Thin Walls and other plays
THIN WALLS: One building. A city in upheaval. A solo play about twelve lives colliding. Set in a century-old New York City residential hotel, once elegant and now run-down, the darkly humorous and deeply moving play interweaves the stories of the building’s long-term residents, its recent arrivals, and its ghosts, as the end of the 20th Century approaches.
In a tour-de-force performance, writer and performer Alice Eve Cohen portrays a dozen disparate characters, including a fifty-year-old drug dealer and his haunted wife, a beautician from Trinidad, a Polish handy-man, a one-time hippy turned banker and his teenaged son, and a young Israeli cellist.
As seen through the eyes of a young woman who has just moved in, the play zeroes in on twelve eclectic neighbors over a ten-year period, as their lives collide in comic, tragic and violent ways. The intimate play draws the audience inside the thin walls of the building to reveal the explosive relationships that are forced when people of such different stripes live together under one roof.
"The play is a haunting, thrilling act of witness. Cohen has a mastery of inflection, cadence and physicality, with an eye for searing detail that rivals that of Anna Deveare Smith, plus a nose for offbeat humor that would delight Lily Tomlin. ....The play shimmers in memory like a hot New York City summer night." - Ithaca Times
"She so thoroughly, yet quietly, becomes each person that not only her stance shifts but her face itself transforms. It's an understated, fascinating performance that brings you quite close to these challenged lives you might otherwise never encounter... This straightforward handling of her material is what makes both Cohen's narrative and performance so compelling." - Ithaca Journal
"One feels, even in the darkest characters, Cohen’s determination to pay homage to what is most human in them. It is, furthermore, a testament to Cohen’s subtle writing that, at its darkest, the play still feels buoyant, and at its lightest, the play still offers weighty fodder for the thoughtful audience member." - Tompkins Weekly
"Thin Walls has twelve characters but a cast of only one. Fortunately, that one is not just an excellent playwright but also a brilliant actor... A real play with multiple plot lines and a dozen fascinating characters... she slips from one character into another with absolutely clear transitions that border on the magical."
"A mesmeric solo performance... she has brilliantly transformed the story of her life in the Upper West Side building into a play, in which she plays a dozen characters in over 41 scenes."
--The Scotsman, Edinburgh
"As the play progresses, she allows the relationships and conflicts to gradually emerge... Cohen translates herself from one character to another with ease."
--The Village Voice
"In this remarkable one-woman tour de force written and performed by Alice Eve Cohen... chance encounters in half-lit hallways and in the lobby add layer after layer to a chiaroscuro of intersecting connections that emerge from the shadows, flicker briefly, then just as quickly melt away to be replaced by another."
Hannah and the Hollow Challah
Solo Theatre Works include:
What I Thought I Knew (in-progress)
Jessica on the Ceiling
The Balinese Frog Prince
Book of Truth, Book of Lies
Goliath on 74th Street vs. the Woman Who Loved Vegetables
The Play that Knows What You Want
Her solo shows and plays include: What I Thought I Knew, Thin Walls, Oklahoma Samovar, Hannah and the Hollow Challah, Philomela’s Tapestry, Without Heroes, Jessica’s Cervix, The Play that Knows What You Want, The Parrot, The Balinese Frog Prince, Book of Truth, Book of Lies, Goliath on 74th Street vs. the Woman Who Loved Vegetables, The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter, The Animator.
Her works have been presented by many venues, including Dance Theatre Workshop, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop’s “Just Add Water” and “O Solo Mio” Festivals, The New Georges, The Kitchen Theatre, HERE Arts Center, 78th Street Theatre Lab, The Women’s Project & Productions, Theatre for the New City, La Mama, Franklin Furnace, Bayview Women’s Prison, Albuquerque’s KiMo Theatre, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Hudson Opera House, Manhattan Punch Line, Proctors Theatre, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Syracuse Civic Center, Artscape, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, LA Women’s Theatre Festival, Barnard College, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, University of Michigan, University of Baltimore, Fordham, Purchase College, Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre, Annenberg Center, Rochester Museum, American Museum of Natural History. (International) Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Galway Theatre Festival, Jerusalem’s Theatre Bama, Trinidad’s Astor Theatre, and Oslo Theatre Festival, among others.
Awards, grants and playwriting fellowships from:
National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Fellowship from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Selected Artist - Voice & Vision's Envision Retreat, Dance Theatre Workshop First Night Award, Poets and Writers Awards, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honorable mention.