The 2011 Cohen New Works Festival

Presented by University Co-op
March 28-April 2, 2011

Press and Reviews 

The Daily Texan
"UT festival showcases student plays" (March 29, 2011)

The Austin Chronicle
"Team Risk: UT students create safe place for the classmates to make daring new stage work" (March 25, 2011)

KNOW Events Blog
"The Making of the Cohen New Works Festival" (March 25, 2011)

The Alcalde Blog
"Cool Dancing Flash Mob Storms UT Campus" (March 25, 2011)

2011 Team 

Faculty Co-Producers: Denise Martel, Suzan Zeder and David Justin

The Cohen New Works Festival Executive Committee: Haydee Antunano, Jen Ash, Rachel Atkinson, Ryan Andrus, Nicole Barnes, Tramaine Berryhill, Cassidy C. Browning, Rene Castro, Sarah Coleman, Gabriel Jason Dean, Eric Gazzillo, Trey Gilmore, Ryan Graham, Katelyn Griffiths, Tom Horan, Christy Howell, Carrie Kaplan, Alex Lagunas, Kate Leahy, Courtney Sale, Cheng-Wei Teng, Bianca Wugofski​

2011 Festival Roster

And Then Came Tango

Watch the touching true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins that fell in love, incubated an egg, and successfully raised a baby fledgling, Tango. Poetry, dance, and music unite to tell this children's story, celebrating modern families of all shapes and sizes.

Creative Team: Emily Freeman, Elizabeth Schildkret, Susan MacCorkle, Paul Marbach, Amanda Koleckar, Jacob Watson, Ariel Livingston, Kelsey Rondeau, Jake Lewis, Diana Gonzales, Uyen-Anh Dang, Michael Massey, Mikey Mintz, Courtney Moreno, Hilary Anderson and Liz Wasem

Art Engineered

An installation piece that fuses the fields of engineering and performance, Art Engineered is a Rube Goldberg machine that combines elements of story telling with technology and engineering.

Creative Team: Mason Baker, Bryan Bell, Jason Bolley, Nathan Graham, Samuel Houghton, Christy Howell, Taylor Kirk, Jeff Kurihara, Eric Lara, Dorian Robison and Joshua Warren

Bike Noir

In a city of unexpected back alleys, dive bars, and taco stands, trouble arises from the discovery of a bicycle that wasn't meant to be found. Austin's urban landscape plays host to this noir-inspired play on two wheels. Get your bike and come follow the action.

Creative Team: Noah Martin, Brett Hamann, Georgia Young, Ania Upstill and Lindsey Newman

Christmas/Music: Two Stories

Jeff Harper is a legendary rock artist, and his last album, "Black Blue Dawn"was hailed as a masterpiece. Unfortunately for Jeff, he was so hammered that he barely remembers writing it. But when his wife threatens to leave him, Jeff sobers up, wins his family back, and releases his wildly anticipated follow-up album. And it sucks. This piece explores the intersections of drugs and creation, asking whether an artist's ultimate responsibility is to his audience, his family or himself.

Creative Team: Andrew Hinderaker and Daria Davis

The Chronicles of Bad Ass Women

Through a series of interweaving monologues, six desperados come together and tell their stories of heroism and humility in a staged reading with set and costumes.

Creative Team: Shawn Sides, Holli Gipson, Meghan Kennedy, Jennifer Singletary, Natalie Rinehart, Haydee Antunano, Genevieve Kathleen Smith, Lauren Peterman, Alexis Scott, Liz Kimball, Sydney Andrews, Meghan Kennedy, Kelli Schultz, Megan McQuaid and Tina Ulrich

Digital Craft: Handmade Craft Meets Digital Design

Exploring the possible interface between 3-D computer technology and costume technology, this installation - exhibit combines historical millinery techniques with modern methods of object construction and design to diversify the costume artisan's toolbox. The installation presents practical and useful ways of moving between the virtual and physical world.

Creative Team: Becca Miller, Kate Vaughn, Tramaine Berryhill, Yao Chen, Lizzie Bracken, J.E. Johnson, Angela Saenz and Molly Yestadt


How can the three-dimensional dynamic quality inherent in dance be translated through a two-dimensional output source? This question is explored through a dance media installation.

Creative Team: Taylor Kirk, Andrea Beckham, John Chance, Victoria Hendrix, Danica Salazar and Lisa Kobdish

Do You Hear What I Hear?

In this interactive dance experience, the audience gets to choose the accompaniment for seven different choreographed solos. In a fun, and often funny, performance we will address the role of music in dance, and its ability to help, hinder, or completely alter the meaning of a work.

Creative Team: Matthew Bunker, Kara Newton, Aly DelCueto, Yvonne Ferrufino, Lucy Kerr, Allyson Maranitch, Chelsea Pierce, Mackenzie Taylor, Morgan Taylor, Audrey Halm, Sarah Pendergraft, Caitlin Poulton, Sarah Presley, Stacy Skolnik, Shelby Smith and Hallie Ward

The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities

Beneath its boring Maple Leaf facade Canada hides a nasty secret. This site-specific adventure tells the story of the Dionne quintuplets. At just four months old, the quints were placed in the custody of the Canadian government and became the country's most significant tourist attraction. Told through a mash-up of mediums including puppetry, projection, and sound, this performance will have you seeing the world in five ways.

Creative Team: Rowan Doyle, Tom Horan, Cheng Wei Teng, Courtney Sale, Ana Lozano, Trey Gilmore, Zachary Ullah, Holly Kwansy, Aly Talley, Elissa Castles, Kayla Newman, Leslie Ann Chastain and Chelsea Pribble


Folk follows the story of Nathan, a man whose life is consumed by his research in American history. As he investigates American folklore, the stories performed onstage by an eight-person chorus. The play explores myth in American folklore and challenges our perception of whether these stories have their foundation in fact or fiction.

Creative Team: Sara Athans, Kate Griffiths, Russell Podgorsek, Sarah Pressley, Logan Hylton, Leigh Fulcher, Nathan Graham, Kathleen Lothringer and Lexi O'Reilly

Footnotes for People Who Don't Speak Spanish

This live infomercial/self-help seminar promises the audience “an authentic Latino experience.†Stepping in and out of identities ranging from Che Guevara to Carmen Miranda, stories are told from their lives and their family histories of being “white, but not quite.†Side effects may include revelations, deportations, salsa dancing, salsa making and dry-mouth.

Creative Team: Beliza Torres Narvaez, Rudy Ramirez and Lily Matthews

Forced Out of (con)Text

Body memories of resistance and liberation are carried across space and time as three women of color, artists and scholars, traverse narratives of their experiences through African/Diasporic dance. Through poetry, journaling, and improvisation, they distill and re-mix the critical gestures of their experience.

Creative Team: Maya Berry, Czarina Aggabao Tellen and Maria Dos Santos

Hades Ladies

A work of dance theatre, this multi-dimensional work chronicles a day in the lives of women in 1980's corporate America. Using vehicles of dance, theatre and exploration of props such as eggs, ice cream, office supplies and power suits, the piece questions gender roles, equality, and social responsibility.

Creative Team: Janna Rock, Dorian Robison, Jon Cook, Taylor Kirk, Eric Lara, Tim Stafford, Caitlin Poulton, Allyson Marantich, Kara Newton, Sarah Thornell, Logan Hyltona nd Courtney Mazeika


Calling all babies! This interactive theatre piece is designed specifically for children under the age of three. This visually dynamic, movement-based show explores the concept of HANDS, one of the first things young children discover. Interactive in nature, the performers invite the audience to explore the set and play with the props throughout the piece.

Creative Team: Bethany Lynn Corey, Elizabeth Schildkret, Paul Marbach, Megan Alrutz, Susan MacCorkle, Nicole Barnes and Tiny Robinson

Headphone Stories

Explore the act of storytelling through a sound installation piece. Interview subjects were asked "If you could tell one story from your life, what would you tell?" The resulting interviews were edited into a sound composition that includes music, narration and atmospheric sounds.

Creative Team: Tom Horan, Trey Gilmore, Michelle Dahlenburg and Paul Marbach

Heart Trouble

How do we remember what we can't remember? Katelyn Wood, whose father - a country radio DJ - passed away when she was young, confronts his memory and her feelings of loss by returning to the rich archive of his taped broadcasts. Heart Trouble creates a world in which what haunts our past moves into the present. Through humor, personal narrative, and country music, this solo performance explores the healing that comes from confronting lost memories and the ineffable moments in our lives.

Creative Team: Katelyn Wood, Lydia Nelson and Nicole Gurgel

The Ideal City Project

A massive wood sculpture depicts a utopian city, which offers the promise of perfection. But is it doomed to fail? Through a serious of monologues, this performance will examine why this utopia will succeed, where others have failed, and what its downfall might be.

Creative Team: Lizzie Bracken, Diana Grisanti, Steve Moulds, Kate Leahy, Halena Kays and Dan Rumney


This inter-media piece explores social life in cyberspace through live dance and 3D animation. Jane is a human who is seduced by a virtual community of dancers and has to decide whether to leave her body behind or to shut down her cyber friends.

Creative Team: Chell Parkins, Eric Gazzillo, Tom Benton, Becca Miller and Erin Chmela

La Cancion de la Tierra

This piece is a bilingual (Spanish-English) environmentally aware play for young audiences featuring four animatronic puppets, two human actors and a puppeteer.
Set deep in a tropical rainforest, the storyline presents the struggle to keep the Earth a clean and healthy place to live for all of its inhabitants, animals and man, by focusing on the four Rs: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Responsibility.

Creative Team: Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Ben Bazan, Kirk Lynn, Elizabeth Schidkret, Maggie Tominey, Jim Glavan, Joseph Dailey, Michelle Habeck, Wilberth Gonzalez, Karen Maness, Mason Baker, Dorian Robison, Christina Ramos, Ryan Graham, Karen Rodriguez, Renee Castro, and Sam Gorena


An interactive audio installation, people in and around the UT Austin community share intimate stories exploring imagined fears, imagined futures and our collective hopes. These voices are hidden around the Winship Drama building. Slow down. Go find them. They're waiting for you to listen.

Creative Team: Michelle Dahlenburg and Tom Horan

Never Stray

This staged reading of a work-in-progress follows the story of high school junior, and self-proclaimed theatre nerd, Leigh, as she escapes to an experimental school geared toward those who are in need of a safe place to learn and undergo therapy after experiencing traumatic bullying. She is popular for the first time and enjoys everything this new world has to offer until she meets the school's veteran, Kira, who shows her a different side of this seemingly utopian environment.

Creative Team: Avital Stolar

Nobody Knows It But Me

Telling the story of three teenagers who come together to make a suicide pact, this staged reading challenges the concept of realism versus the subconscious through a tangled web of emotions in the minds of young people contemplating suicide.

Creative Team: Isaac Gomez, Kaitlin Bouzek, Charity Lee, Will Taylor, Bianca Summers, Sarah Konkel, Demetrius White and Daniela Herrera

Our Lady of Peace

Our Lady of Peace is a theatrical adaptation of a short story by ZZ Packer. The story explores themes of race, identity, poverty and urban education. The play is devised by the ensemble and performed in a chamber theatre style, with the much of the short story's original text serving as the script.

Creative Team: Anne McNamee, Tina Ulrich, Jelisa Robinson, Tameika Hannah, Alex Crook, Marche Howell, JaMichael Darnell, Clyde Burgess Jr. and Mina Murray


A week before her 18th birthday, Louise and her stepbrother Justin run away from Texas to start a new life in Nashville. But when their parents follow them, Justin's country music dreams get sidetracked and Louise's birthday party goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Creative Team: Diana Gristani and Joseph Dailey, Steve Moulds, Katie Erwin, Elissa Castles, Gabriel Jason Dean, Lizzie Bracken and Halena Kays

Raven's Blanket

Incense fills the air. A shadow appears, beckoning you closer. You hear a voice telling stories of Raven, infamous Native American trickster. Join this shadow puppetry and site-specific journey following the Raven as she embarks upon an adventure to capture sun and remove the blanket of darkness. Devised by an ensemble of artists, and told through stories, images, and color, this adventure is sure to delight audiences of all ages, encouraging us all to find our own sources of light and inspiration.

Creative Team: Abra Chusid, Sarah Saltwick, Rowan Doyle, Laura Kieler, Jumana Rizik, Courtney Combs, Jason Bolley, Leslie Chastain, Arthur Marroquin, Kayla Newman, Callie Raynor, Jumana Rizik and Kelsey Rondeau


This play tells the true story of an inspirational woman, a devoted daughter, wife, and mother who overcame many struggles to find a new and better life for her family.

Creative Team: Christina Norton, Arthur Bryan Marroquin, Jacklyn K. Benavidez, Rikki Perez, Karen Rodriguez, Maki Borden, Anna Fleury, Stephanie McConnell, Judith Elaine Soto and Jelisa Jay Robinson

Sex: A Public Education, or Lessons In NOT Looking For Love]

This solo performance depicts the dilemma of being gay, young, horny, living alone in Texas, while in a long distance, open relationship with a boyfriend in Canada. Told through a sometimes sad, and often shocking collection of texts from online personal ads, chats, and social networking sites, this piece provides rare insights into the survival techniques necessary when you're far away from the one you love and in need of a little action.

Creative Team: Stephen Low, Courtney Sale and Rowan Doyle

The Sexy Sex Kind of Sex

What is sexy anyway? What is consent? Is consent sexy? Or not? What does it mean to consent to sex? This devised, interactive piece will explore our perceptions and assumptions around approaching sex with a partner - how does it happen, when does it happen, and how do you know you have consent?

Creative Team: Sarah Saltwick, Amanda Morish, Allegra Lucchesi, Morgan Taylor, Mackenzie Taylor, Kaitlin Bouzek, Jorge Luis Galan, Rachel Haney Butler and Rupaul Otal

The Sound Ascending

This chamber musical tells the story of two lovers, Miriam and Zakir, who come of age in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. Loosely based on Tennessee Williams' play Orpheus Descending, only two characters exist in the present, Miriam and her interrogator, Mr. Donovan. Can she continue living her new life without destroying those she left behind?

Creative Team: David A. Brown and Jason Tremblay


Scamper into this site-specific exploration of hoarding, love, and cold-war anxiety as seen through the eyes of squirrels. Performed on the sprawling LBJ lawn, Stockpile finds one squirrel scurry pitted against a newly formed other. As they fight over litter, lost nuts, and half-eaten muffins, will peace prevail? Will we get caught up in the battle?

Creative Team: Daria Davis, Gabrielle Reisman, Dimitri Gonzalez, Noah Martin and Michelle Dahlenburg

Swimming Upstream

Join the interactive performance about a gay sperm on a journey through the female body. This experience incorporates live actors, puppetry, multimedia, and music and transforms the audience members into sperm and eggs involved in the ultimate game of chance.

Creative Team: Ilana Marks, Alvez Barkoskie, Cate Eby, Chris Yoo, Cody Melcher, Daniel Sullivan, Jeff Kurihara, Jenn Adams, Julia Gytri, Jumana Rizik, Katie Alyward, Laura Spears, Rachel Atkinson, Rene Berthelette, Rikki Perez, Ryan Andrus and Stephanie Taff


Synaisthe is an inter-media, movement-based work, exploring the ways in which our sensory experiences are linked and associated through the physical pathways of our bodies. The performance will utilize a variety of visual technologies, primarily infrared motion tracking software, to control and manipulate virtual images in real performance time.

Creative Team: Brian Ballew, Ashley Cunningham, Victoria Goss, Eric Gazzillo, Victoria Hendrix, Michael Howell, Taylor Kirk, Ryan Light, Anne McMeeking, Chell Parkins, Christen Rose Perez, Dorian Robinson, Marc Reynolds, Bich Vu and Bryan Alvarez

The Transition of Doodle Pequeno

Oranges the size of pumpkins, vampires, devil horns, tutus and learning to speak "goat" - it's Halloween and Doodle is the new kid in the quadraplex. When his first friend shows up in a tutu and Doodle dons a skirt, bullies take notice. The play for young audiences, presented as a staged reading, takes a look at gender identity, difference and discovering things aren't always what they seem.

Creative Team: Gabriel Jason Dean, Abra Chusid, Jim Hancock, Brian Fahey, Isaac Gomez, Haley Hussey, Noah Martin and Alexis Scott

Transitional Spaces III

This site-specific contemporary dance places abstract movement in the entranceway to the power station spanning 24th St. to the Lab Theatre, a space ordinarily occupied by pedestrian traffic. The dance is comprised of movement ranging from minute gestures to grand physical maneuvers. The ten dancers separated by the elongated space will invite the audience to open their field of vision and experience the space differently.

Creative Team: Ellen Bartel, Adam Sultan, Alex van Bavel, Alexandria Sepulveda, Mari Akita, Claire Augustine, Katherine Hodges, Lisa Kobdish, Shirley Luong, Amy Myers Martin, Cooper Neely, Janine Ploetz, Stacy Skolnik and Janna Rock

When the Horse Runs Off

This chamber opera is based on the Buddhist fable of a boy's wish to see the world outside his small village. By leaving all he knows to be true, he sets in motion a chain of events that leads to the unexpected, in ways both good and bad. It is small in scale, but by using just a handful of musicians and singers, playing multiple roles, it will create a surprising opera experience.

Creative Team: Randy Maguire and Sarah Saltwick

You Can't Win

Presented as concert reading, this new musical tells of Jack Black, the first career criminal to ever publish his autobiography in the United States. The story begins in post-Civil War Kansas City, Missouri and ends in San Francisco, California in the 1920s. Jack Black is the real deal. His story is a one of a kind classic, a poetic journey into history and sociological study of America's criminal class.

Creative Team: Ben Snyder, Jenn Hartmann Luck, Ethan Frederick Greene, Courtney Sale, Tramaine Berryhill, Ninoska M’bewe Escobar, Joclyn Pettway, Bryan Ballew, Brian Bogart, Joseph Dailey, Syndi Kipp, Stephen Naimoli, Ashlee Olejniczek, Glen Hall, Travis Tate, Sarah Walker, John Smiley, Ben Bazan, Daniel Sullivan, Amanda Morish and Lyn Koenning