struck_here_small-web80.jpgBy Tannis Kowalchuk, Brett Keyser, Kristen Kosmas, Allison Waters and Ker Wells

Directed by Ker Wells Performing December 5 - 21, 2013 New York. N.Y. - NACL proudly announces the New York premiere of STRUCK, its new performance about neurology, the workings of the mind, and one woman's walk on the razor's-edge between life and death.   STRUCK was co-created by NACL Artistic Director and actress Tannis Kowalchuk, who suffered a major stroke in 2011.  In collaboration with fellow NACL actor Brett Keyser, neuroscientist Allison Waters, New York playwright Kristen Kosmas and Canadian director Ker Wells, STRUCK was created as a response to that close brush with mortality.  Following an acclaimed world premiere production at Cleveland Public Theatre in March 2013, STRUCK will have its New York City premiere at HERE (145 6th Avenue, entrance on Dominick St. - one block south of Spring St.) beginning Thursday, December 5th.  Presented by NACL in association with Cleveland Public Theatre and Arnold and Roberta Krumholz, STRUCK will be presented December 5th - 21st.  The Press Opening is Sunday, December 8th.  Tickets, priced at $20.00, are available by calling HERE at 212-352-3101, or online at This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support. In 2011, NACL Artistic Director Tannis Kowalchuk had a major stroke. To augment her rehabilitation therapy, Kowalchuk devised her own theatre physical therapy in an attempt to regain her abilities and skills as a performer, musician, and stilt walker.  The exercise regimes that she practiced to re-find her "performer self" was what planted the seeds for STRUCK.  What emerged is an exploration of how the brain and body look for meaning, struggle to communicate, and recover and re-discover the sense of "self" following a stroke. Bridging the domains of art and science, STRUCK is a visual and poetic performance that incorporates video, a live and recorded musical score, and a custom-designed light installation based on the night-sky displays of the aurora borealis (or northern lights, a natural wonder common above Kowalchuk's childhood home in Winnipeg, Canada).  These man-made northern lights illuminate the journey of the protagonist, Catherine (played by Kowalchuk), while echoing the electrical impulses of her brain as she encounters a shape-shifting angel figure (played by Mr. Keyser) and a neurologist (played by Ms. Waters).  At times wrenching, often humorous, the play attends to Catherine's urgent questions "What happened to my brain? Am I a new me?" Through an intricately looped narrative crafted by Kowalchuk, Keyser, Kosmas, Wells, and Waters, the play takes audiences inside the stroke victim's brain as its protagonist searches for understanding and identity, while grappling with the basic struggle to exist. STRUCK stars Brett Keyser and Tannis Kowalchuk, and features neuroscientist Allison Waters (seen in video). STRUCK also includes the work of a multi-disciplinary roster of artists and engineers including:  costume designer Karen Flood, New York City lighting designer Stephen Arnold, digital artist Brian Caiazza, Canadian lighting engineer and inventor Jim Ruxton, filmmaker Tina Spangler, technical director Zoot (of Woodstock Stage and Screen), technicians Joe Murray and Ray Cornelison, and designers Pam Mayer and Hall Smyth.   NACL (North American Cultural Laboratory) is based in Highland Lake, NY, a rural community in the Upper Delaware Valley and southern Catskills.  Since 1997, the company has created original theatre performances that tour nationally.  The ensemble also operates a theatre venue, cultural center, and an active artists' residence.  The company's mission is to build a culture of creativity through the creation and presentation of innovative performing arts, socially relevant cultural events, and educational programs. The company is the recipient of a recent NEA Our Town grant, for its next project-a massive community arts and science project about weather and climate change entitled The Weather Project. STRUCK will be performed at HERE Thursday, December 5 - Saturday, December 21, 2013.  The performance schedule is Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 4:00 pm. Tickets, priced at $20, are available by calling HERE at 212-352-3101, or online at STRUCK is funded in part by the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project, by funding from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the generous donations of individuals and small businesses. For more information, visit Bios Tannis Kowalchuk (Co-creator, Performer) is co-founder, actress, and artistic director of NACL Theatre. Tannis has created and performed in over 18 original NACL productions. Tannis leads programming and the creative projects at NACL Theatre with her collaborators including the NACL Deep Space Performance Residency program for guest artists and ensembles, the presentation of innovative performances from across North America, and theatre education classes at both NACL and a local Montessori School. In 2008 she began raising a son and flowers at her family's organic farm near NACL Theatre. Home, a short documentary film about her life as a "perfarmer" was made in 2010. Current projects include struck, Shakespeare's Will by Vern Thiessen, and an all ages musical called The Little Farm Show. In 2013/4 Tannis and NACL will create a multi-disciplinary community arts and science project called The Weather Project. A graduate of The University of Winnipeg theatre department, Tannis was a core member of Primus Theatre, a prominent experimental theatre troupe based in Canada from 1990-97. Brett Keyser (Co-creator, Performer) is a North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL) company artist and administrator. NACL productions include: STRUCK (2013), The Little Farm Show (2010-13), Exilio: My Life as Bolaño (2010-11), Self-Portrait at County Fair (2009), and The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes (2006-08). He is Director of Nightjar Apothecary, creating and performing original science-themed spectacles including Darwinii: The Comeuppance of Man (2011-12), co-created with playwright Glen Berger.  Brett was a core collaborator with Cleveland-based Theatre Labyrinth and Wishhounds (1997-2002) working on several original productions including Blue Sky Transmission: A Tibetan Book of the Dead (2002), The Hidden Twin (2001), and The Sibyl (1998 - 2000).  He trained as a performer at Odin Teatret, Primus Theatre, and the San Francisco School of Circus Arts, and has a degree in Folklore and Folklife Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a 2010 recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts. Allison C. Waters (Co-creator, Neuroscientist, Performer) is a clinician and research scientist. She uses various tools of brain imaging to investigate neural processes associated with "the self" in healthy and clinical populations. She lectures on human brain evolution, including a forthcoming series titled, The Brain: An Autobiography. Waters arrived at her training in the neurosciences after an earlier career in the performing arts, including some years as an NACL company member. She later earned a BS (Neurobiology) from Stanford University and pursued doctoral training at the University of Oregon. She is also a staff scientist at Electrical Geodesics, Inc., developers of non-invasive neurodiagnostic technology. She continues to collaborate and consult on projects that merge the domains of performance art and neuroscience. Kristen Kosmas (Co-creator, Dramaturg) is an American playwright and performer. She has had new works commissioned by Performance Space 122 (NYC), The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf (NYC), Seattle University's SITE Specific, Dixon Place (NYC), and the New City Theater in Seattle. Her plays and solo performances have been presented in Seattle, Austin, Boston, Chicago, and in New York City at numerous venues including the Prelude festival, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, Little Theater, Barbès, the Ontological/Hysteric Downstairs Series, and the Poetry Project. Her play Hello Failure was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and her multi-voice performance text This From Cloudland appears in the latest issue of "PLAY A Journal of Plays." Other plays include There There, Chapter of Accidents, The Mayor of Baltimore, Anthem, H-O-R-S-E, and Palomino. Kristen is the writer/performer of four critically acclaimed solo shows, Blah Blah Fuckin Blah, Again, Slip, and The Scandal! As an actor, Kristen has appeared in many notable new plays including Potatoes of August by Sibyl Kempson, Mark Smith by Kate Ryan, ASTRS and Some Things Cease To Be While Others Still Are by Karinne Keithley, The Internationalist by Anne Washburn, Producers of Fiction by Jim Strahs, The Florida Project by Tory Vazquez, and Hurricane by Erin Cressida Wilson. Kosmas is a founding member of the OBIE Award winning performance series Little Theatre. She holds a BFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College and is a member of New Dramatists. Ker Wells (Co-creator, Director) was a founding member of Primus Theatre, and Number Eleven Theatre. With these ensembles he performed, taught, and directed across Canada and in the U.S and Europe. Original works as performer include the The Confessions of Punch and Judy, created with Tannis Kowalchuk and directed by Raymond Bobgan, and Living Tall, written by Mike Geither. His new solo performance, entitled Swimmer (68), premiered to critical acclaim in Toronto in June 2011.  As one of two candidates in a new MFA Directing program created by The Canadian Stage Company in partnership with York University, Wells directed two highly successful productions in Canadian Stage's 2013/14 season; Macbeth in Toronto's High Park, and Sarah Berthiaume's The Flood Thereafter in September, 2013. Wells has been a returning guest faculty member at the National Theatre School of Canada and the Humber College School of Performing Arts.  In January 2014, he takes up post as an assistant professor in the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. # # # Press Contact:  Bill Coyle / COYLE ENTERTAINMENT 917-279-6044 / For press photos: View a 2-minute trailer: STRUCK_Trailer