre Arts: “…the stuff for which this gritty small theatre is best known…Anne, played feistily by Thais Menendez…

Broadway World: “…this very unsettling work is subtly powerful. The four girls are superb…Thais Menedez provides some much needed relief from tension in an outstanding cameo…this piece resonates much louder considering the nation’s political climate. “

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Breaking up is

Eating three bowls of Rice Krispies on the couch at midnight. Not having the heart to take down the portrait his niece drew you. Relating more than ever to the emo songs of your comically angst-ridden youth. Spontaneous tears in the car–driving while crying is sort of dangerous. Dropping the news to folks in the most off-hand way possible, with a stoic shrug. Feeling the wild freedom of responding to a ‘how are you?’ with a simple ‘not okay.’ Adding ‘but I will be’ for a while, before realizing you don’t need to make your hurt comfortable for others with the promise of healing. Right now, you are hurt, so let yourself live in it. It is uncomfortable. It is the definition of uncomfortable. The healing is happening at every moment, and it is not linear. There will be days when the sadness sets in the moment your eyes blink open, and an invisible weight sits on your chest, the days you quietly coach yourself out of bed. Then there will be days when you take a moment to feel the warm sun on your face, appreciating that you are alive and knowing it will be okay. Mostly, there will be moments in between, and progress shouldn’t be discounted just because it’s sandwiched by two heart-shattering breakdowns.

The fears will set in–will anyone ever be able to learn the rhythms of my body as well as he did? Am I less hot now? Can I still catch a dick? What is dating? Is that man single or gay  (always no, always yes)? And even in the moment, you will acknowledge how silly you’re being, but the subtle truth of the jest will prick your skin just so. Because breaking up with someone you love sucks.

You will tuck the hurt into a worn suitcase, lugging it around with you to every happy hour, every girl’s night out, and eventually, every date. Until one day, you will absentmindedly leave the suitcase at a bus stop and notice only once you are far, far away.

#NastyWomenRep

It’s been hard to organize my thoughts this past month. At times it seems like I’m shouting into a hopeless abyss, and the vibrations boomerang back at me. It hurts. I don’t know what to do, and so I turn to art.

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Words

I’ve been fortunate to have a few larger writing projects these past few months, which have largely kept me from writing anything for myself. All my free writing time has been spent on commissioned pieces, which is what I need to do right now. In fact, I am currently procrastinating on a writing project to pound out this blog.

In a way, it’s kept me from having to write for me, from tackling the hard bits I’ve been avoiding lately. If I take the time to sit down and let it all come out, who knows what thoughts and feelings that will unearth? Mainly those involve the recent election and general state of the world, the nuances of a longterm relationship, the courage to name and then pursue dreams and goals wholeheartedly. Light stuff.

Even if a failure to write means keeping it all in, I’m not mad that I haven’t written. I’ve been full to the brim with projects and opportunities and even though I am working myself tired I am okay with that. I am okay. There is one project in particular I’m very excited about and that will be starting soon. Essentially, the theme of these past few months has been work (work, work, work, Rihanna). And a little play, of course. But very little.

I am looking forward to a restful period of “holiday brain,” which has already somewhat started, but to which I will relinquish full control in about a week. A time to rest, recharge, and reset, in anticipation of the end of this particular year which popular culture has decided sucked.

 

Blog Spot: Valentina Citadina

My brilliant friend/chef/writer Valentina  has begun documenting her experiences living and, most importantly, eating in New York. Hers is a lovely blog and I encourage you to visit it!

Read about our brunch experience at the Reynard in Brooklyn here…

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Praise for LOVE IN RUINS

“It’s the nature of Fringe.” A phrase often heard, sometimes accompanied with a shrug, when something is less-than-ideal throughout the Fringe process. Though the “nature of Fringe” encompasses various challenges (we only have three hours to load in and tech a show in the space; our first time performing in the space is also our opening show, making it feel more like a frantic dress rehearsal), it also offers a sense of relaxed freedom–you work hard to make good theatre, but at the end of the day, it’s mostly for fun.

I’m happy to report that Love in Ruins at Capital Fringe Festival is off to a great start, with two lovely reviews after our first performance. Our opening audience was engaged and responsive. I’ve enjoyed building this intimate story with our phenomenal director Clare–it is so refreshing to work with a director who essentially reads your mind and creates a safe space to fail–and our wonderful cast and team.  All in all, Fringe has been a blast and I look forward to four more enthralling performances!

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The cast outside of the Logan Fringe Arts Space after our tech!

REVIEWS

“The troupe is quick and tight, a fantastic ensemble of actors with quick wits and good heads on their shoulders…Menendez in particular makes strong choices to humanize a character that could be read as cold and calculating…If you are looking for a sweet romance, a stirring period piece, or a heart-warming true story, this is the show for you. Heavy themes with moments of levity, “Love in Ruins” is certain not to leave your evening in ruins.” –DC Theatre Scene

“The cast was led by Thais Menendez as Mayte and Calvin McCullough as Guillermo. Both turned in solid, convincing performances…Menendez played Mayte as a strong woman, able to handle whatever the world throws at her. The fact that Menendez is a bilingual English/Spanish speaker lent to the play’s authenticity.”-DC Metro Theater Arts

 

 

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