WHAT IF IF ONLY
A new play by Caryl Churchill
Realized by Les Waters and Jared MezzocchiWARNING: This piece contains a sequence of flashing lights, which may affect viewers
who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities.
This production is brought to you by:
Jonathan Castanien, Alyssa K. Howard, Paul Juhn, Mia Katigbak, Kylie Kuioka,
Jared Mezzocchi, Jon Norman Schneider, Tori Schuchmann, ViDCo, Les Waters
& Bernard White
(click image for bio)
Mia Katigbak, co-founder and actor-manager of NAATCO, today announced that NAATCO will present remote live performances of a new play by Caryl Churchill, What If If Only, realized by Les Waters and Jared Mezzocchi. The performances will stream Monday June 7th through Saturday June 12th nightly at 7:00 pm EST.
Ms. Katigbak says that the play is a gift from Les Waters who brought the play to her after asking Caryl Churchill to allow NAATCO to present it with an all-Asian American cast. “Ms. Churchill, once again, has brilliantly written a short play that contains harrowing insights, big heartbreaks, oceans of loneliness and grief, stillness and transmutation. Not knowing when we could go back to live theatre again, I thought Les and Jared Mezzocchi, with whom I worked on Russian Troll Farm, would make a perfect partnership to bring this incredible play to fruition.”
Les Waters spoke of the opportunity to work with NAATCO after last year’s project with the company, two Pinter one-acts he was to have directed, was cancelled due to the pandemic: “With every play, Caryl reinvents the question: what is a play? This play asks us what do we do when our loved one/partner dies? What could we have done that’s different? What if What if What if. This is my opportunity to work with Caryl again. It’s been 25 years since we did The Skriker at the National Theatre. It is my opportunity to work with Jared and all the great artists at NAATCO.”
Jared Mezzocchi adds: “This text is such a robust landscape of the mind that it lends itself so incredibly to this form and I’m inspired to witness it unlocking new universes for the virtual performance space. To share this rehearsal room with Les and the incredible team of artists through NAATCO, is truly a dream come true. I’m excited to grow as an artist and an experimenter with such a virtuosic team, unpacking a meticulously written piece of dream text.”
What If If Only features Paul Juhn (NAATCO’s Henry VI, Richard II – Classic Stage Company/Oregon Shakespeare, Good Person of Szechwan – Foundry Theatre/Public Theater, Takarazuka!!! – Clubbed Thumb), Mia Katigbak (2019 Drama Desk Award winner; most recently: Russian Troll Farm, Human Resources – world premieres; The Headlands – LCT3, The Plot – Yale Rep, A Doll’s House, Part 2 – Long Wharf Theatre), Kylie Kuioka (Meet Me In St. Louis – Irish Rep, The King and I – National Tour), Jon Norman Schneider (Vietgone – Alley Theatre, A Christmas Carol – McCarter Theatre, NAATCO’s Henry VI, The Oldest Boy – Lincoln Center Theater), and Bernard White (Nassim – Barrow Street Theatre, The Tempest – Public Theater, The Who & The What – LCT3, Blood and Gifts – Lincoln Center Theater). Alyssa K. Howard will be production stage manager; Jonathan Castanien will be assistant stage manager.
NAATCO is delighted to be working again with Virtual Design Collective (VidCo) with whom they recently worked for the virtual reading of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. They are a newly founded collective of over 20 designers, programmers, and technicians using innovative ways to tell stories and create communities online.
Les Waters is an Obie Award winning director. He was Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville from 2012–2018, where he directed The Thin Place, Evocation to Visible Appearance, Little Bunny Foo Foo, Recent Alien Abductions, Macbeth, For Peter Pan on her 70TH Birthday, The Glory of the World, Luna Gale, At the Vanishing Point, The Christians, Our Town, Gnit, Girlfriend, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and Big Love. From 2003–2011, he served as Associate Artistic Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His productions have been seen in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Connelly Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep, and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and regionally at theatres such as Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and American Repertory Theater. He most recently directed The Thin Place (Playwrights Horizons) and Dana H. (Vineyard Theatre), for which he recently won another Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Direction. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut with In the Next Room, or the vibrator play.
Jared Mezzocchi is an Obie Award winning director and multimedia designer, playwright, and actor. Mezzocchi’s work has spanned all throughout the United States at notable theaters such as: The Kennedy Center, National Sawdust, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth (company member), Cornerstone Theater, Portland Centerstage, South Coast Rep, HERE Arts, and 3-Legged Dog. In 2016, he received The Lucille Lortel and Henry Hewes Award for his work in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone at the Manhattan Theatre Club. In December of 2020, The New York Times highlighted his multimedia work on a list of the top 5 national artists making an impact during the pandemic. His work was also celebrated as a New York Times Critic Pick on Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm (Co-Director & Multimedia Designer) where it was praised for being one of the first digitally native successes for virtual theater. Currently, Jared is creating a new work through his mini-commission at The Vineyard Theatre in New York City entitled On the Beauty of Loss. In addition to this, he is writing a new book, A Multimedia Designer’s Method to Theatrical Storytelling, which will be released in Spring 2021/22 through Routledge Publishers. He is a two-time Macdowell Artist Fellow, a 2012 Princess Grace Award winner, and spends his summers as Producing Artistic Director of Andy’s Summer Playhouse. Outside of his artmaking, Jared is an Associate Professor at The University of Maryland and the CEO of his production company, Virtual Design Collective (ViDCo).
NAATCO was founded in 1989 by Mia Katigbak and Richard Eng to assert the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture. NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theatre practitioners to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and inter-cultural dynamics of our society. By doing so, they demonstrate a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole. NAATCO was the recipient of the Obies’ Ross Wetzsteon Award, the Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women for their work “highlighting the multi and intercultural dynamics of our society” and the Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association in recognition of its contribution toward increasing diversity and representation in American theatre. NAATCO was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play, as well as Outstanding Costume Design for a Play for their acclaimed production of Henry VI: Shakespeare’s Trilogy in Two Parts in 2018. Additionally, NAATCO’s Mia Katigbak was honored in 2019 by a Special Drama Desk Award: “the backbone of the Off-Broadway scene, we acclaim her for her performances this season in Henry VI: Shakespeare’s Trilogy in Two Parts, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, Peace for Mary Frances and Recent Alien Abductions. This award also recognizes her vital presence as the artistic director of NAATCO and her sustained excellence as a performer and mentor.”