Awardee: Gabrielle Brechner

Performing Arts, 2013

Gabrielle Brechner is a native New Yorker who was literally raised in a theatre, where she spent the first 18 years of her life working every post in the Off-Off Broadway establishment. In 1998 Ms. Brechner graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance and a B.A. in English Literature. A sometimes dramaturg and former actress, she has studied at Circle in the Square Theatre, NYC and the Chautauqua Institution. As a producer, her credits span over 1500 live concert events, theatre and film, including concerts by artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Peter Frampton to Mos Def, the 2008 NYC run of Stitching at the Wild Project (Associate Producer) and the short film Taken to the Lowlands (Executive Producer). Gabrielle was a 2007-9 fellow in the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. Gabrielle has helped to create, produce and run the technical aspects for all of Wakka Wakka Productions’ past works and is the lead producer for the company.

Project: Made in China

A dark musical comedy featuring seven puppeteers, 30 puppets, masks and animated video, Made in China examines the complicated relationship between the U.S and China through the story of an eccentric middle-aged American woman and her unlikely relationship with her Chinese ex-pat neighbor. Inspired by the true event of a Chinese labor camp worker’s written “cry for help” that an American woman found in her Kmart Halloween decorations, Made in China will delve into questions of greed, capitalism, ethical manufacturing, secrecy, paranoia, and perceived or projected realities. Through the relationship that develops between the two main characters, the piece will confront our own complicity in today’s global network of supply and demand.

Collab: Wakka Wakka Productions

Wakka Wakka Productions, Inc. is an innovative, award-winning visual company led by Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock. The New York-based company has created and produced eight original works of theater, which have toured extensively through the U.S. and abroad. Wakka Wakka Productions have been artists in residence at the Princeton University Atelier, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center and Nordland Visual Theatre, and guest artists at The Eugene O’Neill Center for the Arts National Puppetry Conference. Warnock and Waage were nominated for a 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for Baby Universe: A Puppet Odyssey, and the company received a 2013 Drama Desk Special Citation for their play SAGA. Their new project, Made in China, will be workshopped at the National Puppetry Center in Atlanta, GA.