'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Thursday, January 15, 2004 ]

I went to see "Oriphice" at Broom Street Theater (which, in my absence, has been painted a bright green color, by the way) this past Sunday.

It's a nice return to form for BST, I think. It's a lot of fun. I've heard that Joel Gersmann grumbled a bit that it's very empty (something he always used to use as a compliment, by the way), but you know, sometimes I think that's Joel's way of saying he thinks it's going to do very well. He said the same thing about "Whatever Happened To Bette And Joan," so, there you go.

Since I saw it on Sunday, the crowd was a small and quiet one. Tracy, the director, and the rest of the cast seemed a little dismayed by that, but from what I could see, the material obviously works with a crowd.

And let me tell you, man, that first Sunday can be such a comedown. There's nothing quite like riding high on the energy from that opening weekend's Friday and Saturday, and then have ten people on that Sunday.

Keeps you humble.

Brad Knight (who looks like he's lost quite a bit of weight since I last saw him) and Al Hart are a fun comic team, and frequent readers of this page may also be interested to know that Debra (Ma'am) Neff Nathans is also in the play (and has my favorite bit, as the Oracle).

And, man, I feel like a heel because I didn't pay-I coasted in on my director cred, even though I'm no longer a director there and it's a whole new season. Tracy let me in because I sort of put her on the spot, but really, I looked in my wallet and saw that I only had two bucks. How embarrassing. (I ended up putting one in the collection basket and the other in the actor's box.)

Although I didn't congratulate Tracy (in retrospect, I probably should have, but she seemed busy immediately after the show), I did talk to Matt, the playwright (who's also in the show) and told him that I was glad that the show was kept to a manageable length. Matt and I used to have lots of talks about how BST shows shouldn't be longer than ninety minutes, ever. BST seating is notoriously uncomfortable, and people, typically, can only stand sitting in those bleachers for roughly forty-five minutes before it becomes too uncomfortable to watch the show. When "Oriphice" was over, I looked at my watch and it said 9:50 pm. Excellent.

For those interested (which should be all nine of you), it's running Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00 at Broom Street Theater up through Feb 15th. At seven bucks a ticket, BST is still the cheapest game in town.

In other theater news, there's a new show opening the Friday night. In fact, it's the same show that's been rehearsing in my basement (the singular reason my roommate Sam and I cleaned it) for the past month, by Daina Zemliauskas and Kathy Lynn Sliter's theater group thrustStage.

It is, in fact the show "Squirrels," which is a group of one-acts and monologues by Don Nigro. If you don't know the name (I didn't either), do yourself the favor and check out his work. He's a writer of some wit and thought. His pieces are not only thought-provoking and poigniant, but alsoas funny as all get-out.

Currently, in this town, there's a lot of hubbub about the upcoming StageQ show, "Corpus Christi," which features my friend Nathan Caracter as a gay Jesus Christ. (as is my understanding) There's been protestors and such. (I may discuss that issue at a later time, because things about it piss me off. In the meantime, check out this opinion. And this one.)

Having seen some of "Squirrels," I think it's really funny how this is going to really slip in under the protestors' radar. There are some harsh, blunt statements said about religion in here--and ones worth hearing.

For those of you who have been following all of my work (which, at this point, I'm pretty sure is just me), you'll recognize Marcy Weiland and Molly Vanderlin from "Orange Murder Suit," (Molly, of course, also played Kate in my version of "Psychos In Love") Amy Lewis from my production of "Bash," Daina Zemliauskas and Mickey Crocker from Blitzkreig 3-D, and Casey Grimm will eventually be seen in my upcoming show "Welcome To The Terror Dome," which is still in early development stages. It's also got Erik Burtz and Nancie Sanford. Both of whom, quite literally, rock. I say that because I've seen them do it.

"Squirrels" is directed by the lovely and talented Kathy Lynn Sliter, who you may have seen in such plays as "Psychos In Love." (In which she played, among other things, the manic-depressive who wouldn't shut up, the guy who gets his head chopped off, and Ann Coulter, the daughter of Satan.)

It's running Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm up through January 31st, and it's at--and here's what makes this even more of an action item--The Kanopy Dance Studio, at 133 W. Johnson St. (A couple of doors down from Noodles And Company on State Street.) Tickets are $15 ($12 students and seniors), and you can call 608-260-8971 for reservations.

Why is this a big deal?

Because Kanopy is a wonderful (and less expensive) venue for smaller plays in this town. See, what I really think this town needs is another independent theater venue. All due respect to The Bartell, but the rental prices there are oppressively expensive. As a result, the smaller companies can't really take any chances (which is usually what smaller companies are for) and have to pick shows that are a guaranteed return investment on the money they spend.

So, it's up to you. If enough people make this show a success, other theater group may be freed up to take more chances and do more things. We used to have this sort of thing with Brave Hearts Theater. I came to realize that Brave Hearts kept all the companies honest, because it was somewhere in between Broom Street and "traditional" theater. When Brave Hearts went away, Broom Street was the only irreverent game in town, and the other companies had to curb their harsher work in favor of making their money back.

The theaterfolk in this town have been screaming for years that they want another space.

Well, here one is. Make it famous.

And last but not least, I have big news for those of you in the East Coast!

A group of my monologues (some of which I wrote for Jen The Costuminatrix's radio show) and a short play I wrote called "Sappy Love" are going to be performed in...


New York City!

It's true. They'll be part of a night of short plays called "Lil' Pervs," directed by Lydia Radziul and produced by Dan Trujillo. This'll be running from February 12th through the 22nd, at 8pm at The Red Room, at E. 4th St. off of 2nd Ave.

By coincidence, this same theater is where my friend Rick Vorndran has put up a few shows-most recently, "Please Please Please Love Me" (which used to be called "Control Freaks In Love," until he switched the titles with another show of his)-which was not only a Broom Street show, but a Broom Street show I was in.

Oh, yeah--and I'll be there opening night, too. You'll recognize me, because I'll be the one giving you thumbs up and saying "AYYYYYYYYYY."

posted by Rob on 8:42 PM | link



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