Cast Announced for our February Feature: “Paradigm Table” by Nike Kadri

Happy Black History Month!

Our February Feature is next week. We’re looking forward to presenting Nike Kadri’s “Paradigm Table” and are happy to announce the cast!

Nike’s feature will take place on Monday, February 12, 2018, 7:30pm @ the cell.




Four first-generation millennials come together on Christmas Day to celebrate ten years of friendship only to discover that their past mistakes might tear them apart. Paradigm Table is a dark comedy and coming-of-age film about first generation millennial identity and politics.

The film centers around a first-gen Nigerian female and first-gen Chinese male couple and their first-gen friends a Mexican trans woman and a British-Iranian hijab-wearing lesbian. Paradigm Table asks you to empathize with their journey into adulthood and how that journey either breaks us or makes us.


TAIWO: a first-gen Nigerian female struggling with her queer identity. (Lori Laing)
YIXING: a first-gen Chinese male desperately in love with Taiwo. (Tony Vo)
CASSIE: a first-gen Chinese female and Yixing’s bubbly sister. (Briana Sakamoto)
ARIANNA: a first-gen Mexican trans woman and successful lawyer. (Jorja Brown)
FERESHTEH: a British-Iranian hijabi lesbian fighting for her true love. (Michelle Siddiqui)
MACK: a femme white woman and Fereshteh’s ex-girlfriend. (Lauriel Friedman)
ROSA: Arianna’s mother. (read by the actor reading Mack)
BEATRIZ: a curvy Latina woman with a compassionate soul. (Paloma Michelle Herrera)
GRACE: an African Bronx-based hairstylist. (Nimene Wureh)

ISHA:  a Black Muslim hijabi woman & Fereshteh’s best friend. (read by the actor reading Grace)

CHRIS: a caring boxing coach. (John Ford Dunker)
HENRY: a white male heroin addict. (read by the actor reading Chris)
MAN: a queer-hating white man. (read by the actor reading Chris)


Jorja Brown is a NYC/Chicago based actress, singer, and trans advocate. She is most known for her Off-Broadway debut playing Jonelle in MCC Theater’s CHARM, directed by Will Davis. Soon you can see her appearing in Abe starring Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things and in the music video for “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile. You can follow jorja on instagram @jorjaNYC.


John Ford-Dunker hails from Fargo, ND and currently resides in Brooklyn.   Recent credits include King Charles III and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Pioneer Theatre Company, Soot and Spit with Our Voices at The New Ohio, and The Conan O’Brien Show. Other work includes credits with BAM, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, Park Playhouse, and Old Hat Theatre Company. Training: BFA Musical Theatre from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Actors Theatre of Louisville Professional Training Company. His music can be found on SoundCloud under his name. 


Lauriel Friedman is a classically trained actress born and raised in New York City. She began acting at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and went on to receive her B.F.A. from the Guthrie Theater’s training program, while also studying Shakespeare at The Globe and Lecoq movement at the London International School for Performing Arts. Since returning to New York, Lauriel has worked with various Off-Broadway and regional theaters, including the Pearl Theatre Company, New York Classical Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Most recently she appeared in the new production, Fire, at Theatre 54, which told the story of the men and women who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. In February she will perform in a one-night performance of a new Holocaust play, Vilnius, at the Jewish Heritage Museum. Lauriel is passionate and committed to illuminating the lives of people that remain unheard.


Paloma Michelle Herrera is a Mexican actress born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico. She is a recent graduate of the Atlantic Theater Company’s Full Time Conservatory. She’s a founding member of the Thirty Three Theatre Company ( and is currently interning with One Year Lease Theater Company and Katra Film Series. As an actress, she was most recently seen in The Last Days of Judas Iscariotand 187 both directed by Tatiana Pandiani at The Atlantic Acting School. She was also in a workshop of Plagio de Palabras with LaMicroTheater with the direction by Tara Elliott.


Lori Laing first learned the art of storytelling by paying attention to the rhythms of the people around her in Southside Jamaica Queens. Labels she identifies with: he/she/they, queer, West Indian, artist, feminist, Black, leader, patriot, blasian, libertine, optimist, revolutionary. Her New York theatre credits include: Girls of Summer, The House of Bernarda Alba, No Exit, Balm in Gilead. Upcoming films: Scenes from the Underground directed by Eric Swiz, Up or Out directed by Natasha Straley. She’s also in the web series 195 Lewis. Training: MFA, Columbia University


Briana Sakamoto is a queer actor/singer/social justice warrior, bay area born, NYC based. Onstage she’s played such eclectic roles as Shakespeare witches and clowns, little girls, ingénues, assassins, rapping katana-wielding psychics, Tiresias, the Marlboro Man, Mercutio, dynamic multi-character tracks, and principle roles in contemporary and legit musicals, off-Broadway, off-off Broadway, and touring the USA. Film credits include Anatomy of an Orchid (Sonja O’hara, Bohème) Zen Parking (Agustin McCarthy, Last Slice Productions), Delilah (lead) in Mushrooms (Julio Ramirez). She has sung operatic roles with Opera on Tap, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Underworld Productions Opera, and others. She is a member of Hamlet Isn’t Dead’s Resident Acting Company. Bachelor of Music, Binghamton University. Actor training with Larry Singer, Gwendolyn Schwinke, Fay Simpson. Vocal studies with Maxine Davis, Benita Valente. Improv training at UCB. Briana also plays a few instruments, writes songs, dances, and teaches the Feldenkrais Method. AEA, SAG-AFTRA.


Michelle Siddiqui is a recent graduated of Pace University where she received a BFA in Acting and is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project. Her most recent credits include Amante in L’Amour Medecin, and the Attendant in Pace University’s production of Middletown. She is very thankful to Nike and this team for bringing the experience of first-generation millennials to light.   

Tony Vo is an actor and a Drama Desk Nominated musician based in New York City. NY Theater: SeaWife (Naked Angels), NoNo Boy (Pan Asian Rep, 2014 & 2016),Frontieres sans Frontieres (Bushwick Starr), and These Seven Sicknesses (The Flea Theater). Regional Theater: NY Stage & Film, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Theaterworks Colorado Springs, White Heron and The Hangar Theater. Workshops/Readings: NYTW, The Lincoln Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, Ma-Yi, Soho Rep, The Lark, and Prospect Theater. Television: ALTERNATINO (Comedy Central). Tony is a founding member of folk band/theater collective, The Lobbyists, for which they were nominated for a 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Musical: SEAWIFE. Ithaca College & NTI: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center alumnus. |

Nimene Were






NIKE KADRI is a 1st generation Nigerian actor, screenwriter, film director and producer reared in the South. Nike is currently in post-production for her psychological thriller and short film Her First Kill and finished a successful festival season with her first short film By the Tide. As a filmmaker, Nike desires to create opportunity and exposure for under-represented emerging artists who are passionate about creating work for and by artists like themselves so they can succeed financially and artistically in an industry that has great potential to give voice to marginalized artists in New York City and beyond. As an actor, Nike was most recently seen in School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play at MCC and has performed Off-Broadway at The Signature Theater and Classic Stage Company and regionally at The Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre NJ, Chicago Shakespeare, The McCarter Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and others. She can be seen in upcoming seasons of Divorce on HBO and Seven Seconds on Netflix.  She is a graduate of The University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.


Illana Stein is a NYC-based theatre director. Credits include Off-Broadway: Theatre for a New Audience: Associate Director on Tamburlaine the Great directed by Michael Boyd and Pericles directed by Trevor Nunn.  Assisting credits at Signature Theater and Pearl Theatre Company.  Other NY credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Queens Players), Stop Kiss (Sanguine Theatre Company), or what she will by Charly Evon Simpson (FringeNYC ’12, Overall Excellence Award in Directing), Matthew Portraits (Finalist, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival), and staged readings with New Dramatists, Youngblood/Bloodworks, Hunter College MFA new play festival, and NYU Gallatin School.  Regionally, she has assisting and associate credits with American Repertory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  Most recently she directed the Regional Premiere of A Lost Leonardo by David Davalos at Amphibian Stage Productions. She is in the directing company of New York Madness and a member of the 2012 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. SDC Associate.