The 20/21 Season: November Digital Theatre Festival

2020 Finalist Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition

Big Breath

by Elizabeth Gjelten
directed by Ansley Valentine

Deep in self-isolation and unable to leave her third-floor walkup, the Woman is trapped by fear and privilege as much as her circumstances. Her only company comes from the other voices within her as she is goaded by her inner gym teacher to venture out into the world. This beautiful poetic one-woman play explores what it means to take action, find light, and breathe during quarantine.

Currents: 716 and Alleyway's Digital Theatre Festival are made possible through the generous support of the Venturous Theatre Fund of the Tides Foundation

About the Artists: Big Breath

Elizabeth Gjelten, playwright

ELIZABETH GJELTEN (playwright) is a playwright, poet, teacher, and community arts worker. Her full-length plays include “Hunter’s Point” (at the St. Boniface Church Theater; developed at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival),“What the Birds Carry” (at the Pear Avenue Theater and the Mae West Fest), and“Dance Lessons” (at Venue 9 and the Working Women Festival). Several of hers hort plays and solo pieces have also been performed around the Bay Area. As part of her civic engagement work, she was an Artist Investigator with TriangleLab/California Shakespeare Theatre and the lead artist in “Home/Cooking,” a community-based storytelling project with formerly homeless women. A winner of Theatre Bay Area’s TITAN Award, she received the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Honorary Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in 2014. She has an MFA in Playwriting from SFSU; has trained with Cornerstone Theatre Company and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice; has taught at New College of California, San Francisco State University, and JFK University; and was a longtime student in poetics with Diane di Prima.

Ansley Valentine, director

ANSLEY VALENTINE is a professional director and choreographer for the theatre and musical theatre. Ansley is currently a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and Actors' Equity (AEA). He is past National Play Program Chair for Region III of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. In that capacity, he helped to foster the writing and development process of a number of young playwrights including producing readings of new work. In the summer, he is Artistic Director of the Ohio Youth Ensemble Stage, a company that provides an inclusive performing arts experience for students regardless of ability or financial resources.

Elizabeth Stanley

ELIZABETH STANLEY stars as ‘Mary Jane Healy’ in the Broadway production of JAGGED LITTLE PILL featuring the beloved music of Alanis Morissette, a book by Diablo Cody and orchestrations by Tom Kitt. For her performance she has earned a 2020 Tony Award nomination, a 2020 Drama Desk nomination and a 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award. Under the direction of Diane Paulus, she originated the role in its World Premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Boston.

Ms. Stanley previously originated the roles of Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet and Allison in Cry Baby. Additional Broadway credits include the revival of On the Town (Drama Desk Nomination) and the Tony Award-Winning revival of Company.

She also appeared in the First National Tours of The Bridges of Madison County and Xanadu. Off-Broadway credits include Fucking A (Signature), Merrily We Roll Along (Encores! And PS Classics Cast Album) On television, Stanley can be seen in “NOS4A2,” “FBI,” “The Get Down”,“The Affair,” “Black Box,” “Made in Jersey,” “Fringe,” “The Chappelle Show,”and Company (PBS Great Performances).

Ms. Stanley is appearing through an Agreement between Alleyway Theatre and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.