Almost 13

Almost 13 was at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in June 2024!

audience responses in Ottawa

Kathleen says: This is one of the strongest fringe shows I have seen. I try to see 20-30 a year so I don’t say that lightly. It is also incredibly heavy – all the more so because it is so well done. So definitely see it, but you may also want to plan some time to come down from it after. The actress recreates the events of the summer before she turns 13. She does this not through storytelling but by physically taking on the posture, movements and voice of each character. They are strong and easily distinguished. She loses no tension in the switches. The writing is tight and well considered. She draws a clear picture but with no risk of boredom or needless exposition. This show will suck you in, and keep you in it’s grasp until the very last moment – and for some hours afterwards. Make the space to see this one.

June 21, 2024 at 5:41 pm Lawrence says: A gem of a show. A complex and nuanced one-woman memory play about growing up in a tough neighbourhood in Brooklyn in the 1960s, with reflections on love, family, God, and other light topics, stirred together with the politics of street gangs and the gossip of nosy ladies on their stoops. Joan Kane brings it all home with grace and humour.

Before we went to Canada, we played four performances at Torn Page, the family home of Rip Torn and Geraldine Page.

audience responses in New York 2024

The accolades you’ve received for the play are well earned and richly deserved. It is an excellent, superior piece of theater in all aspects, and head and shoulders better than the crap that is out there. I go to the theater all of the time, either as a patron or a reviewer. Excellent dramatic writing, and even better performance. I saw clearly each and every character and their differences. The rape scene was masterfully staged and tastefully done. And like I mentioned, the idea of space…of another place that she dreamed of was a stark contrast to the dirty earth she was tethered to. Well done. Really well done. Tight crisp and no fat. Break legs in Ottawa and the universe. Robert Liebowitz

Your work swept us away. The power of the piece, the light that shone through so brilliantly so deeply impacts our heart, our spirit. David Rosenstock and Ginger Grace


This is a solo adaptation of the memories of a young girl’s hot, sweaty summer in Brooklyn. Can she survive being caught between a disintegrating family at home and racial violence on the streets? All she wants to do is jump in the waves at Coney Island and see the fireworks. Joan wrote the original 15 character play at the LaMama playwriting symposium in Umbria, Italy.

show program

Joan Kane (playwright & performer) is a playwright, dramaturg, actor, and educator and the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus. Joan directed Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara at HERE, Play Nice! at 59e59 theaters, I Know What Boys Want at Theatre Row, Six Characters in Search of an Author in Oslo, Norway and Kafka’s Belinda in Prague. Joan was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United  Solo Festival and was named to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by She graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and has an MFA in Directing from The New School and an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of SDC, DG, NYWITF and LPTW. Please see

Bruce A! Kraemer (director & designer) has directed and designed this show everywhere it has been. He also directed Daniel’s Law by Joan Kane at LaMaMa ETC. He has done lighting design for Soho Rep, 59e59 Theaters, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the NYC Fringe, on Theatre Row, and many others. Bruce also does TV and event lighting, audio, technical direction, stage management, production intercom and RF coordination. He has done one or another of those for the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Paralympics, the World Cup, two Papal visits, three Superbowls, six Tony Awards, ten Christmas Tree Lightings at Rockefeller Center, on Broadway, off Broadway, off off Broadway, for dance, fashion shows, art installations and hundreds of corporate events.

production history

Almost 13 was originally written by Joan Kane in the summer of 2015 at the LaMama Playwrights Symposium in Umbria, Italy with the encouragement and guidance of playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. The first version was for 15 actors. Joan directed a reading of that at LaMama ETC in February, 2016. Joan Kane later adapted the play into a solo piece and performed it, under the direction of Bruce A! Kraemer, for the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row opening in September 2019. Ego Actus remounted the show with additional material for four performances at the Episcopal Actors Guild in October 2021 and one show in the Estrogenius Festival in March 2022. We excerpted ten minutes of it for the Lower East Side festival in May 27, 2022. The full solo play was seen at 59e59 theaters in their East to Edinburgh festival in July 2022. Ego Actus then presented the play in the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 18 performances at Greenside Venues getting rave reviews. Having added new scenes, we played it in July 2023 at the Plum in Boiceville, NY, then at TheaterLab in NYC, and the Capital Fringe in Washington, DC getting more rave reviews. We finished off the 2023 international tour in the Edmonton Fringe Festival in Alberta, Canada in August at Sea Change Backstage Theatre with another rave review. In June 2024 we presented the show in New York at Torn Page and in Canada in the Ottawa Fringe Festival.

in 2023 Almost 13 was on tour!

the Plum

graphic design by Sandra Bargman

Joan Kane performed her play Almost 13 at The Plum
7 Traver Hollow Road, Boiceville, NY 12412
July 1 and 2

audience response in Boiceville

“Thank you to Joan Kane for her heartfelt story Almost 13. Joan’s presentation of a traumatic time in her childhood sparked the memories of abuse no longer in my mind, yet left unprocessed in my body. I applaud Joan’s bravery and grit in speaking her truth as it has created a new pathway of light for me and I am sure many others to begin to heal from dark secrets of the past.” With gratitude, Kathleen O’Hanlon


Joan Kane performed her play Almost 13 at Theaterlab 357 West 36th St, New York, NY 10001
July 9 and 10

Capital Fringe Festival

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Joan Kane performed her play Almost 13 in the Capital Fringe at Squirt
1050 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Washington, DC 20007

reviews in Washington DC

“Kane does an admirable job both in crafting a story with a fine and compelling arc and also in delivering the story with pathos and sincerity.” FOUR AND A HALF STARS Nicole Hertvik in DC Theatre Arts, July 17, 2023

“What shines most in “Almost 13” is the writing and the story itself.” Eric Colchamiro in MD Theatre Guide, July 22, 2023

Joan Kane performed her play Almost 13 at the Sea Change Backstage Theatre in the 2023 Edmonton Fringe Festival

review in Edmonton

“There’s hope here, really — even though it’s a rough and raw ride, this is not one to turn your head and heart away from.” Four Stars **** by Fish Griwkowsky, in the August 18 Edmonton Journal.

Almost 13 in 2022

reviews in Edinburgh

“Kane is an engaging storyteller who convincingly embodies the various characters” ***** Five Stars by Adam Thornton in Wee Review

“This is visceral, credible and well written drama, documentary delivered in part-fictional style through character acting, storytelling, occasional heart-breaking humor and a life-affirming message that lingers as we leave the theatre.” DARING WORK by Paul Levy, August 2022 in Fringe Review

“The solo performance from Joan Kane is powerful and at times deeply affecting. She never flinches though, from showing us the pain and the anguish caused by the actions of some characters. You are thrust viscerally into her shoes and cannot help but wonder how it must have been to live through the events in the play.” *** Three Stars by Des Reynolds, 9th Aug 2022 in


audience responses in Edinburgh

“Joan tells her story with great finesse, moving quickly between characters & bringing definition & accentuation to each person she portrays. Her tale of survival is beautiful & gives hope to anyone who has been through traumatic circumstances. Fantastic acting & direction.” Amanda LaddEdfringe performer, August 2022 on on the EdFringe Audience Reviews page

“Just saw @EgoActus Almost 13, deeply affecting with a truly profound closing message. You’ll be happy you’ve seen it. @GreensideVenue!!” Eleonora Saravalle, solo performer in EdFringe 2022 on Twitter

“My life is richer having seen Joan Kane’s Almost 13. I was really saddened that some of what our leader shared with us on the journey, and that the world holds space where such things happen. Nevertheless, the story become one of resilience, love and familial strength. Seeing this production enlivened my hearth through compassion and lifted my spirits through fantastically funny moments. This show is a must-see!” Clara Francesca, actor/producer August 2022

“Absolutely amazed by everything Joan is able to accomplish in this show. The characters, the movement, the emotion, the raw honesty, the constant simmering intensity throughout and the perfect ending to a heartbreaking but powerful story. Go see Almost 13!!” Mike Lemme, playwright/Edfringe performer August 2022

“I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Joan Kane expertly perform her moving and ultimately uplifting personal story last week. Take time out to spend an early evening with her as she relives a troubled coming of age time in her life. There is something in this for everyone to remember and learn from. Do Not Miss!” Carmel Owen, composer/lyricist and book writer/dramatist August 2022

“Saw @kanejoan1 @EgoActus ALMOST 13. Highly recommend. Joan tells her #truestory of survival. Mad respect Joan. As artists we take the damage & make it art. That is the craft. Love. Artfully acted & directed.  #soloshow #survivor #EdFringe22” Amanda LaddEdfringe performer, August 2022 on Twitter

“An intimate and vivid slice of 1960’s Brooklyn. You’ll feel like you’re there as Joan captivates with stories of her youth and the incredible challenges she overcame.” Nicolas D., on the EdFringe Audience Reviews page

“Joan is an incredibly charming storyteller. Whilst the story of Almost 13 is utterly heartbreaking at times, Joan performs the characters within the tale in a charming way with no judgment. This show will make you laugh and cry in equal measures but you will leave with an uplifting message. A gorgeous solo show.” Alice, on the EdFringe Audience Reviews page

audience responses in New York 2022

“Joan Kane has transformed an act of barbaric cruelty into a poetic soliloquy that she enacts with the heartfelt passion of remembrance.” Fengar Gael, noted playwright, March 2022

“In Almost 13, Joan Kane utilizes an inventive structure and precisely crafted personal moments to create a deeply affecting NYC coming of age story that will continue to resonate with you long after the show.” Judith Leora, noted playwright, March 2022

“I am still thinking about Joan’s story and amazing performance… how you could play all of those characters so distinctly is nothing short of a miracle.” Karen Foster Lehman, executive director of The Episcopal Actors Guild. October 14, 2021

Almost 13 is not a revenge story, it is a healing story.” Gil Swire, Co-Warden, Trinity Episcopal Church Canton Massachusetts. October 14, 2021

Almost 13 is a compelling life story of a little girl who finds her voice and heals our hearts.” Francis McGarryFirst Online with Fran blog

Almost 13 in 2021

We presented Almost 13 in 2021, written and performed by Joan Kane and directed and designed by Bruce A! Kraemer at the Episcopal Actors Guild at 1 East 29th St, NYC 10016 LIVE October 14, 15 & 16 at 7:30pm and on Sunday October 17 at 4:30pm. Tickets were $20.00 on


audience responses to Almost 13 in 2021

“I am still thinking about Joan’s story and amazing performance… how you could play all of those characters so distinctly is nothing short of a miracle.” Karen Foster Lehman, executive director of The Episcopal Actors Guild. October 14, 2021

Almost 13 is not a revenge story, it is a healing story.” Gil Swire, Co-Warden, Trinity Episcopal Church Canton Massachusetts. October 14, 2021

Almost 13 is a compelling life story of a little girl who finds her voice and heals our hearts.” Francis McGarryFirst Online with Fran blog October 16, 2021

Almost 13 in 2019

Almost 13 is a one woman play by an award-winning artist and company invited by the 2019 United Solo festival to return for the 10th anniversary season. Ego Actus presented Almost 13 written and performed by Joan Kane, directed & designed by Bruce A! Kraemer.

The show opened September 24, 2019 at Theater Row in the United Solo Festival and presented an encore performance October 4, 2019.

reviews in New York 2019

“This story is lovingly told by a powerful artist, one whose work has mostly been of the behind-the-scenes variety—if you like solo shows, this is definitely a performance you will want to see.” Ed Malin in Theatre Is Easy, September 26 2019

“Love heals even when the hope seems gone. When the lights went to blackout after her last brilliant and hopeful line, she came out to do her a bow to a standing ovation. Three times.”
Malini Singh McDonald in Malinism, September 30, 2019

“Joan Kane is known by theater colleagues as the go-to director who knows her business. Almost 13 proves her stellar credentials as playwright and actor.” Barbara Kahn in International Women Artists’ Salon, October 5, 2019

“Joan Kane is a powerhouse. Having lived the experience, she now relives it on stage. Her portrayal of each character is so real that you forget she is only one person.” Matt D’Silva in, October 1, 2019