The Offending Gesture

By Mac Wellman, At The Connelly Theater

About the Show

World Premiere
January 5-23
At The Connelly Theater
220 East 4th Street

The Offending Gesture is a humorous and poetic indictment of American foreign policy in Iraq, told through the true story of Hitler and his dog, Blondi. Wellman takes as his subject a political incident that occurred in 1941 just before Germany invaded the Soviet Union, when Tor Borg, a Finnish businessman infamously taught his own dog Jackie to do the Nazi Party Salute in response to the command, "Heil Hitler."

For our performance calendar, click HERE!

January 5 is a special preview with a 2-for-1 discount option! $18 gets you two tickets: one for you and one for your best friend - human or dog! Treat your pup to a night out. Seriously, dogs are welcome!

January 17 will be ASL interpreted.

By Mac Wellman
Directed by Meghan Finn
Music by Alaina Ferris

Featuring: Catherine Brookman, Starr Busby, Alaina Ferris, Julia Sirna Frest, Layla Khoshnoudi, Kristine Haruna Lee, Lacy Rose, Abby Rosebrock

Drums: Sarah Bennett
Set Designers: Christopher and Justin Swader
Lighting Designer: Brian Aldous
Costume Designer: Emily Blumenauer
Sound Designer: Eric Sluyter
Choreographer: Laura Diffenderfer
Stage Manager: Katherine Shelton
Production Manager: Liz Nielsen
Assistant Director: Ilana Khanin
Assistant Lighting Designer: Betsy Chester
Assistant Costume Designer: Jeannipher Pacheco
Assistant Stage Manager: Gene Lee
Music Assistant: Sam Kaseta
Master Electrician: Artem Kreimer
Sound Mixer: Woodrow Woytivich

Produced by The Tank
In Association with 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center

Part of Flint & Tinder, our flagship theater series showcasing new works of physical or devised theater.


New York Times Critics' Pick! "Hitler, here called Noble Wolf (which is what “Adolf” means), is played hilariously by Layla Khoshnoudi with a combination of stridency and idiocy that would fit a lot of world leaders, then and now."
- The New York Times

Critics' Pick! "Seasoned Wellman watchers will luxuriate in the coded language games and philosophical puzzles in Meghan Finn’s very funny and well-acted production; newcomers should be dazzled. Either way, we salute this shaggy dog tale."
- David Cote for TimeOut NY

Critics' Pick! "With a seductive score by Alaina Ferris, the moon cats sing and dance throughout the show—often playing instruments too—like a sexy Greek chorus hell bent on mysterious entertainment… Director Meghan Finn manages the tone perfectly, with a theatrical flair…"
- Theater is Easy

"Mischievous fun from start to finish..."
- The New Yorker

"The set design – by Christopher and Justin Swader – is magisterial, complete with a massive Nazi banner on which eerie shadows are projected. Alaina Ferris’s musical composition befits the subject material perfectly, alternating seamlessly between playful and haunting... Layla Khoshnoudi is at the center of the eclectic cast as Noble Wolf (a translation of “Adolf”); she is surprising in every scene. She’s almost always acting funny, but she manages to introduce some new manner of funniness whenever she appears."
- Stage Buddy

"The Offending Gesture is setting the pace as one of the best productions of 2016. And it’s only the second week of the year. Wellman manages to take a dark time of world history and find light, all while managing to be poignant. To paint a picture of what this production is, imagine a twisted Tim Burton-Disney collaboration about World War II. The dialogue is snappy. The story is touching. The characters are relevant. All in all, The Offending Gesture is a remarkable feat of artistry and ingenuity. It’s political satire at its finest. It’s one of those pieces that you have to see to capture the full experience."
- Theater in the Now

"And as I sat in a general state of wonder as I watched Mr. Wellman’s most recent offering, The Offending Gesture, playing in a co-production between the Tank and 3-Legged-Dog (apt!) at the Connelly Theater through January 23rd, I spent a good deal of my own energy trying to determine what exactly it was that made this play – which is a strange play – work so well."
- Culturebot

Spotlight on Kristine Haruna Lee from Theater In the Now: HERE!

Spotlight on Abby Rosebrock from Theater In the Now: HERE!

Spotlight on Layla Khoshnoudi from Theater In the Now: HERE!

Also check out The Offending Gesture in the Brooklyn Rail!

About the Artists

Mac Wellman's (Playwright) recent work includes Muazzez at The Chocolate Factory produced by PS122 in January 2014, 3 2's; or AFAR at Dixon Place in October 2011, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (with composer David Lang) at Montclair in the fall of 2006 (and elsewhere more recently), and 1965 UU for performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory in the fall of 2008. He has received numerous honors, including NEA, Guggenheim, and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowships. In 2003 he received his third Obie, for lifetime Achievement.

In 2006 his third novel, Q's Q, was published by Green Integer, and in 2008 a volume of stories, A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds, was published by Trip Street Press as well as a new collection of plays The Difficulty of Crossing a Field from Minnesota Press. His books of poetry include Miniature (2002), Strange Elegies (2006), Split the Stick (2012) from Roof Books, and Left Glove (2011), from Solid Objects Press. His novel Linda Perdido won the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction. He is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College.

Meghan Finn (Director) is the Producing and Associate Artistic Director at 3LD. Most recently she directed a tour of American Power performed by photographer Mitch Epstein and Composer/Cellist Erik Friedlander at the V&A in London and The Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio. She is currently preparing to direct the World Premiere of Mac Wellman's The Offending Gesture at The Connelly Theater coproduced by The Tank and 3LD. She is the associate director of the New York Premiere of Futurity at Soho Rep. Recent work includes Gary Winter's DAREDEVIL at The Brick, following two celebrated world premieres of The Downtown Loop by Ben Gassman (3LD/3D+ Productions/Teeth of Tooth Atelier) and Take Me Home by Alexandra Collier set in a taxi cab (Incubator Arts Project/LPR). Other recent credits include: The Service Road by Erin Courtney (Adhesive Theater Project/NYTIMES Critics' Pick), Motel Cherry by Peggy Stafford (Summerworks Clubbed Thumb/New Georges HERE Arts Center Huffington Post Top 10 of 2012) and 3 2's; or AFAR by Mac Wellman (Dixon Place), Relative Value by Jesse Longman (3LD), Saturn Nights by Jess Barbagallo (Incubator Arts Project), Waltz by Corina Copp (CSC -Weasel), Blue Dress Reduction featuring Eliza Bent (PS122), HIM by E.E. Cummings (Walkerspace), The Fake History of George the Last by Misha Shulman (the longest lunch/TNC), A Week at the NJ Shore by Valerie Work (the longest lunch/The Bushwick Starr, and others). Finn holds an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College and a BA in Theater from the University of Southern California. She was a member of the 2009 Lincoln Center Director's Lab, 2009/10 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, New Georges' The Jam, a 2014 & 2016 New Georges Audrey Resident and co-founder of the longest lunch (2002-present).

Alaina Ferris (Composer/Performer) is a composer, vocalist, and poet located in Brooklyn, Her recent composition credits include William Burke's The Keeners (in development), Scott Adkins's The Kioskers (St. Ann's Warehouse's Labapalooza, North American Cultural Laboratory's Deep Space Residency). She has music directed and performed in Eliza Bent's Toilet Fire (Jack, Abrons Arts Center) and Van Cougar's Tube (Incubator Arts Project). She played many instruments in Gary Winter's Daredevil (Brick). She performed as keyboardist, drummer, and vocalist in Temporary Distortion's six-hour durational music performance, My Voice Has An Echo In It (Watermill Center, Stereolux in Nantes, Exit Festival at Maison des Arts de Créteil in Paris). She was a 2015 Finalist for the National Poetry Series.

Catherine Brookman (Performer) is a performer/composer based in Brooklyn. She is the frontwoman and writer for band, sullivann, which will release its debut album this Spring. She recently composed and performed in The Upper Room (New Ohio, NY Times Critic's Pick). Broadway: Hair. Off-Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. TV: Law & Order: SVU. Off-off: The Girl of the Golden West (Ice Factory & ANT Fest), La MaMa Cantata (LaMaMa ETC & International Tour), The Orange Person, Live Mermaids Live. Upcoming, she is composing and performing in William Burke’s PIONEERS!#goforth at JACK. Northwestern University: Bachelor of Music, Voice Performance & Integrated Arts.

Starr Busby (Performer) is originally from Houston, TX where she attended H.S.P.V.A. She then went on to earn her bachelors of music and certificate in music theatre from Northwestern University. Most recently, Starr appeared in Mammoth with Buran Theatre (The Brick). Other credits include: La Mama Cantata (La Mama E.T.C., international tour); Girl of the Golden West (ANT Fest; New Ohio); Moby Dick (NY Public Theatre); Hadestown (NYTW workshop). She also performs with experimental soul band People's Champs ( She plans to release an EP in 2016 and her single, "Habakkuk" is available via All gratitude to All.

Julia Sirna Frest (Vocalist) is a performer, singer and teaching artist. She is a founding member of the Obie award winning theater company Half Straddle and most recently performed in their production of Ancient Lives at the Kitchen. Other collaborations include: Target Margin Theater, William Burke, Jeanette Yew, Zoë Geltman and Rady&Bloom. She plays ukulele and sings in Doll Parts, Brooklyn's premiere Dolly Parton cover band and has developed work and performed at The Kitchen, The Incubator, St. Ann's Warehouse, The Brooklyn Museum, La MaMa ETC, Abrons Art Center, The New Museum, Mass MoCA, JACK, PS 122, Joe's Pub, The Bushwick Starr, Soho Rep, and New Dramatists. With Half Straddle she has toured to France, Croatia, Philadelphia and Massachusetts with Seagull (thinking of you) and In the Pony Palace/Football.

Layla Khoshnoudi (Performer) Some Theater: Nobody's Girl (NJ Rep); Dido of Idaho (E.S.T. Unfiltered) Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb); Wyoming (Lesser America); My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer (The Flea); I am Gordafarid (Noor Theater); Women (Hollywood Fringe) Web: ControlTop TV's My Ex is Trending Film: The Designer, Making Eyes (short), Long Nights Short Mornings MFA: Brooklyn College.

Kristine Haruna Lee (Performer) is a playwright/director/performer and is a founding member of harunalee theater company, currently in residence at BAX. Selected credits: How to Get Into Buildings (The Brick); Futurity (The Connelly); War Lesbian (Dixon Place); A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes (City Center, 2015 OBIE winner); The Lily’s Revenge (HERE Arts Center, 2010 OBIE winner); and the EP release of Another World with Antony and the Johnsons. Upcoming projects: Memory Palace at La MaMa Club and Dog Gone Day at BAX, both productions of harunalee. She teaches at the Experimental Theatre Wing NYU. BFA NYU Tisch and MFA Brooklyn College for playwriting with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney.

Lacy Rose (Performer) is a classically trained vocalist, composer, and performer. In addition to frequently singing time worn music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods she also often performs her own compositions, modern day art songs regaling listeners with tales of magic, myth, tragic and eternal love. Her favorite pastimes are reading poetry, collecting almost forgotten lore, and curating parlour concerts inspired by Schubert's "Schubertiads". She currently resides in the magician's treehouse in Bushwick where on every morrow she wreathes a flowery band to bind her to the earth, spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth...for some shape of beauty moves away the pall. She is beyond excited to be performing in The Offending Gesture as the role of Mooncat/Finn2!

Abby Rosebrock (Performer) is an actress and writer from South Carolina. Recent roles include Masha in THREE SISTERS (La Jolla Playhouse/WOW Festival), Crystal in the original DIDO OF IDAHO (EST), Helios in Mac Wellman's PHAETHON (Classic Stage), and Meg in Chiara Atik's WOMEN (The PIT/LA Fringe). Abby's plays include SINGLES IN AGRICULTURE (The Brick/Dixon Place/O'Neill Finalist), DIDO OF IDAHO (EST, with support from The Lark/Playground), DIFFERENT ANIMALS (Cherry Lane), and more. Abby co-created the webseries MY EX IS TRENDING with Layla Khoshnoudi. Proud member of The Tank's TV- and new media-writers’ collective and Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie Award-winning playwrights' group, Youngblood.

Sarah Bennett (Drummer) was born and raised in New York City. She is currently pursuing a B.M. in percussion performance at New York University. While attending LaGuardia Arts High School, Sarah found her interest in working in theater. This is her professional theater debut, and she is thrilled to be working alongside such a talented cast and production team. In her spare time, Sarah plays and sings in a new collaborative arts percussion duo, which aims to form a collective for dancers and live musicians. She also enjoys singing at 180 Church in Manhattan, and hanging out with dogs.

Christopher & Justin Swader (Set Designers) are New York-based scenic designers and directors. Working collaboratively as a team, they have recently designed for Classical Theatre of Harlem, Columbia Stages, National Black Theatre, Luna Stage, Cherry Lane Theatre, La MaMa, Manhattan School of Music, Park Avenue Armory, Trusty Sidekick, Astoria Performing Arts Center, Theater for the New City, Shadowland Theatre, The Orchard Project, IRT Theater, & The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Upcoming: An Octoroon (ArtsEmerson and Company One, Boston) and A Foreign Body (Le Parker Méridien Hotel, Site-Specific Production) Originally from Indiana, they are graduates of Ball State University.

Brian Aldous (Lighting Designer) lit his first of many Mac Wellman plays 25 years ago this month: "Crowbar," a site-specific En Garde Arts production in the then ruinous Victory Theatre on 42nd St. His latest was "3 2's, or Afar" at Dixon Place. Other recent designs include "I See You" and "Neighborhood 3" for the Flea Theatre, "What I Did Last Summer" for Signature and the Performance Mix festival at HERE. He is resident designer for Symphony Space, sits on the board of Triskelion Arts and teaches lighting at City College.

Emily Blumenauer (Costume Designer) received her MFA in Design and Technical Production from Brooklyn College and member of USA Local 829. Currently the Assistant Costume Designer/ Shopper for CBS “Person Of Interest”; Her Credits Include: “Daredevil” (Brick Theater) Assistant Costume designer for events at “Sleep No More” NYC, including Heineken’s web commercial “Guest of Honor”; “A Time Traveller’s Trip to Niagara” (Hudson Guild) “Take Me Home” (Incubator Arts Project for Other Forces Festival); “The Downtown Loop” (3LD Technology Center)

Eric Sluyter (Sound Designer) is a sound designer, artist, and composer based in New York. He is a company member of The Wooster Group and The Orbiting Human Circus, and has collaborated on productions by Classical Theatre of Harlem, FIAF, Gold No Trade, National Black Theatre, The Play Company, and others. He has written software for graphical score performance and binaural spatialization, and presented several of his own sound installation pieces.

Laura Diffenderfer (Choreographer) is a choreographer, writer and curator. She has created movement for various projects directed by Meghan Finn, including Mac Wellman’s 3 2's; or AFAR (Dixon Place) at Dixon Place, and him at Walkerspace. Laura has made dances for several music videos, and has been a movement coach for commercials. Laura’s concert dance has been seen in venues such as Danspace Project (FOOD FOR THOUGHT), Judson Church, The Chocolate Factory (THROW), The Cunningham Studio, WAX, The Flea, University Settlement, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Red Cloud Opera House in Red Cloud, NE and the Contemporary Art Center in North Adams, MA. Laura’s dance writing has been featured in Paper Mag, Movement Research Performance Journal, MR’s Critical Correspondence, and Dancer Magazine, where she was the editor for two years. Laura holds a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University. She currently works in the programming department at The Joyce Theater.

Katherine Shelton (Stage Manager): NYC: texts&beheadings/ElizabethR. (BAM Next Wave Festival), The Petrol Station (NYU-Gallatin & BAM), Hail Oblivion: A Pirate Fantasia (JACK), Belle of Belfast (The Irish Repertory Theatre), Abundance (The Actor’s Company Theater). REGIONAL: Powerhouse Theater, Adirondack Theater Festival. EDUCATION: B.A. in Drama from Vassar College.

Liz Nielsen (Production Manager) is a Brooklyn-based theater maker. Recent productions include Cheap&Easy October (Object Collection), The Golden Drum Year (Radical Evolution), Jarring (Mason Holdings), and Washeteria (Soho Rep).

Jan 24, 2016

$25 General | $15 Student | $35 Premium Reserved Seats

312 West 36th Street / First Floor / New York, NY 10018