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?


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)


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

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