Dearest Pawel | December 1, 2023

  • Dearest Pawel | December 1, 2023
  • Dearest Pawel | December 1, 2023
  • Dearest Pawel | December 1, 2023

Dearest Pawel | December 1, 2023

A new play reading written by Christian Mendonca
Directed by Dev Bondarin
Friday, Dec 1 at 7pm
Free Admission - RSVP
Art House Productions- 345 Marin Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07302

July 1915, Bayonne, NJ. Polish immigrant workers for the Standard Oil, Tidewater Oil, and other refineries are striking for higher wages and humane workdays. Siblings Iwo and Gita, alongside their cousin Szymon, navigate the complexities of what it means to partake in this strike while their loved ones are fighting World War I back in the divided motherland. When the strikes take a violent turn, each of the three must reckon with the choices that led them there while confronting the limited options this new life has to offer. A play about capitalism's social framework and its innate and unstoppable disintegration of family dynamics and identity. Commissioned by Art House Productions through the Hudson County History Partnership Program.

This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey State Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive & the Hudson County Board of County Commissioners.

New Jersey playwright Christian Mendonca has been developing this new play with Art House Productions for the past year.


Dev Bondarin (Director) is a theater director and Associate Artistic Director of Prospect Theater Company. Recent credits: Prospect's annual Musical Theater Lab, Fallout (NAMT's Festival of New Musicals), and Absolute Zero (The York / New York Theatre Barn). She is a former Artistic Director of Astoria Performing Arts Center where she directed Marguerite (with Cady Huffman), Merrily We Roll Along and Raisin (NY Innovative Theatre Awards - Outstanding Musical), and Caroline, or Change (AUDELCO Award - Outstanding Musical Revival). Also: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Little Women (Festival 56) and readings with White Horse Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, and Queens Theatre among others. MFA: Brooklyn College. BA: Brandeis University.

Sarah Cuneo (Gita) is an actress, playwright, director, and aerialist. Particularly passionate about new works, Sarah collaborated with Tectonic Theater Project on developmental workshops of The Album and has acted in new play festivals throughout the country, including Cleveland Play House and Premiere Stages. Her writing has been featured in the NYC Fringe, the Chelsea Film Festival, and the Chain Film Festival. Her work as a director has been seen at United Solo and the Chain Theater. Sarah is also a founding member of Taproot Creatives, a collective dedicated to uplifting the voices of underrepresented genders.

Mason Hensley (Giuseppe) is an actor and singer in NYC, originally from TX. He was recently in the radio play of “Black Tom Island” presented by Art House Productions. THEATRE—NY/Regional: Look Homeward Angel (Irish Rep), Black Tom Island (Premiere Stages), Forever Plaid (Sunset Theatre), A Midsummer Nights Dream (NC Symphony), In Her Blood (24 Hour Plays), I Create & Auto Bon (Lincoln Center). WORKSHOPS—Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Theatre Barn. FILM—Flounder, Cow-Boy, Memo Inc. VOICEOVER—Wedge in Hasbro’s Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy (Netflix), Red Dead Redemption II (Rockstar), Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar). TRAINING— UNCSA.

Monica Ross (Stage Directions) Credits include 7th Inning Stretch at Mile Square Theatre, King Charles III (Kate) at Studio Players, Last Resort Plays at Abington Theatre Company, Make it Play at Playwrights Horizons, The Three Sisters (Masha), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Julia), Mad Forest (Florina). TV Credits include Law & Order: SVU, Shadow of Doubt. She's a graduate from LaGuardia Arts and the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory.

Montgomery Sutton (Iwo) LONDON: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Henry V (Passion in Practice); OFF-BROADWAY: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New York Classical Theatre); REGIONAL: Pericles (Seven Stages Shakespeare Company); Henry V (Cape Fear Regional Theatre); Florida Studio Theatre; Casa Manana; Trinity Shakespeare Festival; Theatre Three; Undermain Theatre; Second Thought Theatre; Uptown Players; Circle Theatre; Dallas Children’s Theater; OFF-OFF-BROADWAY: Rude Grooms, American Bard Theatre, White Horse Theater Company, Metropolitan Playhouse. DIRECTING: Gilbert Theater, Rude Grooms, NYU/Atlantic Acting School, Junior Players, and Seven Stages Shakespeare Company. FILM/NEW MEDIA: 1865, Trouble with Women. BFA, NYU (Atlantic Acting School); International Actor’s Fellowship, Shakespeare’s Globe.

Frank Zwally (Szymon) (he/him) is an NYC-based actor and educator from Kissimmee, Florida. His credits include a recurring guest star role in 'Manifest' Season 4 on Netflix, performances in 'Beyond the Attic Wall' at Powerhouse Theater, 'Modern Swimwear' at The Tank, and 'Thom Pain Based on Nothing' at Juilliard. In addition to his acting career, he provides coaching and serves as the Associate Artistic Director of StART, a program offering artistic experiences to local public school students in Central Florida. BFA Juilliard School. Follow Frank on Instagram @frank.zwally.


Jim Peskin is a director, arts administrator, and educator. He was a resident director for What Exit? in Maplewood, NJ and Playwrights Theatre of NJ. He has directed plays in regional and small professional theatres in New Jersey and New York. He worked as a Dramaturg for the Philadelphia Festival of New Plays and Playwrights Theatre of NJ was a play reader for the National Playwrights Conference for several years. He was the Executive Director of the Montclair Arts Council and was Interim Managing Director at Luna Stage and had the same position with the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance. He has taught at Drew University, and Northview High School, and was an artist in residence for the Lincoln Center Institute, NJ State Council on the Arts, PaperMill Playhouse, and NJPAC.
In addition to his theater work, Jim was an educator/mentor and researcher for the Save Ellis Island Foundation whose mission is the preservation and restoration of the Immigrant Hospital Complex at Ellis Island. Currently, he is an Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Melody Scagnelli-Townley is the Director at Bayonne Public Library. She’s a former American Library Association Emerging Leader, two-time former Over the Rainbow Book List selection committee member, and former Alex Award selection committee member. Before becoming Director, she was Bayonne Public Library’s Outreach Librarian for 4 years, where she spent a great deal of time with the library’s archives and microfilm. At home, she’s a mom to her 3 year old daughter who teaches her new things every day, a partner to her husband who supports her in everything she does, and a loving caretaker to her two cats and one dog who mostly cause trouble. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and playing lots of video games.

John Beekman is a local history librarian and archivist in the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library. He has worked there since receiving his MLIS degree from Rutgers in 2006, becoming Dept. Manager in 2020. In 2023 he became Chief Librarian, acting as manager of the Priscilla Gardner Main Library. Prior to his career at the Jersey City Library he was a sheet music librarian at Tams Witmark Music Library, providing scripts and scores to musicals to amateur, school and professional theaters. He serves as co-editor of the H-Net forum for NJ History, H-New-Jersey, and is active in the NJ Studies Academic Alliance, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and the New Jersey Library Association’s History and Preservation section, from which he received the 2022 Susan Swartzburg Award.