Past Shows

PROTOTYPE Conversations 2017

Artist’s Praise

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About the Show

We are pleased to offer a series of substantive conversations, panels, and talkbacks, with pioneering artists and visionary leaders in the opera-theatre and music-theatre world.

Illumination or Exploitation: Depicting Violence Against Women in Art
Panel Discussion
January 8 at 3:30pm
HERE Mainstage

Michael Royce, Executive Director New York Foundation for the Arts

Susan Yankowitz, author and librettist of Thumbprint
Dr. Kamala Sankaram Ph.D. composer of Thumbprint
Shelia Silver Composer A Thousand Splendid Suns
Dr. Danielle Knafo Ph.D. Author Psychologist & Psychiatrist

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Breaking the Waves
January 7 after the 7:30pm show
NY Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Mata Hari
January 11 after the 7pm show
HERE Mainstage

anatomy theater
January 11 after the 8pm show
BRIC Arts Media House

Funeral Doom Spiritual
January 14 after the 7pm show
National Sawdust

Silent Voices
January 14 after the 5pm show
Florence Gould Hall, FIAF

Secondary Dominance
January 11 after the 9pm show
HERE Dorothy B. Williams Theatre

Rev. 23
January 14 after the 3pm show
Rider (Connected to National Sawdust)


Artist Bio

Susan Yankowitz (Panelist) is a playwright, novelist, librettist and occasional screenwriter. Among her best-known plays are Night Sky (produced off-Broadway and internationally); Phaedra in Delirium (produced at CSCand WPP, NY; winner, QRL poetic play competition); Terminal and 1969TERMINAL1996, collaborations with Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre (Drama Desk Award); A Knife in the Heart (Sledgehammer Theatre 2002); andForeign Bodies (finalist, O’Neill Conference 2008.) Cheri, with music by Michael Dellaira, was a finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award and excerpts were performed by artists from Portland Opera and Tacoma Opera as part of OPERA America's New Works Sampler.  She wrote the libretto for Slain in the Spirit, a gospel-and-blues opera with music by Taj Mahal, and book/lyrics for True Romances, music by Elmer Bernstein Silent Witness, her novel, was published by Knopf and her teleplay about Sylvia Plath aired on PBS and won her a WGA nomination for best-written documentary of the season.  Her long monologue about Mukhtar is in continual production in the U.S. and internationally, as part of Seven. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is widely published and anthologized.

Kamala Sankaram, Ph.D. (Panelist)is a composer whose music has been praised as “strikingly original” (Allan Kozinn, The New York Times). She performed as part of American Opera Projects “Opera Grows in Brooklyn” series, at HERE, the Stone, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Santa Fe New Music Festival, and the Lucerne Festival, among others. As a resident artist at HERE, Kamala created Miranda, a steampunk murder mystery opera called “enjoyable, utterly original opera” (New York Post) and “among the very best theater achievements of 2012” ( She was the 2011 Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis Composer-in-Residence at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy and the 2012 Composer-in-Residence at the Eugene O’Neil Theater. She is the recent recipient of a 2013 Jonathan Larson Award. Kamala is currently a composer-in-residence with American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program.

Sheila Silver (Panelist) is a composer who has been commissioned and performed internationally. Her recent honors include: a 2014 Opera America Discovery Grant for Female Composers, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship – both for the opera she is currently composing based on A Thousand Splendid Suns.   Other honors include the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Opera; Bunting Institute Fellowship; Rome Prize; Prix de Paris, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Composer Award; twice winner of the ISCM National Composers Competition; and awards and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, New York State Council of the Arts, the Barlow Foundation, the Paul Fromm Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cary Trust. Sheila recently returned from a 6 month stay in Pune, India where she studied Hindustani music with Pandit Kedar Narayan Bodas.  Silver’s intention is to incorporate an authentic Hindustani color (Hindustani music is at the core of the music of Afghanistan where her opera takes place) into her Western voice.   Opera America has just selected A Thousand Splendid Suns as one of four new “operas in progress” to be featured in their New Works Forum in January 2016.  The Toulmin workshop presentation of excerpts will be June 1, 2015 at the National Opera Center in NYC. Over the past 25 years Sheila has composed several substantial works for Mr. Kalish: Sonata for Cello and Piano (1988,CRI/New World Records), Six Preludes for Piano on Poems of Baudelaire(1992,CRI/NWR), Twilights Last Gleaming (2007, Bridge), for two pianos and percussion, and Two Songs for Diane, in memorium (2012), for soprano and piano. Silver lives in Spencertown, New York, with her husband, filmmaker John Feldman, and their 16 year old son, Victor Feldman. She is Professor of Music at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Her music is published by Lauren Keiser Music, Studio 4 Productions, and Argenta Music and is recorded on various labels.  Her teachers include Gyorgy Ligeti, Arthur Berger, Harold Shapero, and Erhard Karkosckha. 

Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. (Panelist) has taught at a variety of academic institutions including New School for Social Research, Brooklyn College, City University of New York and City College of New York, Adelphi University, Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University. She is currently a professor at Long Island University's C.W. Post campus Clinical Psychology doctoral program, where she chairs the Serious Mental Illness Specialty Concentration. She is also faculty and supervisor at the New York University postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, as well as Adelphi University's Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. Knafo has an interest in the interrelationship between mental health and the psychology of creativity and has written several books on the subject including Dancing with the Unconscious: The Art of Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalysis of Art, Egon Schiele: A Self in Creation: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Artist's Self-Portraits and 'In Her Own Image: Women's Self-Representation in Twentieth-Century Art. She has also written about unconscious fantasies and the effects of trauma, in Unconscious Fantasies and the Relational World and Living with Terror, Working with Trauma: A Clinician's Handbook. She has also written numerous papers in academic journals such as Psychoanalytic Psychology, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Psychoanalytic Reviewand Studies in Gender and Sexuality.

Maurya Wickstrom, Ph.D. (Moderator) is Professor of Theatre at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her essay, “M. Lamar: Singing Slave Insurrection to Marx,” is out in the January 2017 issue of Theatre Survey. She is working on her third book, Fiery Temporalities in Theatre and Performance: The Initiation of History, to be published in Bloomsbury Methuen’s Engage series.