Monday, February 28, 2011

"Freud's Last Session" Questions and more questions - Brilliantly played

Review by Judd Hollander
Photos by Kevin Sprague


Does God exist? Such a question has confounded man since at least the time he was capable of rational thought, and such is the question playwright Mark St. Germain takes on in his brilliantly involving and provocative play Freud's Last Session at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, making it one of the surprise hits of the season.

Set in the outskirts of London in Hampstead on September 3, 1939 when war is all but assuredly on the way, Oxford professor and author C.S. Lewis (Mark H. Dold) is summoned to the home of renowned physiatrist Sigmund Freud (Martin Rayner). Lewis expects to be called to task for satirizing Freud in his latest book. However Freud has a completely different reason for the meeting, wanting to know why Lewis, a formerly devout atheist, as Freud is, has suddenly embraced the existence of God.

The answer, Lewis says, is quite simple: at the beginning of a trip he took he did not believe, and by the end of the journey he did. Of course it is not that simple at all, as during the course of the play, Lewis lays out the step-by-step process he went through which led him to this leap of faith. It's an explanation countered at every turn by Freud, who offers questions and arguments to the contrary showing why, in his view, God simply cannot exist.

One of the reasons the play is so interesting is that the playwright, to his credit, doesn't really try to take sides regarding who is in the right; instead offering examples and possibilities in this age-old argument of logic versus faith. This argument also begins to show an insight into both men, which is explored through their conversations as they debate the issue.

Freud was forced to flee his native Vienna when the Nazis came to power, though not before having a close encounter with them. He is also now suffering terribly from oral cancer, the pain of which will soon cause him to end his life. As for the younger Lewis, he is carrying his own scars from his combat experience in the First World War; "the war to end all wars," he notes bitterly. Both men have a strong sense of dignity, yet at the same time both carry secrets they want kept hidden. Freud is tremendously dependent on his daughter, the only one he trusts to take care of him, while Lewis has a relationship with the mother of his best friend who was killed in World War One. As Freud observes, one can learn more not from what someone says, but what they chose not to say.

These insights into their personal histories, as well as continuing interruptions from the outside world (in the form of a ringing telephone, a radio announcement and an air raid warning) are constant yet realistic reminders of what's going on around them as they continue their debate each trying to make their points with fervent belief, sardonic comments and occasional humor and insight (such as Lewis remarking on the figurines on Freud's desk, or Freud explaining about an insurance salesman).

Tyler Marchant's direction is perfectly handled here, showing Freud and Lewis as wary opponents and possible colleagues, both seekers of truth in their own way. Rayner is wonderful as the aged and ailing, but still mentally clear Freud, giving no quarter in the discussion, yet with enough vulnerability to allow the audience to see behind his professional demeanor. It's a testament to the actor's work that he is able to rise above the stereotypical and much parodied version of Freud to make him instead seem quite compelling and real. It's an added bonus that the character is imbued with just enough of a sense of humor that he doesn't take himself too seriously at times.

Dold is very good as Lewis, combining earnestness coupled with experience, as well as fear of drying in the war that is to come. It is a fear that Freud, who has resigned himself to the fact that he will die one day soon, no longer has. Lewis also carries with him a quiet calmness when he talks about his faith, an interesting change from the stereotypical fire and brimstone believer - also a frequent subject of parody (Lewis even hates hymns!).

Brian Prather's set of Freud's study is very nice, with its large glass windows and shelves filled with files, books and other brick-a-brac one would expect to find in a psychiatrist's office. Mark Mariani's costumes work well, sound design by Beth Lake is excellent and the lighting by Clifton Taylor is good.

As someone once said, it's not about finding the prize at the end of the quest, but rather it's the journey that's important; and Freud's Last Session has quite the interesting journey indeed. Good work by all involved and very highly recommended.

Freud's Last Session
By Mark St. Germain
Suggested by "The Question of God" by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.
Directed by Tyler Merchant
Set Design: Brian Prather
Costume Design: Mark Mariani
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Sound Design: Beth Lake
Production Stage Manager: Kate J. Cudworth

Featuring: Mark H. Dold (C.S. Lewis), Martin Rayner (Sigmund Freud)

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater
West Side YMCA
10 West 64th Street (between Central Park West and Broadway)

Tickets: 866-811-4111 or www.freudslastsession.com
Running time: 85 minutes, no intermission

Open Run

"Things To Ruin: The Songs of Joe Iconis" Comes to Le Poisson Rouge Tonight

Things To Ruin: The Songs of Joe Iconis is having a return engagement this Spring.

The four upcoming performances at Le Poisson Rouge will celebrate the recent release of the Things To Ruin cast album by Sh-K-Boom/ Ghostlight Records, and will feature many of the original cast members. Performances are on Monday February 28 at 10pm, Monday March 7 at 7:30pm, Sunday March 20 at 10:30pm and Monday March 28 at 10:30pm.

Things To Ruin is an incendiary collection of songs by Kleban and Larson Award Winner Joe Iconis (The Black Suits, ReWrite, The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, The Rock and Roll Jamboree, Bloodsong of Love). It is a theatrical rock concert about human beings who are messy, emotional, drugged up, knocked down, inspired, electric and who don't have nearly enough time to cause the kind of commotion they so desperately need to. Performed by a cast of viciously talented young singers and a highly flammable four-piece band led by Joe himself, Things To Ruin rocks with an occasionally profane and always heartfelt explosion of music and high drama.

Things To Ruin has previously been seen at the Second Stage Theatre, The Zipper Factory, Joe’s Pub and Ars Nova. The Le Poisson Rouge run will reunite much of the original cast. The show's stars include Nick Blaemire (Glory Days), Carrie Manolakos (Wicked), Eric William Morris (Mamma Mia), Lance Rubin (The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks), Jason SweetTooth Williams (The Trouble With Doug), Starr Busby (Caroline or Change), and Katrina Rose Dideriksen (Hairpsray). Things To Ruin is directed by John Simpkins (Bloodsong of Love) with musical supervision by Matt Hinkley (Rooms). The show is produced by Sh-K-Boom/ Ghostlight Records and Sara Katz (Rock of Ages).

The show features the songs: “I Was Born This Morning (The Cicada Song),” “Mamma, Cut Me Deeper!” “Nerd Love,” “The War Song,” “Good For You,” “Asleep On My Arm,” “Everybody’s At The Bar (Without Me),” “The Guide To Success,” “Head Shot,” “The Whiskey Song,” “Son Of A Gun,” “Dodge Ball,” “Albuquerque Anyway,” “Just Means,” “Helen,” “Honey,” “The Bar Song,” “Almost There,”, and “Never Heard Nothing”.

“Humorous, vital music that kicks 1960’s-style pop tunefulness with hard post-punk beats. Joe Iconis recalls the excitement that that surrounded Marc Shaiman, Jonathan Larson and Jason Robert Brown. I would call Things To Ruin the beginning of something, except that it is already well underway.” - The New York Times

Sunday, February 27, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - George Ridgeway of "Inside Straight"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: George Ridgeway (writer/performer)
Show: INSIDE STRAIGHT

How did you first get involved in theater?

Originally, I was in media work, then film-making, which led to stage acting.

Who are your biggest influences?

For solo work, Mike Daisy and Anna Deavere Smith.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Johnny Ace is a street-smart surveillance expert. He is everybody’s Big Brother in a world with cameras everywhere, where bosses watch their employees on their computers, landlords have cameras in the walls, people track each other on the Internet, and your doctor may even put a camera up your ass. Johnny tells it like it is as he tracks, with pulsating humor and then deep anguish, the life-and-death story of a girl on the run in our world with a thousand eyes.

What inspired you to write it?

Through my narrator (Johnny Ace), I probe a central issue in the way we live: how much privacy (and sanity) can we hang onto as high technology pushes ahead all around us. Are we losing our “inner life” (and happiness) for the sake of high-tech gadgets?

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Letty Cruz (my director) and I have worked on different variations of this show for several years.

What’s next for you after FRIGID?

Possibly expand and develop this show further. I also have other stage and film interests that I’m eager to pursue.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

That in a high-tech world, we need some privacy to enjoy life. And that through the laughs and story of this show, people will realize that life without a creative inner life is a real drag and a hell of a lot less fun.

Inside Straight
Written by George Ridgeway & Directed by Letty Cruz
Presented by Thousand Eyes Productions, New York, NY

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$15

Fri 2/25 @ 6pm, Sat 2/26 @ 10pm, Wed 3/2 @ 6pm, Sat 3/5 @ 5:30pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 2:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - The Bitter Poet

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Luis Cubillos


Name: The Bitter Poet
Show: Looking For Love In All The Wrong Black Box Performance Spaces
Website: thebitterpoet.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

When I was seven, I played a Lost Boy in a community theatre production of Peter Pan.

Who are your biggest influences?

Lou Reed, Jonathon Richman, Jim Morrison, Nick Cave, William Shatner, Jackie Gleason

Tell me a little bit about your show.

A poetry reading that mixes red shoes, black leather pants, a gold tux jacket, angst and an electric guitar. A high-energy, irreverent presentation of poems concerning the search for True Love and the contortionists you meet along the way. Poetry has never been this hot, angry, desperate, loud, sweet or true.

What inspired you to write it?

A broken heart and a fascination with charismatic sideshow performers.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

This show is nothing more than a poet, his poems, his guitar, his amp, and of course, his costume.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I'm scheduled to spend the spring recording and releasing a CD.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

As you listen to my poems, if you know the words, sing along...

The Bitter Poet: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Black Box Performance Spaces
Presented by The Bitter Poet, New York, NY

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$10

Fri 2/25 @ 10:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 8:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 9pm, Sat 3/5 @ 4pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 5:30pm

Saturday, February 26, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Akia of "Goodnight Lovin' Trail"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Akia, Director/Producer
Show: Goodnight Lovin’ Trail
Website: http://www.risingsunnyc.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My mom was a jack of all trade, dancer, writer, teacher and my father was a musician. My mom made sure to expose me to as much culture and options as possible. I first started out as a dancer, and then found my way into theatre. I really started becoming serious about theatre around the age of 15, and I directed my first student piece at 16. I haven’t stopped creating some sort of theatre since then.

Who are your biggest influences?

So many people, I try really hard to surround myself with creative people in my everyday life. I’m really fortunate to be a part of an amazing ensemble of artists in Rising Sun Performance Company and a part of the Off-Off-Broadway community at large. I’m inspired by my collaborators on this project and my surroundings of New York City. I try to soak it all in Music, Dance, Theatre, Art, New York City culture, the list goes on and on. I think as a director you really need to know be a potpourri of styles, influences. Open to anything that comes your way.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Goodnight Lovin’ Trail is a subtle and touching drama that takes place at a truck stop diner in West Texas, where two desperate and lonely strangers find redemption in each other's eyes while discussing a stolen guitar. The play explores raw human emotions and consequences while these two desperate characters navigate and come to terms with the choices they've made on the road of life.

What led you to direct it?

Our 2004 production was originally directed by another company member, but she moved out of state, and we needed someone to direct our subsequent remount in 2009. Because of my long time relationship with Nic Mevoli and John Patrick Bray, I decided I wanted to take over directing so that I could work with the both of them again.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I have a brilliant stage manager who is doing double duty as an understudy - Lindsay Beecher, she is an ensemble member of Rising Sun and our company’s production manager. She's been with the company since 2009.

Olivia Rorick is playing the role of “Lee” and has been performing the role since 2009. Nic Mevoli is playing the role of “Coffee & Cigarettes” and has been playing this role since 2004, he was worked with the company since 2003 and we’ve been long time collaborators on many projects. John Patrick Bray has been working with us as a playwright since 2003, and recently came on as staff as our Literary Manager.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

So many things! We are an ensemble company in residence at Horse Trade Theater Group on the Lower East Side. This is our 10th anniversary season and we have some really exciting things planned! February 28th we are having an Oscars Viewing Party/Fundraiser, March through May we are having
FREE monthly One-Act Readings that solicit audience feedback and help us select works for full production in July. June 22nd is our 10th Anniversary Party and Mash Up performance featuring a selection of works from our past seasons. July we are having our 5th Annual One-Act Performance Series, and we are have two long term mainstage productions that are so exciting I can’t talk about them yet! Whew, as you can see, a whole lot is coming up for us!

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience,what would it be?

First off, please support Off-Off Broadway! We aren’t just hobbyists, but artists taking risks, working hard and making really great theatre! Please come out and see Goodnight Lovin’ Trail! We would love to meet you in person and hear what you think of the show!

Goodnight Lovin’ Trail
Written by John Patrick Bray & Directed by Akia
Presented by Rising Sun Performance Company, New York, NY

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$12

Wed 2/23 @ 11pm, Sat 2/26 @ 6:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 6:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 8pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 3:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Denmo Ibrahim of "FUNNY a trunk show"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Wesley Cabral


Name: Denmo Ibrahim
Show: FUNNY a trunk show
Website: www.adenmoproject.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Well, I had wanted to be a US Olympic gymnast but was too pudgy. So I decided to be a famous doctor. But the site of blood made me sick. Then I realized what I really wanted to do was be a shopkeeper in Italy, but I don't speak Italian. So naturally theatre became my heartbeat -- it was the only way could I be everything and anything all at once.

Who are your biggest influences?

Carol Burnett, Jacques Lecoq, my mom, San Francisco bus drivers, Lucille Ball, Bill Cosby, the color orange, Nina Simone, Bugs Bunny, organic produce and you.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

FUNNY A TRUNK SHOW tells the ridiculous story of Mohamed who, after numerous denials at the immigration agency -- (not legible, not the proper forms of ID, used pencil instead of pen) -- returns and this time, brings a trunk full of life -- songs, dreams, memories. A hilarious portrait of the absurdities foreigners deal with in America on a day-to-day basis.

Inspired by a true story, FUNNY A TRUNK SHOW looks at what we leave behind in our search for the American dream -- from the perspective of the eternal foreigner living in the U.S. FUNNY A TRUNK SHOW smashes traditional clown, vaudeville, and bouffant with real life accounts of an incredibly heartbreaking tale -- a patriotic Egyptian immigrant, who will always be seen as an outsider despite his ability to vote. Funny, moving, and undeniably real.

What inspired you to write it?

The truth -- I so badly wanted to make something up that was clever, witty, insightful. In the end, it was the truth that won. You can't make this stuff up. I took a heartbreaking tale full of love, loss, paranoia, and a battle of custody and made it ridiculous.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Christina Augello -- Artistic Director at EXIT Theatre in SF -- has supported my work for over 8 years. This year A Denmo Project is a proud resident at the EXIT. www.sffringe.org

Christian Cagigal is my collaborator for the piece. He basically says 'that's awesome', 'that's better', or 'what about this'? He helps make things happen. I love him to pieces. He's also a magician and a performer who makes awesome things happen. www.christiancagigal.com

Wesley Cabral - Road Crew - he schleps heavy things from here to there. He designed a simple set we can travel with and makes great pancakes. What more can you ask for? www.wesleycabral.com

Sean O'Leary - Graphic Designer -- He created a kick ass poster for FUNNY -- and consulted with me on the script through the process. Based in Minneapolis, Sean is a force to reckon with.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

FUNNY tours the U.S. ! We're going to Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, and San Francisco!

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

With a revolution in Cairo occurring right now and the Middle East at the heart of such charge, FUNNY an excellent way to digest, process, and invite humor to parts of ourselves that we have always considered foreign or those we know of that never belonged. You have 6 shots to see this show.

FUNNY a trunk show
Presented by Denmo Ibrahim, San Francisco, CA

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$15

Thu 2/24 @ 9pm, Sat 2/26 @ 5:30pm, Sun 2/27 @ 5:30pm, Tue 3/1 @ 7:30pm, Sat 3/5 @ 1pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 4pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Matthew Wells of "Scarlet Woman"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Anna Dvorak


Name: Matthew Wells, playwright
Show: Scarlet Woman
Website (can either be a personal one or one for the show, or nothing, if you'd prefer): Sunset Gun Productions and my Personal Blog

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I was acting in plays in high school. My senior year, we did a watered-down two-hour version of Tom Jones, and by ad-libbing all the sex and innuendo back into it, we turned it into a three-hour romp. During the show, I found myself suggesting ad-libs to the other actors, and when they got laughs, I said to myself, “How hard can it be to write a play, really?” I found out almost immediately that the answer was “Pretty damn hard, actually. But fun.”

Who are your biggest influences?

Shakespeare. Shaw. WH Auden. Henry Fielding. Howard Hawks. Buster Keaton. And (not surprisingly, given the style of Scarlet Woman) Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Scarlet Woman was conceived as an homage to actresses like Marie Windsor and Anne Savage, and movies like "Out Of The Past" and "Murder My Sweet" -- a film noir fun ride with flashbacks and flashy patter where the femmes fatales take center stage. It’s a stylish embrace of all the conventions of the genre, and while it may comment on them now and then, it takes them very seriously.

What inspired you to write it?

Candy Simmons of SunsetGun contacted me with an idea she had about a two-actress noir piece. After talking about it and mapping out a proposal, I went away and wrote a first draft which wound up having nothing to do with our original idea. But Candy liked it, so we’ve been reworking it and finessing it ever since.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I’ve known Candy Simmons (the producer and co-star) for 10 years and Rob O’Neill (the director) for 20. I met Rob when he was hired to direct my play The Mildred Piece, and Candy is a fabulous actress who has been in a couple of my shows, notably Donna Paradise in 2005. This is my first time working with Megan Hill, but she’s right up there with Candy as far as talent goes. And our stage manager, Jenn Tash, has been an anchor and a godsend all through the rehearsal period.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

My play Countrie Matters is being rewritten for a reading in LA this spring; I’m working on a novel that will be finished in March; and sometime in August, when I get back from a trip to Australia, I’ll be doing readings of two plays about corporate America, Business As Usual and Not For Hire.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Film noir is ultimately about what a man really wants in a woman. There’s always something to be said for settling down with a dutiful, faithful, loving sweetheart; but there’s nothing like a double-crossing, faithless, self-serving predator to make a guy feel like life is worth dying for.

Scarlet Woman
Written by Matthew Wells & Directed by Rob O’Neil
Presented by SunsetGun Productions, Minneapolis, MN

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$16

Wed 2/23 @ 10:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 1pm, Sun 2/27 @ 5:30pm, Tue 3/1 @ 7:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 6pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 2:30pm

Friday, February 25, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Olivia Lehrman of "Pretty & Papi"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Olivia Lehrman of Awkward (At Best) Productions
Show: Pretty & Papi

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Awkward (At Best) was formed after Cirque Boom closed its doors in Brooklyn. We had done two full-length shows under the direction of Ruth Juliet Wikler, and since then we have been missing the outlet for social and psychological commentary that she was so good at highlighting through circus and theatre.

Who are your biggest influences?

For inspiration while creating this piece, we were procrastinating by watching Steven Colbert, Flight of the Conchords, The Smothers Brothers, & The WauWau Sisters.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

It's absurd! It's a lot of our biggest fears taken to their extremes, of what is expected of us in relationship, and how far we are willing (or not wiling) to go to have that sought-after love relationship. We watch the protagonist dream of her perfect man, and then go on a series of dates, and then daydreams about how their future would be if that first date led to a second, and then naturally to death do them part. This causes all kinds of problems for her psyche, as well as her relationship with online dating.

What inspired you to create it?

We actually began creating a reality show addressing all kinds of racial stereotypes, but when we started studying the drives and addictions to that genre, we realized that deep down, it was largely about how much is going on inside of our own heads during all these personal interactions we experience everyday.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Cody Schreger is another member of Awkward (At Best) Productions. She was another member of Cirque Boom back in 2003, and we have created short duo & trio pieces with her since then. Cody was part of the table work discussing the style and themes, and then Rebecca Houlihan joined us for the creative process. Rebecca and Leah toured together with Imago Theatre. Saida Trujillo will be coming in to help reign us all in.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Two of us have been invited to do aerial and clown work in Edinburgh this summer. One of us is planning world domination in the world of musical improv.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

YOU WILL NOT BE BORED if you come to SEE THIS SHOW!

Pretty & Papi
Written by Leah James Abel, Cody Schreger, and Olivia Lehrman
Presented by Awkward (At Best), Brooklyn, NY

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$14

Thu 2/24 @ 6pm, Sun 2/27 @ 7pm, Mon 2/28 @ 6pm, Fri 3/4 @ 7:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 2:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Ben Thompson of "Fucking Girls"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Ben Thompson
Show: Fucking Girls
Website: www.FuckingGirlsShow.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My mom forced me to audition for a children’s theatre production in 3rd grade. I loved it and I’ve been doing it since.

Who are your biggest influences?

Shakespeare and Judd Apatow

Tell me a little bit about your show.

A guy who breaks up with his girlfriend and then tries to sleep with past girlfriends to get over her. It’s a classic tale.

What inspired you to write it?

This play is a lot of fun and I actually found myself laughing out loud while writing it. I suppose what drew me to write it is just how confusing and absurd love can be... and how seriously we tend to take it. I can be particularly guilty of taking myself too seriously and that's usually when I get myself into the biggest messes. It's not until I step back and look at my actions that I realize how much of a total fool I’ve been. I’ve made some of the biggest mistakes in my life when I’ve tried to fight or deny an answer that is right in front of me, staring me in the face. That being said, I’d like audiences to walk away from this play knowing that when you’re happy, be happy and don’t worry about how happy you could be.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Everyone involved in this project is a classmate and friend from Boston University. We loved working together when were in school and now are making a point of continuing to collaborate in the professional realm.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Hopefully, the show will grow legs and find itself in other festivals in New York or elsewhere. Other than that, I hope to be so lucky to continue to make new, meaningful theatre with my friends and collaborators and who knows where that will lead.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

I hope you enjoy the show and continue to support live theatre and the work of young artists!

Fucking Girls
Written by Ben Thompson & Directed by Paul Leopold
Presented by My Lieges, Brooklyn, NY

The Kraine Theater (95 East 4th Street)

$10

Wed 2/23 @ 6pm, Sat 2/26 @ 4pm, Wed 3/2 @ 7:30pm, Sat 3/5 @ 1pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 5:30pm

Horse Trade Theatre Group and RadioTheatre to Present H.P. Lovecraft Festival March 17-April 3

The Drama Desk nominated, New York Innovative Theatre Award winning RadioTheatre will present six of the greatest stories written by the grand master of horror himself, HP Lovecraft, live and onstage for the first time ever as part of THE H.P. LOVECRAFT FESTIVAL, March 17-April 3 at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street).

PROGRAM A
March 17, 18, 19, & 31 @ 8pm
March 20 @ 4pm
April 2 @ 8pm

Dagon
A man is shipwrecked on a strange island where he finds a lost world of fish people.

From Beyond
A mad scientist goes where no man has gone before.

The Beast in the Cave
A lost cave explorer is attacked by something in the dark

Pickman’s Model
Just how does the artist Pickman get such remarkable detail in his horrifying paintings?

PROGRAM B:
March 24, 25, & 26 @ 8pm
April 1 @ 8pm
April 3 @ 4pm

The Dunwich Horror
A seminal work in Lovecraft's famous Cthulu mythos wherein a backwoods family worships the ancient ones who will return one day to destroy mankind.

The Music of Erich Zann
A weird pianist plays maddening music that is indescribable.

Tickets ($18/$15 students) are available online at www.horseTRADE.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All performances are at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery).

Now in it’s 7th Season Radiotheatre combines the artistry created during the Golden years of Radio when Sound was king and Story Telling, along with great voices, music and sound effects…as well as, the individual imaginations of its audiences…were the primary ingredients used to provide a memorable, live, theatrical experience. Of course, we do like to add some 21st Century touches…such as cinematic scripts, fully scored orchestral sound tracks which you won‘t hear anywhere else, a plethora of aural effects and, sometimes, a few visuals, too…creating a unique production with non-traditional, modern, innovative stage presentation!

COMING FALL 2011: THE H.P. LOVECRAFT FESTIVAL continues! In an unprecedented event in live theatre... Dan Bianchi has adapted and scored for the stage 50 of Lovecraft's greatest literary works and for the next few seasons, Radiotheatre is proud to present them in a series of world premieres. For more info visit www.radiotheatrenyc.com

HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP is a self-sustaining theater development group; with a focus on new work, it has produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater. Horse Trade’s Resident Artist Program offers a home to a select group of Independent Theater artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy. It is also the home of FRIGID New York – the first and only festival of its kind in New York City.

FRIGID New York Interview - Paul Hutcheson, Host of the "Canuck Cabaret"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Paul Hutcheson, Host, Producer
Show: CANUCK CABARET

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I made my school laugh in a Grade three speech competition. I have been hooked on performance ever since.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influences would include: Margaret Cho, Bill Cosby, John Lithgow, Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne, Bea Arthur, Jim Carey, Martha Plimpton, Sandra Shamus.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Every show starts @ MIDNIGHT at UNDER ST. MARKS. Canadians, who have traveled by bus, train & plane for hours… Canadians living in NY, and New Yorkers who are honorary Canadians… Artist who love what they do and will provide 8 amazing cabaret shows. Every show is different and Canadians are rumored to be talented.

What inspired you to create it?

Inspiration came when I brought my solo show On Second Thought to the Frigid Festival in 2009. I loved the spirit and energy of the festival and the organizers are terrific people. I thought late night events would be a great addition! I came up with the concept of Canuck Cabaret. Canadians have a great energy and will warm up the nights at Under St. Marks theatre.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Sharon Nowlan has spent the past 10 years performing and costume designing for theatre and film. For the past five years she has taken her vast repertoire of novelty acts on the road. Under the stage persona Prairie Fire, she has toured the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit in solo shows inspired by dance, cabaret, vaudeville, and European and American burlesque. Sharon is thrilled to be back at Under St. Marks, performing in the Canuck Cabaret for it’s second year at the FRIGID Festival!

Jillian Thomas - The Queen of Pot Comedy hosts The Hot Box,
the longest running pot comedy show in North America. She's charmed audiences across Canada, New York and England with her high energy, wit & sarcasm. Jillian has appeared on The Toronto Show, The Buzz, MTV Live & Much Music's, Love Court. "Who needs dick jokes, this woman has balls" Dave Morris, Eye Weekly

What's next for you after FRIGID?

This Spring the CANUCK CABARET will travel to Montreal, Ottawa & Toronto.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

The Cabaret is going to be amazing. A night you won’t soon forget.


UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

Pay what you will!

2/23, 2/24, 2/26, 2/28, 3/2, 3/4, 3/5 @ Midnight @ Under the St. Marks Theatre

FRIGID New York Interview - Ryan Emmons and Julie Congress of "The Oregon Trail: Quest for the West!"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Ryan Emmons


Name: Ryan Emmons and Julie Congress
Show: The Oregon Trail: Quest for the West!
Website: www.no11productions.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

We were both theatre majors at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. We loved Skidmore, particularly the collaborative and company driven philosophy of the theatre department. Senior year, we decided to form No.11 Productions to continue developing as artists and as a means to make our own opportunities. No.11 was formed in the summer of 2008 and we have done ten full-length productions, a reading series and a music video. For past two and a half years we have been dedicated to creating theatre that brings to the forefront the strength of the human spirit and the importance of hope. A kind of theatre we call “Theatre of the Unexpected.”

Who are your biggest influences?

We are greatly influenced by the SITI Company and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. We aspire towards the ensemble approach to theatre these companies represent as well as their precision and constant ability to push boundaries.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

The Oregon Trail: Quest for the West! is a new interactive musical comedy about five brave pioneers heading west to fulfill their manifest destiny. This is the world premier of this exciting show inspired by the iconic computer game. The show is a game for the audience and their decisions effect what happens on stage and what their final score will be.

What inspired you to write it?

The Oregon Trail computer game was a shared experience across the country for people of our generation. We all have inside jokes and stories about playing this iconic game but it has never been addressed on stage. We are excited to present something that is not only a fun interactive experience but also highlights the strength of the human spirit and the importance of hope. It brings to the forefront ideas of Manifest Destiny and how this goal-oriented philosophy has, 162 years later, stuck with us.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

The book for the musical was written by founding company members Julie Congress, Ryan Emmons and Jen Neads, with Zachary Fithian. The music was written by Danny Tieger and Rebecca Greenstein (who also wrote music for No.11 Productions’ FRIGID production of Medea). It is directed by Ryan Emmons and the cast features John Bambery, Julie Congress, Haley Greenstein, Roger Mulligan, Max Schneller and Brian Walters, many of whom have worked with the No.11 consistently during the past two and a half years.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

We are currently working on Places, an episodic soap opera for the stage that performs the second Sunday each month at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place).

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Come with a sense of adventure! It is only with your help and well thought out choices that these brave pioneers will make it to Oregon. They must brave rivers and snakebites and dysentery… but you can see them to safety on the Oregon Trail!

The Oregon Trail: Quest for the West!
Presented by No. 11 Productions, New York, NY

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$13

Wed 2/23 @ 7:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 7pm, Mon 2/28 @ 6pm, Thu 3/3 @ 10:30pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 1pm

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Paul Van Dyck of "Paradise Lost"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Andrea Hausmann


Name: Paul Van Dyck
Show: Paradise Lost by John Milton

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Grade 5, Emmet Otter's Christmas; I played Emmet. Since then I received an Honors Degree from Queen's University and have been writing, directing, producing, and performing theatre for the past ten years.

Who are your biggest influences?

John Milton and Jim Henson

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Paradise Lost is a critically acclaimed, one-man, multi-media, theatrical adaption of the greatest epic poem ever written. It incorporates puppets, and computer animation to create an entirely new theatrical experience.

What inspired you to write it?

I was traveling through Africa and came across a copy of the poem in a village in Ghana. As a way of flirting with a cute Norwegian traveler, I read it to her on a beach. I don't know what happened to the Norwegian, but the poem and I had a profound love affair, and I knew then I would have to adapt it for the stage.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Jody Burkholder, is an awarding winning lighting designer, and has been my lighting and production designer for the past seven plays I have created.

Jeremy Eliosoff, is a visual artist and computer animator whose work can be seen in several Disney films, The Fantastic Four, and The Watchmen. He's been my best friend since high school and has created computer animation for several of my plays. This is my first collaboration with Lyne Paquette, puppet designer.

Danielle-Ariel Caddell-Malenfant has worked as a Stage Manager for several plays I have created.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I will be directing a production of Perter Shaffer's Equus in Montreal in April and then touring the awarding winning one-woman burlesque play, Miss Sugarpuss Must Die!, which I co-wrote and directed.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience,what would it be?

If you're a fan of John Milton, you must see this play. If you're not a fan, you will be after seeing this play!

Paradise Lost
By John Milton
Adapted, Directed, and Performed by Paul Van Dyck
Lighting design by Jody Burkholder
Produced by ACM Productions as part of the 2011 FRIGID New York Festival

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$15

February 23 10:30pm
February 25 7:30pm
February 28 10:30pm
March 4 10:30pm
March 6 7:00pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Liz Wasser of "Fate, Fury, and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Liz Wasser
Show: Fate, Fury, and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret
Website: frigidnewyork.info

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I know it sounds cliche, but I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't performing. My first actual performance was at a ballet recital when I was three. Throughout the whole dance, I stood there and screamed at the top of my lungs because I really wanted string cheese. My parents realized that acting classes would probably be a better fit. I've been addicted to the stage ever since.

Who are your biggest influences?

Obviously Bette Midler is on a level that every eccentric, Jewish cabaret chick like me will always spire to but can never hope to reach. She's a musical performer, storyteller and comedian and she's always unapologetically herself. I also had several professors at Muhlenberg College who inspired me in a huge way: they always encouraged me to trust my gut as an actor and to write/perform my own material. And Benedict Cumberbatch. His name always inspires greatness.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

In some ways it's what you would expect from a downtown cabaret with showtunes and fun stories and plenty of gay, campy, fun. In some ways, it's a mythological clusterf**k: the Furies are my backup singers and answer three questions of my choosing throughout the performance. There's also a Gary Oldman montage. So, you know... there's something for everybody.

What inspired you to write it?

It's strange: it's my first cabaret performance and those are always deeply personal, so in some ways I've been writing it my whole life. As far as inspiration for the Furies, I really owe a lot of credit to Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman. In his books, there are these Women (or three aspects of the same woman) known as Three who appear as the Fates, the Furies, the Weird Sisters and as the Crone, Mother, Whore incarnations of women in literature. They're all knowing, terrifying and epically compelling. The idea of the "three that are one, the one that is three" really intrigued me and made me wonder who they would appear to me if I ever met them. Obviously, I ended up using my three monstrously talented gay friends from college.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

My director, Amanda, and I met in college and have worked in Fringe Festivals in the past: she was the one who convinced me to fully flesh out the piece and submit it to Frigid. The gorgeous gentlemen playing the Furies and the exquisite lady on the keyboard are also friends of mine from school. My producer is my roommate. I'm just really lucky that I know so many intelligent, talented people, I guess.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I'd love to move to London and create some theatre there. I have severe anglophilia; sometimes I feel like I'm a character in a Chekhov play and London is my Moscow. In reality, I'm really just focusing on moving my new couches to Astoria.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Something will happen. It will probably be good, but it will DEFINITELY be a hoot. In the immortal words of Lady Gaga, "Let's have some fun, this beat is sick, I want to take a ride on your disco stick."

Fate, Fury and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret
Presented by The Furies Theatre Company New York, NY

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$15

Thu 2/24 @ 8pm, Fri 2/25 @ 11pm, Sun 2/27 @ 12:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 9:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 8pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Lauren Rayner of "Mendacity"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Lauren Rayner
Show: Mendacity
Website: www.laurenrayner.com/mendacity

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I started performing when I was 5 years old. When I was 15, I directed my first show (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, of course) and took it to the Mary Folger Shakespeare Festival in Washington D.C. The show won festival awards for “Best Actress”, “Best Ensemble” and the “Brian Cabe Award for Best Direction”. The magic of directing and producing that piece stuck with me and I have continued developing myself as a producer and director ever since.

Who are your biggest influences?

Tennessee Williams, Pina Bausch, Julie Taymor, Aaron Posner, and of course Shakespeare…

Tell me a little bit about your show.

MENDACITY is a solo word collage performance piece detailing a young woman’s harmful sexual experiences, mostly surrounding two rapes by close friends, and the aftermath that ensues with her friends, family, and fragmented/unsettled mentality. This young woman does not have a name or identity, which is explored as she realizes “I have been possessed for years years I have been possessed other people voices parts selves have lived inside me no wonder I don’t know who I am I don’t know who I am I have never known.” MENDACITY will use various performance mediums, such as vocal performance, experimental sound and visuals, and precise physical movement to relay her story.

What inspired you to write it?

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, about 80% of rape cases are women aged 24 and under, and that statistic becomes even more staggering when we realize that most rapes of young women go unreported out of fear, disgust, shame, and denial. This woman’s story was inspired by personal experiences and other stories shared by young women around the United States. I spoke to women at support groups, Take Back the Night, performances of The Vagina Monologues, etc., and their words unfolded into the word-collage that the piece is now.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I wrote and directed the piece, performed by Ali Kresch, produced by Lauren Rayner Productions in association with Rachel Kerry and Benjamin Mack. A major element of this piece will be movement-based with choreography by Shiloh Goodin, as well as an integrated video and sound design by Jay Kilachand and Jonathan Hull, respectively. Rachel Kerry is a stage director, writer, actor, and multimedia designer. In 2009, she staged a 175-person dance in Times Square for Guy Laliberte’s Moving Stars and Earth for Water Benefit Concert. She worked closely with Choreographer Sean Roschman, Cirque du Soleil Creative Director Fernand Rainville and Los Angeles-based production company Control Room to create a performance that was covered by the Associated Press and seen globally. Benjamin Mack is a creative consultant specializing in music, film, and video production based out of New York; since 2007 he has been a co-producer for RedLabelFilms production company.

For MENDACITY, due to the sensitive nature of the piece, it is imperative that all artists involved harbor a personal connection to the subject (either by proxy or first hand). All of the producers individually signed on to the project after a private reading with me. Many of the other artistic contributors are those that I have worked with before, for example, the sound designer Jonathan Hull and his band Momentary Prophets collaborated on a song for a flash-mob that I produced in Washington Square Park. However, producer Benjamin Mack recommended video designer Jay Kilachand from his work with Mr. Kilachand’s company RedLabelFilms. Jay Kilachand then recommended Luke Kanter, a recent graduate of Yale’s film department who has worked directly with Sarath Patel (the sound designer for Theatre C’s 3-time NY Innovative Theatre Award Winner ‘Jesse Zaritt’s BINDING’, which I associate produced). Producer Rachel Kerry brought on choreographer Shiloh Goodin, a passionate dancer who brings immeasurable life to the piece with movement. Ali Kresch is a performer that I have directed before in a movement-piece in Central Park. All of above are emerging New York City artists.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I will be producing a performance art installation for Calla Videt (of PegLeg Productions) commissioned by The Culture Project. I have previously produced shows with Ms. Videt, including ONE ARM AND A LEG, which was presented at the HERE Arts Center and Theater for the New City.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

It is important to note that this show is not about seeing someone get raped or re-living the sexual assaults in any way. The piece examines the reactions of friends, family, lovers and how the community views a victim of sexual assault. MENDACITY has moved from readings in Los Angeles to readings and a workshop in New York. At a reading in Los Angeles, we had two women stand up and share their stories for the first time. It was a moment that I will never forget – something that I thought could only occur at events like Take Back the Night or support groups. At every presentation of this piece, there has always been a strong sense of community and openness in the room. This piece has a jarring and painful way of opening up a dialogue about very uncomfortable topics and sends the audience a strong message that it is okay to talk about it. Plus, the integration of all of the multi-media components just makes it fascinating to watch this woman on her rebellious journey to finding hope.

Mendacity
Written & Directed by Lauren Rayner New York, NY

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$15

Thu 2/24 @ 9pm, Sat 2/26 @ 8:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 9pm, Thu 3/3 @ 6pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 5:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Jennifer Lieberman of "Year of the Slut"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Lindsay Goldman


Name: Jennifer Lieberman
Show: YEAR OF THE SLUT
Website: www.yearoftheslut.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My great aunt Shirley was a seamstress and dresser at a community theater in Toronto. When I was a little girl she would get me season tickets to the shows and take me backstage to meet the cast and see the costumes. I guess that was when my love affair with the Theatre began.

Who are your biggest influences?

Wow, tough one... My Grandmother. My best friend Aron who I lost 8 years ago. Madonna.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Year of the Slut is a one-woman show about a naive Jewish virgin from Canada who moves to New York looking for love in all the wrong places... and finds herself. I play 10 outrageous characters and have woven some of my provocative poetry throughout the story.

What inspired you to write it?

I had an idea to write this piece as a novel initially. A friend suggested I write myself a solo show to showcase my work and Year of the Slut just seemed perfect, so I ran with it.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Initially I worked with Jeff Murray directing the 1st workshop of this piece; we rehearsed for 3 weeks, mostly refining the story. After months of rewrites I worked with Vincent Tula for the second workshop, who helped me with my characters and finding my "voice". We rehearsed about two weeks. Due to lack of funding I wasn't able to get more rehearsal time with my directors so we huslted and made due with the time we had. Most of my rehearsal process was on my own in my living room. It was kind of lonely and made me miss being in a show with a cast. CJ Vanston (A Mighty Wind) composed the piano music underscoring my poetry, and Danielle Hobbs choreographed the movement that goes with it.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I will be taking Year of the Slut on the road after Frigid. I am also going to be shooting a TV Pilot in Los Angeles in March.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

"Let me entertain you. Let me see you smile. Let me entertain you and we'll have a real good time!" - Gypsy Rose Lee

Year of the Slut
Written by Jennifer Lieberman
Presented by JJ Rockstar Productions Maple, ON Canada

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$15

Thu 2/24 @ 9:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 11pm, Sun 2/27 @ 3:30pm, Tue 3/1 @ 6:30pm, Fri 3/4 @ 11pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 9:30pm

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Steve Boleantu of "TIRED WAVE STOP!"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Karl Ang


Name: Steve Boleantu
Show: TIRED WAVE STOP!
Website: www.tiredwavestop.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Mainly in high school and through the Sears Ontario Drama Festival - where at least 23 other secondary schools compete in three rounds by district, region, then provincially. Our school made it to the provincials each year, so there was always room for playing.

Who are your biggest influences?

- My father for pushing me competitively in sailing

- My high school drama teacher/director for her passion and military-like drive for commitment to the craft of acting and the arts

Tell me a little bit about TIRED WAVE STOP!

An old curmudgeon, the Sea Captain, searches for his mermaid-wife. He despises dry land, living by a strict code: solitary life at sea... until he discovers their baby aboard, who is land-obsessed, forcing the Sea Captain to examine the costs and rewards of his stubbornness, aboard his little boat.

What inspired you to write it?

I've wanted for awhile to write a father-son story based on my relationship with my father. But I didn't want to take it so seriously. Taking my experience as a sailor, it made sense to set it in a fantastic world of adventure - to take what I know of the sport and of my father, and fictionalize these accounts - making it on the high open seas to give these two characters nowhere to go but face what problems together in their own way.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Roger Bainbridge was dramaturge from the very early stages about two years ago up until the Toronto Fringe Festival last year. I've been working with Roger for about 6 years, mostly in sketch comedy.

Miguel Rivas was director, and for about 8 years I have worked with him extensively in our sketch comedy troupe, Frenzy.

Tim Moore was set designer. We've worked together for about 5 years in film, anything tech-related, or for any ideas, help, or suggestions on projects.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Tired Wave Stop! was drawn from the CAFF touring lottery this year. Next up will be Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, then Vancouver.

Before Montreal, I will also be performing Tired Wave Stop! at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, a little site-specific, using a sailboat as the stage space.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Let your imagination go for an hour, and I hope you have as much fun as I do.

TIRED WAVE STOP!
Written by Steve Boleantu & Directed by Miguel Rivas
Presented by Brave Face Theatre Edmonton, AL Canada

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$12

Wed 2/23 @ 9:30pm, Fri 2/25 @ 9:30pm, Sun 2/27 @ 5pm, Wed 3/2 @ 8pm, Fri 3/4 @ 5pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 12:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Christel Bartelse of "ONEymoon (A Honeymoon for One)"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Christel Bartelse
Show: ONEymoon ( A Honeymoon for One)
Website: www.christelbartelse.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

At the age of three my parents put me in a recreation dance class, and from there I had the bug. I became heavily involved in dance (tap, jazz and ballet); till the age of nineteen I was performing and competing. Meanwhile in my teens I also started taking drama lessons and was heavily involved in theatre in high school. I was a very high energy kid and liked putting on performances for family and friends in the neighbourhood. I continued my studies in theatre after graduating high school, and was also introduced to improv and clown, and have been doing it ever since.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influences are my parents who have supported and pushed me, and encouraged me to do this from a young age.

I’m also very influenced by amazing female performers/comediennes who I watched growing up. I love Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.

Several years ago, I was introduced to Mump & Smoot (Michael Kennard & John Turner), the incredible clowns of horror, and I started working with them very intensely. I studied clown for many years and had the chance to perform with them in Mump and Smoot in Something Else, and Mike has directed me in several shows. I still continue to use clown, dance and physical theatre in all my work, and develop my shows out of the techniques I learnt from them.

Karen Hines, of Pochsy fame, is someone I admire and look up to, and she really inspired me to develop a one-woman show after seeing her work.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

ONEymoon ( A Honeymoon for One) is a one-woman comedy about a woman who decides to marry herself. With ambiguous feelings about the institution of marriage and unwilling to commit to anything less than perfection, solo performer “Caroline” opts to reinvent a long standing social convention. The audience joins Caroline, her family and friends on her unusual wedding day, and follows along on her beach vacation - her honeymoon for one. Filled with zany wit, improv, dance and song, Caroline pokes holes in our notions of “wedded bliss” but ultimately finds that even a long term relationship with herself has its pitfalls.

What inspired you to write it?

Like most people, I have had my share of relationship challenges. In January 2010, while packing for a restful trip to the Bahamas which my partner (and co-writer/director), Jimmy Hogg, could not share, he joked that he felt like I was going on “honeymoon for one”. Out of that chance comment sprung the idea of ONEymoon. An exploration of the joys of independence and the fear of being alone; of the acute awareness of the imperfections of a partner and even worse, the imperfections of yourself. Oneymoon is my second solo show.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Jimmy Hogg, my partner, co-wrote and directed my in this show. He is also a Fringe Festival favourite having performed on the performed Fringe Festival Circuit for the past five years with hit shows such as Curriculum Vitae (played at Frigid Fest in 2006), A Brief History of Petty Crime, Like a Virgin and Wisdom: Part 1.

Shawn Byfield did the tap choreography on this show. Shawn is an award winning dancer and choreographer having won a Dora Mavor Moore award for his choreography in the hit Toronto musical, “I think I can.” I met Shawn over ten years ago taking his dance classes.

Sarah Doucett, the other choreographer on the show, and I have developed several independent dance routines that I have performed in cabarets around Toronto. Sarah was part of the hit dance group Holy Body Tattoo and is choreographer who has worked all over the States and Europe

Kathryn Rose's hit song “I married myself” is featured in this show ONEymoon. After a mutual friend heard of me doing this show and knew that Kathryn had written this song, we met and she gave me the freedom to use this song however I wished in the show. Kathryn is known for her artful, cerebral brand of sexy-sad-funny cinematic pop. Her reputation also precedes her as one of Canada’s top “go-to" voices in film, TV and radio and on the albums of countless other artists. To name a few: Barenaked Ladies, Kevin Breit, Dan Bryk, Meryn Cadell, Change Of Heart, Damhnait Doyle, JD Fortune, Lennie Gallant, King Cobb Steelie, Kyp Harness, James Hill, Joel Kroeker, Sarah McLachlan (2004 world tour and live DVD), Oliver Schroer, Andy Stochansky, Ben Sures, Dave Wall, and an ongoing side project trio with Emilie-Claire Barlow and Melanie Doane.

All of my productions are managed by Sheila Sky, Management. Sheila and I have been working together since 2008. Since founding Sky Arts Management she undertaken management, strategic and logistical planning, marketing, publicity and fundraising for multidisciplinary company Theatre Gargantua, South Asioan theatre company Rasik Arts, Christel Bartelse’s cross Canada tour of CHOATICA (Canadian comedy award nominee) and the extreme outdoor opera of R. Murray Schafer for Patria Music Theatre Productions.

Michal Kennard (Mump in Mump and Smoot) is my creative consultant. We have been working together since 2003 when he was the director of my hit two women comedy duo “The Burnt Marshmallows” having directed us in our hit show STUCK. I have studied clown with him intensively.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

After Frigid Festival, I will continue teaching physical comedy at Humber College until the semester ends in April. Then I will be taking my two solo shows, CHAOTICA, and ONEymoon to festivals. Chaotica is headed to Diva Fest in Indianapolis in March 2011, and will be playing London, ON & Toronto Fringe Festivals. ONEymoon will be performed at Winnipeg & Edmonton Fringe festivals this summer.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

This show is for anyone in a relationship, who has been in a relationship, wants to be in a relationship, or does not want to be in a relationship - and by that I mean even a relationship with yourself.

I had expected this show to strike a chord with women, but the response from male audience members and reviewers has been just as enthustaitc. I’ve learned that ambiguous feelings about marriage are universal and are shared by all, even the already and happily married. This show is a lot of fun, filled with comedy, audience improv, dance and song.

ONEymoon (A Honeymoon for One)
Created & performed by Christel Bartelse
Presented by Dutch Girl Productions Toronto, ON Canada

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)

$16

Wed 2/23 @ 6pm, Sat 2/26 @ 7pm, Sun 2/27 @ 2:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 7:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 10:30pm, & Thu 3/3 @ 6pm

Shop for a Cause

Join Stage|Time Collaborative and Lulu's Speakeasy Sample Sales for Stage|Time's first Fundraiser.

Stage|Time Collaborative (S|T) was Founded by
Michael Zegarski - Patrick Porter - Vivienne Leheny

S|T is an arts organization which produces and presents high quality new and re-mastered works of performing arts: opera, theatre, film, musical theater, dance, etc. that engage the community creatively in dialogue regarding the human condition and relevant social issues.

Join Us March 5 & 6 for a Sample Sale of Women's, Men's and Teen Fashions.

Daily Hours:
Saturday, March 5: 2 - 10pm
Sunday, March 6: 2 - 8pm

All $$ raised goes to Stage|Time’s Inaugural production,
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, an opera.

CASH Only
$5.00 entry fee to apply toward your first purchase of $10 or more

Snacks & Beverages provided to enhance your shopping mood.

Hosted by Stage|Time founders and LULU...

“Shop til you drop and walk out as a Beautiful Creature!!!!”

Thanks for your support and SEE You THERE!

WWW.STAGETIMEONLINE.COM

FRIGID New York Interview - Scout Durwood of "Hi, How Can I Help You?"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Scout Durwood
Show: Hi, How Can I Help You?
Website: http://www.scoutdurwood.com/, http://www.mighty-little.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I've been involved in theatre since I was young, but I think I always had a sense that I wanted to pave my own way rather than be involved in what was already going on. I did my fair share of neighborhood musicals, but it wasn't until college when I wrote my first solo show as my honors thesis,\ that I really figured out what I want to do, which is more or less exactly what I am doing now full time.

Who are your biggest influences?

Steve Martin has been huge in my life, both through his comedy as well as through the influence he had on my dad. Growing up I thought my father was the funniest person in the world. It wasn't until later in life when started listening to Steve Martin's old comedy albums that I realized that a lot of what my dad was doing was just an impression of Steve Martin. I really look up to physical comedians, Robin Williams, of course, Gilda Radner for her honesty and innocence, Mike Birbiglia has recently helped turn my performance in a new direction, and, of course, Sarah Silverman. When she broke out with "Jesus is Magic" I was a senior in college and it really changed the direction of my comedy in a big way. And Kermit the Frog. He has been huge in my life.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

The show follows the lives of six women who work in a New York City house of domination the night of the 2008 presidential election. It focuses on the interpersonal relationships between the women and is cast against a background of political hope as America slowly but surely decides, "yes, we can."

What inspired you to write it?

The original concept for the show was "children at play." I wanted to put myself in a room of toys and see what came out of it. Early in the writing process, I came across an article in The Post about a group of women who had been arrested in a dungeon, and the idea to set it at a house of domination was born. So the two major influences are fairly contrasting, which, I think, is what gives the show such a unique flavor.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Lucile Baker Scott and I are going on our fourth year together. Since our first project together in 2007, we've been involved pretty extensively in each other's work. Lucile works primarily as a playwright, and has forrayed into working as a director the past couple of years (with great success, I might add). As far as a collaborative partner, I really couldn't ask for anyone better and feel extremely lucky to have her in my life artistically.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Ole! I'm heading back to Europe and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer with a cabaret show based on my work as Lady Scoutington called Trail of Glitter. Honi Harlow is my partner in crime on that one, and so far it has been crazy fun just beginning to string ideas together. I host a weekly show called "Takin Off the Ritz" every Monday at The Ritz (obviously) so that takes up a pretty big part of my life. We also do a "Trail of Glitter" every other Thursday at RF Lounge.

I am working on my debut EP, "Pretty When I Don't Talk" which is set to come out late this spring and features original music and comedy by Lady Scoutington.

I am also continuing to be involved with the development of "The Naked Side of Grace," Lucile Baker Scott's new piece.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience,
what would it be?


I am really proud of "Hi, How Can I Help You?" which is something that I don't always say as an artist. It is such a rare treat to have the opportunity to do everything I love to do onstage. The show took almost two years to go from the first draft to its debut last summer in Edinburgh, and I think the time spent really payed off. I was worried at first that the show would lose relevance as we moved farther and farther away from the 2008 election, but if anything, it feels more relevant now than ever before. And I get to rollerskate onstage, which always makes me smile.

Hi, How Can I Help You?
Written by Scout Durwood & Directed by Lucile Baker Scott
Presented by Mighty Little Productions, Brooklyn, NY

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$12

Thu 2/24 @ 10:30pm, Sun 2/27 @ 7pm, Tue 3/1 @ 9pm, Fri 3/4 @ 4pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 8:30pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Markus Paminger of "The Shorebound Swim with a One Click Kick: A Tragedy of Reason"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Alison Carroll


Name: Markus Paminger
Show: The Shorebound Swim with a One-Click Kick: A Tragedy of Reason
Website: http://www.theluckyartist.org/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I joined the my high school theatre club because I had a crush on a girl. I tried to impress her during the public auditions, before you know it I had one of the leads. She quit the week after.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

It's a crazy tragedy involving an old hermit scientist grappling with his existential crisis. Even though he can figure out and work through all these incredibly difficult problems, he never could properly quantify his basic human experiences. He gets caught up in a completely lopsided love-square with his gardener care-taker, her 15 year old lover and his ex-love turned hooker. It's all very skewed and action packed with philosophical undertones and archetypes.

What inspired you to write it?

I started reading a lot of plays that a producer friend sent me about 2 years ago, just to get my opinion on some of them, and it struck me as how unimportant they all seemed. They were just rather melodramatic stories and didn't deal with any larger issues that I found interesting. I remember putting one down and having this realization that I could probably do better. So I decided to go to the bar, had a bunch of drinks, and started writing down these crazy ramblings, which eventually made it's way into the main character's monologues. Then I would try to write some opposing points of view, which became the other characters. The plot then started to develop by itself. I am happy with the result that portrays a lot of the blurred lines of thinking that I think properly reflect life's complications.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I am happy to continue working with the Lucky Artists after acting for them several times. Lucky Artist members Terra Vetter and Grace Rouhani are both producing, Alison Carroll is directing, and one of our previous actors Nicko Libowitz is also joining us in the cast this time around.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

That is a great question, and one I wish I had a concrete answer for. I will continue working as a technical director for some other festivals. I might be directing some projects for a new Italian playwright I recently got to know, and I am also working on a new play called Death By Papaya, which is a little more light-hearted and absurd. It might even have a musical number sung by the devil in spandex.

The Shorebound Swim With a One-Click Kick: A Tragedy of Reason
Written by Markus Paminger & Directed by Alison Carroll
Presented by The Lucky Artist Theater Company, Brooklyn, NY

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$10

Wed 2/23 @ 6:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 8pm, Mon 2/28 @ 9:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 6:30pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 12:30pm

Monday, February 21, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Cyndi Freeman "Wonder Woman: A How To Guide for Little Jewish Girls"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Cyndi Freeman
Show: Wonder Woman: A How To Guide For Little Jewish Girls
Website: Heroicsinhotpants.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Community Youth Theater in my home town of Newton, Massachusetts.

Who are your biggest influences?

Wonder Woman, William Marston (Wonder Woman's Creator), Jo Boobs (Head Mistress of the School Of Burlesque in NY), and everyone in the New York Burlesque scene. The Moth (Story Telling Organization) and everyone in the New York Story Telling scene

Tell me a little bit about your show.

My latest solo show traces my journey from a little suburban Jewish girl obsessed with Wonder Woman to fabulous burlesque Queen in NYC. In the show I tell personal tales of heroics and harrowing adventures and spewing trivia about America's first and favorite female superhero, Wonder Woman.

What inspired you to write it?

I was watching "Wonder Woman," the TV show with Linda Carter - again - and started to wonder, what is it that keeps bringing me back to this icon, and what about Wonder Woman is it that gives me tingles down my spine?

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

My husband Brad Lawrence is my biggest and best collaborator. He is also a story teller in NY and he helps me craft many of my stories. For this show I am also working with an amazing Director, David Drake, who I have been working with on the text of the show for two years.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I plan on doing a bunch of gogo dancing!!!!! And then I hope to take this show on tour in the US, Canada and the UK.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Did you know that Wonder Woman was created by a man? His name was William Marston, he also invented the lie director test. A celebrity psychologist during the 1930's-1940's (Think Dr Phil - without the screaming.) He believed in the superiority of women, and that there would be no peace on this planet until women were in charge. To quote him "Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new kind of woman who I think should rule the world."

Wonder Woman: A How To Guide for Little Jewish Girls
Written & Performed by Cyndi Freeman, Brooklyn, NY

The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)

$10

Wed 2/23 @ 8pm, Sat 2/26 @ 9:30pm, Tue 3/1 @ 8pm, Thu 3/3 @ 11pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 2pm

FRIGID New York Interview - Sergio Solorzano of "The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Street"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Sergio Solorzano
Play: The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Street

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Like many people, I first got involved in theatre in high school. I
watched a lot of TV and read comic books as a kid, and I always wanted to be a part of the stories. I also wrote my own comics, which were always crappily drawn, and found that I loved writing. In high school, however, I was solely involved as an actor. It wasn't until college that I decided to put the two together and began spearheading my own projects.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influence is Neil Simon. I've always been a fan of witty dialogue, and this is what drew me to his plays. After reading more of his work, I also found his characters to be very relatable, probably due largely to the fact that they're based off of himself and people he knew. I always try to achieve that level of characterization when I write, and I also make it a point to pay special attention to my dialogue.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Street starts off like your everyday Film Noir. There's a beautiful lady, a mystery, and two private eyes to solve it. But pretty soon you'll see that this is a parody, and as such things get real silly real fast. We have an ecletic group of characters all played by an equally eclectic group of actors. What this means, and this is the number one thing about this show, is that you never know what's going to come next.

What inspired you to write it?

My inspiration for writing the show is a video game called Heavy Rain. The game puts you in the middle of a mystery and uses elements of Film Noir to tell the story. The story was so well told and drew me in so much that I knew I had to write my own Noir mystery. The comedic aspect came from creatve partner and actor in the show Adam Brome, who has a gift for putting an unexpected twist on things.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

As I mentioned, Adam played a big part in the creation of this project. When you see the show you'll see his knack for creative and unexpected choices. Another big player is Ray Fisher, my Co-Director. In particular, he's been instrumental in bringing a lot of the physical comedy into the show. I've known Ray and Adam since college. Another person of note is Maggie McGuire, our female lead who besides being very talented has been marketing the heck out of the show.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

After FRIGID, I have several plays lined up. What comes next will depend a lot on the reaction to Mysterious Mystery. It will be a choice between a comedy about actors, a sketch show, and a political piece. Also, I'm currently working on a new musical with a very unique concept.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

I have a very simple message: Come see The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Street, and you will laugh. Film Buff or not there are at least three jokes for you, you will laugh, and you will be happy you came.

The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Street
Written & Directed by Sergio Solorzano
Presented by Blame Your Fate Productions New York, NY

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$15

Thu 2/24 @ 7:30pm, Sat 2/26 @ 5:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 10:30pm, Fri 3/4 @ 5:30pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 4pm

"My Scandalous Life" - An intimate, if not always telling, portrait of a cipher

Review by Judd Hollander
Photo by Carol Rosegg


How often is a person defined by a single situation? Take the case of one Lord Alfred Douglas (Des Keogh), known as Bosie to his friends. A poet who, more than 40 years after being involved in an affair with Oscar Wilde, (the story is set in 1944 England), finds himself still mainly known for that one period in his life. "It’s all anyone seems to want to talk about," he mutters at the beginning of Thomas Kilroy's My Scandalous Life, which looks at what has become of Bosie after the Wilde days.

On this particular night, when his long-estranged wife Olive is dying upstairs and the sounds of war can be heard overhead, Bosie looks back on his long and litigious history both as plaintiff and defendant in various libel trials, trying to state his case and set the record(s) straight. No matter how hard he tries to steer the conversation elsewhere, however, Wilde’s name keeps coming up, along with Bosie’s own failings, even though he refuses to admit them. Bosie also discusses his marriage and where that went wrong, as well as his former predilection to homosexuality (He’s remained chaste for over 30 years). He also talks about what happened to his son, who was committed to an asylum at age 25.

Bosie, as brilliantly portrayed by Keogh, is a study in contradictions. He despises his wife’s Irish maid Eileen (Fiana Toibin), feeling she acts too much at ease with him for a servant, yet relies on her more and more as time goes on. He is also a proud and aristocratic man, but at the same time, a weakling and a coward. He wants to be a good father to his son, but is unable to make the effort needed to do so. Keogh does a good job at showing both the humility and complexity of Bosie, a man from a fading, bygone era, who is adrift in a changing world.

Not a comedy in any sense of the word, Keogh and Kilroy do manage to toss in various flourishes of humor along the way, giving Bosie a sort of old reprobate status at times. There’s also a terrible loneliness about this man who continually waits for people to visit him, people who will never come and who probably regard him as a sort of embarrassment (there’s one moment, towards the end of act two where Boise realizes the truth about himself and is crushed by what he sees). In Keogh’s hands Bosie is a rather intriguing individual with a lot of stories to tell, though perhaps too colored with his own perceptions for any of what he says to fully ring true.

Toibin is fine as Eileen, a caring women often running around in tears, yet very devoted to her dying mistress. One has the feeling it won’t be long before she also becomes Bosie’s confidante, something he desperately needs. At least before things get too rough, and he reverts to the master-servant relationship to hide behind, along with continually quoting the different poetry he has written over the years.

There are certainly possibilities here, but unfortunately what’s lacking is enough information to make the play really take hold. Bosie as a character is nicely defined, but there are numerous references to historical incidents, such as various libel suits, that could have been explored further. Bosie talks as if everyone knows what’s going on, a dangerous assumption by the playwright, even if one has the program notes (which are incomplete) to follow along with. It would have been nice to know, for example, how Bosie became bankrupt and how well his poetry was publicly and critically received.

Direction by John Going works nicely, with Charlie Corcoran's set filling the venue's downstairs space very well. Costumes by David Toser are fine, and the lighting by Michael O'Connor is good. The sound effects by Zachary Williamson are quite effective.

My Scandalous Life, while not perfect, shines an intriguing light on a sort of overlooked player in theatrical and literary history. (Even in the close of this review, Douglas is still linked with Wilde. Bosie would have probably hated that.)

My Scandalous Life
By Thomas Kilroy
Directed by John Going
Set Design: Charlie Corcoran
Costume Design: David Toser
Lighting Design: Michael O'Connor
Sound Design: Zachary Williamson
Production Stage Manager: Michael Palmer

With: Des Keogh (Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas), Eileen (Fiana Toibin)

Irish Repertory Theatre
W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre (downstairs space)
132 West 22nd Street

Tickets: 212-727-2737 or www.irishrep.org

Running Time: 2 Hours

Closes: March 6, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Melanie Gall of "My Pal, Izzy"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Melanie Gall
Show: My Pal, Izzy – The Early Life and Music of Irving Berlin
Website: www.melaniegall.com/izzy

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I have always performed. I started with a local Children’s Theatre troupe in Canada, and the St. Albert Kiwanis Festival, where I won first prize for school vocal solo for six years running.

Who are your biggest influences?

This is not exactly theatre-related, but one of my biggest influences is Israeli paratrooper Hannah Senesh. She was continually willing to risk everything in her life to do what she considered the right thing, and I only wish I could be as idealistic.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

My show is about the early life and music of Irving Berlin. Berlin’s story is told through his fictional childhood friend, vaudeville performer Rebecca Rosenstein. Using Berlin’s music, Rebecca tells about what it was like to grow up in New York in the early 1900s. She talks about Tin Pan Alley, and how even a poor, unknown boy could achieve astronomical success. The story is compelling, and a lot of the lyrics are hilarious. From the sage advice in ‘Don’t Take Your Beau to the Seashore’ to the admonition ‘If You Don’t Like My Peaches, You’d Better Stop Shaking My Tree,’ these songs are still very relevant today.

What inspired you to write it?

Last spring, I was hunting through the performing arts library, looking for some Bizet songs for a concert I was doing. Suddenly, I came upon three huge volumes containing the early songs of Irving Berlin. There are hundreds of songs, and they are just hilarious. After playing through a bunch of them, I started reading about Berlin, and decided that this often-overlooked early music and his story was just too good not to be told.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

My pianist is very talented, and my director/set designer, Karen Gall, is amazing. Karen has worked with me on several shows, including Europe, A Savvy Girl’s Guide: The Musical, which will be playing at the Saskatoon Fringe this year.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Next I am jetting off to The Czech Republic, to sing in the American Spring Festival in Prague. Then I’m touring within that country and possibly Hungary, then flying to Bogota, Colombia for more singing. After that, I take Izzy on the road, starting with the Orlando Fringe. 7 Fringes in 4 months will be a little crazy, but hopefully there will be time to change clothes or for a shower or two in between the performances.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Come to my show, and bring the family! The songs will make you laugh (and maybe even cry), and the story will teach you something about the history of music in our great city.

My Pal Izzy: The Early Life and Music of Irving Berlin
Written by Melanie Gall & Directed by Karen Gall
Presented by Sisterscene Productions Brooklyn, NY

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)

$16

Thu 2/24 @ 6pm, Fri 2/25 @ 7pm, Sun 2/27 @ 2:30pm, Wed 3/2 @ 9pm, Thu 3/3 @ 7:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 4pm