Monday, April 20, 2015

The Rulers: A Sneak Peek into Rule of 7x7: Spring Edition

To get your prepared for Rule of 7x7: Spring Edition, take a little time and get to know the 7 playwrights and their 7 rules! And check out the preview video! Rule of 7x7: Spring Edition plays The Tank, Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th.


Meet the Writers


Name: Hilary Bettis

Hometown: I've lived all over the United States. South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, Minnesota, California and New York. No, I don't have a favorite place.

Education: I'm about to graduate from the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellowship at Juilliard, but before Juilliard I'd never stepped foot in an academic institution.

What is your rule?: The color red appears.

Why did you pick your rule?: It's my favorite color. It was the first thing that popped into my head.

Tell us about HOME: I was staring at Brett's email with everyone's rules on the subway at 2am, trying to figure out how to mesh all of these things together, and this is sort of where my brain wandered to so I ran with it. My full-length plays tend to be very gritty, raw Americana, but for this I wanted to write something a little funny, a little silly and a little self-deprecating.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: Probably a lot of really funny, weird plays. I mean, when "aliens" and "youtube" are two of the seven rules...

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: Because there's awesome writers and awesome directors and awesome actors having fun. And probably they'll drink a beer with you after. And, you know, aliens.



Name: Drew Lewis

Hometown: Hastings on Hudson, NY

Education: Kenyon College

What is your rule?: Sprinkles

Why did you pick your rule?: Sprinkles are an excess. They are bad for the environment and they represent all that is wrong with the world today. And I think we need to talk about it.

Tell us about Thank You for the Sunset: Two lovelorn individuals meet on a beach...

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: Sprinkles, unfortunately. Besides that, I can't speak for the others...but I've been catching up with "Game of Thrones'. So maybe a lot of sex, blood and pseudo-ironic mysogyny?

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: It's a super fun night of theatre that brings together talented folks from different sub-communities in the off-off theatre community in NYC.



Name: Barry Levey

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Education: BA, Yale; MFA, UC San Diego

What is your rule?: Someone does something he or she has seen on YouTube

Why did you pick your rule?: I had this 18th Century costume drama in my head, but I sensed that a 9:30pm show with free beer was not the time to write it. The rule forced me into something contemporary.

Tell us about Tax Slayer: It's a comedy about a couple doing their taxes. They're living together for the first time, and learn more about each other than perhaps they wanted. Some of the most heinous kinds of corporate malfeasance play out in their living room.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: Risks. Payoffs. Stumbles.

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: The payoffs far outweigh the stumbles. And the free beer.



Name: Dan McCabe

Hometown: NYC

Education: Some

What is your rule?: A flashback must occur.

Why did you pick your rule?: I wanted to include a big element (kind of like the first Rule Of I participated in where one of the rules was 5 years must go by.)

Tell us about Sprinkles and Lloyd: It's about Sprinkles, a clown, and her boyfriend Lloyd, an accountant.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: 7 visions (with parameters)

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: All the Rule Of's I've participated in have been amazing; a great way to see how arbitrary rules can spark a story.  And there's beer.  Come check it out!



Name: Jenny Morris

Hometown: Largo, FL

Education: Florida State

What is your rule?: Aliens!

Why did you pick your rule?: I think aliens make any situation a bit more theatrical.

Tell us about On My Honor: It's is about a reunion of girl scouts at the wake of their troupe leader. Shenanigans ensue. There will be cookies.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: So much funny, you'll get one of those cramps from laughing too hard.

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: It is incredibly creative and fun! It's really amazing to see what can be done with seven rules in ten pages.






Name: Mat Smart

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Education: The heartbreak of being a Cubs fan has taught me everything I need to know about being a dramatist

What is your rule?: List of 7 somethings

Why did you pick your rule?: It's like the Russian matryoshka dolls - make one of the seven rules have seven parts to it - just keep unstacking a doll from under the doll

Tell us about Fuck City: Fuck City is about the Fuck City spectrum and whether or not everyone is either going to, in, or leaving Fuck City.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: The mayor of Fuck City

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: Because you voted for him



Name: Colin Waitt

Hometown: St. Cloud, Minnesota

Education: MA, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; BA, University of Minnesota--Twin Cities

What is your rule?: Someone hits someone.

Why did you pick your rule?: I wanted to pick something active.

Tell us about Pilot Light: Three adult brothers argue as they decide which of them will be the one to blow out the pilot light in the furnace of their childhood home so they can collect the insurance money.  At one point, someone hits someone.  It, like the last play I wrote for Rule of 7x7, is set in rural Minnesota.

What can we expect to see at Rule of 7x7?: Seven weird and wonderful new plays created by some of the most exciting under-the-radar writers, directors, and actors in New York.  Also a play by me.

Why should we check out Rule of 7x7?: It's a genuinely fun night.  And if by some strange reason you don't like any of the plays, you still can enjoy the party that happens at The Tank when the show is over.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rhap Chat with...Julia Devine

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Get to know the artists of Rhapsody Collective's Cycle 3! Here's Julia Devine, actor in play.

The Common Room: Heroes vs. Villains
Alchemical Theatre Laboratory 
Week 1- April 17th-19th
Week 2- April 24th-26th

For more, visit rhapsodycollective.com. For tickets, visit brownpaperickets.com




Spotlight On...Stephen Michael Rondel

Name: Stephen Michael Rondel

Hometown: Seattle

Education: B.A. Theater Arts & Interdisciplinary Child Development

Favorite Credits: Mr. Beaman & Sister Coco Callmeishmael in The Tragic & Horrible Life of The Singing Nun (New York Musical Theater Festival), Queen Aggravain in Once Upon A Mattress (The New Acting Company), Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird (Northwest Children’s Theater and Olf in Incorruptible (Artistic Repertory Theater).

Why theater?: To change people’s lives.

What inspired you to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Reimagined: I want to tell a classic and timeless story with a modern social commentary.  Show the effects social media have on humans, specifically teenagers today, and how we desperately need to go back to nature and remember what it is like to have genuine one-on-one person connections with each other.  It is up to the younger generation to bring intimacy and personal connections back into their lives before we are all lost in our computers.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: John Cameron Mitchell is a huge inspiration to me.  To see him 17 years ago do a little play on Jane Street called "Hedwig And The Angry Inch" and then come full circle to performing in his Tony Award winning Broadway musical is trans formative!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Meryl Streep

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hedwig

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Jack Nicolson. I'm living my dream! Are You?

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Gypsy with Patti Lapone

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Gummy Bears

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: a photographer

What’s up next?: Great things always happen at The Celebration of Whimsy. Go to TheCOWnyc.com and check out our upcoming events. Long live the C.O.W!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spotlight On...Madeline Calandrillo

Name: Madeline Calandrillo

Hometown: Garden City, NY (Long Island)

Education: BA in Theatre Performance from Rider University, NJ

Select Credits: Poe, Design for Living, A Christmas Carol, The Clean House

Why theater?: Theater, for me, is a way of expression. It is a playful and truthful way to explore the truth about humanity. I love that we can be storytellers.

Who do you play in A Midsummer Night's Dream?: Flute and Cobweb

Tell us about Midsummer: This production of Midsummer is an interesting  mix of modern day and Shakespearian language. As an actor, it is so much fun to work on something from the very beginning. It has been such a collaborative rehearsal process in the early stages.

What is it like being a part of Midsummer?: Midsummer has defiantly been such fun. I play two different parts. These characters are completely different. Flute is very nervous and basically has an anxiety attack throughout the last half of the show. While, Cobweb, is a very grounded and earthy character. Both parts are very playful but in different ways. This whole cast has been so great to work with. Each rehearsal was like we were experimenting different ways to find the balance between the fairy and modern world.
 
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love working on new works. I have been really fortunate lately to be a part of several shows that started out as just readings. It is a challenge for an actor to create a new and truthful character. My family inspires me every day. They are so incredibly supportive. My parents are doctors so we always joke about how funny it is that I wanted to be an artist. I am also a teaching artist and my students are so inspiring. Usually, my students have no idea what they are creatively capable of. It is such a wonderful feeling to watch when they realize that theatre and the arts is so vital to their growth.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I know it closed but Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde.  Anything Sarah Ruhl. I would love to play Lane from the Clean House again. I was lucky enough to play her back in college but being older and more worldly (ha) I would love to go back and experiment.

What’s your favorite show tune?: I really listen to everything. I think my favorite piece of music has to hands down be the "Overture" to The Light in the Piazza. I heard it live once and I cried like a baby.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tom Hewitt- I just saw him do a one man show in January, directed by Aaron Mark. He is amazing.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Agh can I think about it and get back to you???

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: There was a 1966 musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's. I think that would have been interesting to see. I also missed The Drowsy Chaperone and I would have loved to have seen that!  

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I know I am a little late but I just started watching "30 Rock". It is so funny.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  Chocolate. I have absolutely no control when it comes to anything chocolate. I'm also a compulsive shopper.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Power of Movement

Storytelling is quite possibly the most important element in a strong work of art. Finding a way to evoke emotion through story can take on various forms. But how do you tell a story with no words? Solid physical technique. In The Krumples Theatre Company’s Go To Sleep, Goddamnit!, a small provincial church gets a wake up call as the world keeps spinning as times change and beliefs progress.
International theater company The Krumples bring their movement piece Go To Sleep, Goddamnit! to The Tank. Without a single spoken world, the ensemble relies an stunning masks and incredible physical work to tell the story of a priest’s existential crisis and the three drastically different nuns and their view of the world. The Krumples’ stunner is an intricate and captivating exploration of Evolution and progress of faith today. By simply using physical comedy, movement, props, and sound, a cohesive story was portrayed. Though the piece starts off a bit slow, once the comedy picks up steam and the characters establish themselves, the audience is in the palm of their hand. What sets this piece apart is their strong sense of reliance. A story without words relies heavily on a great pitch. If you are unable to illuminate the plot, the entire piece will fall flat. Fortunately, The Krumples illuminated with ease.
The ensemble of four, made of Jo Even Bjorke, Jon Levin, Oda Kirkebo Nyflott, and Vincent Vernerie brought life to the stage. They were a cohesive unit that made everything happen, literally. The Krumples themselves took on the roles of writers and directors. There are times when having so many cooks in the kitchen with an abundance of roles can hinder a production, this was not the case. Everything was cohesive from start to finish. From a design aspect, everything was kept clean and precise. Very simple wood set that simply evokes the interior of a church. The sound, when used, was specific and added a nice layer to the wordless world of the play. The lighting design by Jamie Steffen was quite good, especially during the more theatrical moments.
Go To Sleep, Goddmanit! is like no other. Movement based theater can be a hard sell, but when it’s good, words don’t mean a thing. Get yourself to The Tank and see for yourself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rhap Chat with...Sarah Robotham

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Get to know a little bit about the artists of Rhapsody Collective's Cycle 3! Here is Sarah Robotham, actor in RA Confidential

The Common Room: Heroes vs. Villains
Alchemical Theatre Laboratory 
April 17th-19th: Week 1
April 24th-26th: Week 2

For more, visit rhapsodycollective.com. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com





Spotlight On...Asa Merritt

Name: Asa Merritt

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Education: Columbia University, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Favorite Credits: The street circus show my brother, Casey Matteson, and I devised and performed on Alaska boardwalks.

Tell us about True Believer: A young journalist returns from the Arab Spring hungry to build a more just society at home. Yet after she fails to publish her writing and can no longer relate to her apathetic peers, despondency sets in. Insomnia--a domestic terrorist group--reverses that. By recruiting her to write its manifestos the group gives her the agency she craves. Soon she is embroiled in an attack against her own country. As Insomnia moves closer and closer to taking action, a romance with another woman in the group, and a powerful conscience, threaten her commitment to the cause. Which will win out - her passion for people or her passion for justice? True Believer is a one-woman show about identity, radicalism, and the undeniable passion of youth.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Ironically, I'm really drawn to "director's theater." I admire the work of Thomas Ostermeier, and also love what Russian directors are up to. The European aesthetic prioritizes theatricality--something I'd like to see more of here. For this particular play, Conor McPherson was a primary influence. His one-man shows set the bar.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Miranda July. She blows my mind. The sandboxes of genre and medium don't exist for her.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hamilton. On the off chance that they find some way to score tickets.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The inaugural production of The Select by Elevator Repair Service.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I feel pretty good about most of my pleasures.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I do a lot of things besides theater. I think every story has a medium in which it is best told. Moments should be poems, dreams should be films, portraits of the IRA should be New Yorker articles (a few issues ago--check it out).

What’s up next?: Trying to get myself to Marfa, Texas for the summer to report on contemporary art and alien sightings.

For more on True Believer, visit http://www.truebelievertheplay.com/home.html

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spotlight On...Ryan Pointer

Name: Ryan Pointer

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Favorite Credits: Swing!, Amadeus

Why theater?: It’s really the most accurate way to check in with ourselves as human beings and see how we’re measuring up.

Tell us about Ms. Julie, Asian Equities: On an evening of holiday parties at investment bank Hadley Moore, Julie Harper – Director of Equity Sales – decides to forgo wine and cocktails with coworkers at a nearby club and opts to stay on the trading floor for chips and beer with the bank’s maintenance staff. Her desire to cut loose for a night leads her to Juan, a janitor for the firm. After some innocent flirting turns to something more serious, both Julie and Juan find themselves faced with a crisis of choice and consequence. Ms. Julie, Asian Equities takes August Strindberg’s classic play and updates it for the 99% and the 1%, with the sexual politics and class warfare fully intact. Is it possible to still rise to the top when you’ve reached the very bottom?

What inspired you to direct Ms. Julie, Asian Equities?: I was able to catch a production of the original play when I was in Paris a few years ago. It was presented as Mademoiselle Julie and was entirely in French. I don’t speak French, but was nonetheless riveted by the power struggle between these two individuals. Despite the language barrier, their great need was clear and the play felt very relevant. I brought the idea to playwright Leegrid Stevens about doing our own version of the play and he had the brilliant notion to set the play in modern day at a finance bank.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’m drawn to adapted text that focuses on strong characters, is often experimental, and helps us figure out how to be better humans. I’m a big fan of Kneehigh, The Debate Society, Pig Iron, etc.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Pretty much anyone with some free time and a good idea.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime has been my go to rec for a while.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Patrick Stewart, "Star Trek: Tempest".

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of Strindberg’s Miss Julie seems an appropriate answer.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Comic books.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Traveling in a circus.

What’s up next?: A devised adaptation of Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

Rhap Chat with...Alexis Robbins

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Get to know a little about the artists of Rhapsody Collective's Cycle 3! Here is Alexis Robbins, actor in RA Confidential

The Common Room: Heroes vs. Villains
Alchemical Theatre Laboratory 
April 17th-19th: Week 1
April 24th-26th: Week 2 

For more, visit rhapsodycollective.com. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com


Spotlight On...Ed Malin

Name: Ed Malin

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Education: BA in East Asian Languages from Rutgers University

Favorite Credits: Author of Generic Magic Realism, which received a 2013 NY Innovative Theater Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, thanks to performer Nat Cassidy

Why theater?: I like to deal with issues people would rather ignore.  Except it’s hard to ignore the actors who are right in front of you.

Tell us about The Addicts: The Jewish Supporters of Christ realize they have no black people, and start knocking on different doors.  A Minister and a Jew of Color figure out that they knew, and loved, each other in the past.  Meanwhile, Canada becomes a belligerent superpower while the U.S.A. chills out and learns how to love.  Why do we make radical life changes, and does anything change?

What inspired you to write The Addicts?: I had a bunch of  conversations with JewsForJesus type people who got madder and madder the more I calmly refuted their selling points.  But it was the sheer audacity and condescension of these people that I found most intriguing.  I wondered if black people encounter the same kind of condescension on a regular basis.  What if someone is black and Jewish?  Well, that’s a play.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Most things British and satirical.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would like to learn something from Mac Wellman.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Recently I was quite impressed with The Listeners and The Temple, both at The Brick.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would play the invisible alien with so much to learn about Earth.  The movie would be called “A Million Planets In One”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The premiere of “Ubu Roi” sounds tempting.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sci-fi toys

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: In archaeology

What’s up next?: June brings my new show Queers for Fears to the inaugural F-ckfest at The Brick.  This Fall, Generic Magic Realism returns to United Solo Festival.

For more, visit www.temeritytheatre.org and www.theaterforthenewcity.net