Jefe's House
Jeffrey Stanley is a 2018-19 Fulbright Scholar, playwright, screenwriter, director, and occasional journalist. His plays include the semiautobiographical wartime drama Tesla's Letters, the southern fried dark comedy Medicine, Man his autobiographical comedy shows The Golden Horseshoe: A Lecture on Tragedy, Jeffrey Stanley's Boneyards, and others. He is a past president of the board of directors of the New York Neo-Futurists experimental theatre ensemble, and his award-winning short film Lady in a Box, a satire inspired by the Terri Schiavo euthanasia case and starring Sarita Choudhury, has been licensed numerous times for international broadcast and distribution. Stanley has been a fellow at Yaddo, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, and a guest lecturer at the Imaginary Academy film and theatre workshop in Croatia sponsored by the Soros Foundation, and a St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. He frequently teaches at his alma mater New York University Tisch School of the Arts, as well as at Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, at at the Lee Strasberg Institute. He has appeared as a featured writer in The New York Times, Washington Post, Time Out New York, New York Press, the Brooklyn Rail and others. He was a senior adviser to Boston University’s Center for Millennial Studies’ book on apocalypse movements The End That Does. Stanley holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch where he studied under playwrights David Ives and Tony Kushner, and a BFA from Tisch in Film & Television with a minor in cultural anthropology. www.brain-on-fire.com.

Author Archive

My Dinner With Tina

by on Mar.21, 2021, under Film/TV, NYC, Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

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Into the Absurd. A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation.

Why is this man making a hand-rabbit? Scroll down to find out.

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If you missed my interview last night with the masterful Tina Brock of the IRC and would like to hear more about my mis/adventures in India, my work as a Fulbright Scholar and the nonfiction book I’m currently finishing, along with Tesla, ghosts, paan, religion, David Ives, and a few other surprises, you can catch it here on the IRC’s youtube channel:

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Enterprising Con Artists?

by on Mar.20, 2021, under The Sixth Boro

7601 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA

Have you ever paid for damage to a rented car only to be subjected to  a shakedown later when the company tries to make you pay twice? This happened to me, to the tune of $1900. Is this a rare occurrence or a systemic scam?   If the latter, maybe someone should file a class action suit or at least inform the PA Attorney General’s Office about your own experience.

 

I had so many frustrating Enterprise problems since moving to Philly 10 years ago that I finally dropped the company in 2017 in lieu of awesome Avis, even though I’d spent years as an Enterprise Plus/VIP/Whatever member for being a frequent renter and had often gotten free upgrades.  I’ve moved on, but Enterprise keeps turning up in my life like a bad penny.

Take exactly two years ago in March of 2019. I was scrambling to move into my new house, not even having time to unpack before zipping back to India for the final leg of my Fulbright research trip.  So I’m backing out of my driveway in a U-Haul van and I ding the corner of a parked car.   No one was around so I left a note on it with my name and number.  It was my fault, I needed to pay for it, no worries, I was happy to do the right thing.  I even shot video of it so everyone could see me owning up to exactly what I’d done.

Later that day the driver calls and thanks me profusely for leaving the note because most people wouldn’t have bothered, but says there’s just one problem: the car is an Enterprise rental so he’ll have to have them call me.  I say no problem, but privately my heart sinks. Why?  Because it’s Enterprise, which means this will surely become a nightmare.
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Into the Absurd

by on Mar.14, 2021, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

ircThe picture says it all. Mark your calendars and tune in next Saturday 3/20/21 at 5pm EST for my interview with the masterful Tina Brock of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium theatre company, streaming live on Zoom and Facebook. Links below:

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Zoom:

https://lehigh.zoom.us/…/regi…/WN_NQXt3ZCPSku8MCpXYoigzw

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Facebook Live:

https://www.facebook.com/IdiopathicRidiculopathyConsortium

 

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A Postard From India

by on Mar.08, 2021, under Shaheb Cafe

 

I was honored and proud to be asked to write the foreword to the English version of this moving and vivid short story collection. Congratulations, translator Sanhita Mukherjee and Bengali author Raja Sinha  (also spelled in English Raja Singho). The Postcard Tales launched this weekend at the Chennai Book Fair in India.

Here’s where you can get it:

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FOREWORD

Jamaica Kincaid once wrote, A great piece of literature encompasses all that is and all that will be.

Yes, this applies even to short stories.

A great short story stands alone. It is not an excerpt from a novel or a vague synopsis of a longer story crammed into a predetermined word count. A great short story is a stolen glance through a window into someone else’s life. The best ones leave us with a sense of “sweet sorrow,” a yearning to linger there on the sidewalk a little longer even though we must press on to our own destinations. Such stories don’t need a contrived cliffhanger ending in order to leave us dying to know what happens next. They accomplish that effect through more organic and nuanced means.

The first short stories I experienced were fairy tales read to me by my mother before I was old enough to go to school. Then came the Jack Tales, a unique feature of my Appalachian upbringing. Later I would discover the short stories of Rabindranath Tagore, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, John Cheever, Edgar Allan Poe. Some capture the human condition with horror, others with humor, others with nightmarish satire. They have all left me comforted in knowing I wasn’t the only one experiencing life’s suffering; that in some way it’s communal, that we’re all in it together. They left me satisfied, but a little bit sad to see them go.

The stories in this collection have captivated me in the same ways. They are unique to India but they are universal to all of us. From the self-mutilation in “Primeval” that I will never be able to expunge from my mind, to the smell of burning books in “The Five Windows,” to the heart- wrenching revelations of a condemned young woman moments before her execution, along with the unspoken and timely themes that accompany them, Raja Sinha has left me haunted.

Even so, I was eager to turn the page and peer through the next glass, following along with the author’s appraisals and inquiries into life, culture, society and survival. May you be moved by his investigations at least half as much as me.

Jeffrey Stanley

Fulbright-Nehru Scholar

New York University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Indian Farmers’ Strike in 90 Seconds

by on Jan.20, 2021, under Politics, Shaheb Cafe, Theatre

Photo via Al Jazeera

Photo via Al Jazeera

My US Bengali friends’ theatre company Kushilob put together a series of online theatrical shorts reacting to, and explaining, the massive farmers strike currently happening in India. You probably saw protest footage and tear gas on CNN or glimpsed it in the New York Times but perhaps aren’t exactly sure what the fuss is about.  The full Kushilob video is here on YouTube. Most of the pieces are in Bengali so for my other friends here’s what the Indian farmers strike is about in 90 seconds.  “Salt of the Earth” features Bedatanu Banerjee and me:

Feel free to share either of these vids with anyone anywhere. Thanks.

#farmerstrike

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Aurora Visible in India

by on Jan.18, 2021, under Film/TV, Shaheb Cafe

Exciting news in the Times of India about my friends and colleagues at Aurora Film Corporation, India’s oldest continuously running production company.  Looking forward to seeing Kalkokkho (House of Time) written and directed by Sarmistha Maiti & Rajdeep Paul.

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Enjoy a BLT This Saturday

by on Dec.23, 2020, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

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Very excited that my good friend and colleague Dr. Vijay Padaki of the Bangalore Little Theatre will be in conversation this Saturday, December 26th at 5pm with Tina Brock of Philadelphia’s Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium theatre. Don’t miss it! Link is below. Until we meet on the stage once again, IRC is exploring creations and conversations with adventurers in our community and around the world on Into the Absurd: A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation, each Saturday at 5 pm for 50-minutes on Zoom and Facebook Live.

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BLT then.

Vijay is a Theatre Educator based in Bangalore who has been active in the theatre for sixty years. Vijay joined Bangalore Little Theatre in 1960, the year of its inception, and later served in many capacities – as actor, director, trainer, writer, designer and administrator, including stints each as Secretary and President. Vijay is a psychologist and behavioural scientist by training.

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BLT now.

Vijay has written over 50 original plays; he has also adapted or translated several play scripts.  Seagull Books has published a volume of two Gujarati plays translated by Vijay; in 1993 he won the award for the best contemporary play script instituted by The Hindu newspaper for the play Credit Titles.  Vijay is the Series Editor of nine volumes of plays being published by Bangalore Little Theatre.

Tune in for his conversation with Tina Brock at 5pm this Saturday on Zoom or Facebook Live.

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Film Appreciation Course with Debasish Sen Sharma Starts 8/15

by on Aug.07, 2020, under Film/TV, Shaheb Cafe

film course

Can’t read it? Click it to enlarge.

I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of this great event with well-known Indian film director Debasish Sen Sharma. I won’t say I’m co-teaching, that would be too grandiose. It’s a 12-week course and I will be guest teaching one session on screenplay plot development as well as sitting in on all sessions. At a hundred bucks this is a steal and I’m happily volunteering my services to participate. Open to everyone everywhere. STARTS ONLINE AUGUST 15th.

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Serious About Serious Men

by on Jul.17, 2020, under Film/TV, On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Press

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Indira Tiwari and Nawazzudin Siddiqui in Serious Men.

 

Congratulations to my extremely talented friend and colleague Indira Tiwari, costarring as the female lead alongside Bollywood superstar Nawaz Siddiqui in the film Serious Men premiering soon on Netflix (see the first promo here).  The movie is based on Manu Joseph’s bestselling novel of the same name.

Go, Indira!

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Indira Tiwari

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Adding the Method to my Madness

by on Sep.28, 2019, under Film/TV, NYC, Theatre

logoI’m truly honored and humbled to be a part of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute family teaching Theatre History for Actors.  Strasberg is one of the world’s top acting conservatories celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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