First Look: Waterwell, in association with Working Theater, is presenting the U.S. Premiere of Stefano Massini’s 7 Minutes

(L-R) Sushma Saha, Jojo Brown, Simone Immanuel, Layla Khoshnoudi, and Mahira Kakkar. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Waterwell, in association with Working Theater, is presenting the U.S. and English-language premiere of 7 Minutes, written by Stefano Massini (The Lehman Trilogy). Mei Ann Teo (SKiNFoLK: An American Show) is at the helm of this translation by Francesca Spedalieri, commissioned by Waterwell. 7 Minutes began preview performances on Mar. 17, opened on Mar. 27, and has a limited run through April 10, 2022 at HERE in New York.

(L-R) Aigner Mizzelle, Simone Immanuel, Jojo Brown, Julia Gu, Danielle Davenport, and Mahira Kakkar. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Based on actual events, 7 Minutes depicts an urgent meeting of the union council of a rural Connecticut textile factory. Changes at the factory seem inevitable when new owners take over, giving the council only 90 minutes to vote on a decision with serious consequences for everyone at the factory. Tempers flare and anxieties boil over as personal needs, perspectives and suspicions vie for position while the clock runs down.

(L-R) Layla Khoshnoudi, Aigner Mizzelle, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Julia Gu, Nicole Ansari, Mahira Kakkar, and Carmen Zilles. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

The cast of 11 is composed entirely of women and gender non-conforming BIPOC+ actors. The play features Nicole Ansari (Rock ‘n’ Roll) as Mahtab, Jojo Brown (Hulu & Freeform’s “Single Drunk Female”) as Jordan, Danielle Davenport (An Octoroon) as Danielle, Julia Gu (BAb(oo)shka) as Alex, Simone Immanuel (New York debut) as Rachel, Mahira Kakkar (Monsoon Wedding) as Denise, Layla Khoshnoudi (Dance Nation) as Leyla, Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Chicken & Biscuits) as Linda, Aigner Mizzelle (Chicken & Biscuits) as Sophie, Sushma Saha (Interstate) as Nicole, and Carmen Zilles (Fefu and her Friends) as Inés.

A razor-sharp portrait of unionized factory workers grappling in real time with the power imbalance they depend on for their very livelihoods, 7 Minutes scrutinizes the individual impact of the economic forces and labor practices currently under debate in the United States. Best known in New York for his acclaimed play The Lehman Trilogy – a searing study in the unfettered pursuit of wealth by early captains of American industry – Massini tracks in 7 Minutes the lasting effects of the capitalist system they helped build on the workers of today, who bear the brunt of ever-tightening productivity demands and decades of government policy and business interest weakening the labor movement.

7 Minutes features scenic design by You-Shin Chen, costume design by Asa Benally, lighting and sound design by Hao Bai, and props design by Patricia Marjorie. Taylor Williams is the casting director, Victor Cervantes Jr. is the line producer, and Brittany Coyne is the production manager. AriDy Nox serves as dramaturg. Genevieve Ortiz serves as the production stage manager.

7 Minutes has been produced around the world, including in Italy, France, Germany and Iran. This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE: a curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as a technical liaison.

Tickets are priced according to a Sliding Scale Ticketing Initiative, reflecting Waterwell and Working Theater’s commitment to accessibility. For tickets and information, visit waterwell.org. HERE is located at 145 6th Avenue in Manhattan (enter on Dominick Street, one block south of Spring Street).

To learn more about 7 Minutes, visit waterwell.org.

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang loves to tell stories – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, a performing arts photographer and an award-winning filmmaker. A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She Executive Produced and stars in the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago and has worked extensively Off-Broadway. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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