May 3, 2015

The most frequently given advice in these last few weeks of pregnancy is to get sleep. People who have had children and those that haven’t say it with a wink of the eye inferring that the parent to be has no idea what they are getting into. That like Macbeth the baby will murder sleep.

I say bring it.

Sleep is something I relish. The ability to shut down disappearing into the bed. The feeling of waking up unassisted and seeing the sun has replaced the dark night. I love it. But in part because it is already a scarce commodity. I’ve never been a good sleeper. I sleep lightly waking up at house sounds, bird sounds, city sounds, partner sounds. At different periods of my life I’ve fought to get to sleep – waiting seemingly for hours for my brain to quiet down. Or, fought to get back to sleep – I discovered in college that if I played the BBC’s epic 6-hour Pride and Prejudice when I had insomnia the familiarity mixed with gentle lulling british accents would comfort me back to bed. I’d wake up in the morning with the theme playing on loop from the DVD title page.

And now, my pregnancy has created a new kind of sleep. It already feels like a rare friend. I wake with regularity usually every two hours, on bad nights every hour. I get up and use the bathroom and head back into bed. I immediately fall into a deep dream only to wake up exactly an hour or two later and repeat.

I may regret saying so but I’m actually looking forward to having someone to share those awake times with. I’m looking forward to late night wakings with the little one. Waking for a reason, for a purpose and being able to share the quite cool of 3 a.m. before drifting off again.

Now, if the baby is still waking me up with regularity a year from now, I’m sure I’ll have other things to say. But since sleep cannot be banked in advance and the times to be quiet and along with your child are few I’m looking forward to shared sleeplessness.


What if I found some words

May 2, 2015

Over five years later and I may have some words left in me.

There have been a few times I’ve thought about revisiting blogging in this fashion. My tumblr has remained up-to-date and social media took some of my words but I’ve missed a place for longer thoughts. For people to visit (if they’d like), comment (if they want) but more importantly for me to claim words/thoughts/comments as my own.

And here I am 37.5 weeks (give or take) until my life really changes. Sure there have been changes in the past five years – location, homes, wedding, amazing trips to far off places. But, this is the most powerful change. To create life and then what comes next – what excites me the most – to watch that life become it’s own person. The being now inside of me poking at my sciatic nerve will grow up to be a completely whole individual – at least I hope so.

And so it seems like maybe this is a time to revisit some words. I’m not sure how many. I’m not sure what time will allow but I look forward to words.

hanvnah has no more words

March 9, 2010

The decision has been made this blog is kaput for real, for good.  It was a nice internet space giving me three years of expression and online community but it’s the blog of my life as it was and it feels that way: historical.

But just because the historical hanvnah has no more words doesn’t mean that hannah (or rather I) am out of words.  On the contrary, two blog type things have replaced this one for me.

Theater Collage which I have been linking to for a while is my tumblr site filled with images, quotes, articles that I find interesting/stimulating/worth sharing.


The Project Gym is my semi-private blog where I’m working through major questions of theater/art/audience/development and the/my future.

This will be the last post here. For now, the blog will stay live so feel free to take a trip down memory lane at any point and see what I was up to 3 years ago, two years ago, and last year.

KafkaFest @ Columbia University

November 30, 2009

The KafkaFest is a ten day (12/3 – 12/13) festival of new theater and art inspired by the work of Franz Kafka. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved as Curator for the interdisciplinary parts of the festival including a gallery exhibit and pre-show discussions.

I have also been working on one of the theater pieces: EDIT.  The piece has been developed over the course of three months with a talented creative team including director, playwright, choreographer, composer and actors.  We have created a movement piece with original music and text looking at that which we share with Kafka: a basic need to create.  The piece only has 5 performances (Dec 10 – 13th) and I would love to see you there.  Click HERE to reserve your FREE tickets!


direction by Jess K Smith
dramaturgy by Hannah Hessel

The outcome of a three-month collaboration between seven different types of artists inspired by both the personal and professional writings of Franz Kafka. This movement piece with original music and text is our way of allowing an audience into our process as we journey through the mind of Kafka, searching for that which we share: a basic need to create.

Creative Development Team

Jess K Smith
Hannah Hessel (SLC ’03)
Jennifer Lane (SLC ’06)
Shelley Virginia
Andrew Zox
Gabriel Baron
Trystan Phillip Toole

Gabriel Baron*
Meghan Grady*
Megan Brunsvold
James Sargent
Simone Zvi
*performing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

Performance Location
Schapiro Studio
605 W 115th Street, basement

Performance Schedule
Thursday, 12/10 at 8pm
Friday, 12/11 at 7pm
Saturday, 12/12 at 2pm and 7pm
Sunday, 12/13 at 2pm


Design Team
Set and Costumes… Lou Regele, Marte Ekhougen
Original Music… Trystan Phillip Toole
Lighting… Lou Regele

To reserve FREE tickets, click here!

It’s almost time for KafkaFest! I hope that you will be able to join us for the first ever festival of Franz Kafka inspired works on the Columbia University campus. The second year MFA Directing students have created SIX new Kafka inspired plays that will be featured alongside work from other artists within the Columbia School of Art community. Come before performances and you can catch pre-show discussions with Anne Bogart, Gideon Lester and more!

KafkaFest runs from December 3 – 13, 2009.  Below is a list of all performances.  To reserve FREE tickets, please visit:

Click here for a full performance calender.  Keep checking for updated information on discussions and the KafkaFest Closing Night Party!

Please contact me if you have any questions or need any help reserving your tickets.  I look forward to seeing you at KafkaFest!



Directed by Kon Yi
Written by John Douglas Weidner
December 4-6, Horace Mann Theater
8pm Fri & Sat, 3pm Sun

A world premiere prequel to Kafka’s The Metamorphosis written by MFA playwright John Douglas Weidner. This new play will explain why Kafka’s protagonist Gregor becomes a beetle. Reserve Now
Adapted & Directed by James Rutherford
December 4-13, Conference Room, Schapiro Hall
8pm Fri 12/4, 8pm & 10pm Sat 12/5, 5pm Sun 12/6
8pm Mon 12/7, 8pm Wed 12/9, 8pm & 11pm Fri 12/11
7pm & 10pm Sat 12/12, 5pm Sun 12/13

Eight nights only: through the miracle of modern technology, Mr. Franz Kafka’s Letter to His Father, hitherto undelivered, may reach its intended destination. This production makes use of psychophonic amplication, abstract whispering, and silence. [Spectatorship limited to 10 per performance.] Reserve Now
ROOM 603
Directed by Carin White
December 10-13, Room 603, Dodge Hall, Columbia Univ.
8pm Thu & Fri, 4pm & 6pm Sat & Sun



A new performance piece inspired by Franz Kafka. Reserve Now
Directed by Jess K Smith
December 10-13, Schapiro Theatre
8pm Thu, 7pm Fri, 2pm & 7pm Sat, 2pm Sun

The outcome of a three-month collaboration between seven artists, all coming from different artistic backgrounds. The goal: to present a journey through our minds as we journey through Kafka’s mind. Reserve Now



Written & Directed by Jonathan Vandenberg
December 11-13, Horace Mann Theater
8pm Fri & Sat, 3pm Sat & Sun

In the beginning there was the word. A search. A journey from author to the penal colony. A short work utilizing gesture, image, and sound freely adapted from writings of Franz Kafka. Reserve Now
Directed by Anna Brenner
Written by John Douglas Weidner
December 10-13, Schapiro Theatre
9pm Fri, 3pm & 8pm Sat, 2pm Sun



“I got it…I’ve finally got it this time. No. It is lost. Now the world seems a mystery to me yet again.” Franz Kafka inspires us to look closely at creation, destruction, and connection in a new play to invigorate the theater with character, dance, humor, and pathos. Reserve Now


In addition to the performances, join us at Watson Hall for an art exhibition.

Plus, don’t miss our pre-show performances: Sat 12/5, 6:30-7:30pm  – “Metamorphosis” with Anne Bogart, Sun 12/6, 6:30-7:30pm – “Amerika” with Gideon Lester and visual artist Tracey Molis,  Sun 12/13, 12:30 – 1:30 pm “A Hunger Artist”.  All discussions will be held in the lobby at Dodge Hall.

For more information please visit:

fall fashion inspiration

September 29, 2009

the leaves are changing color. the high holiday’s have come and gone. it’s fall. I adore fall. I love saying goodbye to summer clothing and hello again to sweaters, tights and scarfs.

As the season continues to change here are some looks from recent blogs that have struck my eye and inspired me.

From garancedore I love love love the print of the hat with the print of the dress (luckily I have a hat just like that sitting on my shelf waiting to be worn – bought years ago at Polly Sues Vintage)

From  This just looks so comfortable and chic to me. Every aspect of this outfit is for me perfection.  I used to wear scarfs as headbands like that a couple of years ago and think it’s time to bring them back again.

From Cardigan, Slouchy pants lace up mens shoes. This just screams fall to me.

And one for the boys:

Also from the sartorialist. love.

the state that i am in

September 10, 2009

so here’s what my semester looks like:

six classes:

1. history of set design (where we look at the history and theory of design)
2. fundamentals of playwrighting: adaptation (where we look at different methods of adapting for the stage) development (where working with a management student we design our ideal theater)
4. planning a season (where we look at the seasons of various contemporary theaters and read many a play)
5. issues in performance art (an art history course where we look at post 1960s performance art)
6. shakespeare (where we read and analyze the bard)

two jobs:

1. the Ticket and Information Center where I also worked last year. Mostly shifts in the evenings and weekends. (about 10 hr a week)
2. in the Dean of the School of the Arts office working in ‘events & communication. (about 10 hr a week)

two shows:

1. Three Sisters – the Chekhovian masterpiece.  Going up the weekend of October 16.

2. A devised Kafka piece. Don’t know what it will be called or what it will be about. All I know is starting next week the company will be meeting once a week, talking Kafka and coming up with something. I’m very excited. The production will go up in the beginning of December.

So, that’s the semester. Slightly overwhelming and terrifying. And certainly too busy for real blogging.  There may be little things here and there but really, I doubt it.

I am continuing to update the Theatre Collage blog. So please do bookmark that if you haven’t already. I post a number of things a week as I find links, quotes or images that interest and inspire. As my readings increase in the weeks to come I’m sure that I will feature quotes from books, essays and plays that I want to share.

If at any point you miss having regular blog post from me to read, or miss hearing from me, then please get in touch. I’d be happy to write you a personal blog post (they’re called emails).  And happy also to hear voices on the phone and be reminded that there is life outside of the Columbia theatre program.

back to school again

September 7, 2009