Friday, August 24, 2007

Fringe Fest Adventures!



I have taken in two NYC Fringe Fest Shows this last week and am planning to get out and see at least three more.
The Seen Stuff

I hit the opening night for Gus Schulenburg's RIDING THE BULL on Saturday August 11, and hit the after party at a nearby bar. This show is fantastic! It was a remount of a Flux Theatre production from a couple years ago. The play is published in the 2006 edition of Brook Stowe's NY THEATER REVIEW. It is a two person comedy/drama about a rodeo clown and an outcast Texas farmer who find God in sex and gambling and lose him somewhere around Graceland. I loved the way the plot unfolded and all the neato complications and character shifts. The one you think is the good guy turns into a very bad guy and the story offers so many surprises. Kelly O'Donnell's direction is amazing in this and I loved the actors (Will Ditterline and Liz Dailey). Jason Paradine's set is a third character in the show at times and gives a stand out performance in its own right!

Nice nytheatre.com review of the play can be found here:
http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/fr_rev2007.php?0=S&1=110

Then on Sunday August 19, I went to see Adam Szymkowicz' SUSAN GETS SOME PLAY. This was an adorable hour-long comedy with a little bit if original music at the end. The premise is that a moderately successful, but highly neurotic and self-defeating, NY actress holds mock-play auditions for a new boyfriend. Adam manages to take a simple plot in several outrageous and unexpected directions. I was never able to guess what would happen next. The actors get high props for delightfully over the top performances. There is even a cool audience participation portion of the evening where one of the men in the audience gets pulled onstage to audition for Susan's romantic attentions. Very entertaining!

James Comtois' blog has the best review of this one that I've seen. He knows Adam's work well enough to get the in-jokes:
http://jamespeak.blogspot.com/2007/08/jimmys-fringe-roundup.html

To See

I am planning on seeing these other shows this weekend at the indicated times. Join me if you can!

THE COMMISSION
By Steven Fechter
Directed by Sarah Gurfield (she directed my play Cockfighters at Oberon Theater a few years back)

The seduction of war. The casualties of passion. This world premiere by acclaimedwriter Steven Fechter ("The Woodsman") spins backward in time to revealthe fragments, both personal and political, left behind in the wake of a bloody civil war.
1h 35m

THE CONNELLY THEATER
Venue #1
7220 E. 4th Street
Between Ave. A & B
Subway: F/V to 2nd Ave.

I am going on: Saturday, August 25 at 2:00 pm

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HAIL SATAN
Gideon Productions, LLC
Writer: Mac Rogers
Director: Jordana Williams

"The Omen" meets "The Office." Witness the birth of the Antichrist--andmeet the Corporate Communications Department responsible for raising her. HAIL SATAN:His Kingdom is coming and his adorable daughter is preparing the way.
2h 0m
New York New York Comedy Drama
VENUE #15:

Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street - The Bleecker Street Theatre
hailsatantheplay.com

I am going on: Fri 24 @ 7:15

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Lights Rise on Grace
A new play by Chad Beckim
Directed by Robert O'Hara (OBIE-winner for "In the Continuum")

Grace falls for Large. Riece falls for Large. Large... falls. First love. Lost love.New love. Tough love. "Lights Rise On Grace" follows three desperate NewYorkers as they defy tradition, uncover and recover secrets.
1h 0m

This has been getting great reviews and sounds fantastic!

The Connelly Theater
220 E. 4th Street (b/w Ave. A & B)

I am going on: Sunday, 8/26 @ 2:00 pm

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Art for Auction at Rude Guerilla Theatre Co Fundraiser Next Month


The angel art above is going up for auction in Santa Ana, CA, next month at the Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company fundraiser. I donated this drawing (99 Cent Angel Sale: pen, sharpie, metallic paint pen and felt marker on 9in by 12in paper), a hand knit green scarf and two signed plays for the silent auction. I expect the stuff will go super cheap, so this is your chance to pick up some Johnna originals at a steal.

They haven't posted the info on the time and location of the fundraiser yet. But watch their website for more details.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mark Ravenhill on Arts Journal and Work Monitors MySpace

Great article about UK playwright Mark Ravenhill on Arts Journal this week (link below).

He has a cool new premiere at Edinbourgh this year and talks about an epilectic seizure he had this year that resulted in a blank spot in his memory for the first part of this year! Wow, I can't even imagine what that must be like. Good thought energies that he makes a full recovery.

He is one of my favorite playwrights and Shopping and F*cking is an all-time favorite play. Also, one of my only flattering acting pictures is from a production of his play Handbag which I loved acting in (except for my lame, incompetent attempts at stage combat that almost left me with a concussion at one rehearsal!). If I can dig it up from my files I will post it here. I play Maurette and am holding a vial of pretend sperm. Friend Erika holds a turkey baster which her character intends to use to impregnate me with the sperm. (See, even the desciption of the picture is cool! Sort of gross, but cool.)
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At a marketing meeting last week one of the big managers said that HR had done a screening of employees' MySpace personal sites and created a list of 5 or so sites that were pornographic (!!?!) and also named the company I work for in the "employer" area. They said there is nothing they can do legally about it, but they are continuing to monitor the situation.
Of course, I have lamentably little to post in the nature of personal pornography (fully-clothed fake sperm-holding photos aside) and don't mention the name of my employer on my myspace site. But it was still a bit of a jolt.
Am interested now in searching for those 5 sites to see if it is anyone I know!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My NY Acting Debut (in a Staged Reading)


Am going to be playing a role in W. Somerset Maugham's The Circle this month. The reading also features two actors who have been in two of my plays on two different coasts (Kara Knappe who was in the world premiere of The Miracle of Mary Mack's Baby in Fullerton, CA, and Bill Fairbain who was in the NY premiere of Cockfighters). The reading is directed by friend and college roommate Kay Mitchell.


If you want to know what I am reading . . .

Check out this cool book-based social networking site that my friend Kay turned me on to:

http://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?i=LTM2MDY4NjY2NDE6MzE0%0A

That link should invite you to be my friend on the site. The site allows you to post reviews of books you are reading and see what all your friends are reading. How cool is that?

Election Day at 2econd Stage Uptown

Went and saw Election Day by Josh Tobissen at the 2econd Stage Theatre's Uptown Series on Friday.

The play is a political sex farce. The open scene is a bit wobbly, but after that I thought the script worked really well and built to an extremely funny pay-off. The actors were great (especially California eco-terrorist Michael Ray Escamilla, dotty sex-starved Halley Feiffer, and the best smarmy politician on the planet -Lorenzo Pisoni). Steven Capone' set design also delighted and fit some extremely diverse locations.

There are several brilliant plot twists that it would be total spoilerhead to talk about (the show runs through August 25, so you have time to go see it). Loved the intro scene for Pisoni's smarmy politician, who gave new meaning to the phrase 'willing to do anything for a vote.'

Go see it if you have any time left over from all the Fringe Fest shows you are probably seeing this week.