Photos by Marcus Yi
Originally from Singapore, Marcus Yi is a writer/director and performer based in New York. He has created work in Singapore, Atlanta and New York and is the artistic director of Living Room Theater. He has worked on over 100 productions and his recently created works include Micro Shrimp The Musical, 29x/y, Lost At Sea, The Ephemeral Lightness of Dreams: the dream plays, Thicker Than Water: the blood plays and Baby Baby!. His play Pretty Little Mouth will be performed as part of John Chatterton's Short Play Midwinter Madness Festival.
Pretty Little Mouth follows Emily, a woman in her mid-thirties, who is living her dream life. Her loving husband provides for her needs, and she passes her days giving music lessons. And if she happened to be heavily involved in the S&M club scene years earlier, that's all behind her now - at least until one of her students, a 15 year-old boy named John, learns about her past. He threatens to expose her unless she relieves him of his virginity - and he has no plans of stopping with that one favor. As John becomes more and more demanding, Emily must decide if it's worth saving her marriage, or if she will instead teach John a lesson he will never forget.
I talked to Marcus about the production and his plans for 2013.
It seems there have been a number of news stories about affairs between teachers and students. But Pretty Little Mouth has more sexual intrigue than anything from the headlines. What inspired inspired you to write the play?
When I was in college, a friend of mine called me up at 5 in the morning on day to ask for advice: Her friend had been arrested for prostitution and she wanted to know if she should pay the bail to get her out or wait for the arraignment at 8am. I later found out that the girl in question was actually a fellow classmate of mine and was paying her way through college with the sex work. So when I was searching for material to turn into a play, this idea of a sex worker paying her way through college came back to me. At that time I was very inspired by Shortbus by John Cameron Mitchell as well as dark play by Carlos Murillo. So I decided to create a work with an ex-dominatrix who later gets blackmailed by one of her students and Pretty Little Mouth was born.
Tell me a little about your cast.
Tiffany Terrell stars as Emily, the ex-dominatrix. Brian Knoebel stars as the young manipulator, John, and Danielle Ma stars as Jalene. The cast is rounded out with the Kaitlin Stern and Molly Grace Byrnes, who play dominatrix dancers who up the sex factor in the show.
Do you have plans for future productions of Pretty Little Mouth?
Yes! After this production it will be written as a full length 90-minute play which will hopefully play next year in 2014.
Not only are you a writer and director, you're the artistic director of Living Room Theater. What else is coming up for Living Room Theater in 2013?
Living Room Theater will be producing The Procedure at the 2013 Planet Connections Theater Festivity. The Procedure is set in the future where gay marriage is legal and the path to citizenship requires a microchip implant in your eye. A gay couple have to choose between love and personal freedom. It is quite appropriate with all the talk about immigration reform and hopefully Congress will have come up with something tangible by then.
In addition to Living Room Theater being part of Planet Connections, I understand you'll working with the festival. What will you be doing with them this year?
Other than being an artist in the festivity, I am also the Legal Counsel.
Do you have plans to see any other shows in the Midwinter Madness Festival?
Yes! I really want to see Wiccans in the Hood. It sounds really funny!
Pretty Little Mouth will be performed on Monday, February 18th at 6pm, Thursday, February 21st at 7:15pm and Saturday, February 23rd at 2pm as part of John Chatterton's Short Play Midwinter Madness Festival. The Festival will take place at Roy Arias Stage II, located at 300 West 43rd Street, 4th floor, near 8th Avenue.
All tickets to Pretty Little Mouth are $18.00 and can be purchased by calling 212-868-4444 or going tohttp://www.smarttix.com/show.