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Miami Theatre alums in NYC

"Groundwork" and "Nothing" featured works at the United Solo Theatre Festival

Miami solo artists

pictured above left to right: Mike Ostrowski, Derek Davidson, Erin Mizer, Carly Mungovan, Jon Kovach

Miami alumni have taken their talents, expertise, and knowledge around the globe. A few have taken a bite out of the Big Apple, performing, directing, designing and writing for the world’s largest solo theatre festival, United Solo.

The United Solo theatre festival takes place on New York’s famous 42nd street, this year marking its fifth season. Running September 18–November 23, 2014, the festival featured over 130 productions from six continents. Productions were categorized as drama, comedy, stand-up, and many more. The solo performances included two pieces that featured Miami alumni, entitled Groundwork and Nothing.

Groundwork

In the dramatic comedy, Groundwork, "Grow a Garden" Mike Ostroski (’98), takes on the role Paul O’Malley. Ostroski collaborated with fellow alum, Derek Davidson ('96) to write and produce this new work. The play focuses on the build-up of O’Malley’s radical and spontaneous idea to save the planet one seedling at a time by planting tomatoes. However, he runs into an even more challenging battle in trying to save himself. “The character's problem is the world's problem; the more people see it the more they (may) see the connection between personal unsustainable habits and global ones. Change is hard but necessary. And we can do it, we aren't dinosaurs,” says Davidson.

This project connected several generations of alumni and current students in a creative venture. In addition to Ostroski and Davison, the production was enhanced by the lighting design of Erin Mizer ('14) recent graduate of Miami's theatre undergraduate program. “My time at Miami prepared me to be quick on my feet, work well under pressure, and taught me the importance of being well-rounded,” said Mizer. Stage management was headed up by current senior theatre major, Carly Mungovan. The performance’s next stop is the Whitefire Solofest in Sherman Oaks, California this February.

Nothing

Miami alum Jon Kovach (’11) worked to adapt and perform the multimedia production, Nothing by Nic Balthazar. The story follows a young wordsmith/technology enthusiast with austism as he shares his story of meeting “Barbie” in a divine online connection, standing up to high school bullies and finding ways to fit into a “normal” world, through the use of poetry, music and video. Kovach received an award for “Best Experimental Show” by United Solo for the production.

Nothing is my baby. The poetry of the production is indescribably beautiful, the character is a unique ball of light, and the story is truly touching,” says Kovach.

AwardIn April 2011, Kovach co-founded Unity Productions in Cincinnati, Ohio with a mission to make a positive change through the arts, education and community service. Nothing was originally conceived and produced by Kovach in 2011 and has been performed in high schools throughout the tristate (OH/KY/IN), at nationally credited universities and other theatre festivals in the region.

To learn more about the United Solo Festival, visit unitedsolo.org/.