Cast & Creative

An Interview With Rebecca Martinez

Willa & Mom
Q: What is it like to play Mom?
 R: The mother in this story is a lover of literature.  She uses it to teach her children about beauty, but she also uses books as an escape.  I feel that she spends quite a bit of time living in the stories that she reads, they are safe, controlled, the outcome clearly visible.  When tragedy strikes the family, books no longer offer this release and she is at a loss as to how to connect with her daughter
Q: Why should people come see this play?
R: It’s a challenging story, it can be difficult, but even when faced with unbelievable adversity, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Q: What is the play about?
R: Tragedy can strike at anytime, but we can’t live our lives waiting for the worst to happen.  Yet if it does, it is very hard to predict how we will react.  There are no rules.
Q: What has been rewarding about working on this play?
R: I am a lover of poetry and I have the privilege of speaking some incredibly evocative language.  I love to explore the power that language and literature has on the characters in this story.  It’s powerful for me to be able to get a glimpse at a loving mother who also feels like she may be failing her family.
Q: What is your favorite book?   Favorite play?
R: I love a good story.  One of my favorite things is to go to a bookstore and look at the sale paperbacks and buy one that sounds interesting and then go to a nearby Thai restaurant, order myself some tofu pad thai and have myself a little party.
Q: Shakespeare or Faulkner.  Choose one. 
R: I’ll put my money on Shakespeare.  Faulkner’s got a killer left hook, but Shakespeare goes to the body like nobody’s business.
Q: What role do you feel literature plays in our lives?  What were your favorite books as a kid?
R: I was a voracious reader as a child.  I remember a time in elementary school when we had a contest to see who could read the most books in our grade.  I was so far ahead of everyone that the teachers would only let me read books with more than 100 pages.
As a child I lived in a small town of 5,000 people in Nebraska and was influenced and fascinated by the area’s pioneer past.  My own family came out to Nebraska because of the Homestead Act.  I read all theLittle House on the Prairie books and all of Willa Cather’s books multiple times.  I also was fascinated by any big, broad historical novel such asThe Walking Drum by Louis L’amour.
Q: Describe one vivid memory at age 13
R: I remember standing in the kitchen with a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in my hand.   My father warned me that it would make me furious.  He was correct.
Q:What are you working on next?
R: Immediately after closing this show, I will be performing at The Culture Project’s Directors Weekend in a devised piece exploring American foreign policy directed by Shana Solomon and after that I will be performing in an amazing Finnish play entitled Broken Heart Storyproduced by Ingenue Theatre and directed by Tracy Cameron Francis in September and October.

Press Release


CONTACT: Derrick Olson / 646-481-9335


or what she will

A New Play by Charly E. Simpson

Directed by Illana Stein

Produced in partnership with

The New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC

A production of The Present Company

Sunday, August 12th @12:00pm

Wednesday, August 15th @ 3:00pm

Saturday, August 18th @ 7:00pm

Sunday, August 19th @ 9:15pm

Friday, August 24th @ 4:45pm

Here, Mainstage Theater

145 Sixth Ave, NY, NY 10013

Tickets $15 – $18. For Tickets visit

Running time: 90 minutes

Working Title Theatre Company is proud to present or what she will as part of the 16th annual New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC.

This is a tale of the perfect family and a moment in time that changes everything. It is a story of twins coming together and pulling apart and parallels the relationship of the twins in Twelfth Night. The play uses poetic gestures and stylized language to show how we succeed or fail at communicating with those we love. Twins Willa and Faulkner share everything including their parents’ love of literature. At age 13, they are old souls yet still believe in fantastical worlds.

Playwright, Charly E. Simpson describes the play as, “Poetic, haunting, and one that forces us to question our assumptions about those around us. People should come see this play because it won’t be over for them when they leave the theater. The characters, the questions, the story will stick with them.”

Ms. Simpson is a Philadelphia-based playwright who received her B.A. in Theatre Arts and Literary Arts from Brown University and has masters in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford, New College. In addition to her work in the arts, Ms. Simpson tutored at-risk youth in Massachusetts and was assistant director at a camp in Pennsylvania dedicated to working with children in need of emotional and/or autistic support. Her personal essay, In the Shadows, is included in the anthology, A Book of Meditations: Volume III. She is also the recipient of the 2008 Kim Ann Arstrak Memorial Award in Poetry as well as the 2008 Dorothy Stickney Theatre Arts Scholarship presented by the Zonta Club of New York.

The show features twins Willa and Faulkner played by Monica Jones and Alex Haynes. Ms. Jones is originally from Oklahoma City and has been based in NYC for the last 3 years as an actor and producer. She was recently featured as Emory in the short film The Other Girl that premiered in the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival.

Ms. Jones said, “I absolutely love playing young Willa. She has a vibrant imagination and thirst for knowledge that propels her through life. I really enjoy her innocence and her self- discovery. To capture the rhythm and poetry of the piece, you have to approach the text like a Shakespearean tragedy. This play is about a family whose dynamic changes in a moment and how they respond.” Other NYC credits for Ms. Jones include Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, Trebonius, Titinius, Marullus in Julius Caesar (Hudson Shakespeare Company), Prince Richard, Captain James Blunt in Richard III (Love Creek Productions) and Venita in Skylines.

Alex Haynes is a native New Yorker. Since returning to NYC, he has performed with Impetus Ensemble and Sanguine Theatre Company. Mr. Haynes has studied improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade and his improv group, Day Camp Kids, hosts a bi-monthly show at The People’s Improv Theatre called “Tug of War”.

Illana Stein directs the show. As a native Texan, Ms. Stein moved to NYC in November and was eager to get involved with FringeNYC. “I love that festivals really give artists a chance to push themselves out of their comfort zone. I first heard an excerpt of Charly’s script as part of a reading with NYC-based Sanguine Theatre Company, and knew it was perfect for Fringe. “With a minimal set completely made out of books, the script relies on Charly’s beautiful and complex language juxtaposed with the simplicity of story telling. This stylized world opened up my imagination, which is really a gift for a director. The world of literature becomes our playground. This play will take the audience on a full journey, never going where you expect it to.”

Other NYC directing credits for Ms. Stein include Ten Year Twilight by Crystal Skillman, Besties (Working Theater Directors Salon), and The Boat House (Staged Reading, Sanguine Theatre Company.) Before moving to NYC, Ms. Stein spent 3 years as Assistant to the Artistic Director at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company where she served as Assistant Director/Dramaturg on over 20 productions and assisted with casting. Regional work includes assistant directing credits at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Other directing credits include Emma, Home Free! (Oregon Shakespeare Festival Midnight Project), Two Rooms (Staged Reading, Amphibian Stage Productions), As You Like It, and The Woolgatherer.

Leo Arias as Dad, Rebecca Martinez as Mom, John Say as Man/Detective, and Dina Vovsi as Julie round out the cast. Members of the production team include Dramaturg Gina Pisasale, Lighting Designer Porsche McGovern, Composer of Original Music CS Luxem, Fight Choreographer Alexis Black, and Stage Manager Ashley Singh. General Management by Derrick Olson.

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