You can’t miss her. Cameran Hebb is one of those charismatic, effortless beauties who kind of immediately captures your eye in any crowd. And not just because she is wearing a T-shirt with the words “boobie trapped” printed in neon pink.
When you enter The Queens Kickshaw, where she is a barista and bartender, her warm smile is apt to melt your heart. And her charisma can instantly become passion, conviction and authority.
When Hebb first auditioned for “keepingabreast,” a new play written by Jackie Rosenfeld, she instantly knew this piece of theater was something special.
After playing the lead character, Mina, during the play’s premiere at the Cherry Lane Theater as part of the 2012 Fringe Festival, she also knew that the final curtain should not fall on the show during the festival.
“The audience kept saying things like, ‘this is the way theater should be done,’” she explains, “and it just confirmed what I already knew.”
She immediately envisioned a next life for the play—which opens with a young woman being advised by her doctor to have a mastectomy after failed chemotherapy. The story is told through a series of vulnerable, sometimes sexy, sometimes hilarious, but always poignant vignettes chronicling the woman’s journey to decide what course of treatment is best.
Hebb reprises her role as the cancer-stricken lead character, with multiple other roles played in rotation by Lyndsey Anderson and Andy Ingalls—who portray family members, strangers, friends, even a drag queen. The new production is directed by Sharone Halevy.
Upon receiving a startup grant from the Queens Council on the Arts, as well as a sponsorship by Long Island City’s The Secret Theatre, Hebb found herself just a Kickstarter campaign away from breathing new life into the piece—this time with an outreach component (you can still contribute on the kickstarter page). A fundraiser held by The Queens Kickshaw also helped with funding.
The new staging, this time produced by Hebb herself, will run during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from October 18 through the 26. It will be held in the “Little Secret,” a 50-seat black box theater that lends itself perfectly to the intimacy of the piece.
As an outreach, a select number of seats will be reserved for those in the community suffering or impacted by cancer who otherwise might not be able to afford tickets. Seats for the public sell for just $15.
“I mainly just wanted to open a dialogue,” says Hebb. “In a world where we so easily disconnect, this play pushes past that in way that is so human, alive and authentic.”
To learn more, go to http://keepingabreast.wix.com/keepingabreast ; $15
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