BRB 2015

BRB 2015

A week in the woods
August 2015
Little Pond Arts Retreat in Nazareth, PA

BRB is FGP’s annual arts development retreat. We take a handful of artists into the woods of rural Pennsylvania for a week to initiate their own projects, build collaborative relationships, and develop their artistic process.

FGP 2015 BRB banners2
August 9-16 in Nazareth, PA

During FGP’s annual artists’ retreat, FGP resident artists are invited to a week in the woods of rural Pennsylvania to initiate new projects, build collaborative relationships, develop their artistic process, and build structured feedback for their work with the help of the FGP team. All BRB residents are encouraged to spend part of their days outdoors on the grounds, and all attendees join together in the evening for share time and group dinners. It is as much a respite and a getaway from the city as it is a rigorous re-engagement with individual and collaborative craft. The retreat culminates in a showing on the grounds of the retreat space, where the FGP community is invited to an evening of 10 minutes from each new project.

Announcing our 2015 BRB Artists

Ian Axness

IAN AXNESS is a collaborative pianist and music director based in New York City, working between forms of concert music, contemporary theater, and long-form improvisation. He has worked with writers and directors at New Dramatists, Yale Rep, and NYU; performed in Showgasm at Ars Nova and Lyrics & Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y; and is currently developing a series of hybrid recitals based on Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. Recent credits: The Other Room (Inner Voices/Premieres), The Threepenny Opera (Atlantic), Clown Bar (The Box/Pipeline Theatre), Carousel (NY Phil), Political Subversities (Ars Nova & The PIT), As You Like It (Public). Faculty: Playwrights Horizons Theater School.

Anna Abhau Elliot

ANNA ABHAU ELLIOT makes plays. She is currently finishing up a residency in Spartanburg South Carolina, where a workshop of Ghost Variations was produced by the Spartanburg Little a Theatre. She has also been writing other plays, performing in sketch and improv, teaching humans of all ages, and settin’ out on the porch. In New York, Anna has performed with 600 Highwaymen, The Living Theater, the Bushwick Starr, The Whitney Biennial, and many others. She is an associate artist with The Assembly. Proud veteran of FGP BRB 2013!

Ian and Anna are collaborating on Ghost variations, a play Anna wrote about celebrated eccentric German musicians: Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. They were all in love with each other, sort of. Now Ian’s pimping it out with musical numbers–for indeed, they all played, composed, lived, and breathed music.

Vinny DePonto

VINNY DEPONTO is a Brooklyn based magician and mentalist who has been has been mystifying audiences now for over a decade. His critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience in 2014. The New York Times says, “What distinguishes the good magician from the great is the rigor of execution and quality of artistry. Mr. DePonto’s craftsmanship consistently impresses.” When not performing command shows for NYC’s elite you can find Mr. DePonto consulting for film, theater and television. Mr. DePonto orchestrates an evening of delight and mystery that will linger with you well after his briefcase shuts. With a glass of whiskey in one hand and your attention in the other, he’s a modern day showman like you’ve never seen. Now… you see him.

Matt Gehring

MATT GEHRING is a performer at the UCB. You can currently see him on his Maude team, Lover. He’s been on numerous commercials and even featured on FX’s Louie. Check out for more info.

Marina Tempelsman

MARINA TEMPELSMAN a New York based writer and performer, has co-written several original pilots and a feature screenplay with her writing partner Niccolo Aeed. Their duo Marina & Nicco has been featured on Comedy Central, Funny or Die, and on various stages around New York and Philadelphia (including The Upright Citizens Brigade, The People’s Improv Theater, The Magnet, The Tank, and many others). In the summer of 2010 Marina was a Guest Artist at the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive, where she studied with Theresa Rebeck, Marsha Norman, David Ives, Jason Robert Brown, Gary Garrison, and Heather McDonald, among others. She currently writes for the UCBT Maude team Lover, as well as the critically-acclaimed Livia Scott Sketch Program (also at The UCBT).

This summer at BRB, she will be working with fellow Lover member Matt Gehring on an as-yet untitled project, but rest assured it will involve puppets.

Chelsea Hanawalt

CHELSEA HANAWALT Chelsea is an artist and teacher living in Brooklyn with her theater company, boom! theater, that recently relocated from Seattle, WA. Her play, Roar, has been in festivals in Seattle, WA, Santa Cruz, CA, and New York, NY. You can check out more about her and her work here:

Chelsea will be working on a play called, Hot Air Balloon Girl, about a young girl named Pistol, who is trying to catch up with her father on a trip around the world in a hot air balloon, along the way she meets some fascinating and unexpected companions. Chelsea hopes that the play can also be performed by high school students, to give girls more some strong and interesting characters to play.

Carly Hoogendyk

CARLY HOOGENDYK makes a living in this crazy city as a marketing coordinator and social media manager (for an architectural design firm and Brooklyn Book Festival, respectively). Her involvement in art has spanned performing, writing, directing, producing, marketing, fundraising, hosting artist retreats, and drawing killer portraits as a party trick. She currently studies improv at the UCB Theater, formerly studied Viewpoints and Suzuki at SITI Company, worked at Penguin Publishing, BAM and Joe’s Pub, and has interned at New Dramatists and The Public Theater. She serves on the board of the TEAM ( She got her undergraduate degree from Columbia in 2007.

At BRB, Carly plans to begin recording improvised interviews that will ultimately be edited together to create an episodic, fictional podcast (think if Christopher Guest directed Serial). She hopes to experiment with how much preparation makes for a successful improvised collaborative storytelling effort such as this; what gives an actor enough to work with and what overwhelms them (either too much or too little direction)? And how can individual testimonials be edited together to tell a compelling story?

lena hudson

LENA HUDSON is an actor and performer based in NYC. She has helped to develop work for Fresh Ground Pepper, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Clubbed Thumb, La MaMa and Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, among others. Some of her favorite performing credits include: DEBUTANTE (Ars Nova), Folk Wandering (Joe’s Pub/Ars Nova), Cowboy Mouth (Red Room), Valhalla (Boxed Wine Prod.), The Collected Rules of Gifted Camp (The Brick), and Oil of Olé! (La MaMa).

At BRB she will begin development on a clown(ish) piece exploring one performers attempt to live up to the great legends of song and show. Hats! Song! BARBRA!

Ben Katz

BENJAMIN KATZ is an actor and teacher. Recent stage credits include: We Once Were (Pipeline Theatre Company), Summer & Smoke (BASiC Theatre Project). Film/Web: Bakery (Dog Out Window Productions), A Trip. Upcoming: performing in MCC Theater’s Youth Company FreshPlay Festival. Workshops with Hartford Stage, New Dramatists (Liz Egloff’s Ether Dome), Eugene O’Neill Center (Dan LeFranc’s Troublemaker, NPC ’11), and Clubbed Thumb. Atlantic Theater Company Kids Faculty; BFA NYU.

kevin kautzman

KEVIN KAUTZMAN is a playwright originally from North Dakota. An alumnus of the University of Minnesota, where he studied history and philosophy, he holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. He began studying playwriting in London at the Royal Court Theatre and became a core writer out of the Young Writers Program. He has received commissions from History Theatre and Red Eye, and his work has been performed and/or developed in the US and UK at places including Des Moines Social Club, the Finborough Theatre (DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP), Mondays Dark (IF YOU START A FIRE), the New Theatre Project (WOLF CRY WOLF), Nouveau 47 (COYOTE), Page 73, the Playwrights’ Center, Scriptworks, Theatre503 ($<0RP!0), Stage West, the Tristan Bates Theatre, and the UK National Student Drama Festival.

His honors include the Jerome and Michener fellowships, the Tennessee Williams and Kenyon Institute scholarships, and the Kernodle New Play, International Student Playscript Competition, Repertory Theatre Iowa’s Alpha Project and Southwest Playwriting awards, and, most recently, an Offie nomination for DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP. He is published by Oberon Books, Playscripts and Smith & Kraus and currently under commission from History Theatre, at work on a new play about Hemingway called ERNEST & THE BULL. He is represented by Max Grossman at Abrams and lives in New York, from which he records a semi-regular podcast called Righteous Yammer. More at

At BRB, Kevin intends to write a play about the oil boom out in western North Dakota, where he grew up. He is also interested in prostitution, not directly but as a subject, especially as it relates to fracking… there’s a metaphor not too far away, And there’s a great deal of prostitution happening out in North Dakota now. There’s some big strangeness and drama to be mined from the region’s sudden reversal of fortunate (so to speak), and as a “native” North Dakota, he wants to tackle the subject and write a play set in the region. It will be original but based on stories he’s hearing. Murder for hire. Ambitious hookers. Mancamps. Easy money. Need. Long winters. America and a big black gold rush happening right now, today, in the middle of freaking nowhere.

FGP 2015 BRB banners2

August 15-20 create work in Nazareth, PA
August 24-29 workshop and present in NYC

The FGP BRB Summer Apprentice Program is an intensive program for current undergraduate students looking to hone their own process of making original work. For one week at FGP’s retreat space in Pennsylvania, BRB Apprentices are working as actors, makers, and thinkers closely alongside FGP’s Teaching Artists, who are working on their own professional projects. They partake in master classes led by FGP’s directors as well as from local community artists, all with the intention of helping them to start their own individual pieces. Teaching Artists have been asked to guide the students through rehearsal processes and include them in their own collaborative processes as they see fit. BRB Apprentices then bring their work to NYC for one week, where they further rehearse their pieces and learn more about professionals making art in New York by visiting rehearsals, seeing shows, and talking and meeting artists in the NYC scene. The Apprenticeship culminates in a showing in NYC at the Robert Moss Theater, where Apprentices showcase their work alongside FGP Residents and Teaching Artists.

Introducing our 2015 BRB Student Apprentices

Megan Hayes
Barrett Law
Julia Louis
Jenna Rush
Caitlin Cobb-Vialet
Lindsay Wolgel

Announcing our 2015 BRB Teaching Artists

A.P. Andrews

A.P. ANDREWS is a playwright and dramaturg whose plays include The Nebraska Cycle, The Seaside Cycle, Ashling, Port, LARK/SONG, and Awake and Dreaming, among others. He is the literary manager of the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and the 2015 Willa Cather Foundation Writer in Residence, as well as a proud member of 5×5 Writers Group. With FGP: Clash, Epic and Runway. @apaplays

A.P. will be writing the first draft of a new play called The Night Before while at BRB this summer. It’s a play about a bride-to-be who wakes up on a shipwrecked boat with two of her friends on the day she’s supposed to be getting married- and none of them can remember exactly how they got there. There’s also a sea siren who eats people and takes over their bodies. It’s the fourth part of a four play series that all take place in the same little seaside town and can be performed with the same small troupe of actors. He is excited to begin working on it, and very grateful for the opportunity to do so away from the city!

Tori Keenan-Zelt

TORI KEENAN-ZELT writes question-based plays that chart emotional territory through heightened theatrical worlds. Many of them decide to be comedies. Recent work includes Catfight (Yale Cabaret), The Egypt Play (Dev: Lark Roundtables, WTF, Somersault, Sanctuary), Truth Dare… (Kilroys Nominee, Best Ensemble, Pittsburgh Fringe, Dixon Place), Everything You Were Looking For (NYMadness), Beautiful Tomorrow (5D), Burning Lines (Cold Basement), Times Square Tango (Drama Book Shop), I Didn’t Know I Was the Antichrist (#serials@theflea), and others. She writes for Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning education series and was recently an Ingram New Works Labber (NashRep), PWC Core Apprentice, Lark Dturgy Fellow, Jerome Finalist, PoNY Nominee, Kilroys Nominee, and some other things. She is a proud member of Bastard Playground, Part-Time Box, Propulsion Lab, the Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit, & the Dramatists Guild. Some of her short plays are published by Next Stage Press. Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, she splits time among New York, Virginia, and a cat who lives in Connecticut. BA, Harvard. MFA, NYU Tisch Asia.

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KRISTIE WORTMAN can currently be seen off-Broadway in The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking (SoHo Playhouse). Favorites: Spring Fling ’98 (Galapagos Art Space), The Butterfingers Angel… (Mary, [By the Mummers]),Truth Dare…( The Lark, Dixon Place), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia, MaDCap CollecTIVE), Hair (Sheila, Saratoga Springs). She is always working on a new devised piece with [By the Mummers].

Tori and Kristie will work on generating a draft of a new play that adapts the Persephone myth to excavate the experience of coming of age in an increasingly polarized world. What does it mean to inherit a landscape that may be not only broken but pulling further and further apart? What is “in-between” as a space in itself? How can it be a foundation on which to build a self, a life, and a world?

Michael Klein

MICHAEL KLEIN recently produced the award winning documentary feature titled Romeo is Bleeding directed by Jason Zeldes. He previously produced the short film Dog Food which premiered at the 2014 SXSW film festival, directed by Brian Crano and starring Amanda Seyfried, Cory Michael Smith, and David Craig. Michael received a BA in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California. He has produced music videos for notable artists such as The Stone Temple Pilots and Ice Water. Michael has produced and directed commercials for clients such as AT&T and American Express. He has also worked in docu-reality television on the ABC series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and most recently as a production coordinator for BBC America on the series Richard Hammond’s Crash Course. He is producing a short film, currently in post production, called The Deal directed by Daniel S. Kaminsky and executive produced by Joss Whedon, expected to be completed in fall 2015.

max reuben

MAX REUBEN is a playwright, director, sometimes-actor, and founding member of AGGROCRAG – a Brooklyn-based theater company dedicated to creating original plays. His work has been seen at places like The Kraine, Ars Nova, The Culture Project, The Brooklyn Lyceum, The Tank, Underground Arts, and a cool apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Writing credits include: We Hope You’re Out There (The Gallery Players Theatre); This Story Could Be Your Life (FGP BRB 2014); BLIND DATE (AGGROCRAG), Trojans (FGP Playground Playgroup 2012). Upcoming: An as-yet-untitled spooky play with AGGROCRAG. He also performs with the Brooklyn Soundpainting Company, and has been directing Gentlemen Party’s semi-monthly sketch comedy shows at The People’s Improv Theater since 2012. He currently teaches first year playwriting at Playwrights Horizons Theater School, an undergraduate drama studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

This summer, Michael and Max will be working on putting together a pilot script (and maybe some test footage) of a project called SUMMER CAMP, a long-form comedy based on their experiences at summer camp from 1996-2010, both as campers and as staff members.

Come party in the woods with FGP!
Saturday, August 15th
Little Pond Retreat
92 S Penn Dixie Rd‎
Nazareth, Pennsylvania 18064

Join the FGP BRB staff and retreat artists for a closing night, blow-out celebration.
Get there by 7:30pm for a special showing of work developed at BRB.
Stay afterward for a camp-out, grill-out bonfire.

Little Pond is just a quick 2 hour drive from NYC!
Or, round trip bus tickets are $44 from Port Authority to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We can pick you up at the bus station! Find more information on fares here:

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Season 3

Saturday, August 29th
Doors and bar at 7pm
Performances at 7:30pm

46 Walker Street

Every summer Fresh Ground Pepper takes a handful of artists to Little Pond Arts Retreat with a focus on getting brand new projects off the ground. This night will be a casual works-in-progress showing of the pieces developed over FGP’s two weeks in the woods. Come see the beginnings of some exciting new work and share a summer beer with FGP!

Featuring brand-new work by:
Matt Gehring and Marina Tempelsman
Carly Jane Hoogendyk
Kevin Kautzman
Vinny DePonto
Lena Hudson
Chelsea Hanawalt
Benjamin Katz
Anna Abhau Elliott and Ian Axness
Max Reuben and Michael Klein
AP Andrews
Tori Keenan-Zelt and Kristie Wortman
The 2015 BRB Apprentices


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