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About The Show

July 6-26, Main Lobby Gallery

The leading downtown theater collective brings us a gallery exhibit consisting of illustrations and commentary from their forthcoming volume A New Practical Guide to Rhetorical Gesture and Action.

Based on Henry Siddons’ 1822 catalogue of theatrical gestures for the London stage, this beautifully illustrated book uses the historic form of the original to document the stars and stalwarts of New York’s contemporary experimental theater and performance scene. When completed, the volume will consist of 36 illustrations by Jesse Hawley of NYC artists reinterpreting gestures from the original. Each image will be accompanied by a short biography of the performer and commentary by Normandy Raven Sherwood, poetically subverting the original’s epistolary style. A scholarly introduction by
James Stanley will contextualize this book as well as its namesake in the histories of theater and acting.

Performers documented in the book include Kate Valk, Juliana Francis, David Patrick Kelly, and Black Eyed Susan, actor/director Paul Lazar, performer Okwui Okpokwasili, storyteller Edgar Oliver, stars of the neo-burlesque Julie Atlas Muz and Matt Frazier, radical performance ensemble Radiohole, inventor/ performer Joe Silovsky and his robot Stanley, playwright and performer Sibyl Kempson, as well as members of Half Straddle, Hoi Polloi, Elevator Repair Service, New York City Players and many independent artists and performers.

A limited number of hand colored prints will be available for purchase.

The book was created by:
Jesse Hawley (illustrator, designer) is an artist, designer, songwriter, performer and co-artistic director of the NTUSA and has co-created and performed in all of the company’s work. She has illustrated two books: Animals vs. Furniture by Normandy Sherwood (Ugly Duckling Presse), and What Happened to an Alligator by Leon Stanley (Pet Snail Books).

Normandy Raven Sherwood (author, designer) is a playwright, costumer and performer. Her own plays have been presented at the The Kitchen, the Ontological Hysteric Theater, 13th St. Rep and Skidmore College, among others. She is a co-artistic director and executive director of the NTUSA and has collaborated on all of the OBIE Award-winning company’s shows.

James Stanley (author, editor) is a media scholar and a theater artist whose work in both fields mines the history of American entertainment to see what it can reveal of our cultural inheritance. James is co-artistic director of the NTUSA with whom he writes, directs, designs and performs.

About The National Theater of the United States of America

The National Theater of the United States of America is a troupe of professional entertainers and theater makers. They exist for your entertainment, enlightenment and greater glory. The NTUSA works collaboratively to script, design, choreograph and build each of their shows, often installing temporary show-specific theaters into raw spaces.
The company was created in 2000 with their inaugural production Garvey and Superpant$: Episode #23, for which a lavish, miniature 1930′s era vaudeville theater was constructed in the basement of a dilapidated deli in Times Square. The piece was a popular and critical success, and firmly established the company on the New York theater scene.
In 2006 they won an OBIE Award for Design and, in 2007, a Spalding Gray Award for innovation in writing and production. Their works have been produced in New York and Dublin, Ireland to popular and critical acclaim and have appeared on several “Best Of…” lists, including Time Out New York (2002), The Village Voice (2006) and the New Yorker (2009). The company’s artistic excellence has been recognized with grants from The Greenwall Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Arts International’s DNA project grant, as well as multiple space grants and residencies from chashama, the Chocolate Factory, and Two Trees Realty.