The world premiere production of “Do not miss” play O RÉJANE is nominated for three first-ever Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Awards in the Playwriting (llana Turner), Leading Female Performance (Cara Pifko) and Costume Design (Alex Berry) categories. O RÉJANE, which debuted in November 2014 at Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, connects theater-goers to the spirit of Réjane, a remarkable French actress and theater impresario who changed French culture, fashion and socio-politics as the 19th century morphed into the 20th.
“I am thrilled that O RÉJANE, a play about a woman blazing trails long before it was popular to do so, has earned award nominations for three women intent on making their voices heard in theater,” said playwright and co-producer Turner, who began researching the actress’ story in 2006 when her longtime friend, Réjane’s granddaughter, allowed Turner access to voluminous family archives.
Réjane, who was so influential during her life that she was portrayed by Toulouse-Lautrec, Boldini, Sargent, and Beardsley, broke class and artistic boundaries on and off stage as a working mother in the Belle Époque. “She has illuminated me and our audiences about career, motherhood and all aspects of love,” said Cara Pifko, who played Réjane in O RÉJANE.
A show born of long-term collaborations, O RÉJANE, features original music written by Réjane’s great-great-granddaughter Adrien Reju and Sébastien Miel of French band La Maison Tellier. Turner and Norwegian director Christopher Sivertsen developed O RÉJANE over five years, meeting many of the actors who performed in the award-nominated world premiere, including Pifko, during workshops.
Costume designer Alex Berry, who joined the production during its final workshop before production, said, “It was a wonderful process finding the costume design for O RÉJANE but it was something that we found together in the rehearsal room. The actors were brilliantly inventive in how they used the costume, and Ilana has such a modern voice that her Belle Époque allowed us a wonderful freedom to play with the period, and to be a bit silly.”
For Turner, staging O RÉJANE around the world, and “especially in my native Washington DC would be a dream come true.” The Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Awards show will be held April 13, 2015 in Los Angeles.
What is being said about O RÉJANE
“O RÉJANE is sexy and stylish, expertly choreographed and beautifully staged — both inspiring and a little bit disturbing, but in just the right way.” LA Times arts writer Deborah Vankin
“Thanks to Ilana Turner’s detailed conception, poetic flourishes delight…As the show’s luscious lead asserts, “I am blazing into the 20th Century — I will always be a raunchy work-in-progress…Do not miss this vibrant show!” Arts Beat LA
“Director Christopher Siversten and writer Ilana Turner provide an entertaining and illuminating glimpse into the life of the talented Parisian actress…” Stage Raw.
I saw O REJANE…and was struck by its humor, intelligence and style — kind of Howard Hawks meets Moulin Rouge.” Rico Gagliano of the “Dinner Party Download,
ILANA TURNER BIO
Ilana Turner has has worked in the performing arts for 17 years. She has written for ELLE magazine’s E. Jean Carroll, Turner Broadcasting and SKATER’S EDGE magazine. On screen, Turner has worked for HBO, Sci Fi Channel and Spike TV. On stage, she starred in a world premiere at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 PLAYS FOR 365 DAYS. Longtime friends with Réjane’s descendants, Turner founded The Réjane Project which is dedicated to researching the life and work of Belle Époque actress Réjane. Her first play O RÉJANE, premiered at LA’s Bootleg Theater in November 2014 earning three STAGE RAW LA Theater Award nominations, including one for Turner as playwright. Turner and O RÉJANE Research Consultant Tonia N. Sutherland co-wrote the research paper MADAME SANS-GENRE and presented it at the 2010 Theatre Library Association plenary. She has three other plays in the works, including one about New Zealander contralto Princess Iwa, for the Emerging Playwright 365 Women Project. Turner holds a BA in theater and dance from Hampshire College. An ex-professional figure skater who loves punk rock, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and wee daughters.
CARA PIFKO BIO
Cara Pifko started acting professionally at the age of 7 in Toronto, Canada. She won a Gemini award (Canadian Emmy) for her work George F. Walker’s THIS IS WONDERLAND, which she starred in for three seasons. Pifko was also nominated for a Gemini award for HUMAN CARGO, and nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for her two seasons starring on OUR HERO. She recently starred in ABYSS at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, and as Réjane in the world premiere of O RÉJANE in LA, for which she earned a Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Award Nomination for Leading Female Performance. TV and film credits also include FAMILY PICTURES with Angelica Houston, THE ROBERT HANSEN STORY with William Hurt and Mary Louise Parker, ORDINARY MAGIC, CSI: MIAMI, HEARTLAND, WITHOUT A TRACE, and David E. Kelley’s MONDAY MORNINGS. She can be heard in CYBERWORLD, ANGELA ANACONDA, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS, Electronic Arts’ TIBERIUM, MASS EFFECT 2 and G-KINGS.
ALEX BERRY BIO
Alex Berry is a set and costume designer currently based in the UK. Last fall, she designed set and costumes for the world premiere of O RÉJANE in Los Angeles, for which she earned a Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Award Nomination for Costume Design. Recently, she designed a show for the Chipping Norton Theatre, and her next designs for Awake Projects’ SONG OF RIOTS will debut in April at the North Wall, Oxford. Additional credits include BLUE STOCKINGS, THE RIVER, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, DEAD ON HER FEET, AWAKE, and Catrina Kerridge’s FAST TRACK. An accomplished artist, her work has been exhibited at the Royal College of Art and Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. She trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating with a first class BMus honours degree and performing throughout the UK and Europe before embarking on a career in design. Berry graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Masters Program in Design.
http://www.artsbeatla.com/2014/11/o-rejane/ (O REJANE review)
http://stageraw.com/2014/12/04/o-rejane/ (O REJANE review)
http://stageraw.com/2014/12/04/bringing-back-gabrielle-rejan/ (Feature Interview with Ilana Turner on Stage Raw)
frenchmorning.com/hommage-legende-rejane-los-angeles/ (Feature Article on O Réjane on French Morning)
http://paulatiberius.com/2014/11/17/o-rejane/ (O REJANE review)
http://fw.to/u5LnqvB (LA Times featured calendar listing)