Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300
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The Niceties

By Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Joann Green Breuer
October, 2020
Starring Amy Brenneman with Tsilala Brock
Who gets to tell the story of race, history and power in America? In this riveting, provocative play, a black student and her white professor – both brilliant – debate whether the legacy of slavery defines our past, and our present.

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Eleanor Burgess (Playwright)

Eleanor Burgess's work has been produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Geffen Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre, Writers Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Geva Theatre Center, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Portland Stage Company, and Centenary Stage, and developed with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, the Lark Play Development Center, and the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop. She has been a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Page 73's writers' group Interstate 73, The Civilians’ R&D Group, and New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship. She has also been a staff writer for Perry Mason on HBO. Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, she studied history at Yale College and Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.

Joann Green Breuer (Director)

Joann is a longtime Artistic Associate at Martha's Vineyard Playhouse where she has directed over twenty productions, including Dear Elizabeth, Tennessee Williams: Original Acts, Faith Healer and many more. She was co-founder and Artistic Director of the annually multi-award winning Cambridge Ensemble. Joann taught acting at Harvard University where she was faculty adviser to the student Experimental Theatre. She has been a contributing writer to, and an Associate of the North American Actors’ Association (London). Joann is author of THE SMALL THEATRE HANDBOOK. She is a recipient of the Boston critics’ Eliot Norton Award for Continuous Excellence in Directing.

Amy Brenneman

Amy Brenneman divides her time evenly between acting, producing and political activism. She earned a degree in Comparative Religion at Harvard, with a specialty in Indo-Tibetan Religion, studying sacred dance and indigenous ritual in Kathmandu. She was a founding member of the Cornerstone Theater Company, which specializes in site-specific community-based theater on themes of social justice. Amy performed alongside local performers as (among others): Juliet in ROMEO & JULIET (Port Gibson, Mississippi), Natasha in THREE SISTERS (Montgomery, West Virginia), Clytemnestra in THE OREISTEIA (Schurz, Nevada), and Solveig in PEER GYNT (Eastport, Maine). Other theater: CSC Rep, Lincoln Center Theater, LA Theater Works, LATC, Williamstown Theater Festival, En Garde Arts, Spark, and The American Repertory Theater. She has played Saint Joan at Yale Rep and starred in the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize nominated Rapture Blister Burn at Playwrights Horizons and the Geffen Theater. Most recently she starred in the world premiere of Rules of Seconds by John Pollono, directed by Jo Bonney. Amy co-created, wrote and starred in Mouth Wide Open (The Yard, American Repertory Theater) and Overcome (The Yard). Overcome will have its premiere at South Coast Repertory as part of the 2020-2021 season. Amy created, executive produced and starred in “Judging Amy” (two TV Guide Awards, three Golden Globe nominations, Producer’s Guild Nomination, three Emmy Award nominations, People’s Choice SAG nomination) based on the work of her mother, the Honorable Judge Frederica Brenneman. Other television: “NYPD Blue” (2 Emmy nominations, SAG award), “Frasier,” “Heartbeat” (exec producer), and Shonda Rhimes’ “Private Practice.” Amy also starred in “The Leftovers” on HBO (Peabody Award, Critic’s Choice nomination.) Upcoming television: “Tell Me Your Secrets” on Amazon and “The Old Man” with Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow on Hulu. Film credits include: CASPER, FEAR, DAYLIGHT, HEAT, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, PEEL, THE LOOK OF LOVE and WORDS AND PICTURES opposite Clive Owen. Amy has a long collaboration with Rodrigo Garcia, with whom she worked on NINE LIVES, THINGS YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER, MOTHER AND CHILD and 60 SECOND DOC. Amy produced and directed the documentary “The Way the World Should Be” about the trailblazing work of the CHIME Institute and its mission of inclusive education. As a teacher, she has taught drama and creative process the CHIME Charter school, which specializes in educating children of all abilities. She has also taught at Harvard and UCLA, among others. For her activist work, Amy has been honored by Women in Film, The Brady Center, the League of Women Voters, the California State Assembly, the National Children’s Alliance, the Chime Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Help Group, the Producer’s Guild of America, among others. She traveled to Peru as an ambassador for CARE and was elected to the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors. In 2016, she was part of the amicus brief for the Supreme Court case Whole Women’s v. Hellerstedt, ensuring that abortion clinics remained open in Texas and elsewhere; she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from The Feminist Majority for her ongoing commitment to reproductive rights. In 2019 Amy received the Change Agent Award from En Garde Arts in New York. She has served as keynote speaker for NARAL, Cal-Tash, The Council for Exceptional Children and on the steps Supreme Court. Amy splits her time between Los Angeles and West Tisbury, MA. She is married to writer/director Brad Silberling and has two children, Charlotte and Bodhi.

Tsilala Brock

Grateful for any chance to work with the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse! Tsilala recently completed a two-year position as Assistant Dance Captain/Swing with The Book of Mormon 2nd National Tour. Currently she's producing and co-hosting a new podcast called 'UNCK! Getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations'. Other theater credits include: Parable of the Sower (The Public Theater), Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing (Cincinnati Playhouse/STLRep), The Color Purple (Troika Bermuda), and Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet (Martha's Vineyard Playhouse). TV/Film credits: Mysteries of Laura, Happyish, Broad City, Canaries and Bushwick Beats. Visit for more!

Net proceeds supported Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse,
the Union of Minority Neighborhoods and the Movement Voter Project

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