a new developmental series at The Commons Cafe

388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
(between Hoyt & Bond)

Monday, September 9th, 7:30 pm


ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS. Photo by Lia Chang

By Kevin R. Free
Directed by Zhailon Levingston
Performed by TONY-winner André De Shields (Hadestown)

BALBOA IS NOT DROWNING is the story of 97 year old Balboa, dying of pulmonary edema, who shares his final moments with his sometime lover, Joe. Performed by Tony winning actor André de Shields and based loosely on August Wilson’s “The Greatest Blues Singer in the World,” Balboa tells his story backwards, from the 1990s to the 1900s, with references to events in Wilson’s Century Cycle.

$17.50 in advance
$20.00 at the door and
$15.00 for seniors and students with student IDs
One drink minimum per person
Doors open at 6:30 pm, food available for purchase.

Next Up

Em Weinstein

October 7thEm Weinstein’s Soldier Girls Using real letters and a collage of history and music, Soldier Girls examines the untold story of the queer female soldiers of the U.S. Army’s newly formed Women’s Army Corps in World War II.

Nadine Malouf

In the Hudson Valley:
October 10th – A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction
an evening of interactive, interspecies storytelling
by Miranda Rose Hall
featuring Nadine Malouf
Developed by LubDub Theatre Company, this new work-in-progress asks–through story, song, and movement–how to be a human in an era of man-made extinction.

November 18th – Annabelle Gurwitch’s If You Lived With Me You’d be Home by Now


Previous UNCOMMON VOICES Evenings


written and performed by Amy Brenneman
directed by Sabrina Peck
music by David Van Tieghem
Actors: Kellie Overbey, Cate Woodruff
Dancers: Jennifer Chin, Erin Gottwald, Sherri Hellman
Production Assistant: Luana DeBorst

Amy Brenneman

Threshold brings us into the home and heart of Amy Brenneman with the discovery of her daughter’s disability. We are fellow travelers on her journey as she grapples with what disability means and doesn’t mean, the rich, fertile world of those who experience life differently and the gifts that this perspective can offer all of us.
Created and first performed at The Yard, an artist residency and performance center dedicated to contemporary dance and related arts, as part of the 2019 Off-Shore Creation Residency.


Pascale Armand

written and performed by Pascale Armand (Tony nominee, Eclipsed)
directed by Patrice Johnson Chevannes

A rebuttal to Donald Trump’s comment about allowing “people from shithole countries” entrance to the United States and a chronicle of the playwright’s family’s journey to American citizenship.

Music Lessons (6/10/2019)

written and performed by Ed Napier
directed by Anne Hamburger
Peter Muir, Pianist
Laura Goldberg, Violinist
Kristen Norwark, Soprano

Music Lessons tells the story of Ed Napier’s journey from the backwoods of West Virginia to the halls of Columbia, HB Studio and Juilliard in New York in pursuit of becoming a playwright and opera singer. Through story and song, we come to learn and love his opera and playwriting teachers, larger than life as mentors and idiosyncratic as hell.

Rage Play (5/6/2019)

by Nandita Shenoy
directed by Lori Elizabeth Parquet
commissioned & produced by Flux Theatre Ensemble

In Rage Play, three women find themselves standing over the man they’ve killed. Yet in their own theatrical version of Russian Doll, he keeps coming back. Again and again and again. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, Nandita Shenoy’s outrageous black comedy explores the cost women face in fighting back against misogyny and patriarchy, and how they might be complicit in these systems. Through their purgatory, the women aim for liberation…and maybe even a little sweet revenge.

Tar Sands Songbook (4/1/2019)

written, composed & performed by Tanya Kalmanovitch
dramaturgy & direction by Katie Pearl
with Andrew Boudreau on piano

Tanya on the road

My name is Tanya Kalmanovitch. I am a violist, a fiddle player, and a writer. Tar Sands Songbook is a performed reckoning with my hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada — an oil boom-town located in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world.

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction (3/4/2019)

by Miranda Rose Hall
featuring Nadine Malouf

an evening of interactive, interspecies storytelling

Developed by LubDub Theatre Company, this new work-in-progress asks–through story, song, and movement–how to be a human in an era of man-made extinction. 

Miranda Rose Hall
Nadine Malouf

Truth and Reconciliation of Womyn (2/4/2019)

An Evening of Ten-Minute Plays
Curated by Tonya Pinkins

with stories by Glory Kadigan, Tonya Pinkins, Kristine M. Reyes, Carmen Rivera, Lucy Thurber
& stories and songs by Angela Sclafani & Julie Brown
Moments in history you may not have known.
New ways of seeing the world and each other.

Jane Summerhays, Tonya Pinkins, Ako Dachs, Akiko Hiroshima and Julie Brown

Down the Rabbit Hole
by Liza Jessie Peterson (1/7/2019)

This extraordinary writer, activist and performer tells stories from her experiences teaching teens at Riker’s Island.