The Library as Incubator Project is pleased to welcome a new guest blogger to the site. Brandon Monokian is a theatre artist who works in the New York City and New Jersey area. For the Page to Stage guest blog series, Brandon will document the process of bringing three works from the page to the stage – all in the Princeton Public Library.
by Brandon Monokian
I first came across the Princeton Public Library while touring Revolutionary Readings, a theatrical protest of the Burlington County Public Library’s decision to ban the book Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology. From there I began close work with librarian extraordinaire Janie Hermann on creating a theatre series that could promote literacy in a fun and animated way. In addition to Janie, myself, and a myriad of young talented actors, key contributors to this series were the band Spinner’s End who provided incredible live music, as well as actress Amanda Guzman who has performed in every single Page to Stage production we’ve put up.
Together we developed Page to Stage, a series of staged readings of theatre works adapted from or inspired by literature. Our first production was Tattoo Girl by Naomi Iizuka adapted from Perpetua, a short story by Donald Barthelme. The series continued with adaptations of Jack & The Beanstalk, several O’Henry stories as well as Sarah Ruhl’s poetic masterpiece Eurydice. Most recently we performed Einstein’s Dreams, adapted from the Alan Lightman classic which was presented as a part of the libraries “Pi Day Book Pic” programming as well as paved the way for a new Page to Stage.
This summer we will be tackling Freak by Naomi Iizuka and Ryan Pavelchik, a take on the Pygmalion myth through the gritty lens of a high school. Following Freak is Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights, an adaptation of the mythic Sheherazade’s stories of adventure, lust and dreams. The series will wrap up with a remounting of last years Page to Stage production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. I couldn’t be more excited to take on these poetic and challenging plays and bring them to the Princeton audience! Time to start some serious reading, researching and rehearsing!
Brandon Monokian most recently directed a V-Day Production of The Vagina Monologues featuring Amy Warren (August: Osage County), Briella Calafiore (“Jerseylicious”), Jessica Romano (“Glam Fairy”), Elaine Bromka (“Uncle Buck”), Suzzanne Douglas (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “The School of Rock”) and Stephanie Roth Haberle (“Phaedra Backwards”). Other directing credits Revolutionary Readings and the Page to Stage series for the Princeton Public Library. Brandon also works as a professional actor in New York City/ New Jersey as well as a writer for multiple online magazines. For more information “like” him on Facebook.