NYC Events

One Year Lease


The First Annual Masquerade: Come Masked, or Dressed to Kill!


Thursday October 30, 2003

8 PM until Midnight

The Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Avenue (enter on 27 St.), Manhattan

Tickets: $50 - $250, or (212) 352-3101

Evening Includes: Dining, open bar, live entertainment, after hours tour of The Museum of Sex inaugural exhibit, silent auction, and more

One Year Lease (OYL), one of the hardest working theater companies to come to recognition lately, has joined forces with the already controversial Museum of Sex (MOSEX) to host the First Annual Masquerade, a come-as-you-will ball that proposes to unite hundreds of up-and-coming artistic professionals for an evening of dining, drinking, gazing, and of course, masquerading. You can learn all about this internationally ambitious company by visiting To find out some more about The First Annual Masquerade, read selections from my virtual interview with OYL Publicity Director, Sarah Parvis.


Kessa De Santis

How did OYL and MOSEX come together?  It seems an unlikely pairing to me.


Sarah Parvis

In the past, One Year Lease has held benefits at CrossPath Culture and Chashama spaces and each time, we felt very lucky to be in a venue that was also hosting an art show of some kind.  On a practical level, it meant that we did not need to decorate bare walls and the artwork itself added ambience.  This year, the search for the perfect venue took OYL members all over the city, from ballrooms to backrooms in bars to lofts in Williamsburg.  It wasn't until our Managing Director Jackie Kristel parked her car on 27 Street, exhausted after a day of searching the city that MOSEX came into the picture.  She looked up, saw the Museum and knew it was perfect. 

Hosting an event like this in a Museum once again takes the pressure off of OYL to make and keep the space interesting to our guests.  There are plenty of halls to explore and exhibits to peruse.  But more than that, OYL frequently tackles tough and taboo questions in their work, whether it is the idea of vengeance and cycles of violence (like the U.S. is in today) in the Oresteia or a woman's disastrous search for freedom in Machinal.  Paring a museum with an edgy theme to a theater company who often works on issues of power, sexuality, violence, and politics seemed perfect.



Why a masquerade?  It fits with the calendar, but are there more theatrical motivations behind the choice of theme?

OYL's shows, such as Jean Anouilh's Antigone, August Strindberg's Miss Julie and the upcoming Machinal by Sophie Treadwell are heavy shows.  Partly, we just wanted to let our hair down and show the lighter side of OYL.


Also drama and a masquerade are a natural fit.  Could Halloween be more theatrical?!  You choose a character, dress up--whether it is in a costume, fancy dress, or a mask-- and assume the attitude of your persona (at least in some small way) for a night. Of course, with a great deal of interest in the classics and ancient Greek theater (our director and co-artistic director Ianthe Demos was born and raised in Greece), some members of our team have done extensive research into the use of masks, which just may come in handy for the ball.

OYL has been around for a few years already.  Why is the Ball just happening in 2003?

We have always done an annual benefit and fundraiser.  And it improves by leaps and bounds every year.  In the past, our benefits have been held in the late spring or early summer so there haven't been any major events or holidays to work with as themes. We have been throwing around the idea of the perfect theme for an OYL party for some time and the Masquerade seems so perfect.  Aside from the fact that people will attend a fun event like this (regardless of the their interest in young theater in New York), a masquerade is a great expression of the personality of this company.


Obviously OYL hopes to raise money and increase visibility with this event.  In an ideal world, what will the 2003 Ball accomplish for you as a theater company?

I would say that if one person came to the Masquerade just for a fun Halloween outing and left with a desire to check out OYL or any other young theater company, then we would be really pleased.  Of course, we would also really like to cultivate a community of artists who are interested in supporting each other in any way they can.  In our shows, we work with musicians, composers, costume designers, set designers, lighting designers, sound designers, visual artists, graphic designers, playwrights, poets, choreographers, dancers, dramaturgs and more. In the parties and events that we throw, we elicit the support of local and up-and-coming bands, restaurants, spas, photographers and more.  The more people we meet and the more support we get, then there is a greater chance of moving people through the art that we all create.

Where do you see OYL in one year?  Five years?  As part of theater long term?  Do these goals differ when considering the NY scene as opposed to the international arena?

Tough question.  In a year, we would love to see the company back on tour.  The response to our adaptation of Oresteia in both Greece and Italy was truly exciting.  We garner such amazing feedback abroad and are able to hold workshops with schools while we are touring that we need to continue to move our productions around.  We will continue to revitalize classic texts, adapt and translate works to make them as provocative and timely as possible.  In choosing works that speak to people across borders and that can be performed for audiences who may not necessarily speak English, we take on a challenge-an extremely rewarding challenge.  In the long term, we hope to have an educational program in place to accompany our productions.  Until now, this has been limited to our international work and a single trip to Vassar College, but within the next few years, we would like to take our work and our production teams to more schools in New York and around the country as well as abroad to cultivate an interest in the classics, in theater in general, and to encourage young people to tackle tough subjects and ask difficult questions.

- Kessa De Santis -


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