2015 Capital Fringe Preview #28: ‘Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact’ by Karen Sklaire

Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact is my comedic one-woman show that explores public education issues through my personal experiences as a drama teacher in some of the roughest public schools in New York City.

Karen Sklaire in 'Ripple of Hope: One Teacher's Journey to Make an Impact.
Karen Sklaire in ‘Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact.’ Photo courtesy of the show’s website.

Directed by award-winning director Padraic Lillis (2013 New York International Fringe Festival Outstanding Excellence in Directing for Lee Kaplan’s Bully, which was a standout at the 2013 Capital Fringe; 2013 Indie Theater Now Person of the Year), Ripple of Hope uses humorous anecdotes, videos of real-life teaching breakthroughs and clips from teacher-as-hero films such as Freedom Writers, Dangerous Minds and Dead Poets Society to tell my 10-year journey as an equity actress-turned-public school teacher from Connecticut with a BFA in musical theater and a desire to make a difference. Ripple of Hope is also an official selection of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival.

In the show, I act out my struggles to engage challenging students (with gangsta improv exercises and Michael Jackson impersonation performances) and please an ever-changing administration through budget cuts, rubber rooms and the Common Core.

The show is meant to be both entertaining and poignant, but I also want it to provoke a conversation that creates productive change for our education system. I started teaching right after 9/11, because I wanted to make a difference. I jumped into the profession all bright-eyed and eager to live out my Hillary Swank in Freedom Writers dream, and learned very quickly how difficult it is to be an effective arts education teacher, especially in today’s system.

“Karen’s story expresses the frustration of a passionate teacher trying to navigate a system that doesn’t seem to support the student’s or the teacher’s needs,” Lillis says. “Karen is a very passionate, driven teacher who brings that to her acting. She has a commitment to ensuring that the point is being made, but also that it is entertaining.”

In addition to an education, I’m an equity actress and comedian who has been featured on Saturday Night Live, Imus in the Morning, and Film Forum, and toured the country with Theatreworks USA. I’ve performed standup comedy in clubs throughout New York City, and hosted comedians such as Judah Freidlander (30 Rock) and Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live). I have a BFA from Syracuse University in musical theater and a master’s in educational theater from City College. In addition to teaching drama at PS2 in Manhattan, I also work with Speak Truth to Power, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

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Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact

 by Karen Sklaire


 Tree House Lounge

1006 Florida Ave NE, in Washington DC 20002

Friday July 17th at 8:15 p.m.

            Sunday July 19th at 6 p.m.

            Tuesday July 21st at 9:45 p.m.

            Thursday July 23rd at 9:45 p.m.

            Saturday July 25th at 6:30 p.m.

tickets4603-150x150For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

Show Page: www.rippleofhopeshow.com




Capital Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in the summer of 2005 with the purpose of infusing energy into performing arts in the Washington, DC region through our annual Fringe Festival and year-round Fringe Training Factory. Capital Fringe’s vigorous programs ensure the growth and continued health of the local and regional performing arts community by helping artists

Karen Sklaire.
Karen Sklaire.


Karen Sklaire is a actress, singer and comedienne who has toured the country with Theatreworks/USA and has been featured Off-Broadway at The Promenade Theatre, Town Hall, and The Soho Playhouse. She has performed standup comedy in clubs throughout New York City and hosted such comedians as Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) and Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live) as well as toured with comedian Rob Bartlett and the Bartletts. She has appeared on Saturday Night Live, In the Mix, Imus in the Morning, and the Film Forum. Sklaire wrote and performed her first one-woman show, Bangin, in 2003 at The People’s Improv Theater. Her play Drama at the Point, conceived with Peter Michael Marino and directed by Cheryl King, has been presented at The New Emerging Artist Festival, Woman at Work Festival and The One Festival, and has been featured in Selected Shorts at Stage Left Studio. In 2014, she was featured on the main stage of Theatre Workshop of Nantucket. In addition to teaching drama at PS2 in Manhattan, Sklaire is a lead educator of Speak Truth to Power, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Padraic Lillis.
Padraic Lillis.


Padraic Lillis has worked on Broadway, national tours, Off-Broadway and Tony Award-winning regional theaters. Last year, he was awarded the NY IT Award for Outstanding Director for his production of Lindsay Joy’s Rise and Fall of a Teenage Cyber Queen, the Overall Excellence Award from the NY International Fringe Festival for his production of Lee Kaplan’s Bully, and was named an Indie Theater Person of the Year. Most recently he was a Geva Theatre directing fellow in residence at SUNY Brockport. Other solo shows he has directed are Adina Taubman’s award-winning show A Line in the Sand (a documentary show about Columbine) and Kelly Kinsella’s When Thoughts Attack. He wrote and performs his own solo show, How to Survive Crack Addiction. He is also a published playwright with Dramatist Play Services and Indie Theater Now. He is a member of Labyrinth Theater Company and the founder and artistic director of The Farm Theater.



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