DEAD BRAINS: Get Us to the Stage



Henry and Philly have gotten a little caught up in the fantasy. No truth. No regret. No boundaries. Artist and muse, they are idols in their own minds. Enter Corey - vulnerable and real. Now a decision must be made about his role in their game. It's time to change the rules. Again and again and again. In Erik Champney's dark and often hilarious thriller, art is dangerous and nothing is sacred.

DEAD BRAINS is a violent and sexy play. It turns the art world upside down and shakes it relentlessly, exposing unexpected darkness within the human heart. Threaded together by moments of rapid dialogue and profoundly shocking monologues, DEAD BRAINS is savagely funny, yet brutally effective. There is breathtaking tension and authentic danger in this fearless work, which is complimented by unique, complex characters.

DEAD BRAINS has been honored by The Kennedy Center with The National AIDS Fund/CFDA-Vogue Initiative Award for Playwriting.

Now is your chance to be a part of something truly special. Please help us get to this summer’s Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in New York City. Contribute in any way you can to make DEAD BRAINS a thriving force of new and electrifying theatre. We are here to raise $6,000.  The deadline for the campaign has been extended indefinitely so that we may reach our goal. We are currently in pre-production. Performances will be in July, 2018.

Your contribution enables us to tell this human story of abuse and redemption in the most genuine way possible. We will mount a production that rises above through our commitment to excellence. 

Your contribution will help to pay our collaborators – the director, the actors, designers, and talented artists at our side throughout this process. It is a top priority to compensate these creative people for their time and hard work.

Finally, you are helping us to rent the crucial rehearsal space necessary, without which we would be lost. It is in these rooms where the characters are found, plays are unraveled, and magic happens. Rehearsal spaces in New York City can cost a pretty penny. Without the finances to afford these spaces, we will be unable to proceed.


It is difficult to fully articulate the experiences of those who have suffered any form of personal abuse and confinement. Theatre and activism are indomitable allies, especially when the stories are harrowing. In 2016, in conjunction with the Planet Connection Theatre Festivity, Erik Champney successfully campaigned for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) as part of a production of his anthology, BLANKETS AND BEDTIME: 3 RESTLESS PLAYS. A powerful piece that culminated with the horrifying dilemma of the Comfort Women of WWII Shanghai, it not only inspired audiences to donate, but educated them about how the telling of these stories can bring about change on a global level.

DEAD BRAINS will also advocate for RAINN, continuing to impact audiences with its powerful mission to prevent sexual violence. With our production, we will give full voice to such perspectives in ways that enlighten and entertain, as well as empower audiences to act on behalf of those people who might otherwise not be heard,

Through its characters, DEAD BRAINS explores three perspectives in which people can experience abuse, from outside power structures (both political and economic) to the internal dysfunction of a damaged mind. This structure both brings the audience in emotionally, as well as enables it to pull back and consider the greater picture.


ERIK CHAMPNEY (Playwright) was first commissioned to write a play when he was fifteen years old. He has been honored twice by The Kennedy Center for his plays DEAD BRAINS (National AIDS Fund/CFDA-Vogue Initiative Award for Playwriting) and PANGAEA (Commendation for Excellence). His work has been produced and developed across the country through such organizations as the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Potomac Theatre Project, La MaMa, Seattle Fringe Festival, Left Coast Theatre Co., MadLab Theatre, The Acting Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre, and Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Erik is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and was formerly a member of Young Playwrights Inc., where he studied under John Weidman and Wendy Wasserstein. He received a B.A. in both Theatre and English from Centenary College of Louisiana followed by an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

ADAM CHISNALL (Director) won the 2017 Planet Connections Award for Best Director of a Short Play/One Act for his work on EMERSON AT BIG MART. NYC directing credits include EMERSON AT BIG MART (NYWinterfest and Planet Connections Theatre Festival), (THE PLAY’S) THE THING (La MaMa), THE CHARM (One Act Comedy Fest), POP GOES THE WEASEL (Strawberry One Act Festival), MRS. LEE’S YELLOW CAT (The Gallery Players), WAR IS A PICNIC (Thespian Productions), HAPPY HAMSTER BIRTHDAY (LeelaNYC Theatre Festival), SODD AND GOMM (Venus/Adonis Theatre Festival), and MURDER NEEDS COMPANY (The Gallery Players). Adam has served as Assistant Director to Erik Ehn’s CLOVER (La MaMa) and THE VANITY (Theatre Row). Adam is a line producer with The New York Theatre Barn. He thanks his parents for their constant love and support.


In Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, all artists are called to be as creative as possible with the acquisition of materials for their productions in order to adhere to the greater eco-friendly goal of not buying anything new.

   •   With your help, we can overcome these challenges with enough donations to cover the fees for our designers.

   •   Our plan is to hire a creative, resourceful, and socially conscious production team. The only way we can achieve this is by offering them viable fees for their time and efforts.

   •   There is always a weighing game between materials and labor. We put a premium on being able to support the creative efforts of our collaborators as we join together to make this production not only stunning, but as eco-friendly as possible.

   •   We also firmly believe in paying our actors. The work they do is the single most important element in live theatre. They should not always be expected to donate their time.

   •   Finally, if we are able to build the finest team that is required, this will increase our ability to raise awareness for our chosen charity, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), beyond information in our programs and show announcements. Helping us get our show up will also help us champion this life-saving cause.


Spread the word!

The most powerful force we have on our side is word of mouth. As long as we are a part of the conversation, things are looking bright. Help us build interest and keep it high by telling people about our exciting, bizarre show. Use the gofundme share tools to tell others about our campaign and keep an eye out for further publicity as we approach our opening!


 See top
  • Elizabeth Searle 
    • $50 
    • 34 mos
  • Don & Betty Moses 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Logan Sledge 
    • $50 
    • 37 mos
  • Brittney Anderson  
    • $25 
    • 37 mos
  • Jodi P 
    • $50 
    • 37 mos
See all

Fundraising team: The Barbies (3)

Erik Champney 
Raised $2,625 from 25 donations
New York, NY
Adam Chisnall 
Team member
Raised $620 from 6 donations
Richard Wingert 
Team member
Raised $30 from 2 donations
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