The Gimmick

Director: Peter Askin
Screenwriters: Dael Orlandersmith

Institute History


The Gimmick tells the story of Alexis and Jimmy, a pair of outsiders who forge a friendship through their shared passion for art. Theirs is a love more powerful than the ghetto gimmicks that devastate much of the Harlem of their youth. When one falls, the bond that has kept them whole threatens to destroy them both. The New York Times called Dael Orlandersmith “a poet possessed of an exciting new voice . . .that combines fiery rebellion and lilting lyricism.” Orlandersmith uses formal narrative infused with rhythmic poetry to depict Alexis’s and Jimmy’s journeys into adulthood. The performance will be followed by a postshow conversation between Dael Orlandersmith and Glenn Close about the joys and challenges of creating provocative characters for today’s theatre.

Dael Orlandersmith, Playwright
Dael Orlandersmith trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Actor’s Studio. She has appeared in productions of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and A Raisin in the Sun. Orlandersmith has performed with the American Place Theatre, Williamstown Theatre, and New York Theatre Workshop. She wrote and performed a one-person show called Beauty’s Daughter, which earned an Obie Award in 1995. Most recently her one-person play Monster was performed at the New York Theatre Workshop.

Peter Askin, Director
Peter Askin has an MA from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from NYU in English literature and is currently the director of New York’s Westside Theatre. Askin directed Dael Orlandersmith’s Obie Award-winning production of Beauty’s Daughter as well as Monster. Other directing credits include John Leguizamo’s Spic-O-Rama, which won a Drama Desk Award, and Mambo Mouth, which won an Obie and Outer Critic’s Circle Award. Askin also won a CableACE award for directing the TV production of Spic-O-Rama.

— Philip Himberg, Beth Nathanson

Screening Details

  • Section: Sundance Theatre Program
  • Film Type: Theatre
  • Country: U.S.A.


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