LAFAYETTE, A PLAY
April 14, 2015
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) & Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America
Present an Original Work Inspired by Marquis de Lafayette’s Personal Letters
Wednesday & Thursday April 22 & 23 at 7:30pm
FIAF, Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, New York, N.Y.
Benefit Dinner, by Daniel Boulud, Immediately following April 22nd Performance
For Immediate Release: April 9, 2015, N.Y.C.—The Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) announce the world premiere of Lafayette, a one-act play written by Ian Curteis and directed by John Michael DiResta. The production is inspired by letters exchanged between the 19-year old Marquis de Lafayette and his young wife during his momentous time in America as a volunteer French soldier, and subsequently as the youngest general in George Washington’s army. Played by 25 year-old Paul-Emile Cendron, a devoted Shakespearean-trained actor; Cendron was most recently seen on the big screen in the 2015 film, The Judge. Playing Adrienne, Lafayette’s 16-year-old pregnant wife, is Becca Ballenger.
With passion and idealism, Lafayette’s youth, fervor and dedication to American ideals of liberty are revealed as, along the way, he earns the respect of General Washington and of the American people. Convincing King Louis XVI to provide full expeditionary support for the revolutionary cause, without which the war would have been lost, Lafayette becomes the symbol of the Franco-American alliance and the means by which he achieves his life ambition to glory – those 18th century virtues of honor, merit, and distinction. The script, adapted from Lafayette’s actual letters, details a fervent champion of righteous causes and of the personal sacrifices his singular vision cost him.
This world premiere celebrates and supports the historic return of an authentic, handcrafted and life-size reconstruction of the Hermione, the tall ship that Lafayette sailed to the aid of General Washington in 1780 with news of full French support. The Hermione played a crucial role in the naval blockade that forced the surrender of the British General Cornwallis at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. The reconstructed “Frigate of Freedom” departs Rochefort, France on April 18th, and will be on route, sailing 3,819 miles to land at Yorktown, June 5th as the play is performed. She will sail up the Eastern Seacoast to 11 additional iconic ports and will be accessible to the public.
What: Lafayette, A Play – Supports the Hermione Voyage 2015
When: Wednesday, April 22 & Thursday, April 23 at 7:30pm
Where: FIAF—Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenue)
Admission: FIAF Members $35; Non-Members $45
Tickets: 800 982 2787 | fiaf.org
Information: 212 355 6160 | fiaf.org
Subway: 4, 5, 6, N, R and Q at 59th Street; F at 63rd Street
What: Lafayette, A Play Followed by Opening Night Benefit Dinner, Catered by Daniel Boulud
When: Wednesday, April 22, 7:30pm; Dinner, 9:30pm at Le Skyroom (8thFloor, FIAF)
Where: FIAF—Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street (betw. Park & Madison Avenue)
Admission: $400 Includes Dinner by Founding Partner, Moët Hennessy
Immediately following the play’s conclusion at about 9:45 PM, cocktails and a Daniel Boulud-created dinner will be served to conclude the evening atop FIAF’s Le Skyroom, which is only a few steps away from the Florence Gould Hall Theater. During cocktails, Miles Young, President of Friends of Lafayette-Hermione in America, Inc., will welcome guests and bring everyone up to date with the latest news about the Hermione 2015 voyage. Then, a lavish, three-course dinner—
Comprised of an appetizer of White Asparagus from Provence, followed by ‘Le plat de Resistance” of Waygu Beef Tenderloin in Black Truffle Jus, and last, a Raspberry Tart with Pistachio Cream—
all accompanied by specially selected French wines. This post-theater dinner comes with the purchase of a ticket to the play’s world premier.
CAST, AUTHOR, DIRECTOR, & PRODUCTION TEAM
Paul-Emile Cendron: Actor
It is thrilling to experience first-hand a ‘rising star’ who, at 25, has played Mortimer in Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 play Mary Stuart and was recently seen on the big screen with legends, Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr., in The Judge (2015). A graduate of Skidmore (2013), Cendron will tell you he learned to clown around doing Shakespeare at summer stock in Newburyport, MA, but found his nerve during a rigorous junior year abroad at the acclaimed Moscow Arts Theater (where they do not clown around) performing in The Bear, the intense Anton Chekhov farce-in-one-
act. That he chooses immensely rigorous roles says a lot to his determination to ‘act for real.’
Becca Ballenger: Actress
A rising star with both a classical and contemporary stage background, Becca is on a fast-track career. A member of Actors Equity, she has appeared in productions on stage and screen, and has had the honor of appearing in productions with the award winning Shirley Knight and Anthony Rapp, among others. She has had the distinct pleasure of studying the craft of acting with Alison Fraser and has been directed by renowned American Theater director Pam MacKinnon, both of whom were recognized with Tony Awards. Becca is a multifaceted performer who specializes in language and movement. She is trained in Shakespeare, has completed a Winter Intensive at the Moscow Arts Theater, and is trained in the art of dance and on-stage combat. According to The New York Times, “Ms. Ballenger never strikes a false note.”
Ian Curteis: Writer
Ian Curteis was longtime Director of drama for the BBC with over 100 credits in British and American television. “One of the most highly regarded TV playwrights, specializing in political drama”, according to the BBC, his period series and plays range from Prince Regent to Churchill and the Generals, Suez 56 and The Falklands Play”.
Ian started in the theatre, working as actor and director in repertory companies across Britain, be-fore becoming Director of Queen’s Theatre Homchurch. With Lafayette, he is thrilled to get back to the theatre, his first love. He lives with his wife, Lady Deirdre Curteis, in the wild and remote countryside of North Yorkshire, England, in a romantic house built in 1310 that is still completely moated!
John Michael DiResta: Director
John is 2014 Fellow of The Drama League Directors Project, a distinction of note in the competitive world of stage directing. His credits include The Drunken City (Steppenwolf Garage), La Casa De Schwarz (Judson Church), The Memory Tax (Araca Project), Scenes From the Middle Voice and Favorites (Rising Phoenix), A Crack in the Canvas, Bisexuality is for Teenagers, Watching the Thunder (MCC FreshPlay), Cuddle Wars (Pillow Talk), and Back to Society (Abrons Arts Center). John produced the MCC Theater Youth Company and is a teaching artist and writer.
Bob Lear: Executive Producer
Bob Lear is Senior International Producer of the Global Arts Corps/Colonnades Theater Lab, Inc. (CTL). Between 1994 and 2009, Bob was based in Paris. From 2006-2008, he rejoined Michael Lessac and CTL as International Producer of Truth in Translation. In 2008, he organized and produced the ten-city, five-week tour of the production in Bosnia/Herzegovna, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo. As a result of the success of Truth in Translation in iconic conflict countries, invitations poured in from countries around the world emerging from conflict. Bob has founded his own cultural foundation, the Foundation for Urban Cultural Development in New York, dedicated to multicultural arts in education and the professional resettlement of Eastern European artists.
Alongside his theatrical producing career, Bob has been deeply involved with émigré and refugee relief, human rights organizations, public/private partnerships and international communications with major institutions and global agencies.
Bob was educated at Bard College. He holds a MA degree and pursued Ph.D. studies in European History from Harvard University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar and Fulbright Fellow to Italy.
Miles Young, President of Hermione-Lafayette in American, Inc.
Miles Young is Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, a leader in advertising and a member of the WPP group. He joined Ogilvy in 1982 and was appointed CEO in 2009. Mr. Young resides in New York City, and is originally from the United Kingdom, where he attended New College at Oxford University. He also is active in the area of Asian journalism and public branding.
About the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
In 2015, a handcrafted replica of the Hermione, the 18th-century frigate that brought the young Marquis de Lafayette with French troops back to General Washington, a historic voyage that changed the course in our quest for independence – will return to America stopping in 12 iconic ports. The Friends of Lafayette-Hermione in America, Inc., a non-profit, is partnering with local heritage and nautical groups, teachers K-through-12, and cultural organizations, museums and universities – with a full program of exciting educational, musical, culinary and special events scheduled at each port during Hermione Voyage2015. www.hermione2015.com
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York’s premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross-cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. www.fiaf.org
Natascha Bodemann, Public Relations Director, FIAF
firstname.lastname@example.org T: 646-388-6677
Deborah Berger, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
email@example.com T: 646-391-0352