I Digress: The Intimate Insights of a Childhood Weirdo

I DIGRESS: THE INTIMATE INSIGHTS OF A CHILDHOOD WEIRDO is Arts at the Palace’s 2021 selection for its From Script to Stage program. Written and performed by Sauda Jackson, this piece is a performance memoir exploring the weight of inheritance and the recollection of memories and material things once lost to time.

Jackson weaves together personal tales from her childhood with the media and memorabilia that defined her past in this multimedia performance piece—part memoir, a sliver of music, a quarter bio-drama, and a dribble of her own special sauce.

Sifting through the weight and consequences of grief, Jackson takes us down a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age journey from a young girl in 1980s Chicago, through her adolescence and the death of her mother, to her own discovery of how absence, family narratives, and the legacy of history shape us—making us who we are and who we are not.

Jackson will develop this piece at the Palace Theater during the month of May. The community will be able to watch the inaugural episode on video post-production.

Besides Jackson, the project’s creative team will consist of April Sweeney, director; Yana Birÿkova, video and media design; Tatiana Stolpovskaya, cinematographer; Mike Weiss, original music; Bill Burd, scenic and lighting design; Ashley Thomas, dramaturgy; Scoops Dardaris, sound engineer; and Andy Frank, technical direction.

Sauda Jackson, Writer and Performer

Sauda Aziza Jackson, originally from Chicago, has been based in NYC since 1993. Over the last two decades she has worked with in many NY-based theatre companies including: Little Lord (Now is the Time); International Wow led by artistic director Josh Fox (Expense of SpiritLimitless Joy); and Sponsored by Nobody (The ArtsBehind the Bullseye).

Jackson studied theater at Eastern Illinois University, graduating with a B.A. in Theater Arts. She continued on to The Neighborhood Playhouse summer program (Ron Stetson Scene Study) and finally matriculated to the MFA program in acting at Brooklyn College.

April Sweeney, Director

April Sweeney is an actor and theater-maker who has performed internationally in theaters and festivals in Belgium, Hungary, Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica. Her U.S. performance projects have been seen at P.S 122, The Kitchen, Under the Radar, La Mama, Boom Arts, Montana Rep, Arkansas Rep, and various NYC downtown venues. As a director, her work has been seen in Argentina, Belgium, NYC, and Upstate New York. https://aprilsweeney.com

Mike Weiss, Music Director

Mike Weiss is a Queens-based singer, songwriter, and actor who has leant a variety of musical and theatrical skills for over 20 years throughout New York and Los Angeles. He has worked with companies and groups such as The Ohmies, Feed the Herd/Trilogy Theater, Random Folk, Eggmobile Co, Melody Lanes Studios, Ben Thomas, Simi Stone, Inkfish Arts, Colgate University Theater, and his original music with his band, Donksongs United. https://soundcloud.com/michael-weiss-20

Ashey M. Thomas, Dramaturg

Ashley M. ThomasAshley M. Thomas, she/her/hers, was born and raised in Harlem, New York. A writer, dramaturg, and doula—she is interested in exploring the intersections of culture, politics, and Beyoncé through a Black feminist lens. Ashley is a proud alumna of the First Wave Urban Arts Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work. She is currently an MFA candidate studying Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama.

Yana Biryükova, Video and Media Design

Yana Biryükova is a multimedia artist and designer from Moscow, Russia. Her theatrical designs include The Karamazovs (The Other Shore); Mlima’s Tale (Westport Country Playhouse); The White Devil (Red Bull Theater); Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson (The Working Theater); SELKIE (Dutch Kills); Grounded (Westport Country Playhouse); Promise Land (Yale University); Imogen Says Nothing (Yale Repertory Theatre); Scenes from Court Life (Yale Repertory Theatre); Square Root of Three Sisters (Dmitry Krymov Lab); Don Quixotte (Yale Opera); Women Beware Women (Yale School of Drama); Don Juan (Yale School of Drama); 1/13/14 (Studio Tisch); Transport (Irish Repertory Theatre). Her assistant credits include Cadillac Crew (Yale Repertory Theatre); Eddie & Dave (Atlantic Theater Company); Candide (Carnegie Hall); Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Broadway); Charlie and The Chocolate Factory US Tour; Crowns (McCarter Theatre Center); Elevada (Yale Repertory Theatre); Deepest Man (3-Legged-Dog). In addition to theatre design Yana has worked on art installations and performances featured at the Yale Art Gallery, Danspace Project, Harvestworks and others. She is a 2019 finalist of the Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer showcase for Opera America. The recipient of the 2020 Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Projection Design, Yana lectures and teaches workshops on projection design at Harvard University. MFA: Yale School of Drama https://yanabiryukova.com

Tatiana Stolpovskaya, Cinematographer

.Tatiana Stolpovskaya is a New York based cinematographer and experimental filmmaker. She explores different types of media, combining  analog filmmaking with digital media production and live streaming.

Her work explores themes related to immigration and LQBTQ+ rights. Born and raised in Moscow, Tatiana studied Cultural Studies at Russian State University for the Humanities and Cinematography at the Moscow Independent School of Film and TV.

Films she shot as DP have been screened worldwide including 53 Pesaro Film Festival in Italy; KINOTAVR and ArtDocFest in Russia; Ishinomaki International Film Festival, Japan; and Women Media Arts and Film Festival, Australia (winner Best Media Arts in 2017 for NYC FLOW). Tatiana received her MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College (City University of New York). stolpovskaya.com

Nick ‘Scoops’ Darais

Nick ‘Scoops’ Dardaris is a freelance audio engineer/producer based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by way of Albany, New York.  He has been fortunate enough to work on a wide variety of genres, from Jazz to Death Metal, and everything in between. When not in the studio, he can be found talking about being in the studio.

Arts at the Palace is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community arts organization dedicated to presenting, developing and expanding the reach of the arts within the Central New York region.  https://artsatthepalace.org

Arts at the Palace’s From Script to Stage program is currently made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.