MOXIE Theatre’s Current Production During COVID Becomes Center of Documentary Film

Turning sixteen means new responsibility and new freedom. The same goes for San Diego’s scrappy, innovative, and critically acclaimed MOXIE Theatre, kicking off their sweet sixteen season with a drama that is just as scrappy and innovative. 

Not only did they film the production for audiences to watch safely at home, but a documentary will also be recorded in order to capture the unique process of creating theatre during a pandemic.

Eleanor Burgess’ The Niceties, opened September 17, 2020: Set in an elite East Coast university, The Niceties features an ambitious young Black student and her esteemed white professor who meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly they’re in dangerous territory – and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone. 

Deja-Fields and Mouchette-van-Helsdingen. Photo MOXIE Theatre

This timely production was recorded on MOXIE’s stage and streamed with a live component using Zoom. Audiences can tune in and watch the play, meet the artists and enjoy pre-show and post-show live content as well as a clip from the documentary about making theatre during the time of COVID19.

MOXIE’s Production team has developed a safety plan for artists that is, in itself, an entire production. Rehearsals will happen almost exclusively on Zoom, designers will work in new creative ways on video chats with the actors and director, and the whole carefully orchestrated process, which even quarantines the props before they’re touched by actors, will be filmed by Canis Lupus Productions. The documentary will give audiences an in-depth look at the process as state and local safety guidelines shape the artistic process.

MOXIE expects the process for each production to shift with safety regulations throughout the season but is prepared to think creatively in order to ensure that the show goes on and artists and audiences are safe. “Our mission is more vital than ever,” Executive Artistic Director Jennifer Eve Thorn says. “Women are being called on to do some heavy lifting as we move through this moment. Most of the parenting and care-giving work is carried by women and it’s vital that their voices don’t take a back seat. MOXIE exists to lift women’s voices and we won’t be derailed in our work now when it means so much. We’ll just have to get more creative.” 

The All Female and non-binary Design and Production Team includes: Set Design, Julie Lorenz; Costume Design, Faith James; Lighting Design, Cynthia Bloodgood; Sound Design, Mason Pilvesky; Properties Design, Angelica Ynfante; Stage Management, Beonica Bullard; Assistant Director, Vanessa Duron 

Eleanor Burgess (Playwright) After studying History at Yale College and completing an M.F.A in Dramatic Writing at Tisch School of the Arts, Burgess has had work produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, Portland Stage Company, and Centenary Stage, and developed with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, the Lark Play Development Center, and the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop. The events in her most popular work, and Moxie’s second production of our Sweet 16season, The Niceties, is based on her own experiences as an undergraduate student at Yale in 2015, surrounding the campus conversation around cultural appropriation. The Niceties opened Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2018 to stellar reviews, and has since been produced at multiple theater companies across the country, including the Huntington Theatre Company and the Geffen Playhouse. Of her work, Burgess says, “I write to understand things, I write about things that confuse me, I write about things that trouble me, topics where I really thought I knew what I believed and then someone said something that shook me down to my core and all of sudden Iealize that maybe I don’t know what I believe.”

Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (Director) is a founder and the former Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre, which she helmed for 12 acclaimed seasons receiving The Des McAnuff New Visions Award for “Risk Taking Leadership and Body of Work” and “2015 Director of the Year” from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. She has also directed plays for Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, San Diego REP, The Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Cygnet Theatre, New Village Arts, Diversionary Theatre and Playwrights Project. Some honors include: Theatre Communications Group's New Generations Program, San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards, Women's International Living Legacy Award, Van Lier Fund Fellowship (Second Stage Theatre) and the New York Drama League's Directors Project.

Deja-Fields and Mouchette-van-Helsdingen. Photo MOXIE Theatre


Mouchette val Helsdingen (Janine) During these challenging times, Mouchette is beyond grateful to the MOXIE Theatre for the opportunity to be part of this amazing play. She is a member of the Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica, where she recently appeared in a new comedy, Bad Habits, starring the late Orson Bean. Other productions include The Mousetrap and The Importance of Being Earnest at the Crown City Theatre, and The Gun and Rainbow Bridge at the Ruskin Theatre. Born in Amsterdam, she studied drama at the Kleinkunst Akademie, and continued her education at The Drama Studio in London.

Deja Fields (Zoe) majored in Musical Theatre and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts 2019 from UCLA’s Theatre Film and Television program. This San Diego native is passionate about her work and has had the privilege of working at various theatre companies throughout San Diego including the San Diego Repertory Theatre, MOXIE Theatre, and lastly The Old Globe. She specializes in Mezzo-Belting Vocal techniques, Acting, Dance, and seeks to use her voice as a tool to share and create new and innovative stories many are afraid to tell.

Run Dates for The Niceties: September 17- October 04, 2020 

TICKETS: $35.00 DISCOUNTS: Seniors, Students, and Military $15.00 rush tickets 60

minutes before the show, groups of 10 or more tickets 25% OFF,

BOX OFFICE: 858-598-7620,, or

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