Hold Me Tight
A devisded theatre-dance performance
Inspired by the Papin Sisters
Developed in part as an Artist-in-Residence at Schkapf
October 20-22, 2014
Arena Theatre, California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032
The Papin Sisters: A Brief History
Hold Me Tight is inspired by the true-crime story Christine and Lea Papin, sisters, maids and supposedly lovers. On the evening of February 2nd, 1933, the two massacred their employer, Madame Lancelin, and her daughter, Genevieve, gouging out their eyes, smashing their skulls, and beating the two women to an unrecognizable pulp.
When asked afterwards why they did it, the sisters were silent, insisting only that they did it together. During their incarceration, Christine, the older sister, is reported to have said: "I believe that in another life I was my sisters husband." This quote, and the sisters obvious deep bond to each other, led many to speculate an incestuous affair between them.
About our Production
This original devised theatre-dance production is the thesis project of Naomi Bennett, MFA candidate in Television, Film and Theatre at California State University, Los Angeles. As an ensemble, we have worked for the past nine months using dance, spoken word, soundscaping, and integrated media to explore the supposed incestuous relationship of the sisters, their ostracization, isolation, and how we as performers can relate to their Delire a Deux. Our explorations have unearthed issues of class, gender, sexuality, and the basic human need for physical touch.
Performed by: Andrew Diego, Andy Her, Hayley Hirsch, and Jessica Miller
Pianist: Tintin Nguyen
Directed by Naomi Bennett
Dramaturg Hanna Schultheis-Gerry
Stage Managed by Nadine Bedrossian
Sound Design by Crystal Gonzalez
Projection Design by Heather Fipps
Lighting Design by Heather Oliver

"Hold Me Tight is an hourlong plunge into the depths where true terror hides - inside our souls."

--Mark Hein, Theatre Ghost

"I've seen Naomi's past work, and admire her imagination, story-telling and ensemble work. As an added bonus, all the ticket sales go directly to her actors and team, some of whom have been workingon this show since January."

--Cindy Marie Jenkins, Storyteller/Outreach Nerd

"Naomi Bennett, an ambitious MFA candidate, launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with the sole purpose of paying her cast and crew for their work on her MFA thesis production: Hold Me Tight."

--noteswithoutapen, CrowdfundingPR

"I don't usually go beyond a share or donation, [but] there's something different about Naomi Bennett's indiegogo campaign."

--Cindy Marie Jenkins, Bitter Lemons

by Arthur Kopit
at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
June 21, 28, & 30, 2013
Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Reality, time, and space shatter in the moment of Emily’s stroke. Seen through her eyes, time can no longer be taken as a linear event. Slowly, Emily pieces her consciousness back together, fitting the pieces into a type of reality. Through dance-theatre, visual imagery, and an integrated soundscape, this production of Arthur Kopit's Wings brings the audience into Emily's world, from her point of view, at the moment of her stroke.
Wings was created through a collaborative effort with director/choreographer Naomi Bennett and the cast. Featuring: Rocky Lane as Emily Stilson, along with ensemble cast members: Nadine Bedrossian, Charles Dent, Andy Her, Diana Pascau, and Vocalist Ana Avila.
Directed by Naomi Bennett
Scenic designer Heather Fipps
Lighting designer Jessica Morataya
Projection designer Erik Boccio
Sound designer Rishad R. Rai (assisted by Crystal A. Gonzalez)
Vocal coaching by Kayla Burchatz
Dramaturg: Greg Langner
Assistant Director: Aspen Ford
Stage Manager: Ritchie Macias

Tearing the World Apart
at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
June 17 - June 24, 2012
Complex Theatres, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles
A visceral journey of desire and despair, brought to a breaking point and implosion of our world as we know it. What happens when we are pushed to the edge and all we can do is scream or fall apart? With the current state of the global community, political climate, and the formation the Occupy Movement, what would happen if we as a community were (really) pushed over the edge, to the point of no return? What would it take to effect real change, even if that meant the destruction of our world as we know it.
A multi-media theatre-dance performance combining physical theater, live action painting, original music, poetry and spoken word, Tearing the World Apart invites the audience to come along to the brink of destruction, and the birth of a new beginning.
Director: Naomi Bennett
Playwright: Barbara Ishida
Production Designer: Heather Fipps
Original Music Composed byr: Clinton Degan and Gao Ya
Performance Poetry by: Sarah Pearlstein
Choreography by: Rocio Ponce  
Created collaboratively with the performers:
Carrie Newell, Alejandro Antonio Ruiz, and Catherine Weiss,
Additional creative development with Mercedes Manning.
Toilet Bowl Love & Friends Variety Extravaganza!!!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Cantab Lounge
Cambridge, Central Square
Featuring Toilet Bowl Love (solo clown-toilet performance by Naomi Bennett)
Hosted by Marc Zegans
Burlesque performances by - Rose Noir & Kristen Minsky (TropiGals); Stella Swingline (The Femme Show, TraniWreck)
Storytelling by Brendyn Schneider
Musical performances by SHADWELL; and Degan (A Bit Much)
Bathroom Photography Exhibit by Emily Falcigno
Handmade Jewelery for sale by Bri Crofton
For one night only, Naomi Bennett brings together a multitude of talented and oddball performers to celebrate her last performance in Cambridge - before moving to the west coast. Featuring the final performance of Toilet Bowl Love. Formerly Nomi Sparks (of TraniWreck) and a founding member of the Grindhouse Marionettes (Boston's own human marionette troupe), Naomi Bennett brings her absurd sense of humor to life in Toilet Bowl Love. Miss Bennett explores the fantasies, mishaps, and downright strangeness that - apparently - happen to all of us, in the bathroom! Toilet Bowl Love, was called "absolutely mesmerizing," and audiences were nothing short of screaming with laughter when the shorter version was seen at the 2010 New England Fringe Festival, so don't miss the last Cambridge performance of this full-length (clean) toilet-based comedy!
Hosted by poet and ringmaster Marc Zegans, this night of neo-vaudevillian madness will feature burlesque performances by Rose Noir & Kristen Minsky (of the TropiGals), conquering the hearts of New England with high kicks, back flips, and vocals to boot; and by Stella Swingline, burlesque performer extraordinaire with The Femme Show and TraniWreck.
With storytelling by Brendyn Schneider - Writer. Storyteller. Somnambulist - whose stories have been featured at ImprovBoston, the Lizard Lounge, the Cyclorama and other venues around New England.
Solo musical performaner to open the evening will be SHADWELL, whose band (of the same name) was winner of Boston Music Spotlight's 2009 Battle of the Bands and selected as one of their "Top 10 Local Bands to Watch in 2010." Later in the evening, A Bit Much bandleader and frequent co-conspirator with Miss Bennett, Degan, will grace the stage with his solo musical performance. Degan "pens the songs that we would all pen if we weren't so easily embarrassed - distracted, overwrought, and so dishonest that honesty emerges in spite of itself."
Seeing things differently, Emily Falcigno tops off the evening with a photography exhibit exploring different points of view, specifically a study of bathrooms from around the world!
Independant Drama Society
Directed by Lindsay Eagle
Choreographed by Naomi Bennett
Boston Center for the Arts, The Plaza Black Box Theatre
April 22-30, 2011
Toilet Bowl Love
Created and performed by Naomi Bennett
With artistic support from Jennifer Hicks, Alisia L. L. Waller, and Bronwyn Sims
Atlantis Playmakers
Burlington, MA
Friday & Saturday, April 1 & 2, 2011
New England Fringe Festival
Atlantis Playmakers
Burlington, MA.
October 8, 2010
Boston, MA.
January 21 & 22, 2011
Work in Progress showings
The Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
November 22, 2010
Concieved and directed by Naomi Bennett.
Featuring Li Feng, Jason Jedrusiak, Marlena Merrin, Shawn Paulling, & Brent Walton.
Music by Clinton Degan.
Performance poetry by Sarah Pearlstein.
Inspired by Mark Ravenhill's play pool (no water), N. Bennett explores themes of jealously, resentment, and emotional absence. An original performance drawn from the experiences of the cast and creative team, pool explores the dark feelings that linger at the edges of our thoughts - that we do not talk about - when we hate what we should love, feel resentment to what we should feel joy, or feel detached from what is most important.
Created collaboratively with the ensemble, with original music by Clinton Degan (of A Bit Much), and performance poetry by Sarah Pearlstein, Bennett combines theatrical forms of Interplay, Contact Improvisation, Butoh-inspired movement, original text, and video to move the audience through an abstract story of group mentality versus the individual expression and the dark (yet secretly exciting) world of resentment, jealousy, and emotional absence.
Shared Choreographers' Concert
Co-choreographed and performed with Alisia L. L. Waller of And So No Sin Performance Troupe
The Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA. October 15 & 16, 2010
Searching for Molly Pye...
Green Street Studios, Cambridge, MA
June 11 & 12, 2010
Concieved and directed by Naomi Bennett.
Starring Alma Baumwoll, Nina Shayer, Jim Banta, Laurel Picard, & Naomi Bennett.
Spoken Word written and performed by Giuliana Funkhauser and Sarah Pearlstein.
Work in Progress showings
FEED FUND. April 24, 2010, Redtail Collective, Boston, MA. Dancers: Alma Baumwaol, Nina Shrayer, Jim Banta, Laurel Picard, and Naomi Bennett. Spoken Word: Giuliana Funkhauser, Sarah Pearlstein. MC: Alisia L. L. Waller. Special Thanks: Brent Walton, Irina Peligrad, Kuma Lisa & The Redtail Collective
Mobius Works in Progress. January 30, 2010. Boston, MA. Dancers: Alma Baumwell, Jason Jedrusiak, Jim Banta, Nate Stoddard, and Naomi Bennett. Spoken Word: Giuliana Funkhauser, Sarah Pearlstein. Special Thanks: Brent Walton & Steve Head
EFFECTUS. December 12, 2009. Boston, MA. Solo dance by Naomi Bennett. Special Thanks: Emily Black & Jason Jedrusiak
Though childhood memories are often clouded and fantastical, N. Bennett searches back to learn more about of her mother, lost to cancer when she was four years old. Miss Bennett uses dance, film, music, spoken word, and often unstable paper structures to express her journey through this performance, and to explore the greater theme of grief, loss, and moving on.
The audience is invited to step outside themselves, to experience an abstract view of a body riddled with cancer, visualized and physicalized through video, dance, and spoken word. As this first section dies, the search through childhood memories begins. A faint sound of prayer. A ritual that sustains hope. The music progresses. Layered with video and words. Movement becomes more frantic. Everything, eventually, torn down. Paper piece of memories across the stage. Memories. Images. In the end we all find ways to move on. To cope. To live and forget. Or remember.
Eye Spy
A dance inspired by gravity, that grew into so much more...
Created, choreographed, and performed by Alma Baumwoll & Naomi Bennett
Movment Research Lab, Open Performanc Series, DTW Studio, New York, NY
May 19, 2010
Beatnik Cafe
A Beatnik Revue: Musical Revue of the Jazz Beat Generation
by Namaya the jazz poet
Directed by Naomi Bennett
Richmond Shepard Theater, New York, NY
April 11, 2010
Rutland Herald, "Beatnik Cafe - Is one hip, high-caliber theatrical event."
Take a trip back in time to visit the Beatnik scene of cool jazz music, Jack Kerouac, and poetry of the 40s to the 60s live at the Richmond Shepard Theater located at 309 E 26th Street at 2nd Avenue NY, NY.
Beatnik Cafe will star living legends of the Beat Generation: Sheila Jordan the jazz legend and friend of Charlie Parker, Lillie Bryant Howard jazz & blues singer with Swan Records, and Richmond Shepard appearing as Lord Buckley.
Beatnik Cafe is a high-energy musical revue which features the music of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Cannonball Adderley, and other prominent musicians from the mid l940's through the early sixties. It is a journey through the Bebop to the Beatnik era; songs including Twisted, Yip Rock, and the scathing social commentary of Nina Simone's Mississippi Goddamn. If you liked Smokey Joe's Cafe, you will love this!
Kulandia: The Remains of the Planet
Written by T. Namaya
Directed by Naomi Bennett
Hooker Dunham Theater, Brattleboro, VT
August 15, 2009
as part of the
24 hour Play Festival
hosted by Strong Strong Coffee Stage, in collaboration with the Arts Council of Windham County, and Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery.

with Alisia Waller and And So No Sin Performance Troupe
Boston University Dance Theater, Boston, MA
November 13 & 14, 2009
the first part of three part series for The Wedlock Project
Space 242, Boston, MA
September 25, 2009
Performance: Romeos
Living in a hetero-centric world, intimacy between two men is confined to the realms of confrontation and competition. There is solitude-grasping each other's hands, the tension is visible. The gaze is leveled, strength tested, the desire is first to overcome. Somewhere within, another struggle exists. An alienated self, seeking to expose the desire for love. Engagement begins with struggle.

Dancing the Beast
Choreography by Alisia L.L. Waller
And So No Sin Performance Troupe
Mobius, Boston, MA
December 4-6, 2009