Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brilliant and Resilient


Contributed by Cyndy Marion 


2012 was a year in theater of being resilient, resourceful and affordable. It was a year of small theaters pulling together more than ever and pooling their resources via co-productions, sharing space, sharing resources, sharing talent and ideas. It was the year of the LITFund—a brilliant idea from The League of Independent Theatres, where Off-Off-Broadway theaters donate a small portion of their ticket sales (5 cents a ticket) in order to generate a theater reserve fund accessible to all member theaters. It was the year that small theaters had to find ways of keeping rehearsals and shows going in spite of the setbacks of Hurricane Sandy and many even rallied to the cause of those in need by hosting fundraisers and events to benefit those who lost their homes. It was that year that the new Signature Theater began offering subsidized $25 tickets allowing many who normally could not afford to attend Off-Broadway productions to do so. I hope that this becomes a trend with other theaters—and that more patrons will step forward and provide the funding needed in order to make this happen.

Theater should not only be about big stars and making money, it should be about creating community—and in order for this to happen, theater needs to be accessible to everyone in the community. Thank you to Signature for leading the charge--hopefully other theaters will follow suit. In times of crisis, Off-Off-Broadway artists rise to the challenge—we are resilient, resourceful and committed to our mission of making theater. We are ready for whatever comes our way and also ready to help those around us.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Embarrassment of Riches

Contributed by Hillary Cohen


Independent theater in New York City was an embarrassment of riches in the 2011-2012 season. Greg Horton and Renee Claire Bergeron may have received the 2012 IT Awards for their outstanding performances, but they were definitely not the only dynamic duo I saw Off-Off-Broadway this year.

Jay Potter was so totally believable as the eponymous patriarch in The Play About My Dad, I genuinely feel like I’ve met the playwright’s father. I staged managed a show featuring his cast mate, Geany Masai, several years ago, but her embodiment of her character was so complete, I still felt like she introduced me to someone I never would have met otherwise.

That shock of surprise also happened for me at Reckless last Christmas. I knew the plot before attending, but somehow Jan-Peter Pedross’ acting was disarming, I was disappointed by his character’s unflattering past all over again. Jason Jacoby flipped through his multiple supporting roles with amazing dexterity, each with his own dynamic personality and posture.

Speaking of dexterity, Emily Gleeson and Lizzie Vieh were stunning as the broken shards of one suicidal woman’s consciousness in Sarah Kane's challenging final play, 4.48 Psychosis. I was impressed by how smoothly they worked together through an emotional rollercoaster script.

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo did not share the performance space with another actor for his autobiographical one man show, unFRAMED. He confidently served as poet-playwright, subject, and star – finishing the set decoration as he went!

These are, of course, just a few of this year’s excellent performances. I am constantly delighted by those moments replaying in my memory even months later and I look forward to seeing what these artists and their companies do next.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Powerful Rarely Produced Play

Contributed by Cyndy Marion 


One production stands out for me this year and it was Retro Productions' revival of The Runner Stumbles at the Arclight Theater. Casandera M.J. Lollar delivered an incredibly moving performance as a nun who falls in love with her parish priest (Christopher Patrick Mullen). Retro's production was simple and powerful, inviting us into the dark, ordered world of the Catholic Church where despite the rigid behavior, the desires of the heart and fervors of the flesh still pulse erupting into a crisis with tragic outcomes. This production touched me deeply in a way most theater has not in a long time. I commend Retro's mission of producing rarely produced plays of the past. Plays that still speak to us today and often say more with the unique perspective they offer.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

Contributed by Amanda Feldman


In grade school during in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we were taught to make a list of what we are thankful for. I know I have said it before but I am thankful for the downtown theater community – which for me is really an extension of family. Of course, the best part about my Indie Theater family is how inspired and moved I am by the really wonderful plays that they produce.

Personally when I go to the theater, what I’m especially drawn to is really interesting stories told in unique ways. In additional to the shows that I produced, which of course I’m biased to love, the two productions this year that felt did an extraordinary job were The Honeycomb Trilogy by Mac Rogers, produced by Gideon Productions and Pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill produced by One Year Lease.

On the surface, The Honeycomb Trilogy, which, yes, I know is technically three plays, tells an epic story of an alien invasion. The reason Mac is a genius is not because he was able to craft a fascinating sci-fi story (although he does brilliantly), but because Mac tells a beautiful story about family. The relationships throughout all three pieces of the play are all so vivid, heartbreaking, and real, that they stay with you long after the curtain comes down. I think I mentioned to Sean Williams, one of the producers and an actor in the first play, the only thing I didn’t like about the play is that Mac had to kill off so many characters from play to play that I was sad when the actors didn’t reappear in the next installment of the trilogy. For me this epic adventure, directed flawlessly by Jordana Williams, is everything good theater should be.

One Year Lease’s production of Pool (no water) was exceptional for a very different reason. The story was fairly simple; group of quote/unquote friends get together, there is an accident, and then there is the slow and painful recovery. As often occurs with a group of struggling artist "friends" when one achieves success beyond the others, there is jealously, anger, and resentment. What is so incredible about this production is how it was almost a choreographed dance piece. Using only a few coffee table-like set pieces and the actors’ physicality we were transformed from one location to the next. As the play was told from memory, there was a ton of “he said/she said,” but in part thanks to Ianthe Demos’s incredible direction you were never lost or confused. It was captivating story telling at its best.

To conclude, I am thankful that I got the opportunity to see so much great theatre last year. I am especially thankful to my husband who successfully put my daughter to bed on the nights I was at the theater. And as always I’m looking forward to another wonderful year of theater.

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Amanda Feldman produced The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew, Theives by William Yellowrobe, Jr, Lake Water by Troy Deutsch, Prison Light by Austin Flint, HOTEL PLAYS, The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos by Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell, and Olives And Blood by Michael Bradford. She is the Managing Director of CollaborationTown, A Theatre Company and a Producer with Neighborhood Productions.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Razor Swallowing, a GPS & Awesome Waffles

Contributed by Doug Strassler

One of the neater finds of the past season was actually a new theatrical locale that emerged in 2011, the Canal Park Playhouse. Situated on the border of the West Village and TriBeCa, and not far from the gorgeous views along the Hudson, CPP is a bit of a trailblazer. Using the proceeds of its bed and breakfast part, CPP produces a variety of shows for kids and adults alike (and makes some pretty awesome waffles as well).

In the last year alone, the Playhouse has presented revivals of such top-notch shows as Frank McGuinness’ Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer finalist, The Baltimore Waltz. And their kid-friendly fare included weekend afternoon runs of Sarazad and the Monster-King. An ongoing show that the Playhouse runs features a spook show performed by “rock star” magician extraordinaire Cardone, who completes such mid-boggling acts as razor swallowing and strait-jacket escapes. It’s a sweet but scary throwback to the old shows that used to appear in places like Coney Island. I also had the privilege to see Sherri Eden Barber’s comedy Inadmissible, a behind-the-scenes look at the politics decorating the college admission process, directed by D. B. Gilles. Months later, I can still recall being captivated by Kathryn Kates’ exquisite timing and delivery.

So, too, do I still fondly recall The Navigator, which played the WorkShop’s main stage last spring. Eddie Antar’s play about a down-on-his-luck man and his GPS system which knows too much and maybe just enough had already won a pair of IT awards several years back, but it upgraded the show for its new 60-seat berth. Still small-scale but resourceful, the show was terrific, and replicated the feeling that audience members were indeed stuck in the same car as the show’s leads. Stars Joseph Franchini and Kelly Anne Burns (eerily evoking a GPS) were unforgettable. So much so, in fact, that Franchini even earned a Drama Desk nod for Best Actor last year. I hear talk that Navigator might have even more life in store. This is the little show that could. I can’t wait to see what happens to it next.

That was 2012 in Off-Off theatre for me: full of pleasant surprises in hidden places. Actually, pleasant as these shows were, they weren’t a surprise at all.


Monday, November 19, 2012

My Faves

Contributed by Amy Overman

I was personally involved as an actor, director or producer  in 10 productions of varying sizes during the 2011-2012 season.  And they were all awesome.  But I thought it would be a little inappropriate to write a whole blog talking about the awesome work produced by myself and the artists I was lucky enough to work with (awesome as they were).  So here are my favorite shows, which I had nothing to do with, for 2011-2012:

BrainExplode! (Sneaky Snake Productions/Game Play 2011) was hands down my favorite show.  And I saw it last July, so the bar was set very high for the year.  Awesome concept, script and execution.  Ray Pinter (Stephen Heskett), a video game designer in 1987, via a mysterious dart in the neck, becomes a player in his own action adventure game and has one hour to solve a puzzle or his brain will explode.  Six volunteers from the audience gave simple commands in the style of an old school text based adventure game.  At one point, Ray was standing onstage with a handkerchief belted to his head and his pants in danger of falling down.  All that and emotional growth, catharsis and a cast that rolled with the punches thrown at them by the audience seamlessly.  Written by Richard Lovejoy, Danny Bowes and Stephen Aubrey and directed by Paige Blansfield – I would love to see this script (hint, hint) as I have no idea how they pulled this off. 

Tenderpits, which was created by Nathan Schwartz and Anthony Johnston and performed by Johnston wearing a diaper and a Cosby sweater and featuring a drunken moose and a judgmental parrot.  I can’t really describe this show.  It would sound bizarre and disturbing, and it was, but Anthony’s performance was so honest and so lovable that at the end of the show you just wanted to hug his sweaty, diapered self.

Batz (created by Erik Bowie & Josh Mertz) A man arrives at work to find his computer broken and starts reading an old Batman comic book.  Slowly everyone around him takes on the parts in the action.  Remounted from the original production at the Brick and being compacted onto the tiny stage at Joe’s Pub turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the show exploded with energy, literally leaping off the stage and out into the audience.  A running gag about no one wanting to play Robin and sets and props, made out of office supplies, growing more and more elaborate with each passing story.  Plus, a woman playing Batman (Melissa DeLancey) and a near iconic level performance by Bob Laine as the Penguin.

Honorable mention to the flying snakes of Flying Snakes in 3D.  Because sometimes you just want to throw tiny rubber snakes at the stage and with this show, you could.

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Amy Overman is the Artistic Director of the Dysfunctional Theatre Company (www.dysfunctionaltheatre.org); her recent work with them includes directing Of Dice & Men as part of the Brick’s Game Play festival, acting in and producing the serialized play Unlicensed, which ran for 8 months at UNDER St. Marks and performing in the horror comedy Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh, also at UNDER St. Marks. Outside of Dysfunctional, Amy has acted, directed and produced all around the indietheatre scene and is a Master Mason of the Brick.  Currently she is working on I Shall Forget You Presently, an original piece created from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which will be presented by Dysfunctional as part of the Tiny Theater Festival at the Brick (www.bricktheater.com).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Harsh Realities Served with a Pie in the Face

Contributed by Vincent Marano

In college during the plague years that was the Reagan presidency, my friends and I competed in forensic tournaments where students did excerpts of plays for fun and glory. Called either Single-Interpretation of Drama (one person show) or Duo-Interpretation (for a two hander) the goal was to get the gist of the play across in 10 minutes, in the most entertaining way possible.  Most schools would pick one or two edited scenes. Our school pioneered the approach of boiling down the entire work into one scene, beginning with the first line of the play and ending with the last line. The intended effect of editing the drama this way, according to our team captain, was that the character’s should “laugh, laugh, laugh… then they all die.”

Looking at New York plays this and last season; on and off –off Broadway, the stylistic hybrid of low comedy and high tragedy seems to be the norm.  From August: Osage County to Detroit, from MotherF**Ker With a Hat to Clyburne Park, playwrights are jamming as many yuks into the torturous lives of their characters as possible.

Whether it’s borderline absurdist-Gran Guingnol of Martin McDonagh or dystopian giggle-fest of the next Anthony Rapp Fable, playwrights (and their directors) find the funny bone in decapitation and the smile in electroshock therapy. 

While one could argue that this trend just mirrors the general gallows humor that pervades a world in recession (both economic and social). I think that this choice is more one of dramatic expediency. For a play to get noticed it is not enough to be well-crafted, about important ideas, charged with a wealth of human emotion; it has to be brutal and irreverent. Essentially, drama with BO. Our collective tolerance for violence, our collective indulgence of the crude and vulgar, and our collective obsession with art that wallows in “the edgy, the raw, the primordial,” makes the subtle and the cerebral the stuff of the Classics shelf at the Drama Book Shop. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Get Site Specific

Contributed by Hillary Cohen


I recently met a very early-career director who described her area of interest as “site specific” work. That has got to be the biggest trend I noticed amongst the registered shows this year. The New York independent theater community has largely embraced non-traditional performance spaces, but it also produces shows that are “site specific” in the sense of the wry exclamation “Only in New York!”

Even as Jeff Lewonczyk audaciously suggested we take a few years off from Shakespeare, Off-Off-Broadway companies made equally brave runs at re-imaging the Bard and introducing typically Radio City Christmas Spectacular-bound audiences to smaller-budget theater. Downtown Art brought us a two-installment rock musical mash-up of Romeo & Juliet and Gangs of New York called Bowery Wars with age-appropriate casting for the young lovers sprawling over a walking tour of Lower East Side alleys and sidewalks. Theater 2020 produced a family-friendly version of the originally quite bawdy script for Comedy of Errors in domesticated Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park featuring adorable puppets.

Off-Off-Broadway performed in storefront windows, in an unpartitioned warehouse, and in a butcher shop. If there was a theme uniting any of these very different shows, it certainly wasn’t tone or content, but the daring confidence to “go there”. Poetic Theater opened their production of Goliath with intimate and personal poetry readings by Iraq War veterans very new to the performing arts scene. Harrison Greenbaum (beloved two-time ceremony host and now IT Awards participant) risked heavily incorporating audience participation in his show What Just Happened? and the venerable members of the Talking Band danced naked to illustrate the incisive socio-political critique of Hot Lunch Apostles.

One of my favorite things about the 2012 season was how much of it was unexpected. There was a lot of exciting staging being done…only sometimes on an actual stage.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trends of OOB

Contributed by Amy Overman

More and more I see theater artists taking the things that excite them in other areas of their life, pulling from film, TV and other media and putting it into their art. 

  1. Monthly shows – Variety shows, burlesque, storytelling, musical reviews, talk shows, plays. Shows coming back at the same time every month, building an audience, bringing together a group of people who come back every few weeks to experience theater.  These type of shows are also the epitome of the immediacy of theater, because the artists who make them are constantly creating.  One of my personal faves is The Skinny with Peter DeGiglio. There’s a different guest from politics or theater (political theater that is) every month, musical performances and at the end, Peter has to answer questions about current events or get a pie in the face.  I love that this could be a web series, but it’s not, it’s a live show.  Makes the pie in the face much more enjoyable.
  2. Scifi & Horror – Science fiction theater was everywhere, most notably in Gideon Production’s  Honeycomb Trilogy.   Blood & horror –Nose Dive’s gore in The Blood Brother’s present Freaks from the Morgue, zombies attacking in my own Dysfunctional Theatre Company’s Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh, and the titular flying snakes of Everywhere Theater Group’s Flying Snakes in 3D.  
  3. Technology/film/etc – Almost every theater I visit now has a projector.  I’ve seen video elements used for something as basic as a static image on the back wall - budget set design!  The most haunting and beautiful incorporation I saw of video was in Bride of the Monster by DMTheatrics, Dr. Eric Vornoff (Tom O’Connor) admired the portrait of his dead wife, a black and white video projected life sized on the back wall of the Red Room.  Seeing him reach out to her face as the image moved ever so slightly was both moving and chilling.  Sound designs are becoming more detailed and layered as CueLab and other programs make shows easier to run.  Which leads me to…
  4. Red Cloud Rising (the Fifth Wall, created by Gyda Arber & Aaron Baker) – This wasn’t a trend because there was nothing else like it, but it’s a production could only happen with the increased use of technology in theater. A show where the play took place on the streets of downtown, the line between actor and audience member blurred and most of the lines of dialogue were delivered via voicemail or text message. The audience was a part of the story, but it a way that was totally organic, not just a request for a suggestion or a single member called out to be pulled onstage. Red Cloud is a prime example of how indietheater is evolving, which for me is one of the most exciting things about being a part of it.
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Amy Overman is the Artistic Director of the Dysfunctional Theatre Company (www.dysfunctionaltheatre.org); her recent work with them includes directing Of Dice & Men as part of the Brick’s Game Play festival, acting in and producing the serialized play Unlicensed, which ran for 8 months at UNDER St. Marks and performing in the horror comedy Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh, also at UNDER St. Marks. Outside of Dysfunctional, Amy has acted, directed and produced all around the indietheatre scene and is a Master Mason of the Brick.  Currently she is working on I Shall Forget You Presently, an original piece created from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which will be presented by Dysfunctional as part of the Tiny Theater Festival at the Brick (www.bricktheater.com).

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Theme of Family

Contributed by Doug Strassler

I don’t think it’s any secret that some of the most exciting and innovative theatre going on recently in New York has taken place at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, the surprisingly accessible performance space that played host to one of the year’s great theatrical triumphs, Mac Rogers’ Honeycomb Trilogy. His three visionary plays – Blast Radius, Advance Man, and Sovereign – all part of Gideon Productions, ran through the first half of the year, but made such an indelible impression that I’ve been talking about them through the second half as well.

The trilogy covers a world upside down, though in ways more metaphorical than literal. I love the way that Rogers uses obviously expert knowledge in sci-fi lore like alien invasions and spaceships to inform more thematic plots about human relationships. Much of the first work dwelled on the bonds between friends and parent and child when tested, and then as the stakes got higher, the greatest relationship was that of brother and sister, played at various stages by Becky Byers, David Rosenblatt, Hanna Cheek and Stephen Heskett. Torn apart by ideology but still bonded by love, the Honeycomb plays used transcended its genre trappings to highlight something far more universal: the ups and downs of family ties.

The theme of family – specifically, how one defines it and who one should remain loyal to also permeates Micheline Auger’s American River, the latest production from the downtown collective Lesser America. Laura Ramadei and Robbie Collier Sublett play lifelong friends who eventually add benefits into the mix. The play, directed by Stephen Brackett, faces a lot of the more hidden, dark corners of the American psyche head-on; both characters have substance abuse issues and loyalty and reliability are neither of the pair’s strong suits. John Patrick Doherty and a hilarious Brendan Spieth completed the never-a-false-move cast, but it’s Ramadei’s searing turn that has stuck out in my mind ever since.

These shows, as disparate as they are, have plenty in common. More than anything, they all put an entertaining face on lost people struggling to find their way. Good thing the companies that mounted these works had their stuff together.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Burying the Unities for Good: How Agitprop Changed My Life

Contributed by Vincent Marano

In theater, the adjective “life-changing,” is clich├ęd and often overused. I remember a lot of great performances; Fiona Shaw in Medea, Al Pacino in Salome, Ian McKellan in Amadeus, and great plays: anything by Mac Rogers, August Wilson or Athol Fugard; just fill in your favorite.  While inspirational, very few plays or performances caused me to stand at the end of a pier somewhere and stare in to the void, wondering about the worthiness of my talent and the wisdom of my career choice.

However, there is one play that stands out, that changed my view of theater forever, that made me want to write and direct; Emily Mann’s Execution of Justice. I am sure nothing I saw that Wednesday matinee (I called in sick) was terribly original; the epic structure of this play about murders of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone of San Francisco by Dan White, the use of reporters, news clips and TV monitors (two three-story banks of monitors to be exact!) to convey exposition and force the audience into the action. The absurd characters like as a nun-drag queen Sister Boom Boom (played by a young Wesley Snipes) representing the conscious of the homophobic world at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

Never mind about my outrage over the viability of the Twinkie-Defense, the pyrrhic pointlessness of the assassinations, the suicide-as-coda which deepened the human tragedy even further, it was the deft audience engagement that struck me.  Here was a big, complex, hugely entertaining piece that touch me like no other theater experience I had before.  It incited and indicted the audience, it leaven the atrocity with irony and gave minor characters a grace that transcended the real events it portrayed.

I thought it was just a trick at first. That Ms. Mann’s theatrical verisimilitude had succeeded in galvanizing my spirit and sense of righteous in much the same way a few drinks and no day job got me to argue over philosophical ephemera until 4 in the morning.  Yes, it was political theater, but, it was so much more. Execution of Justice cracked open my soul and allowed me a few minutes to peak in and see what was I missing.  Good or ill, I have been searching for it ever since.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012: the Year of Evolution

Contributed by Zack Calhoon

For my money, 2012 was the "Year of Evolution." Producing theatre during the Great Recession has caused theatre-makers in the New York Indie Theatre community to evolve both as an artists and producing organizations to survive. Artistic Boards having discovered that their donors could only be contacted so many times led them to seek out newer and more nimble avenues of project funding. Crowdsourcing sites like Indiegogo.com and Kickstarter.com, in less than a year, have become the new normal for budding theatre companies who want to finance their upcoming theatrical productions.

Indie Theatre-makers discovered they needed to also start thinking smarter, instead of larger. Consequently, co-productions and the exploration of alternative venues became a big trend this year. Rising Phoenix Rep produced a play, Elective Affinities by David Adjmi, that utilized a personal residence as a performance space rather than a traditional theatre. One of the most successful examples of a producers thriving in this new business model would be the BFG Collective. Boomerang Theatre, Gideon Productions and Flux Theatre Ensemble decide to combine their producing efforts, Voltron-style, to share the space rental costs and maximize the potential of the Secret Theatre in Long Island City.

In fact, it was Gideon Productions' of Mac Rogers' Honeycomb Trilogy, probably more than any other production that sticks out as one of the highlights of my theatre going experiences this year not only because of its extraordinary storytelling, but also because it couldn't have been possible without the built in infrastructural advantages that the BFG Collective theater companies afforded each other (i.e. a place to store their set between productions, aggressive cross-marketing opportunities, and the creation of a larger interweaving web of theatrical artists crossing each other's paths on a nightly basis at one venue). Because all three plays in the trilogy took place in the same house, they were able to keep modifying and distressing Saundra Yaklin's vividly realistic set from the first production Advance Man all the way to the end. This gave the production a wonderful continuity and expansive quality as the audiences got see how the set decoration evolved over the course of Rogers' epic saga.

I'm very excited to see what 2013 has in store for all of us both as a country and as theatre community. I also eagerly look forward to seeing what my fellow Indie Theatre-makers will be working on in the coming months.

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Zack Calhoon graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with BFA in Acting. As an actor he has worked with Boomerang Theatre (where he recently played the title role in Hamlet), Flux Theatre Ensemble, Dreamscape Theatre, Milk Can Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Company, Judith Shakespeare, Resonance Ensemble and Nosedive productions. His plays have been performed and developed by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Boomerang Theatre Co., East 3rd Productions, Living Image Arts, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Oberon Theatre Ensemble, New Mummer Group, On the Square Productions, and Dreamscape Theatre. Playwriting credits: The Weird Sisters (East 3rd Productions, Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s PLAYFEST), Breaking Ranks (New Mummer Group), RINO (Core Creative Productions/Resonance Ensemble production at 2012 Brick Theater Democracy Festival, Resonance Ensemble Play commission) and Paint (Semi-Finalist for 2012 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Winner of 2010 Georgia Theatre Conference New Play Award, 2010 Semi-Finalist for a Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship). He is currently working on a commission, Friday at Jimmy’s, for Rising Phoenix Rep. He wrote two episodes for the second season for the award-winning web series, Then we got HELP! (www.thenwegothelp.com). He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Dramatist Guild, Writers Guild of America, East.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

End of Year Wrap Up

In 2012 Indie stages were packed with some amazing productions with incredible performances, innovative concepts and designs, surprising accomplishments and interesting trends. We have asked a group of artists who have been avid OOB audience members this last season to share some of their favorites and enlighten us about some of the trends and themes that they saw on the boards.


We are very interested to see their response and share it with you.






Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disaster Relief for the Arts



Indie theatre companies and artists are feeling the adverse effects of Hurricane Sandy. Here are some funding organizations that might be able to offer you some relief.


If you are need of emergency financial assistance due to Sandy, the Gottlieb Foundation offers relief options.

TDF is offering help for Indie Theatres that need office space

The Drama League is offering their office to artists who need to charge electronic devices (520 8th Avenue, Suite 320)


From the Arts & Business Council of New York
With extraordinarily wide-spread destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, grantmakers across the country will be looking to help with the cleanup and rebuilding. Here are some resources to remember:


From Fourth Arts Block

  • Federal disaster resources will be available to you only if you register at FEMA. Go to www.disasterassistance.gov and register as soon as you have the capacity! [FYI: New York City Arts Coalition is a good resource for arts organizations that have difficulty or questions about registering.] (It is also advisable to take pictures, document any damage, and keep a good record of what you spend post-Sandy.)
  • If you work in performing arts and entertainment and need assistance, reach out to The Actors Fund New York Office at 917-281-5936 or The Actors Fund Work Program NYC at 212-354-5480.They have stated their availability to support!
  • AIC-CERT responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public. For 24-hour assistance from trained volunteers, call (202) 661-8068.
  • Here is a list of Volunteer opportunities

ART/NY offers some great relief resources

TCG has a good list of Disaster Management Resources

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has an Emergency Resource page 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

OOB Cancellations & Rescheduling


WE ARE HAPPY THAT MOST THEATRES HAVE HAD POWER RESTORED AND PERFORMANCES ARE NOW RESUMING.

Please make sure to check out the production websites for updated schedules!



Hurricane Sandy has left the city with a crippled public transportation system, power outages and massive damage that will take days, weeks and maybe even months to rectify.

We all know how much work and planning go into getting a production up and on its feet. Something as uncontrollable or as widespread as a hurricane can be devastating to a production. Whether it is canceled rehearsals, tech or actual performances, damage to the theatre, or that the subway shutdown makes if difficult for cast, crew and audience to get to the theatre, the next couple of weeks could be difficult for indie theatre productions.

We will keep a running list of productions that have had to cancel or reschedule performances. Check their websites for more details and please help fill their remaining performances:


PRODUCTIONS

APAC has canceled the following performances of Billy Witch
  • Thursday, November 1 @ 8p
  • Friday, November 2 @ 8p
  • Saturday, November 3 @ 2p
T. Schreiber Studios' performances of Doubt on 10/31 & 11/1 have been canceled
Nosedive Productions' performance of The Blood Brothers Present...Reanimated on October 31st  has been canceled
Rising Sun's performance of Bug on October 31st has been canceled but they will resume their normal schedule starting 11/1 & have ADDED PERFORMANCES on November 4th
Duo Theatre has canceled the following performances of All About Meat (the Garcias)
  • Thursday, November 1 @ 8pm
  • Friday, November 2 @ 8pm
  • Saturday, November 3 @ 8pm
Musically Human's performances of Next To Normal have been canceled on 11/1 & 11/2
The New York Neo-Futurists performances of Too Much Light... on 11/1 & 11/2 have been canceled
The Crook Theater Company is OPEN and performances of Macbeth resume 11/3
Tenement Street Workshop is cancelling performances of Rough Approximations until power is restored to the Incubator Arts Project
EBE Ensemble is cancelling performances of Choking the Butterfly until power is restored to PS122 
Horse Trade Theater Group has canceled their HT Halloween Party for October 31st
The Midtown International Theatre Festival was postponed but is now scheduled for Sunday, November 11th (more info.)
The Gallery Players has canceled performances of Company through the weekend, but will resume their schedule on November 8th
Theater for the New City  has rescheduled their Halloween Costume Ball for November 3rd
The Greek Cultural Center has canceled the following performances of In Laws from Tirana
  • Friday, November 2
  • Saturday, November 3
  • Sunday, November 4
The Irondale Ensemble Project will resume performances of AliceGraceAnon on November 3rd 
Project Y Theatre Company is postponing their reading of Downward Facing Debbie
God Light Theater is postponing their reading of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Lunar Energy is OPEN and will resume performances of By Rights We Should Be Giants on November 2nd
Parodivas Productions will OPEN as scheduled with performances of Dog Opera beginning November 1st
AliveWire Theatrics is OPEN and resumes performances of You Will Make a Difference on November 2nd
The Bushwick Starr is OPEN and resumes performances of Blood Play on November 1st
The Brick
is OPEN and resumes performances of the Yiddish Theater Festival on November 1st 

UnitedSolo Festival is OPEN including performances on October 31st
Bedbugs!! The Musical is OPEN and has a performance on October 31st
Rabbit Hole Ensemble's production of Alone is OPEN including a performance on 11/1
Balancin' Productions' production of Follow will resume performances on 11/3 @ 3pm
The Theatre Project is OPEN and resumes performances of Barbicide 11/3 & had added performances on 11/4
Blue Coyote Theater Group  is OPEN and resumes performances of Coney 11/3 



SPACES & SERVICES

Jimmy's 43 is without power and in need of HELP
The Clement Soto Velez Cultural Center was hard hit and is in need of HELP
Horse Trade Theater Group is without power, but seems to be dry. More details will be forthcoming.
LaMaMa is without power and all performances are canceled until further notice
PS122 is without power and all performances are canceled until further notice
Incubator Arts Project is without power and all performances are canceled until further notice
Judson Memorial Church is closed on October 31st, but will be holding a candlelight vigil
Dixon Place is without power and all performances are canceled until further notice
The Living Theatre is without power, but will have a candlelight performance of Home/Sick November 1st
Galapagos Arts Space is OPEN and resumes performances 11/3
HERE Arts Center has had power restored and will resume performances 11/3
The New Ohio Theatre has had power restored and will resume performances 11/3
The Cherry Lane Theatre has had power restored and will resume performances 11/3
Barrow Street Theatre is now OPEN
Shetler Studios and Theatres are OPEN
The Brick is in good shape and is now OPEN
BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (Park Slope) is OPEN
The Secret Theatre is OPEN

TKTS is OPEN and selling tickets
Check out NYC Performing Art Spaces' FB Page for information about rehearsal spaces

The Cultural Data Project is up and running 


OTHER NYC EVENTS

NYC Halloween Parade is canceled for October 31st, but may be rescheduled for next week.
NYC Marathon is canceled and resources will be distributed to Sandy relief
90% of Public Schools to resume classes on November 5th 
Updates from Con Edison

Transit Tracker - check here for updated information about NYC public transportation


If you are cancelling or rescheduling performances, please let us know info@nyitawards.com

Volunteer to help OOB productions


Dear Community Dish Friends,

I hope all is well in your worlds. Sandy definitely did a number on our City. Obviously if you're reading this you're getting internet, which is probably more than most. The thoughtful Sean Williams reached out earlier with concern for the community...

"I know that someone got screwed. One of our theaters has to have gone underwater, some facility got completely nailed and there have to have been a couple dozen shows on the off-off level that were either supposed to load out or load in this week."

So let's be there for our fellow Indie Theatre folks. You can volunteer to lend a hand by emailing

amandaellenfeldman at gmail dot com

IF ANYONE NEEDS ASSISTANCE PLEASE LET US KNOW.  A volunteer list will be posted later this afternoon. Let's see if we can coordinate a handful of volunteers to send your way!

AND if you have extra time on your hand to volunteer (because your office is closed), email the Red Cross - staffing@redcrossny.org or go to their website.

Be well and stay dry!

Amanda Feldman


Friday, October 19, 2012

Mint Offline Social Interaction


Hey Net Pals,

My BFF and I were looking to disconnect from the info tube, venture wirelessly for an evening and try something authentic; you know some sort of nondigital connectivism.  I pinged my contacts and got a P2P response with 411 on this thing called “theatre” or “theater” ???

\’thee-uh-ter, theeuh\  n 1: a building designed for performances 2: the world of actors, theatrical companies, etc

I thought it sounded totally mint, but It turns out that this thing has been around like 4EVs. And I’m like “Am I Code 11 or just completely Code 404?”

We were given an ETA and told 2b@ a certain place. It was sort of like a PUG or a flash mob, because a bunch of other people showed up 2. I was like “OMG this is 2G2BT.” We all went into this CSA space that was sort of like a synchronous chat room, but in RL. I f2f IM’d the guy next to me to check out his status. He poked me back. 

It got really dark and when they ttlo these people came out as avatars and interacted with user generated content. Srsly it was like 3D live streaming, but offline. My BFF was all “this is OTW.”  I LOL. I had TIME. I had the BTE. 

At the end, there was LLTA and I was all, “this is kickass crowdsourcing.” I was going to google the network of participants, but they had already tagged the avatars in an e-reader made out of paper that they downloaded to the audience. It was so awesomely old school.  

Afterword my BFF, the rhgir and his friend DM’d one another and continued the thread at the bar next door. It was a gr8 night. WOOT WOOT!  

Are you seeking an experience that is: live, multi-platform, interactive, immediate, social, 3D and peer-to-peer; something you can do with a friend, a fan, a member, a follower, list, groups, forums or networks? Then bookmark your favorite OOB company and set your protocol to receive: updates, messages, posts, tweets, newsfeeds, RSS, and invites.

It is sure to be the BTE!   ;-)  

End of Message


BFF = Best Friends Forever
P2P = Peer-to-Peer
411 = Information
4Evs = Forever
Code 11 = Out of Date
Code 404 = Clueless
ETA = Estimated Time of Arrival
2b@ = To be at
PUG = Pickup Group
OMG = Oh my god
2G2BT = Too good to be true
CSA = Cool Sweet Awesome
RL = Real Life
f2f = face-to-face
IM = Instant Message
OTW = Out of this world
ttlo = turn the lights on
Srsly = Seriously
LOL = laughed out loud
TIME = tears in my eyes
BTE = Best time ever
LLTA = Lots and lots of thunderous applause
rhgir =  Really hot guy in the room
DM = Direct Message
Gr8 = great

Thursday, September 27, 2012

3 New Awards Presented at IT Ceremony



This year at our awards ceremony we introduced 3 new awards.


The Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award

This award was named in honor of a true Off-Off-Broadway pioneer and a dear friend. Doric Wilson was a radical, pioneering, innovative, and unflinching playwright and New York theater artist. He was one of the original playwrights of the Caffe Cino, the author of many extraordinary plays, and the creator and artistic director of TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence). The success of his plays at Caffe Cino helped, in the words of playwright Robert Patrick, to "establish the Cino as a venue for new plays, and materially contributed to the then-emerging concept of Off-Off-Broadway." His Now She Dances!, a fantasia on the trial of Oscar Wilde, was the first Off-Off-Broadway play to deal positively with gay people. Under the mentorship of producer Richard Barr, Wilson became a pioneer of the alternative theatre movement, dedicating his career to writing, directing, producing, and/or designing hundreds of productions. Through his work with TOSOS, and because of his unwavering love and belief in playwrights and the theater, he was a mentor and friend to many young writers and helped foster the future of their plays.

The award named in Doric’s honor will be given to a playwright whose writing and work ethic honors the innovation, uncompromising vision, heart, and spirit that was Doric Wilson and his work. Writers working in the five boroughs of New York City who have not received an Off-Broadway, Broadway, or prominent regional theater production are all eligible.

The 2012 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award Committee includes: Jennifer Conley Darling, Mark Finley, Julie Kline, Daniel Talbott and Kathleen Warnock.

The inaugural recipient of this award is Donnetta Lavinia Grays a playwright that Doric knew well; someone who Doric supported and mentored. She is a writer of singular vision, and unparalleled ability.

Congratulations Donnetta!



Outstanding Revival of a Play and Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play

Just after last Thanksgiving, we asked you, the community at large, to discuss a series of questions we’d been facing, to get your feedback, and give you the opportunity to share your ideas.

We asked about our rules and requirements such as ticket prices and budget caps (all good reads), but the topic that got the most traction by far was the discussion about award categories.  Specifically many members of the community championed the idea of there being a category for revivals. It wasn’t a completely cut-and-dried issue:  there were many voices, backing the many angles of the topic, and there were aspects to adding such a category that are complicated to be sure.  But ultimately, it was clear that the community wanted the new award and perhaps most importantly it gave us the opportunity to recognize more artists and more outstanding work.

So, in direct response to your input, we created 2 awards; Outstanding Revival of a Play and Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play. These two awards replace “Outstanding Production of a Play.”

The Revival category includes classics, established plays, or the production of any script that has previously received a full production (this excludes workshops or readings).

The Premiere category includes plays that are, as the title indicates, receiving their premiere production.

This season Ajax in Iraq produced by Flux Theatre Ensemble received the Revival award and Advance Man produced by Gideon Productions received the award for Premiere Production. Both are worthy recipients and we are happy that we are able to recognize both of these outstanding productions and exceptional companies.

Congratulations to both.

And congratulations to all of the nominees this year. There is so much inspirational, engaging and innovative work happening in our community - we could not be more proud.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Hard Sparks



Hard Sparks is an inspirational company that works in intimate spaces. They choose productions that promote positive change and they strive to worthy community organizations.

We caught up with Artistic Director J. Stephen Brantley to find out more about this community minded company.





What are the origins of Hard Sparks and what is the significance of the company name?
Hard Sparks takes its name from The Zohar, which is the scared text of Kabbalah. It refers to the idea that we are here to elevate the sparks of creation. I think that’s what theatre does, at its best. It’s about transformative sharing, which sounds very heart-and-flowers but trust me, nothing kicks your ass harder than striving to serve a higher purpose.

Hard Sparks chooses to work with playwrights and actors who are "early-to mid-career" Why this specific group of artists?
We don’t have anything against established artists – in fact we’ve worked with quite a few this year. But when Robert Lohman and I launched Hard Sparks, it was partly to showcase actors and writers who weren’t being seen as much, or treated as well, as we thought they deserved. It’s a long list. We’ve barely made a dent.

Eightythree Down is a pretty intense work. Was any of it based on personal experiences? What was the inspiration for this play?
It’s actually not on my personal experiences. Because I’ve been very open about my own addiction, and three of the four characters in Eightythree Down are users, there’s been an assumption that it’s based on my actual life experience. To be clear, my drug of choice was heroin not cocaine, and in 1983 I was twelve years old and living in Plano Texas, nowhere near the East Village. My party days came much later, and it was dope and grunge, not coke and new wave. What is familiar to me is Martin’s loneliness, his protective little nest and the way it is ultimately destroyed. I spent my teenage years listening to The Smiths and living vicariously through others, and I know how that kind of pain catches up to you later. Other than that? My dad really did work for the mobile communications industry in 1983 and we really did have a phone in our car!

The ensemble received a nomination and each actor has praised the tremendous trust and care that was required in the rehearsal process. How did you achieve that sense of safety and what was the result in your opinion?
Our fearless foursome – Melody Bates, Ian Holcomb, Bryan Kaplan and Brian Miskell – turned in some of the bravest performances I’ve ever seen. This has everything to do with director Daniel Talbott’s way of working with actors. He’s not ensconced behind some table or buried in the script. He’s up there, in there, with them. He’s an actor himself, and actors can sense that. They know he’s not asking them to go anywhere he wouldn’t venture himself. For my part, I just tried to remind them that what they do is extraordinary. I believe it’s sacred. And they should honor and trust the full force of the abilities. Plus I brought them snacks.

What was the most satisfying part of working on this production?
Daniel pushed me to develop the script in the room. It came along leaps and bounds, thanks to him. But I think what was most satisfying to me was watching those actors connect to one another, and work all together. Their individual IT Award nominations are well-deserved, but it’s their Ensemble nod that really thrills me. The way they collaborated was so inspiring and deeply meaningful for me. Hard Sparks is about giving artists the opportunity to do that, and I’m incredibly grateful to them for responding with such passion and generosity.

What is next for Hard Sparks?
No idea really. My goal was to fuse edgy theatre with social issues, and to partner with other non-for-profits to improve people’s lives. What I’ve found in the two short years since we launched is that just getting a show funded and on its feet is tough enough, even without trying to save the world. So we’re weighing some options and looking at different ways of doing things. As soon as we’ve worked it all out, we’ll gladly share the secret formula!


Congratulations to the cast and crew of Eightythree Down!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

FullStop Collective




Since 2007 the FullStop Collective has been producing new and innovative work. This last season they took on a musical set in a landfill in the future.

Producing Director, Leta Tremblay shares a little about their company and working on Unville Brazil.




What were the origins of the FullStop Collective?
FullStop Collective was originally formed in 2007 by a group of students who studied together at the Eugene O'Neill National Institute. After we graduated from our respective colleges, a contingent of us moved to New York City where we knew that we wanted to continue to work together and support each others artistic endeavors. That first year included a workshop of new plays in Upstate New York, a world premier production in the New York International Fringe Festival, and site-specific stagings of one week of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays. Since then, we've continued to expand our artistic community and to heighten the production value of our shows which led us to our first ever musical, Unville Brrazil!  


What inspired Unville Brazil?
Playwright Patrick Shaw and director Brian Hashimoto began cooking up the idea of what would become Unville Brazil back in 2008. I recently asked Brian this question to refresh my memory and this is what he said: "Two guys, a bar, a rhyming dictionary, and something to do with garbage. That was literally the impetus. It was originally imagined as a serial musical radio drama." The story developed from there. Pat began writing songs on his guitar, Brian incorporated his love for puppets in the staging, and we added actors in a public reading to flush out the characters. Each new added element inspired the further gestation of the project.

What are the challenges of producing a new musical?

The music! Music added an entirely new set of challenges to producing a new play. Originally we hoped to have live musicians on stage throughout the performance but it quickly became apparent that this was not feasible for us for this production. Our backup plan was to prerecord all of the music and incorporate it into the sound design. This actually turned out to be a great solution because the actors were able to rehearse with the recordings (they still sang live) and we had more control over the volume and balance of the music in performance.

Did you incorporate green practices into the production?

Absolutely. This was a huge initiative for us. Nearly the entirety of our set was constructed out of recycled materials. The play takes place in a landfill so it was actually easy for us to collect recycling from the cast, crew, and community to build our set. We also chose to go almost entirely paperless with our programs. Cast bios were posted on the lobby walls and on our website along with other pertinent information. Water and wine was served during intermission in reusable mugs that were returned after use and washed at the end of each show. We sold FullStop branded tote bags to encourage our audience to use reusable bags when shopping rather than constantly bringing home plastic.

What was your favorite line in the production?

This is such a hard question! Pat's writing is so poetic and there are so many beautiful lines in this play but I'm actually going to answer with some lyrics from the opening song:
I know,
This seems like the end
Of ice caps, trees, and the inter-specicial friends
I know,
You think you're at the end
Of the world
But then again
There's much more to be done
There's plans and dreams and history to be spun
You're not giving up when you know it's time
To begin again
In this beginning is the thesis for the journey that this musical takes you on. For me, the play is a call to arms in the form of a love story. It speaks to where our world is headed if we continue on in this way with disregard for how we are affecting the lives of future generations. But it also speaks to the doubts that we all face as individuals. Have I made the right choices? Is this all that there is to life? Unville Brazil 's answer is that there is always more to be done, and always time to begin again.


What is FullStop currently working on?
FullStop Collective just wrapped Cause of Failure at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival this summer to great reviews and an opportunity for the play to be published on Indie Theater Now! Next up, we are producing Outfoxed, a new play by Lucy Gillespie, at Access Theater November 29 - December 16. And Brian reprises his role as director. Here's the teaser:

A bookish American student abroad gets in over her head in a life of sex and drugs.

Her mother gets a phone call…

I hope that you'll check out www.fullstopcollective.org in the coming months for more details and join us at the theater this winter!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Magic Futurebox



Magic Futurebox
employs 'story theatre' to produce some incredibly visceral and intriguing  work.



Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director, Kevin Liabson explains their esthetic and how this form of theatre engages and excites audiences.




What are the origins of Magic Futurebox and what is the significance of the company name?
A couple of years back, my now-partner Suzan Eraslan was working as Programming Director for The Tank. She took me on as a theater curator there. At the time, I was working with a different theater company, and as we embarked on a big series at The Tank - the Public Domain series - my partners at that company all got married and had babies all within a fairly small time frame. As such, Suzan stepped in to help with a lot of the production aspects of Public Domain. Before we knew it, we were producing together full time. Immediately after Suzan left The Tank, we were given the opportunity to move in to our space in Brooklyn, and it's been pretty non-stop ever since. We're currently running, I believe, our twentieth production in 2 years. 

In terms of the name, it's not a great story - when we realized that what we were doing constituted running a company, and needed to get our LLC, and thus a name, we spent a day or so throwing possible names around. As you do when you're naming something, a possibility would come up, and we'd google it and see if it was taken. Suzan suggested something, I said, "let me look it up on the old magic futurebox," which was just how I occasionally referred to my laptop, and she hit me and asked why I'd been holding that phrase out on her. It stuck. Tommy Smith, who wrote Demon Dreams (and two other shows we've produced), called it "the eventual result of producing all of these shows - it's the thing we're gonna open in the future, and we'll look back and see everything that's gone on and realize that we are in the future as a result of opening that magic futurebox in the first place," which I like better.



Tell us what 'story theatre' is? and why do you choose to work in this form of theatre?
 

Story theater is a form wherein actors both narrate and play the story. As an actor mimes opening a door, he might say "the baker creaked the door open and crept through." He then may continue to narrate or enter in to dialogue, but he never (or rarely) exits the story, exactly. The form was created by Paul Sills while he was working with the Game Theater in Chicago in 1968. The form requires no sets, costumes, or props - all factors of the environment are suggested by the actors through spacework, and often a shadow screen. A small group of actors play several characters each, and usually, there's a circle on the floor which is used as a guideline for travel, passage of time, etc. It's an incredible form when it's done well - it allows the audience to experience storytelling and theater the way that children do, but without any sort of pandering or condescension. It's a form that allows for wonder and awe. I had the good fortune to work with Paul on several story theater productions while I was at the New Actors Workshop, either as an actor, musician, or lighting designer, and then stage managed several more for Jason Hale, a student of Paul's and a real master of the form.  

Generally, story theater is applied to a collection of folk tales or classic stories. I'm very interested in applying the form to other work. I feel like there are so many ways in which other media has theater beat in it's effectiveness, and the only theater that really excites me is that which capitalizes on its form. Story theater, for instance, doesn't work on screen. Or hasn't yet.  I want to make theater that has to be theater. Story theater allows the audience to involve themselves in the creation of the piece by imagining the wall separating the two young lovers, as the actors simply lean on the space between them. If we're gonna get a whole bunch of people in the room for something, shouldn't we invite them to play?

 
Demon Dreams incorporated live music. What were the benefits and challenges of this?
Music's a pretty integral part of the story theater form, and Tommy capitalizes on it beautifully in the script to Demon Dreams. Because the form is so open and playful, audiences are totally willing to accept songs and underscoring - anything that helps shape the environment, tonally or otherwise. We brought in the Wiz Kids, a couple of DJs who had invented a wearable turntable set (TurnTableTar) to play the shows, and Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky generously provided tracks for us to use as the beats for lyrics Tommy had written. Having live musicians is a huge boon to a story theater show, as the music and the sounds they can provide further shape the environment. Most of our sound effects were variations on record scratches and such, and we focused on underscoring the show the way you would a Warner Brothers cartoon.  Having the flexibility of live musicians playing with the cast, we were able to allow the cast to improvise physical choices a lot more than if we were tethered to a sound board.


What has the audiences reaction been to Demon Dreams and your other productions?
Demon Dreams
was pretty well received. Basically, it's a fun, high-energy children's show questioning the innate goodness or evil-ness of human beings. What's not to love, right? Our shows seem generally to be fairly popular, but it's a tough question. I'm not out to shock or offend anybody, but I don't think everybody should like everything. People who thought Demon Dreams was too silly or frivolous loved Firemen, another of Tommy's shows we produced, which was anything but. Theater is for audience, absolutely. But any given piece has its own audience, and not everyone is a part of any given audience. If everybody likes what we're doing, then we're not doing our job.


What was the most satisfying part of working on this production?
I was (and continue to be) super duper in crazy love with the cast. They were 6 of the most giving, collaborative people I've ever worked with, and I'd do anything for them. So much of my job for this show was just to set up an environment wherein they could play around until they found something wonderful. I really just got out of their way. Only one of them, Joe Burch, had worked in story theater before (Joe and I both played Hanrahan in Paul Sills' adaptation of Yeats' The Stories of Red Hanrahan), and teaching the conventions of the form to these lovely, playful people was incredibly satisfying.  It's such a cool form, and working with pros who'd never really seen it before served to reinforce my love for it.


What is next for Magic Futurebox?
I think I can officially announce that we're extending our current show, Open Up, Hadrian, which we're co-producing at our space with Caborca Theater through Sept. 29th. We've just started rehearsals for Bloody Lullabies for Brave Women, a new piece my partner Suzan commissioned from Miranda Huba, which will be a very limited run to benefit the New York Abortion Access Fund.  We've also got the Deconstructive Theatre Project in residency at our space working on The Orpheus Variations, which will run at our space Oct.19-28th, and we're about to start casting The Carnivorous, a play by Julian Mesri, the focus of our Playwright Spotlight this year.  The Playwright Spotlight program focuses on one writer a year - MFb produces three of their plays, showcasing the breadth of their work.  Last year's Spotlight was Tommy - Demon Dreams was the second of his pieces we produced.  We're also working with Tommy on a new show, hopefully for Spring, but it's in the earliest stages of development. We have about 5 other projects in some stage of development, as well as upcoming workshops and residencies. I know that's a lot of information, but there's even more at magicfuturebox.com.