NEW YORK – The Greek-American Writer's Association presented an evening of short plays, music, and wine at St. John’s in the Village in Manhattan on November 8. In spite of the unseasonably cold temperatures that night, attendees filled the church for the performance of the three plays, Comfortable by Nicholas Vasilios Pappas, The Arranged Matrimony by Anwar N. Suleiman, and The Furniture Play by Penelope Karageorge.
Karageorge, who directed her play and co-directed Suleiman’s play and is also a contributor to The National Herald, gave the welcoming remarks and introduced each play. Greeted with warm applause from the audience, she thanked everyone for attending the event.
The unique short plays offered insights into relationships and family with wit and emotional truth as performed by the actors, Caroline McQuaig, Colin Van Wye, Nicholas Vasilios Pappas, Jenna Fink, Grace West, John Torres, Iva Lane, and Lauren Amira. Pappas’ play was especially charming as it opened with a couple sitting down on a couch, having a discussion in a comfortable setting and then presents a clever twist.
Suleiman’s play offered an emotional counterpoint to the lightness of the first play as an emotionally tense scene unfolds between a husband and wife with dramatic revelations after 47 years in an arranged marriage.
Karageorge’s play explored the tensions between two cousins trying to divide up family furniture while dealing with memory and unresolved issues from the past.
A musical performance by well-known actress and singer Anna Tsoukala, accompanied by her husband, classical pianist Gregory Post, impressed the audience with songs composed by Manos Hadjidakis, including the iconic Ta Paidia tou Pirea from the film Never on Sunday.
The audience members applauded enthusiastically and look forward to the next GAWA event.
Karageorge noted that Nektarios Antoniou, chanter for the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, had been scheduled to perform at the event but had forgotten he would be chanting all day at services in the morning for the feast day of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Bodiless Powers and then in the evening for the Great Vespers of St. Nektarios, his namesake saint, whose feast day is celebrated on November 9. Tsoukala and Post stepped in at the last moment and gave a moving performance of the classic Hadjidakis songs.
When asked how long the event took to put together, Karageorge told TNH that it took about a month to organize and that casting the actors took the most time.
The performance was followed by a reception with wines contributed by Andreas Kelemidis of Oinos Wines.
Among those present were community members, friends and family of the writers and performers, as well as actor and director Loukas Skipitaris whose recent project Ta Filarakia was performed at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria last year and starred Stratos Tzortzoglou, Manos Pantelidis, and Tasos Karydis.
Nicholas Vasilios Pappas is a New York City based playwright, director, actor, composer, and a one-time choreographer, originally from Alabama. In 2018, he produced and directed his play The Place in Brooklyn at this place in Brooklyn and The Line / Stranger received a reading at the Tank, produced by Step1 Theatre Project.
Much of his work can be found on New Play Exchange. Anwar Suleiman has been studying the ancient Greeks and has written a full-length play, Queen Tomyris, based on the stories in Herodotus.
Penelope Karageorge is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and is currently producing a short film, a dark comedy titled Reach Out and Touch Someone.