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Independent Study

  • The Tank 312 West 36th Street, First Floor New York, NY 10018 United States (map)


A New Play by Ben Gassman
Directed by Ran Xia

"This place is a dungeon of hate. Like a pinball machine of hate. Its bullshit. I want to play basketball."

Set in a world where the Internet often becomes an echo chamber for hadred and tribalism, INDEPENDENT STUDY centers around the unlikely friendship between a first generation college student and her former professor, both of whom have brothers implicated in different forms of tribalist violence.

Produced by Elisabeth Ng
Lighting Design by Elizabeth M. Stewart
Production Design by An-Lin Dauber
PSM is Gabrielle Giacomo

Cast: Andrea Negrete, Kelly Bartnik, Sharlee J. Taylor, Finn Kilgore, Sean Hinckle, Alphonso Walker Jr., Yair Ben-Dor, and Andrea Aranguren

Special Thanks to Dramatists Guild Fund and Materials for The Arts.



Ben Gassman is a playwright from Queens, NY. His work has been developed and presented by 3LD, The Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, Standard Toykraft, The Tank, The New Ohio Theater, The Jewish Plays Project and Prelude at the CUNY Graduate Center. Ben's work has also received support from Yaddo, Brooklyn College, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is currently a Global Research Fellow at NYU Florence, where he is working on a play exploring the poet-propagandist Gabrielle D'Anunzio's occupation of a small Adriatic city in 1919. He occasionally writes about theater and the world beyond for The Brooklyn Rail. He has an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College.


Ran Xia is an interdisciplinary dramatist, director, designer, and visual artist. She co-founded theatre collective The Arctic Group and curates The Polar Bear Plunge showcase monthly at Lucky Jack's NYC.

Past visual arts projects include Art Takes Times Square, Stories of the Creative (SEE.ME), Dacia Gallery (Times Square Arts Centre), Spiegel Me (Installation at Fountains Foundation, Columbia College, Chicago).

Recent theatre credits include Harmony (a prerecorded virtual audio play), De Profundis, The Enchanted Realm of Rene Magritte (Co-Writer, Exquisite Corpse Company), Wanda, Daisy, & the Great Rapture (Director, Exquisite Corpse Company), Disability (Director, play by Ivan Faute, Planet Connections Festival), Princess Anybody (Dir. Rachel Graf Evans, A physical performance piece/forum theatre), Word Play (Radioactive Festival and Midtown International Theatre Festival 2016), [AI] (An adaptation of Ayn Rand's Novella Anthem at Brick Theater), Baby Fat: Act I (A punk rock opera based on Screeching Weasel's album of same title, Dir. Michael Scholar, Jr. with Columbia Stages and LA MAMA); and ongoing project: Harmony (a prerecorded virtual audio play).

At Dixon Place: North (Playwright), They Lived in the Attic (Playwright, Dir.), [ai] (Script/Director), Tabula Rasa (Playwright / Director / Production Sound Designer), and Word Play (Playwright, Dir. Florence Le Bas). Her shorts: Heavenly Bodies Move in Space and The Invisible of the Sidewalk both won first prizes at MITF's short play lab. Set design credits in NYC: Animals Out of Papers (by Rajiv Joseph) and July House (Fringe NYC 2015).


Earlier Event: November 4
Grandes Pequeninos
Later Event: November 4
Swing Set New Plays In Progress