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Independent Study

A New Play by Ben Gassman
Directed by Ran Xia

INDEPENDENT STUDY traces the unlikely friendship of a first-generation college student and her former professor, each struggling privately with a brother's radical choice and the onslaught of the internet’s opinions. The play grapples with tribal allegiance and tribal violence and with digital hate and its repercussions in physical space. Simultaneously it explores the limits of teaching and the burning insistence of the best students to make classroom ideas manifest in the world.



Ben Gassman is a playwright from Queens. SAM’S TEA SHACK, a solo piece he co-wrote with the actor Sam Soghor (dir. Meghan Finn) was the inaugural production in The Tank NYC’s new 56-seat theater in Sept. 2017 and was reprised two months later at the Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles. Other recent productions include 40s & CHESTNUTS (dir. Tara Elliott) at Brooklyn College and GOOD CITIZENS IN PUBLIC SPACE (dir. Dev. Bondarin) at APAC and Museum of The Moving Image. Currently, Culinary Theater, a company Ben formed with director Brandon Woolf in 2017, is at work crafting the perfect neighborhood sandwich and deconstructing it as lunch-theater. There will be a work-in-progress showing at the Prelude Festival this October. Ben’s previous work has been produced at 3LD, the Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, Silent Barn, and 13th St. Rep and has been supported with residencies and grants from Yaddo, NYU Florence, Casa Zia Lina, the Yiddish Book Center, LMCC, and The Jewish Plays Project.


Ran Xia is an interdisciplinary theatre artist originally from Shanghai, China. Her works have been produced at IRT (Pomegrenade), HERE, Dixon Place, The Brick ([ai]), The Wild Project, etc, and of course, The Tank (previously Echo; Tao at Dark Fest 2018). A frequent collaborator of Exquisite Corpse Co. (audio/visual installation Echo at the Memory House, on Governors Island), a current Resident Director at The Flea, and a resident artist at Access Theater. Assistant Directing credits include: The Great Leap (by Lauren Yee, Dir. Taibi Magar at the Atlantic Theater), and Refrigerated Dreams by Carrie Mae Weems, Nona Hendryx, Francesca Harper, and Niegel Smith at Joe's Pub. A contributing writer at Theatre Is Easy and Exuent. |

Produced by Elisabeth Ng
Production Design by An-Lin Dauber
Lighting Design by Elizabeth M. Stewart
Sound Design by Ran Xia
Stage Manager Gabrielle Giacomo

Andrea Negrete
Kelly Bartnik
Sean Hinckle
Alphonso Walker Jr.
Yair Ben-Dor
Finn Kilgore
Sharlee J Taylor
Gareth Tidball

Special thanks to the Dramatists Guild Foundation and Materials for the Arts.

Earlier Event: June 4
Polar Bear Plunge: Midnight Snack