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Raised under the wing of New York School poets and an early student of Allen Ginsberg & Anne Waldman, her original writing for performance merges her lifelong investigations of poetry, theatre, & the extended voice work of the Roy Hart Theatre. Most recent performance text Wednesday, An Opera has been described as “pushing the boundaries of what is possible onstage” (Leigh Fondakowski) and “multi-dimensional as a person; it is flesh and blood, with a sense of humor, a complex psychology, great ambitions, and a winning personality” (Erik Ehn)


Additional performance texts include Songs My Grandmothers Taught Me (Top Ten Shows of the Decade 2000-2010, Boulder Camera) and More Than Daisy Dares, an exploration of Emily Dickinson’s Master Letters with original video by Ed Bowes. Ethelyn holds MFA in Acting from Brandeis University, and a BA from Naropa’s University’s  “Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics”.

“Pushes the boundaries of what is possible on stage”

Leigh Fondakowski, Director/Playwright, Head Writer of The Laramie Project “


Opera IMAGE.jpg

__________, an Opera

“The text is as multi-dimensional as a person; it is flesh and blood, with a sense of humor, a complex psycholo-gy, great ambitions, and a winning personality. Ethelyn will render an opera unlike any ever seen--somewhere in the sweet spot between Gertrude Stein, Kendrick Lamar, and Spike Jones.”  



Play Video

One day, a Writer recovers a memory of incest and tries to hide it inside an opera. _________, An Opera

follows a collection of objects and characters through a Wednesday in 1922: a grand lady, her motherless granddaughter and their suicidal maid, a wooden egg disguised as Carl Jung, a black leather armchair. But as the day's events unfold, it becomes clear that The Writer is no longer in control of her opera.   A“play within a play”, this 6-person music-theatre piece centers on a character called The Writer who is in the process of writing an opera—a busy farce set in a West Village brownstone, which is embedded in an iceberg & frozen to the banks of the Hudson River. Each member of this multidimensional family drama, including The Writer herself, is somehow frozen—in the wrong form, the wrong era, a moment of violence, a mysterious origin.

__________, An Opera explores a radical idea of improvisation in performance: the libretto is memorized, but all the music is live-improvised. Time ripples, the elements of the narrative exposing and recomposing themselves, until a new story is uncovered— one of sexual trauma. It redefines music’s role in revealing subterranean content, and shows how the sound of the human voice can touch what is hidden inside the broken heart of a family.

Read HERE the Huffington Post article:

The Creative Process is Healing One;'_________' An Opera

by Allison Caw

more than Daisy dares-

more than Daisy dares is  a solo performance inspired by the texts of Emily Dickinson’s “Master Letters” written and performed by Ethelyn Friend; directed by Joe Gill and Leeny Sack; with film by Ed Bowes. 


A theatre professor on sabbatical in New England becomes haunted by the unfinished love letters of her favorite poet. This hour-long original work offers a theatrical and kinesthetic study of the process of composition, and an intimate and surprising journey toward the most hidden chamber of the most hidden heart in literature.

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