The High Priestess
The High Priestess is a heightened family drama that is a fusion of theater and film. We are striving to create a hybrid site-specific theater piece that is accessible anywhere around the world and told through a continuous one-shot to immerse our audience in this suspenseful tale.
Mission StatementPermafrost Theater Collective is a multidisciplinary collaboration of artists dedicated to creating bold new work and reimagining theater. Our storytelling is rooted in the ensemble and puts communication and empathy above all else.
About The Project
The Story behind The High Priestess:
On the eve of Claudia Holcomb's sixtieth birthday, her estranged daughter returns home, bringing with her sinister memories from the past. As the Holcomb family unearths these haunting truths, and new revelations threaten to tear apart an already fractured family, Claudia's mortality is thrown into sharp relief and she must begin to question her faith in the mysterious forces of the universe.
House of Blue Leaves Still ©2011 Joan Marcus 2010, Joan Marcus
Why The High Priestess?
The High Priestess is more than just a Zoom play. Family dramas require a sense of intimacy due to the interpersonal conflicts that occur between family members. Thus, this will be acted out among actors in the same space and live-streamed to our audience. This fusion of theater and film is here to stay post-pandemic, and Permafrost is ready to bring this to the next level by creating a hybrid site-specific theater piece that is accessible anywhere around the world and told through a continuous one-shot.
Where will you perform The High Priestess?
We’re so glad you asked! We will be performing at the artist retreat center, The Dragon’s Egg Studio, in Connecticut.
© The Dragon’s Egg Studio
©2017 Tim Martin/ The Day
This space has been a home for many theater companies to thrive and explore multiple mediums, as well as a space for healing through the arts. One of our central characters, Claudia Holcomb, is immersed in the spiritual world of tarot cards and energy healing, to the point she can’t even make a decision without asking The Universe. This space felt perfect for matching the energy of this play and will allow us to embrace so many facets of this show, along with safely isolating our cast and crew.
*Everyone on cast and crew will quarantine prior to arriving at The Dragon’s Egg and must present a negative Covid test.
How will you shoot this?
Similar to famous one-shot movies, such as Birdman and 1917, The High Priestess will immerse our audience into this heightened reality through a carefully choreographed Director of Photography moving alongside the actors in the playing space.
By shooting The High Priestess this way, we are able to make you, the audience, feel like you are in the Holcomb House, rather than being constricted to a rectangle on your screen. After all, a one-shot feels as close to the stage as one can through digital platforms, as we are able to see how fragile temporality is in our lives.
Additionally, we intend to have cameras placed in unique nook and crannies in the house, as these surveillance shots will capture the eerieness and reality of our story.
COVID 19/ Safety:
The arts were hit hard last year due to the pandemic, but PTC intends to rise from these unprecedented circumstances. We strive to create a piece of theater that keeps our work accessible and allows the actors to work off each other’s energies in a magical space, whilst being in a healthy and safe environment. By hiring Covid safety officers, we can ensure our project can be made without the fear of endangering others and bring the audience what they’ve been craving- that physical spark between two artists with no screen blocking their way.
By May 18th, we intend to raise $2000, which will go towards paying our actors, travel to The Dragon’s Egg Studio, housing in Connecticut, feeding our cast and crew, and renting film equipment to deliver the best experience for you as possible.
We believe that we can raise the funds to bring this hybrid site-specific theater to life in the best way possible. By reaching our goal, we will be able to rent camera equipment, pay our cast and crew, perform in the best location for our show, and raise funds for props and design.
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Thank you so much for the continued support. We are so grateful for your collaboration and contribution to all of our projects, as we break the ice between artist and audience through a new type of theater. Thank you!
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About This Team
Christina Rose Ashby
CHRISTINA ROSE ASHBY (she/her/hers) is an Alaskan theater artist living in Brooklyn. She is the founding artistic director of Permafrost Theatre Collective. Christina specializes in new work creation and the reimagining of classics. Christina conceived and directed PTC’s production of Are You Alice: A New Wonderland Tale, a classic reimagining that had several short runs in New York City and made its international debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August of 2019. Select past credits include “Lack of Milk,” “Lost Sock Laundromat Astoria Queens” and “Suspicion Obsession Paranoia Marriage,” all by frequent collaborator Ivan Faute; “Living With an Angel,” a semi-autobiographical clown fantasia by Catherine Restivo-Romito; “Life is a Dream: a New Vintage” by Calderon and adapted by Annie R. Such; and “A Bright Room Called Day” by Tony Kushner. Christina is also a teaching artist and has taught in Alaska, New York, and West Virginia. MFA in directing from the Actors Studio Drama School. www.christinaroseashby.com
Andrew Martini is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from New Jersey. Most recently, he was a semi-finalist in The Landing Theatre Company's 2021 New American Voices Playwriting Festival. His first full-length play "In the Name of the Father" was chosen for The Chain Theatre's 2020 Playwriting Lab. He was a member of The Orchard Project's inaugural Liveness Lab, an online-only lab that gathered artists across disciplines to discuss, among other things, the ways in which we can create theatrical, "live" work during these months in quarantine. He has taken playwriting workshops at The New Group and the Einhorn School of Performing Arts at Primary Stages. Andrew is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.
Thomas Burns Scully
THOMAS BURNS SCULLY (he/him/himself) is an actor, writer, and musician based in New York City. Acting credits include 'Broad City' (Comedy Central), 'Meshahnye' (Theatre for the New City), and 'Dark Play or Stories for Boys' (The Playing Company), . As a writer, he has authored such plays as 'Macbeth: A Comedy' (PTC), 'Frost Towers' (Live In Theatre), and 'Dorothy of Nowhere' (WB Yeats Playwriting Award, Origin Theatre's 1st Irish Festival Audience Favorite Award). As a musician, he has created the scores for 'Life is a Dream' (dir. Christina Ashby), 'A Girl Without Wings' (Dramatic Adventure Theatre), and 'Are You Alice: A New Wonderland Tale' (PTC). He is an improviser with On The Spot, Live In Theatre (Drama Desk Nominee), New York Improv Theatre, and has designed Escape Rooms for clients including Fortune 500 Company Anheuser-Busch (SXSW 2018) and Neil Patrick Harris.
Crystal-Marie Alberson (she/hers) an NYC-based theatre artist working primarily in ensemble theatre with many disciplines; Improvisation, Devising, Acting, Directing, Teaching. She received her B.A. in theatre from The University of Tennessee where she grew up on a first-generation farm which undoubtedly inspired her interest in crafting/producing new and unknown works.
Meade Morrison (he/him/himself) is an actor, rapper, and visual artist from College Park, Maryland. He recently graduated with a BFA from NYU Tisch Drama with a minor in film production. Meade is the designer behind Permafrost Theatre Collective. Each social media post and promotion is made by Meade in collaboration with the Permafrost team. All of Meade’s music is available on your favorite streaming service, but you can find all of Meade’s work on his website, www.meademorrison.com. Follow Meade on Instagram @moonbrisco for updates on future projects!
Kayla (she/hers) is an actor, activist, producer, and writer. Kayla holds a BFA from NYU Tisch Drama and is the founder of Artists in Action, a community service organization. Most recently, Kayla created, produced, co-directed, acted, and was the head writer for OneIronaut, with the Outer Loop Theater Experience. OneIronaut was a 24-hour immersive, international, interactive cyber-stage experience. Kayla led over 60 artists over the production period and is excited to be a part of The Permafrost Collective!
Mehrnaz is an Iranian American playwright raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work explores the relationship and cultural tension between her first-generation identity and femininity, sexuality, adolescence, and family. She also tries her best to be funny. She recently graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing program with a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Her work has been seen and developed by City Theatre (Signed, Sealed, Never Delivered; Threads), the Women’s Theater Festival (Threads), Permafrost Theater Collective (Dried Fruit), and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (Italian Stallion). Mehrnaz was a winner of the Young Playwrights Contest at City Theatre in 2016, and a member of the 2021 New Perspective Theatre Short Work Lab.
Kallan Dana is a writer and performer originally from Portland, Oregon. She is an alumna of the National Theater Institute and of Skidmore College, where she studied English and Theater. She has worked under Sarah Hughes, Julia May Jonas, Sue Kessler, and Sunita Prasad and she is the 2020 intern for The JAM at New Georges. Favorite past credits include Julia May Jonas’s We Used to Wear Bonnets & Get High All the Time (assistant director, Skidmore College), The Five Lesbian Brothers’ The Secretaries (directed by Zoe Lesser), and RashDash’s Two Man Show (directed by Erica Schnitzer). She has worked with Dixon Place, Permafrost Theatre Collective, and The Tank and written for the satire site, Broadway Beat. Her play, Playdate, was first developed in a commissioned workshop production (directed by Erica Schnitzer) at Dixon Place in September 2019. Her plays can be found on New Play Exchange.