NewFest 2024: New Play Workshop

16 WINTERS, Or The Bear’s Tale

By Mary Elizabeth Hamilton
Directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar

16 Winters, or The Bear’s Tale takes place during the 16 year gap between acts one and two of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. After being condemned by her husband for adultery, Her escapes to a small cottage in Bohemia where her attendant, Pauly, cares for her. With nothing to do and little company, the two women do their best to survive the tedium, while the king laments his actions and starts an aging rock band. Meanwhile, their abandoned child, P., takes up with some bohemian artists and rebels against the patriarchy… while also falling in love with one of its better-looking representatives. Full of love, jealousy, mistaken identity and male privilege gone wrong, 16 Winters explores the effects of reimagining social constructs, and asks whether it is truly possible to create something new in the wake of repression. 

march 3-6, 2024
greene theatER

All performances open to the public

Run Time: 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission

Content Advisory: This play features depictions of violence against animals/animal death, discussions of the death of a child and death in general, mentions of suicide, and use of a simulated firearm.

Sensory Advisory: This production contains a gunshot sound effect. 

View Production Media

Production Photos by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. View full album.

Creative Team

Scenic Design

Luciana Stecconi

Costume Design

David Estabrooks

Lighting Design

Eli Goldberg

Sound Design

Matt Dandino

Props Lead

Ryan Bates


Taj Dharmadji


Esther Chilson


Jamie Nickerson

fight & intimacy director

Elise Tuckwood


Maddie Thorpe

A note from the
Playwright, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton

I wrote 16 Winters or The Bear’s Tale in 2018 for a competition at the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia. The play was performed the following year
as part of their New Contemporaries Series, which features plays in conversation with Shakespeare’s works. It was performed in rep with the play that
it’s in conversation with, Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. This was in the spring of 2019. At the time, a world in which people were siphoned off from society
in a cabin in the woods for months on end felt quite fantastical.

And we all know what happened next.

It’s been fascinating to revisit the play in the wake of the events of the past five years. The conversations we’re having in the room are in many ways vastly different from the early workshops I did, now that we’ve all come out of our own personal hiatus from reality, and are reexamining ideas about the world that we used to take for granted, and questioning how to go back to the world as it was now that we are the people we are. So the ideas the play
addresses: what it means to shed old perspectives, to reimagine social orders and to question the power and class structures that have historically defined our reality…these resonated with the room in a whole new way. And, also, it’s been fascinating to see what hasn’t changed: young people still
(I hear) like to sit in rooms together, partaking in whatever substances young people partake in these days, trying to make art, to have meaningful relationships and to make sense of the world; people still fall in love with people they shouldn’t and get jealous and make stupid decisions and regret them and try to hold onto their youth and question their identity and sometimes tromp out into the wilderness unprepared. Nature is still terrifying and healing. Our parents still know everything and nothing. Our children still frustrate and surprise us.

In rereading A Winter’s Tale on one of my early train rides up to Boston, I was newly struck by the play’s ending, in which the Queen reappears as a statue after 16 years, having been thought dead, and comes to life before our eyes – either through real magic, or through a profound misunderstanding of reality, depending on your interpretation of the play – and grants forgiveness to an arguably undeserving person. I am bowled over by the magic and humanity of
this moment, and what it means to receive the grace of being able to return to your old life with newly opened eyes.

Meet the

Ghost of Dead Prince — NICHOLAS PAPAYOANOU


Ghost of Dead Prince –– LANDON BUTLER
Julian / Shep — LIAM BENNETT

Meet the
Artistic and Production Staff

Assistant Director — NINA TUROVSKIY
Assistant Director –– CIARA BERARDI
Assistant Dramaturg –– CIARA BERARDI
Assistant Costume Designer –– DAVID SCHELL
Wardrobe Supervisor — SOPHIA OQUEST
Assistant Lighting Designer — RYAN TSE
Assistant Lighting Designer –– SPENCER SWETLOW
Production Electrician — DYLAN NORRIS
Lead Electrician — LORENZO SOSA LOPEZ
Assistant Lead Electrician — LILY HOURIN
Assistant Sound Designer — IAN SONNABEND
Production Sound Engineer — JO WILLIAMS
Assistant Production Sound Engineer — CATALINA MAYORAL
Assistant Stage Manager — KAYLA COPPING
2nd Assistant Stage Manager — NONA FERNEY
Production Assistant — HALEY DEMELLO
Production Assistant –– SASHA SALINS
Associate Production Supervisor — SUSAN WEINHARDT
Assistant Production Supervisor — OLIVER WORNER
Company Manager — HALLE HART
Assistant Company Manager — LAUREN WIEDENMANN
Assistant Company Manager — LUCY PAGE
Run Crew

Cast Bios

GRACE ALTENBURGER (she/her) — U/S P. & Spring

BFA ’26 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: MTS’ 13 (Patrice), Ride the Cyclone (Jane Doe), & EFA Cabaret 2022 (Soloist) for MTS. Many thanks to the girls of 905, my family, and Tucker for their continued support! Find me on social media @grace.altenburger

CARTER BEAUDETTE (he/him) — The Bear/Time

BFA ’25 Theatre Education & Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s Tanner Maverick’s Book of Sound (Ken/Julius); emShakes Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! (Egeus/Quince); Musical Theatre Society’s Urinetown (Caldwell B. Cladwell) and Tavern Song (Eamon MacIntyre); and Full Fathom Production’s Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Gibson/Homer). Thank you to my parents, my partner, and my friends and family for all of your love and support!

LIAM BENNETT (he/him) — U/S Julian & Shep

BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Thanks to mom, dad, and Leo for always believing in me.


BFA ’25 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (U/S Jo), The Loyals (Peggy Shippen), Mary, Sweet Mary (Dramaturg), RAGE (Props Lead). Emerson College credits: emShakes’ Death of a Salesman (Dramaturg), RareWorks’ And She Dwelt Upon The Wall (Assistant Director) Thanks to the Brinkmans for coming out! IG: @lara.brinkman


BFA ’25 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: How We Got On (Julian), The Spitfire Grill (u/s Visitor). Emerson College credits: Jelly’s Last Jam (Ensemble).

LANDON BUTLER — Shep, U/S Ghost of Dead Prince

BFA ’25 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: A Party at Anna’s Transparency (Ben Kind), emShakes’ Death of a Salesman (Director). Other credits: Rhythm Wizard BA Film (Wes/Wizard), Third Bird (Bemecio), emShakes Theatre Co (Treasurer) and Mercutio Troupe (General Manager). Thanks to my awesome friends, you guys rock. @landonbutlerr


BFA ’25 Acting. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Tavern Song (Captain Amelia Skinner/Ensemble, Assistant Choreographer); and Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s A Chorus Line (Universal Swing). Thanks to Emily, Mom, Dad, Loan, suitemates, and friends for their support! To the cast and crew – thank you and break legs; you’re going to eat (meat)!

ISABEL DEGRANDI (she/her) — Spring

BFA ’24 Acting. Emerson Stage credits:  Bonnets: How Ladies of Good Breeding Are Induced to Murder (Georgette), NewFest Short Works: The Archetypes (Wife). Emerson College credits: RareWorks Theatre Company’s Gold (Gogo). Thank you to friends, family, and Studio for all their love and support!

PETER KOLODZIEJ (they/he) — Julian, U/S Flory & Leo

BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (U/S John Brooks/Parrot & Robert March). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s Barry and The Bear (Cook) and Musical Theatre Society’s Ride The Cyclone (Noel/Ricky Swing). Huge thanks for the opportunity to be a part of a new work and to family, friends, and more for all the support!

NYATCHÉ MARTHA (they/she) — P.

BFA ’25 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: NewFest Short Works: Plans and Places (Karina Bryce). Emerson College credits: MTS’ Cabaret of Color 2024 (Performer); Film credits: Found. Thank you to this amazing cast and crew for a truly collaborative and inspiring experience!

FRANKIE MENDEZ (he/him) — Leo

BFA ‘26 Comedic Arts. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: MTS’ Ride The Cyclone (Mischa), Heathers (JD), 13 (Brett); MTAG’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip’s Father). Other Credits: Bat Boy (Dr. Parker); Something Rotten (Shakespeare). Frankie would like to say “Hail Malthus!”

SARAH ANNE MUNSON (she/they) — U/S Her & Pauly

BFA ’24 Acting. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College theatre credits: Antony & Cleopatra! (Caesar); Mercutio Troupe’s The Trail to Oregon (Father/McDoon Swing). Film/TV: B-Moody (Nat); Corner Stall (Alice); Floor 13 Coven (Juliet); Westworld (HBO). Other regional credits: US Premiere of Belongings with the Minnesota Opera (Maggie); Exposed Brick Theatre Company’s Stand in it With Me (Melody & Others); The Zephyr Theatre Company’s The Secret Garden (Martha).  Special thanks to the 16W team! Shoutout to her family, friends, and of course, Ivy the beagle! Meat Meat Meat!!

NICHOLAS PAPAYOANOU — Ghost of Dead Prince

BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: NewFest Short Works: Geese Not Gooses (Hughes). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s A Tail of Socks the Street Cat (Socks). Regional/International credits: Moonbox Production’s Boston New Works Festival 2023 (The F&L at 1330, Ensemble 1), Singapore Theatre Company fka Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Fall (ONE, A). Thank you to my family and friends back home for their endless support, no winter for you but I’m thinking of your warmth!


BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Thanks to my family, friends, teachers, and to anyone making an effort to keep Trump out of the White House.

ANTHONY SPIDELL (he/him) — U/S Pol & Bear

BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance, Dance Minor. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Jelly’s Last Jam (Buddy Bolden, Dance Captain), MTAG’s The Wild Party (Mr. Black + Eddie U/S), Emerson Urban Dance Theatre’s Sincerely, EUDT (Dancer). Thanks to all of my close friends and family for all of their constant support! Instagram: @anthony.spidell

Creative Team Bios

ANEESHA KUDTARKAR (she/her) — Director
Aneesha Kudtarkar is a New York-based theatre director. She is a trained Indian Classical dancer who calls upon her background in dance to create compositionally-driven pieces of theatre that centralize historically excluded voices. Her recent directorial projects include Water by the Spoonful, The Who and The What (Juilliard), Ms. Watson & Ms. Holmes – #2B (Dorset Theatre Festival), Queen (Long Wharf Theatre, NAATCO), The Cherry Orchard (The New School), Men on Boats (Southern Methodist University), [Veil Widow Conspiracy] (NAATCO), The Winter’s Tale, Trouble in Mind (Yale School of Drama), The Purple Flower (Yale Cabaret). She has also developed new works with Clubbed Thumb, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and the Hunter College MFA Program. Aneesha is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama MFA Program.

Mary Elizabeth Hamilton is a Brooklyn-based playwright, tv writer, and mom. She holds her MFA from The University of Iowa and an Artistic Diploma from Juilliard. Mary was a Jerome Fellow at The Lark and has participated in Youngblood, The O’Neill, Ars Nova, I-73, New Georges’ The Jam, and Play Penn. Her play 16 Winters won ASC’s New Contemporaries Award and her Sloan commission, Smart, was produced off Broadway at Ensemble Studio Theater and optioned by AMC. Mary was a Story Editor on “Why Women Kill”, wrote the podcast “Power Trip” starring Tatiana Maslany, and is a resident playwright with New Dramatists. 

LUCIANA STECCONI — Scenic Designer
Luciana Stecconi’s previous designs for Emerson Stage include Working and Spring Awakening. She has designed for Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Huntington Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, Signature Theatre, The Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences, Mosaic Theater, Theater J, Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Georgetown University, Catholic University, American University, Imagination Stage, and many more. She’s the Assistant Professor in Scenic Design at Emerson College. Stecconi holds an MFA in design from Brandeis University and is a member of USA Local 829.

DAVID ESTABROOKS (he/him) — Costume Designer
BFA ’24 Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: A Doll’s House (Asst. Company Manager), The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons (Asst. Company Manager), Little Women (Associate Costume Designer), Mary, Sweet Mary (Asst. Costume Designer). Emerson College credits: MTS’ 2023 EFA Cabaret (Stage Manager); MTS’ Falsettos (Costume Designer); MTS’ Ride the Cyclone (Co-Director); MTS’ 2022 EFA Cabaret (Co-Director); RareWorks’ Hookman (Costume Designer); MTAG’s Ghost Quartet (Asst. Director); emShakes’ The Fog Around Us (Asst. Director). Film credit: Your Mama’s Pie (Casting Director). Thank you to Richelle, Becky, Laurie, Tristan, Chloe, Ava, the costume shop, and the other David!

ELI GOLDBERG (he/him) — Lighting Designer
BFA ’25 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: Bonnets… (Lighting Designer), A Doll’s House (Production Electrician), The Loyals (Production Electrician). Select Emerson College credits: MTAG’s A Chorus Line (Lighting Designer); MTS’ Ride the Cyclone (Lighting Designer); EDC’s Revival, Vitality, and Elements (Lighting Designer). Other credits: Summit Playhouse’s American Idiot and Spring Awakening (Lighting Designer). He would like to thank his friends and family for everything. IG: @egoldberg.lx

MATT DANDINO — Sound Designer
BFA ’26 Theatre Design/Technology. Emerson Stage Credits: The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons (Lead Electrician), Bat Boy: The Musical (Lead Electrician), Little Women (Assistant Sound Designer), Cabaret (Assistant Lead Electrician), Mary, Sweet Mary (Assistant Sound Designer), Paris (Assistant Lead Electrician). Emerson College Credits: The 42nd Annual EVVY Awards (Assistant Lead Electrician); RareWorks’ RepFest (Assistant Lighting Designer); emShakes’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream! (Assistant Lighting Designer).

RYAN BATES — Props Lead
Ryan is the Props Director for Emerson Stage, and has worked as a props lead and scenic designer throughout New England, including productions at New Repertory Theatre, Bridge Repertory Theatre, The Umbrella, Gloucester Stage Company, InMotion Theatre, Middlebury College, Longwood Players, Off the Grid, Fresh Ink, and many more. Ryan has taught Stagecraft at Emerson, and served on the faculty at Boston University. MFA: Boston University.

TAJ DHARMADJI (she/her) –– Composer
BFA ’25 Theatre Education. Emerson Stage Credits: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Spotlight Operator). International School Credits: The Addams Family (Wednesday Addams), High School Musical (Gabriella Montez), Peter and the Starcatcher (Captain Slank, King Prawn), Sense and Sensibility (Marianne Dashwood), The Wolves (#14), Little Shop of Horrors (Ensemble, Ms. Luce). Thank you to all who have supported me through my musical and theatrical journey, I love doing what I love!

ESTHER CHILSON (she/her) — Stage Manager
BFA ’25 Stage & Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: Bonnets (Associate Production Supervisor), Cabaret (2nd ASM), The Secret In the Wings (Assistant Production Supervisor), The Late Wedding (PA). Emerson College credits: The EVVY Awards (Aesthetics Executive Producer), MTAG’s A Chorus Line (SM), KA’s Seussical (1st ASM), RareWork’s sub (1st ASM). Other credits: Contemporary American Theater Festival’s The Overview Effect (PA), Berkshire Theatre Group’s BROKEN code BIRD switching (PA), Songs for a New World (PA). So much love for my SM team, friends, family, and Basil. <3

JAMIE NICKERSON (she/her) — Production Supervisor
BFA ’24 Stage & Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: Bonnets… (Stage Manager), Mary, Sweet Mary (Assistant Production Supervisor), Are You Someone to Somebody? A New Devised Piece (1st Assistant Stage Manager), Baltimore (2nd Assistant Stage Manager), and Spring Awakening (Production Assistant). Emerson College credits: EVVY42 (Assistant Stage Manager); emShakes’ Lord of the Flies (Stage Manager) and Antigone (Dramaturg); Mercutio Troupe’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Dramaturg) and All Night: At a Party In the Suburbs (Assistant Stage Manager). Other credits: Punctuate4’s Rite of Passage (Stage Manager, Co-Sound Designer). Thank you to Susan and Oliver for being such an epic team!

ELISE TUCKWOOD (they/them) –– Fight & Intimacy Director
BFA ’24 Stage & Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: A Doll’s House (1st Asst. Stage Manager), The Loyals (Production Supervisor), Paris (Stage Manager). Emerson College credits: emShakes’ Antony & Cleopatra! (Fight Director) and Lord of the Flies (Fight/Intimacy Director), Rareworks’ How Macy Survived … (Fight/Intimacy Director). Other credits: American Repertory Theater’s The Half-God of Rainfall (Production Assistant), ArtsEmerson’s We Are The Land (Asst. Stage Manager).

BFA ’24 Theatre (Directing, Arts Management, & Dramaturgy). Emerson Stage credits: The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons (Asst. Director); NewFest Short Works 2024: Payphone (Director); NewFest 2023 (Asst. Company Manager). Emerson College credits: MTS’s Falsettos (Director), The Secret Garden (Producer), and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Producer). Regional credits: Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s Assassins (Dramaturg); Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s Trouble in Mind (Dramaturg). Thank you to the 16 Winters team and Marissa.

Meet the
Emerson Stage Staff


Artistic Director — Annie G. Levy
General Manager — David Colfer
Assistant General Manager — Joshua M. Feder
Production Manager — Timothey Sullivan
Technical Director — Kristin Knutson
Head Carpenter
— Connor Thompson
Scenic Painter
— Joe Keener
Scenic Painter –– Sam Galvao
Props Director
— Ryan Bates
Assistant Properties Manager
— Lauren Corcuera
Costume Shop Supervisor
— Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor
— Becky Pieroth
— Laurie Bramhall
Electrics Advisor — Nicole Cerra
Resident Sound Designer
— Elizabeth Cahill
Sound Technician
— Julie Beaulieu


Stage and Production Management — Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design — Baron Pugh
Costume Design — Chloe Moore
Lighting Design — Scott Pinkney
Sound Design — ​Elizabeth Cahill
Fight & Intimacy — Ted Hewlett
Dramaturgy — ​Marissa Friedman
Vocal Coach — ​TBD

Student Staff

Emerson Stage Office Assistants — Jake Tolentino, Kayla Copping, Alayna Domboski, Samantha Duggan, Karli Fisher, Carly Mentis
Production Management Assistants — Blake Berggren, Esther Chilson, Oliver Worner
Videographers — Vincent Chen, Xiao Chen, Ethan West
Scenic Technicians — Casper Apodaca, Kieran Graeff, Ari Flaherty, Davis Kranchalk, Yuyuan “Echo” Lu, Oscar McQuilkin, Dylan Norris, Harley Novy, Elise Tuckwood
Scenic Artists/Painters — Rayan Afif, Nel Blinman, Lily Hourin, Katherine Kendrick, Elodie Lambert, Elizabeth Nunnery, Leo Servetar, David Staats, Charlize Tabrizi
Paint Shop Assistant
— Maggie Stewart
Prop Shop Assistant 
— Delene Beauchamp, Amaya Gonzalez-Mollmann, Oliver Hawke, Mariel Richardson, Ava Scanlon
Stitchers — Zee Cowan, David Estabrooks, Madeline Henry, Amanda Jacobson, Lorence Jones-Perpich, Heidi Keithahn, Alexa Peterson-Ismail, David Schell, Ava-Sofia Settoon, Anna Ten Eyck, Nina Turovsky
Laundry Assistants — Angelina Parillo
Stock Attendants — Sierra Bivins, Isabella Fortebuono, Ashleigh Jones
Crafts — Wei Zhao
Light Lab Inventory Assistant — Eli Goldberg