Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: A Shop of Stories

The items in pawn shops always have a story. Whether they have sentimental value to the original owner or are rich in price, they meant something to someone once. But what about the history of the people within the pawn shop? What's their story? In Wombat Theatre Co.'s devised play Moore & Sons, we get the opportunity to see the story behind the titular characters, which shares the name of the pawn shop. Written by the acting company, along with some who did not perform, Moore & Sons tells the tale of widowed Judy Moore and Brian, the bastard son of the elder Moore, as they begin to regain control of the family pawn shop. Along the way we meet an array of characters that help the pair discover that, despite blood, family is forever.
The play gets off to a slow start, filling the room with exposition but once the action gets underway, the heart of the play truly unfolds. Like any devised piece, there may be stamps of a certain collaborator that may not be as strong as others, but the beauty of Moore & Sons is despite this, there is a genuine cohesiveness. The primary characters, for the most part, each have an arc, though their journey may be rushed due to the time restraint in the world of the play. Though the plays takes place in a single location over the course of a day, the script still had a very cinematic aura to it. The plot is quite accessible. It screams Indie film, perhaps with the added aid of the wonderful soundtrack.
As far as characters are concerned, it takes time to warm up to Rachel Abraham’s Judy and Alexander McCarty’s Brian, but once you do, their relationship is sweet. McCarty’s Brian seemed to lack emotion in his scenes with Judy, but you soon learn that his discomfort is due to their rocky relationship and his uncertainty of his place at Moore & Son. But his deepest moment on stage was one that required no words, simply listening to the record player. The emotions McCarty offered were stunning. One of the strongest and realist scenes is between Brian, his friend Buddy, played uproariously by Adam Weppler, and the eccentric stoner trying to sell his hot dog cart, played effortlessly by Nick Stag. Somehow what started as a potential throwaway scene turned into a beautiful examination of growing up through the lens of three adults in three different stages. The chemistry between the three actors was natural. Through the various costumers who inhabited the shop throughout, we get glimpses of backstory and insight on the characters. Of these customers, Meagan Nagy as Denise and Tyler Grimes as Guitar Guy made their moments lively.
Director John Lavigne and dramaturg Pip Gengenbach do a nice job curating the world of consistency. The atmosphere of the space, designed by director Lavigne, evoked a run down pawn shop, using the architecture of the stage to his advantage.
Moore & Sons is a unique examination of the power of relationships. Don’t let the location scare you away from this special play.

The Gospel According to...Peter Sansbury

Name: Peter Sansbury

Hometown: Larchmont, New York

Education: Syracuse University

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Noah and Judas

Tell us about The Mysteries: I would if I could, but no words can do it justice. Come see the bible on stage in a new light

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Epic, Unprecedented, Enlightenment

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: A Chinese Fu-Manchu Robe

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Too tough to say. Rehoboam?

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?:
Paul Truitt

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?:
A.J. Ditty

Most likely to become an angel?: Alice Allemano

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Justin Ahdoot

Who's the most spiritual?: Janice Amaya

On the 8th day god said_____: Werk Bitches

Are you going to heaven or hell?: HELL

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: LUST

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: SNAPING

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?:
Jesus on the cross

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?:
Friendship

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: To experience faith in a different way and ask yourself why you believe what you believe

The Gospel According to...Sarah M. White

Name: Sarah M. White

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Education: BFA in Musical Theatre from Ball State University (Magna Cum Laude)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: an Angel

Tell us about The Mysteries: It's an event, not like an ordinary play you go to sit and watch (but are any plays ordinary, really?).  It celebrates and challenges these Bible stories that we teach our children, joke about at the bar, discuss in classrooms...  There is little separation between the playing space and the audience.  There is acting, singing, tutting, fighting, and FOOD!

Describe The Mysteries in three words: epic, immersive, naked

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: My underworld mummy costume, complete with ski mask and neon paint

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: David, mainly for the Goliath story

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Rebecca Rad

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Honestly...and this is gonna be a cop-out, but I'd have to say Colin, who plays Jesus. He's the nicest guy you'll ever meet!

Most likely to become an angel?: Lauren Hayes

Most likely to hear voices in their head?:
Rory Kulz

Who's the most spiritual?: Jessie MacBeth

On the 8th day god said_____: I need a drink.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Hell for sure.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Since the invention of Netflix...Sloth

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: "Be the microwaved baby."

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Any time humans see the angels...those faces...they make me laugh every time.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Getting to work on some incredible music written and arranged by David Dabbon.  I still get chills every night. 

Why should we come see The Mysteries?:
To take a break from life and come party with us!

For more on Sarah, visit www.sarahmwhiteactor.com

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Gospel According to...Matt Stango

Name: Matt Stango

Hometown: Staten Island, New York

Education: I graduated from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts for drama, and SUNY Purchase for Drama studies

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: In The Mysteries, I play Annas, Mick , a Guard and an overall bad person in various scenes

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is an event.  Its an entire evening in which you get to see some great original theater and music performed by incredibly talented young actors, you eat dinner served by them and you get a chance to meet everyone.  Its like nothing else I've ever seen or been a part of. 

Describe The Mysteries in three words:
Come see it (I struggled with this question for hours)

What’s the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: My wildest costume would be what I wear for Annas, the high priest.  It's an extravagant golden robe/ head dress.  I look ridiculous, and I love it.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
I would be Thomas.  He lived the longest and seemed to be the nicest.  But maybe that's just because I love A.J. Ditty (he plays Thomas)

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: I think Matthew Cox LOOKS the most like he lived in biblical times.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Colin Waitt is most likely to be the Messiah.  He's so convincing as Jesus, I couldn't imagine it being anyone else.

Most likely to become an angel?: I think Matt Bovee IS an angel.  He's the captain of the angel chorus for a reason.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: I'm pretty sure Alice hears voices in her head. 

Who’s the most spiritual?: I don't think any one person is the most spiritual.  I think the cast as a whole has a very unique spirit, and that is expressed in many different ways, on stage and off.

On the 8th day God said______: You wanna go get a slice of pizza?

Are you going to heaven or hell?: I'm definitely going to heaven

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
Pride.

What’s the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?:
The biggest inside joke is episode 26, The Conspiracy, by Yussef el Guindi.  We have to play some pretty racist characters, and its a chance to just really let loose and be goofy on stage every night.  We've been making each other crack up during that scene for the past 5 months.

What’s your favorite moment from The Mysteries?:
My favorite moment is the end of act II, but I can't tell you what that is

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: The most rewarding part is the camaraderie between the cast

Why should we come see The Mysteries?:
Come see The Mysteries because you will never see anything like it in your life. I promise.

The Gospel According to...Matt Cox

Name: Matt Cox

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Education: Stella Adler Studio of Acting, The Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center, and I have a BFA from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX (The Cowboy Capital of the World. Seriously.)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Abraham and The Apostle John

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a remarkable retelling of the Bible interpreted by 48 of today's best playwrights and performed by a ridiculous amount of talented people. There's food too. The greatest story ever told makes for a pretty great party.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: So. Many. People.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: A Duck Dynasty-esque Abraham outfit with a lot of camouflage and some wonderful braids in my hair.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: I'd have to go with Elijah. Chariot of fire. Bears. Etc.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?:
Definitely Kyle Hines. He might have been an evil person though.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: At this point, it's hard to think of anyone other than Colin.

Most likely to become an angel?:
I think everyone's an angel. ;)

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Sam Garber. But the voices are just thinking about movies.

Who's the most spiritual?: Alex Seife wears a shirt that says so all the time.

On the 8th day god said_____: "Hey, tomorrow is the 9th day."

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Where does Xenu play into this question? I've got a real good Thetan level.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Sloth. Boy, I can laze a day away.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: My favorite of recent memory involves gardening.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: The end of Acts 1 & 2 send a shiver down my spine just listening to them. Also, Alex Seife's John Wayne voice.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: I am inspired everyday by each and every member of the cast. So much talent, and it's truly something special to get to be a part of it with so many amazing individuals.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: There ain't nothing else like it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Gospel According to...Jon Huggins

Name: Jon Huggins

Hometown: Nashville, Arkansas

Education: 1 year of college

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Caiaphas and Paul

Tell us about The Mysteries: It is a 3rd generation epic undertaking based on the stories of the Bible.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Soul of man

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: A Native American head dress

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Paul

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Sam Garber

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: AJ Ditty

Most likely to become an angel?: Kate Thulin

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Stephen Stout

Who's the most spiritual?: Kyle Hines

On the 8th day god said_____: Absolutely nothing

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Neither

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Pride

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Anything involving EP. 26, “The Conspiracy”

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?:
Anytime something goes not according to plan.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Being a Bat in good company.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: You should see the mysteries if you have a passion for theatrical storytelling...

The Gospel According to...Matthew Jeffers

Name: Matthew Jeffers

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Education: B.S- Theatre

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: God

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a tour de force of collaborative art that manages to, over a 6 hour epic, latch itself onto each of the core human emotions.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Heartbreaking. Harrowing. Hopeful.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?:
A rodin coil with a glowing heart of God!

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Moses (That's actually my Hebrew name! I'm Jewish...)

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Paul Thomas Truitt- I'll be the first to say he look like more of a Moses than I.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?:
Ed Iskandar. Only the Messiah would be able to front something as biblically large as this.

Most likely to become an angel?:
Jaspal Binning. Unflinchingly kind. Very ethereal.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: A.J Ditty. He plays a better skittish Doubting Thomas than the actual Doubting Thomas did.

Who's the most spiritual?: Kyle Hines. I had a lovely conversation with him about religion recently.

On the 8th day god said_____: I forgot my line...

Are you going to heaven or hell?:
I made heaven...I sure as hell am going to it.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Gluttony. I have a portion control problem. If you put a pizza in front of me, I WILL eat it all.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: I must be out of the loop...I'm not sure if I KNOW an inside joke. Maybe something to do with Eli's scary-real looking fake penis?

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Besides EVERY angel song...It's hard not to go with Pentecost. The apostles exiting after "All These Things That I've Done" always chokes me up.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?:
Unquestionably getting to work with the most kind and talented young artists in America. I'm blessed.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: It has been a long, challenging process, but I think what we have created is a deeply moving piece of work. When you spend 6 hours in a room with a group of people, you begin to rekindle the conversation of human connection and purpose, two things that have become muddled in our electronic age.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Gospel According to...Lindsley Howard

Name: Lindsley Howard

Hometown: Houston, TX

Education: BFA in Acting, St. Edwards University

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: A bunch of little girls.

Tell us about The Mysteries: Its a play about the Bible that manages to not be about the Bible, but rather the beautiful mixed up humans that created it.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Heartfelt. Jubilant. Human.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?:
Underwear and bed sheet.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
No one, they all seemed pretty stressed.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Ed.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Alex Hanyes. Colin Waitt is definitely a close second.

Most likely to become an angel?: Alex Haynes

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Peter Sansbury

Who's the most spiritual?: We've all got soul.

On the 8th day god said_____:
Tears, bitch.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Wherever the party is.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Sloth.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Our "free time."

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: The 10-second dance Matt Stango does at the beginning of The Conspiracy Episode. Literally. It will never NOT be funny.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Watching my cast mates work and play.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?:
It poses more questions than in answers, and thats really exciting. It puts a mirror up to the audience and asks if you have faith, if not in God, do you have faith in your fellow human? Do you have faith in art? Do you have faith in good, or bad? Do you have faith in the theatre? You came here for a reason, what is it?

The Gospel According to...Karsten Otto

Name: Karsten Otto

Hometown: Plano, TX

Education: BFA. Tisch School of the Arts, Atlantic Acting Studio

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Joseph (of Jesus' father fame...not the one with the dream-coat.)

Tell us about The Mysteries: It's the most filling, challenging theater that I can think of. We are re-telling the Bible with a modern framework, with no judgement, positive or negative. You will not leave feeling empty or malnourished. 

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Earnest. Buffet. Ambitious.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: I can't tell for risk of spoilers!

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: David (from David and Goliath)

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Paul Thomas Truitt

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Jaspal Binning

Most likely to become an angel?: Alesandra Nahodil

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: AJ Ditty

Who's the most spiritual?: Kyle Hines

On the 8th day god said_____: You want more from me?

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Heaven

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Pride (The worst one =( )

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?:
Ed's run-through notes.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Our stunning Angel Chorus' rendition of "His Eye is on the Sparrow."

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: The multitude of talented artists I now call my friends and colleagues.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?:
Because you can see most other shows in different forms on Netflix these days. Ours is tailor made for the theater.

Blog Hijack: Wombat Theatre Co.- From the Desk of Peter M. Pushpop, Dean of Student Affairs, Independence University

The other day I received a strange e-mail from a young man named Brian O'Donnell who lives in Independence, MO. He thought I might be interested in some stuff he recently acquired, and thought you might be as well. Check back here to see what Brian has given us to browse! 


If you'd like to learn more about these people and this town, you can purchase tickets to Wombat Theatre Co.'s Moore & Sons. Tickets are available for purchase here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/617971 and here: www.wombattheatre.org
Moore & Sons runs April 17, 18, 19, 25, 26 @ 8pm April 19 @ 2pm April 27 @ 3:30pm at 133rd St. Arts Center

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Gospel According to...Jaspal Binning

Name: Jaspal Binning

Hometown: Birmingham, England

Education: Two Year Meisner Conservatory (New York Film Academy)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Adam

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is an epic retelling of the greatest story ever told with a completely radical spin.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Astonishing. Breathtaking. Exhilarating.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: My birthday suit

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Moses seemed like a pretty stand up chap.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Kyle Hines

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Matthew Jeffers

Most likely to become an angel?: Colin Waitt

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: AJ Ditty

Who's the most spiritual?: Sarah Keyes

On the 8th day god said _____?: let everyone have a voice.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Someone else's decision :)

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Lust

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?:
"Crucify Him!"

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Too many to tell you in one breath!

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Collaborating with the greatest artists in New York City who are now profound friends and mentors who I Iook forward to seeing everyday.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: You will see the very first story being relayed to you in the most elegant and potent way that will redefine the everyday theatergoers experience. This truly is theater at it's finest.

Blog Hijack: Wombat Theatre Co.- Zombie Piss at the Recreation Center

The other day I received a strange e-mail from a young man named Brian O'Donnell who lives in Independence, MO. He thought I might be interested in some stuff he recently acquired, and thought you might be as well. Check back here to see what Brian has given us to browse! 



If you'd like to learn more about these people and this town, you can purchase tickets to Wombat Theatre Co.'s Moore & Sons. Tickets are available for purchase here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/617971 and here: www.wombattheatre.org
Moore & Sons runs April 17, 18, 19, 25, 26 @ 8pm April 19 @ 2pm April 27 @ 3:30pm at 133rd St. Arts Center

Spotlight On...Patrick Scheid

Name: Patrick Scheid

Hometown: Ramsey, NJ

Education: BA in Theatre and in History from Muhlenberg College

Favorite Credits: My work with TRE (Rode in Three Seagulls, Carlos in American Play, man in Salesmen), the Student in Strindberg's Ghost Sonata, Orpheus in Polaroid Stories, all of my characters in The Possibilities, just to name a few...

Why theater?: Theater because it's messy and ephemeral and can hold many histories at once and a great amount of magic in the smallest, simplest things; and because as a performer I can have eye contact with the spectator, or at least feel their presence in the room. We are in the same room and I can indulge in a genuine exchange. Practically, I choose theater, because it's what i'm trained to do and how to see the world. But I'm glad it's theater.

Tell us about Zara Notes: Zara Notes is a month-long performance installation about Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra". It is currently in it's third week. Wed-Sat the space is open for 4-6 hours and the performance is happening. Audience members enter when they like, take part in the world of the piece, and then leave when they are ready. At the end of each day, I leave everything as it is and resume the next day. It truly feels like a performance odyssey as I try to get closer to Nietzsche's mountain-dwelling prophet and explore the dangers of solitude/sociability. Sometimes we grab tools and smash tables, and sometimes we build newer, better ones with the materials available in the space. Sometimes we just talk or laugh. It's a wild ride, a crazy performance experience unlike anything I've attempted. So much depends on who walks through the door and what they are willing to share. But the work is developing as more and more people leave their mark. People should come soon, it closes May 3rd.

What inspired you to create Zara Notes?: I had to make Zara Notes because I read "Zarathustra", found it beautiful, strange, thought-provoking, and I didn't really understand it. Since I believe in performance as a means of learning (as a great mentor once proved to me) I set out to stage the book as it inspired me. Zara Notes has now had three vastly different mountings (some may have seen our highly theatrical production of it last summer at HERE), because each new re-imagining of the work has provided a great depth of insight into these ideas and what they can mean for me.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theater that subverts my expectations, challenges me, and leaves me shaken. Pieces that are full of difficulty, unexpected laughter, past-ness, and a healthy smidgen of the mythic. Pieces where "the veil of things as they seem" is ragged and torn. This theater doesn't have to reassure me, it only has to  move me, make me wonder and awe at the world before me.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: So many people still to work with - Taylor Mac, Tim Crouch, Howard Barker, Simon McBurney, Michael Fassbender, Charlie Chaplin… *sigh* someday.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Recently recommended DTP's Searching for Sebald. Can't wait for it to come out.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: In the feature film “Subway Furniture Hustle”, poor James McAvoy or possibly Daniel Craig or even Jason Stratham (obviously) will be doomed to transport large pieces of set furnishings via subway as he moves from project to project, battling crowds and the raging extremes of temperature the whole way. High octane adventure full of surprising cameos and Christopher Nolan-esque twists.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Pretzels. I'm addicted to those little beauties. (Snyder's pretzels of course)

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Either James Vincent McMorrow's "This Old Dark Machine" or Hugh Trimble's "Sold for Fire"

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Probably a dusty academic accepting coffee intravenously and compiling large tomes of colorfully dramatic accounts about America's colonial past and Britain's rise to imperial power. Then again teaching is still performing...

What’s up next?: You on the Moors Now with Theater Reconstruction Ensemble. Definitely stay tuned for this smart, savvy, heart-rending parkour through "Pride & Prejudice", "Jane Eyre", "Wuthering Heights", "Little Women", and the many many layers of Love.

The Gospel According to...Ricardo Dávila

Name: Ricardo Dávila

Hometown: Puerto Rico

Education: BFA from Tisch School of the Arts / MFA candidate from Yale School of Drama (starting this Fall).

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: I play Jude, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, and Paul, a certified nurse assistant.

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a theatrical experience like none other that I’ve been a part of. It is an evening of some of the greatest playwrights taking turns telling the story of the bible from the Fall of Lucifer to the Last Judgement, with beauty, eloquence, and grace.

Describe The Mysteries in three words:
Human. Relevant. Moving.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: It’s one of my ensemble pieces in the second act. It’s essentially just white boxers and a white shawl-like cloth clipped to my head. Simple, revealing, and comfortable.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
That’s tough, because now I base all my ideas of these people on The Mysteries and if that’s the case then…I’d want to be Lucifer.
Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Jon Huggins. Yes.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?:
I mean, Colin Waitt plays Jesus in our production and I would be a-okay with him being the actual Messiah.

Most likely to become an angel?: Kyle Hines! Sweet man with a beautiful voice.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Elijah Trichon. That’s a funny thought.

Who's the most spiritual?: I’d have to say Ed. His approach to theater, to it’s creation, and to the inclusion of our audience members is almost sacred.

On the 8th day god said_____: “Well done, me."

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Oh, without sounding too bold, I’d like to think I’m headed to Heaven.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Gluttony. So hungry.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Ed’s notes are extremely specific and creative. We all want to collect them in a book and publish them somehow.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Honestly, it was the social gatherings at Ed’s loft because that was where we all really started getting to know each other, and it was then that I realized what a beautiful cast of people I’m working with, both inside and out.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: I have the best, most supportive, encouraging, enthusiastic cast mates I could ever want on stage with me.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: It’s full of some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever experienced in the theater. You’ll leave with just a tad bit more awareness of the beauty that surrounds us each and every day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Gospel According to...Eliza Simpson

Name: Eliza Simpson

Hometown: Nyack, New York

Education: BFA Rutgers University

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Mary of Bethany and The Princess of Egypt

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a feast for the senses. The aim is to stimulate the mind, sooth the spirit, and feed the body.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Epic Epic Epic

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: the Princess of Egypt has a gown made of copious yards of blue chiffon. The fabric parts to reveal a glamorous bathing suit, and the copious blue becomes the river from which baby Moses is rescued.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
Rachel, her story has always intrigued me.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: ALL OF THEM. Biblical times are identical to our times. 

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Colin Waitt, he's well cast.

Most likely to become an angel?: All of them.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Kara Kaufman. It is the only explanation for how she's able to wrangle all of us and keep so many plates spinning.

Who's the most spiritual?: We have a lot of different faiths within the cast and it's created a really interesting dynamic.

On the 8th day god said _____: Let there be The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Are you going to heaven or hell?: I'm going where ever you're going, cutie.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Gluttony

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: When we were perform on the workshop at Ed's Loft we were encouraged not to applaud (because of the noise bothering the neighbors) but to snap. It became a signature way of supporting and celebrating each others' work which we continue to this day.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: the Angelic Gospel Choir in The Transfiguration

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: The people I've met.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: It's the greatest story ever told and will be like nothing you've ever experienced in the theater before.

Blog Hijack: Wombat Theatre Co- "Moore & Son," 30 Years and Still Going Strong

The other day I received a strange e-mail from a young man named Brian O'Donnell who lives in Independence, MO. He thought I might be interested in some stuff he recently acquired, and thought you might be as well. Check back here to see what Brian has given us to browse! 


From the Kansas City Star

 “Moore & Son,” 30 Years and Still Going Strong
April 4, 2014
By Sheriff Bill Crowe, Contributor

Donald “Big Don” Moore walks into Sonny’s Diner in downtown Independence, on the corner of Ronald Reagan Drive and Sycamore Lane with the same warm smile he’s used to greet this town’s residents for more than 30 years. His laugh is bellowing, the air of cigar smoke that hovers around his head is enticing, his handshake is as firm as ever, and I’m lucky enough to call him my friend. He orders a cup of coffee, which he lets me know is his third of the day with a sly wink, and chili cheese fries with double the meat. He calls it his “usual.”

Big Don has been a resident of Independence, MO since his birth to parents Jackson and Ella, also lifelong residents of our town. The Vietnam veteran seems determined to prove that age is just a number, continuing to live life as a man of half his age. Big Don is still active in the community as a member of the city council, Joplin’s chapter of the Elk Lodge, and once a month you can hear him shredding sweet guitar solos with local band Dusted Sand (fronted by yours truly).

Thirty years ago this April, Big Don opened his pawnshop in the center of town to little fanfare. Nobody said it out loud back in ’84, but folks had a hard enough time keeping their jobs, let alone opening their own business. A pawnshop seemed an odd choice for those who weren’t close to Big Don, but for those who were it made a lot of sense. Big Don has been a collector of trinkets and oddities his whole life (his fabled whistle collection is whispered about in many parts of the country), and a store that thrives on the accumulation of goods quickly became a profitable fit for Big Don. “Moore & Son” was founded by Big Don along with his wife, Judith. Together with their young son Donald “Little Don/Donnie” Moore Jr., the three laid the foundation for a business that prides itself on honest business. If you are looking to buy, sell, or get a loan, “Moore & Son” is still the place to go. When it came time for the interview, Big Don was all smiles and answers, as usual.

Kansas City Star: Thirty years is no small accomplishment. What is the secret to keeping a business running for so long?

Big Don: Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would it? That’s something people don’t get, and why I think a lot of new businesses fail. There is no secret. Starting your own business isn’t a sprint; it’s a long marathon. Hopefully one of the longest ones you’ll ever run. I guess you get to hoping that marriage, fatherhood and living are the only marathons you run that outlast the business one. But if you treat them all as the same kind of race, that’s not bad business either. It’s a constant conversation, it requires a [expletive deleted] load of work, and it never gets easier. The benefits, though? Man, they just keep rolling in. They never stop. Each day is better than the last.

Kansas City Star: Was there ever a time when it appeared the establishment might not survive an economic downturn?

Big Don: Oh man, at least once a year. I mean, every business hits a few potholes, and there were definitely nights when I thought I was locking up for the last time. But we’ve always managed to pull through. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the business and of plain old living, but folks go through big losses all the time. And more often than not, those poor folks need cash quick, so they bring some of their most precious things to us. Some of the stories we’ve heard from customers would make you want to curl up in a ball and cry until you’ve got nothing left. But we also managed to give those folks a fair price for their prized possessions, and I think it helped them take the first step back towards normal. As much as it [expletive deleted] hurts to hear the story behind an object, customers usually leave the place happier and lighter on their feet than when they walked in.

Kansas City Star: On a lighter note, you have amassed a staggering collection of antiques and knick-knacks over the last three decades. What is the strangest possession a customer has tried to pawn or sell?

Big Don: (laughing) Oh, sweet Jesus, the bizarre [expletive deleted] that people have tried to pass off on us! People have brought in costume jewelry, broken china, and a live animal or two thinking they were worth as much as the Crown Jewels. One guy tried to sell us a ferret that chased Donnie into the back room and trapped him there until animal control arrived. But by far, the weirdest thing someone tried to sell us was a full-size gatling gun. We’ve gotten some amazing military relics, what with the air base so close to town, but this guy couldn’t even get it through the front door without cracking the frame. After that, we never took anything brought to us if it couldn’t fit through the front door. Anything that size just meant trouble.

Kansas City Star: “Moore & Son” has always been a family operation. How has that affected the store’s success?

Big Don: Oh, it’s been essential. To have had the opportunity to work so closely with my wife and my two sons [Big Don’s son from another relationship, Brian O’Donnell, has been working in the store for almost 10 years now] has been the greatest blessing in my life. Judith is the glue that holds the store together, because without her we wouldn’t have made it through those first few years. She’s a real whiz when it comes to dealing with the customers, something I had to warm up to, believe it or not. Donnie was in and out of the shop all through school before moving to Seattle a few years back, and Brian came at a great time because he was able to really dedicate all his time to the shop. These days the three of us, Judith, Brian, and myself, are each an essential component to the success of the store. Without even one of us, the store would have a real hard time moving forward.

Kansas City Star: What are the next thirty years going to be like for “Moore & Son.”

Big Don: (laughs) Well, that’s one [expletive deleted] of a question. The next 30 years…I’ll be what, 93? I guess things will be a lot like they are now, only I hope I won’t be around. 93 seems an awful big number. Too big, if you ask me. If you find someone who lives to 93, you’ll find someone who didn’t spend enough time enjoying their life. But I bet you “Moore & Son” will still be around. Donnie or Brian are bound to have a kid of their own someday that is interested in guitars and whistles and pawn shops, and they’ll take over the store. Or maybe they won’t and the store will close. I’d be okay with that, too. The good things in life stay around for a long time, but the great ones have their time in the sun before melting away. If this place melted away one day, I guess that would mean we did a great thing for a while.

With that Big Don gave a look at the time— he still tells it by an old pocket watch— and said he would have to get going. There were a few things that needed wrapping up at the shop and he had date night with his wife. They were going to a movie before stopping by the recreational center to see his son Brian’s friend’s band, Zombie Piss, play a set. “Moore & Son,” 30 years and still going strong. It makes this writer glad to see someone who still might be in the prime of his life. It makes us all feel a little younger, and it makes life seem just a little brighter.

Bill Crowe has been the Sheriff of Independence, MO for 20 years, where he has lived his whole life. His wife, Betty, is president of the Stone Church Booster Club, where he sings with the Missouri State Runner Up Stone Church Chorus. He recently completed his first novel, which is being considered by major publishers. He has been contributing to the Kansas City Star for 10 years.

 If you'd like to learn more about these people and this town, you can purchase tickets to Wombat Theatre Co.'s Moore & Sons. Tickets are available for purchase here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/617971 and here: www.wombattheatre.org
Moore & Sons runs April 17, 18, 19, 25, 26 @ 8pm April 19 @ 2pm April 27 @ 3:30pm at 133rd St. Arts Center

The Gospel According to...Alex Haynes

Name: Alex Haynes

Hometown: New York, NY

Education: B.A. Theater at University of Kansas, Improvisation at Upright Citizens Brigade

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Justin one of the shepherds, and Andrew one of the apostles

Tell us about The Mysteries: It is an epic play about the bible that isn't about any particular religion but the interpersonal relationships between people. Those relationships are examined on stage and throughout the entire play as we try to connect to the audience before, during, and after the show on a human level.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Epic human connection.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: Probably a ski mask. I have some fairly tame costumes.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
God, not for the power, but to be able to see everything happen and know the answers to people's questions.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Rory Kulz. His depth of knowledge about the world suggests he's lived a long life.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Steve Stout. He leads by example.

Most likely to become an angel?: Dominique Brillion

Most likely to hear voices in their head?:
A.J. Ditty

Who's the most spiritual?: Alessandra Nahodil

On the 8th day god said_____: I'm hungry.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Heaven? Or maybe the section of hell for people who meant really well.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Sloth.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?:
I don't know if we have one big one, but there is a line in the shepherds scene that is written, "this is love happening here". And Elijah Trichon has taken to saying that line in the most unintelligible way possible at random times backstage. It makes me laugh every time.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: The many moments during the rehearsal process when all the people in the room were moved to tears by one of the songs in the show, and we knew we had something worth sharing with an audience.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?:
Seeing the effort I put into this show being matched by the other actors, the creative team, and The Flea staff. Each and every one of us have poured ourselves into this show because we believe in what we've created.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: Because we have been working hard to create a meaningful, unique shared experience for you from the moment you enter the theater to the moment you leave. And I think we have succeeded.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Gospel According to...Rebeca Rad

Name: Rebeca Rad(oszkowicz)

Hometown: Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil

Education: Interlochen Arts Academy/ BFA Pace University

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Rad Angel

Tell us about The Mysteries:
The Bible. A technicolor dystopian future with hints of the past. A 19 voice Punk Angel Choir that almost constantly envelops the entire theatre. Beautiful, passionate naked people. Blood. Dope fight/ movement sequences. 6 HOURS. Dinner. Dessert. Drinks. Love

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Complex. Intense. Enlightening.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: We used to wear these silver 50's style bathing suits with cool deconstructed lab coats and silver Esther Williams style swim caps before we fell from Heaven, but now we're mostly in our punk outfits. We may or may not also wear glow in the dark mummy costumes and purple Gospel choir robes...

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Lucifer… Asia, our Lucifer, has breathed the most beautiful light and clarity into the character that I really empathize with her plight in the full trajectory of the story.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Hmmmm… Sam Garber or Matt Cox. Definitely.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: me.

Most likely to become an angel?: Chase Brock and Sarah White

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Ed

Who's the most spiritual?: Leemore…

On the 8th day god said_____: Let there be ART!

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Into the Universe

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
Lust

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: YAAAAASSS or werq

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Flagellation of Christ into the Crown of Thorns.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: the camaraderie and inspiration

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: To blow your mind, awaken your senses and heat your heart.

The Gospel According to...Rory Kulz

Name: Rory Kulz

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Education: Harvard University (BA)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: A procession of scamps: Ishmael, the apostle Bartholomew, and a prophet awaiting Christ's harrowing of Hell, among others.

Tell us about The Mysteries: It starts at the Start, ends at the End, and covers (almost) all the greatest hits in-between. Plus dinner and dessert. It's six hours, which may sound like a long time, but there is so much beauty and energy and passion and variety, it feels much shorter. The sugar hit during dessert also helps.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: "Let there be..."

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: One Halloween, my mother dressed me in a garbage bag. I went door to door telling worried adults that I was a superhero called Garbage Man. I collected a lot of candy that year. Ever since, I've wanted to revisit my "trash chic" costume, and in The Mysteries, I finally get my chance.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: God. Anyone in this cast who doesn't say God is lying-- we're actors! God is nothing if not the greatest Actor of all time. Bonus: if you're God, you can shape-shift into anyone else in the Bible, so you win no matter what.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: I have to vote for Matt Cox. In addition to his lion's mane and proficiency with the banjo, his Abraham has a flair for drunken urination that I think might have suited life in those days.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Whichever company member brings in the most delicious treat for us during previews.

Most likely to become an angel?: Our stage manager, Kara Kaufman, who is the physical embodiment of infinite patience.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: That would be our fearless leader, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. I have long suspected his bawdy direction to be divinely inspired. (Sample metaphor used in rehearsal: "a cage full of starved cannibal parakeets who'd been promised their pound of flesh".)

Who's the most spiritual?: It's hard to say. There are certainly many people of faith involved in the show, but this is the Northeast, after all, so I find spirituality is something people tend to keep more close-and-personal. As for least spiritual, look for the "Atheist" t-shirt during the Last Judgment (one of my favorite gags in the show).

On the 8th day God said _____: "The reviews are in, and they're pretty good."

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Wouldn't you like to know? Actually, if you do happen to find out, please let me know.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Lust. Anyone in this cast who doesn't say lust is lying-- we're actors!

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: The actor who plays Eve is allergic to apples.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Any time one of the angels opens their mouths to sing.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: I won't be too specific, so as not to spoil anything, but there are moments in the play that still pack an emotional wallop, even though I've seen or played through them dozens of times. The Mysteries is filled with such power and intensity that it is honestly rewarding to get to live it over and over, especially with this wonderful group of people that Ed and the Flea have assembled.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: Come for the food and booze, stay for the profoundly sublime connection to the mystical.

For more on Rory, visit http://www.rory-kulz.com/ and follow him on Twitter @rorykulz

Works in Progress: Searching for Sebald with Michelle Persoff

Name: Michelle Persoff

What is your role in Searching for Sebald?: Costume Designer

Tell us a little about Deconstructive Theatre Project?:
What sets our company apart is the way we tell a story. We explore how the human mind grasps an experience and stores that memory for safekeeping. From a costume perspective, the touch of a fabric or the image of light shining through it is a trigger for a memory from years ago. We then use live film to project that image—a performer tugs at a silk tie laced around a collar—and the audience knows there was a wedding and the groom was nervous. We do not need dialogue to convey the message, and so our work tends to be more about manipulating images.

How is the creation process going so far?: Our rehearsals begin without a script, and in some ways, that can be unnerving. For me, the process is unlike any other show because I have no distinct characters to begin working on. From the beginning of rehearsals, there are only ideas, and you must be willing to focus on where the idea leads you creatively rather than try to push out a product. And in that way, this process has been very organic and freeing. I am only beginning to see my ideas take shape, and it is exciting to see how they will take form.

What is the developmental process like for you as an artist?: Usually when I am introduced to a new work, I read through whatever text I have—in this case it was "The Rings of Saturn"—and I look for an outstanding mood. The mood is the motif that I create on, and then I begin researching everything and anything that can stem from it whether it is a movie, place, or style of furniture. If I get the mood right, the clothes will compliment it.

What is it like working with mixed media? What are some challenges, benefits, risks etc.?:
The biggest challenge for costumes is practicality. I can’t put big necklaces on people or let them wear delicate fabrics because they will catch on the equipment. You definitely have to pick and choose your battles, and you do a lot of compromising.

Tell us a little about W.G. Sebald and “The Rings of Saturn”:
To me, Sebald was like the most interesting man in the world, but on a much quieter level. In "The Rings of Saturn", he goes on a walking tour along The North Sea, during which he meets strangers and explores deserted towns and recounts volumes of historical information covering everything from fishing towns to a conniving Chinese empress. Based on his tangential style of writing, I think he was the type of person who notices when you make a mistake but will not correct you. He does not seek to prove anything. He is comfortable and confident in his own skin, and to me, that is the most endearing part of his storytelling.

How does W.G. Sebald and “The Rings of Saturn” inspire you as artist?: It’s exciting to hear so much historical information in a conversational style rather than reading a textbook. When Sebald talks History, it holds a relevance that is hard to grasp from reading textbooks. While reading "The Rings of Saturn", I found myself wanting to go learn all I possibly could about the subjects he covers, and I think an artist needs to have that ongoing thirst for knowledge in order to continue to create and innovate.

What is the importance/relationship of memory and the wandering mind to you as an artist?: Costume ideas come to me by making connections from one reference to another. My mind has always wandered, but that wandering helps me catch hold of the mood I want to express for a show. For example, I see a dried flower—I think of a rose I put in a journal which makes me think of the bouquet it came from which (for any old reason) makes me think of Ms. Havisham from "Great Expectations". And then I’m off and running. I go watch the movie, read the book, research Charles Dickens, research weddings, research flowers, etc. etc. Yes, history is extremely important, but history is told through many voices, and so, many viewpoints. I thrive off of how people remember events because what they remember pulls the trigger to the next reference. Those triggers are the most valuable parts of good storytelling.

What is it like exploring neuroscience through creativity?: Rewardingly challenging. You don’t always realize what you’re thinking until you see it pulled apart in front of you. And when you pull it apart incorrectly, you can tell because you don’t recognize the thought as your own. The visual aids are what make these concepts tangible and it’s fascinating.

Why Searching for Sebald now?: I think we found a great challenge in Sebald. His mind spans such a huge breadth of information, and we’ve made it our task to condense it all into something that looks as natural as it was for him to think it. And when such an opportunity knocks, it’s hard for us not to answer.

What can we expect to see in Searching for Sebald?: Nostalgia through a modern lens. Quite literally, actually.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Gospel According to...Andy Miller

Name: Andy Miller

Hometown: Troy, Michigan

Education:
BFA in theater from Michigan State University

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: I'm in the angel chorus!

Tell us about The Mysteries: It's this play about an angel who watches the whole Bible and then gives birth to the holy spirit. She has a really thrilling 5 hr journey

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Love, Hate, and acceptance

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: I'm a glow in the dark half naked mummy, that's pretty crazy

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Not one of the women, that's for sure

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?:
David Dabbon, he could win the hearts of people of any time period

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Collin, because he IS Jesus

Most likely to become an angel?: Alessandra, she is a wonderful human being

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Probably Eli

Who's the most spiritual?: Ed, in his own way

On the 8th day god said: Let's go to Souths!

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Heaven for sure, I always say please and thank you

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
In the show I would probably be lust but in real life definitely gluttony

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: "I need more dead microwaved baby acting"

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Probably transfiguration, I just love Billy Porters staging

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?:
All the people, everyone I've met here have been so great

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: 6 hours of theater provides the actors with such a unique opportunity to develop our characters and the story so fully and so beautifully,it would be a shame to miss!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Gospel According to...Alesandra Nahodil

Name: Alesandra Nahodil

Hometown: NYC

Education: NYU Tisch

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Eve, Herod, Understudy Virgin Mary

Tell us about The Mysteries:
As in tell you about how it blows my mind on a regular basis or that it's a monumentous occasion filled with drama, beauty, heart, soul, song and pure raw human spirit created by 100 collaborating artists? 

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Heart, Soul, Transcendent

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: Eve... ;) Though Herod is a close runner up!!!

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Easy, Mary Magdalene--woman knew what was up and got shiz done!

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?:
Our incredible music Director David Dabbon, because that man really knows how to work with angels and create life where before there was silence.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Probably Colin Waitt, our Jesus!  A lot was thrown at him over the course of this production and he's handled everything with nothing short of grace.  Well cast!

Most likely to become an angel?: There are easily at least a dozen members of this production that I would already consider an angel.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Probably me...or Kara the stage manager.  She hears from literally everyone involved in this epic endeavor daily.  That's gotta feel like voices sometimes!
Who's the most spiritual?: I'm definitely feelin it.

On the 8th day god said______: I LOVE YOU.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Heaven, every day.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Probably pride.  Whenever I'm struggling with something, more often than not I come to realize, "Ah, it's my pride that's bruising..." and once I let that go, I find the situation loses it's sting.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: For me, probably the fact that I'm allergic to apples.  Since the day I told Ed, I've been asked about it at least once a week. People seem to get a kick out of it since I'm playing Eve.    

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: I LOVE the baptism & transfiguration!!!!!!  I love the way we depict connecting with one another and the music is nothing short of a religious experience.  With that in mind, there's also the last supper and Pentecost.  Doubting Thomas is terrific, too.  The crucifixion & Joseph also just destroys me, in the most amazing way.  And the apple, of course...  I don't know if I could pick one!!! 

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: The PEOPLE!  The amazing, talented, thoughtful, dedicated, tireless, loving, compassionate, down to earth, beautiful, phenomenal people!  Did I mention talented and dedicated...?

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: Because you deserve to do something nice for yourself and receive a gift of beauty and love.  This production is a gift for everyone involved, in my opinion, and we would love nothing more than to share it with you.

Round Up Time with...Anthony Vaughn Merchant

Name: Anthony Vaughn Merchant

Hometown: Upland, CA

Who do you play in Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: Nixon, Lucile Ball, Arnold Rothstien

Tell us about Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man: It's is a totally accurate fictional biographical journey through American history

Describe Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man in 3 words: Wild fun truthy

Which company member is most likely to be a Wild West Outlaw?: Nora

Most likely to achieve the American Dream and/or be rolling in the dough?: Rach

Most likely to become a future famous pop culture icon?: Sarah

Most likely to multiple personality disorder (as a result of this show)?: ... (Probably also me)

Who’s the fastest gun slinger?: Me, no doubt

Who’s the best singer?: So not gonna answer

Who’s the most offensive?: Lance

If you could grab a beer with one pop culture icon from Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man, who would it be?: Kenedy! ... Or Jessica Rabbit

What pop culture icon do you think should’ve made an appearance in Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: Oprah 

Why should we come see Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: you will learn so much that you didn't think was true about mmmmrrrkkaa the beautiful

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Gospel According to...Emily Nash

Name: Emily Nash

Hometown: Scarsdale, NY

Education: BA in Drama from Vassar College, semester abroad at the Moscow Art Theater School

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: An Angel

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a wildly innovative, contemporary Biblical extravaganza. It is the result of an astounding amount of work, talent, and creativity on the part of over 100 artists.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Passionate, fearless, groundbreaking.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: A head-to-toe mummy costume drenched in fluorescent paint, topped off with a black ski mask through which I can't really see or breathe.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Miriam? She's not in The Mysteries, but she's cool.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Matt Cox or Kyle Hines, because have you seen their hair?

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Colin Waitt, because he was typecast. Or David Dabbon.

Most likely to become an angel?: Eliza Simpson, she is so angelic. Or Jessica Cannizzaro, because she looks like a little angel.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: I think we're all starting to hear voices in our heads...

Who's the most spiritual?:
Rebeca Rad.

On the 8th day god said_____: Can I make another day of rest??

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Heaven, fingers crossed. I don't want to jinx it though.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Gluttony. I need to stop eating all of the audience's leftover falafel.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: The rise and fall of the metallic body suit. Or that time the Angel Chorus got a note that we sounded like a herd of flatulent llamas. That was flattering.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: Singing Billy Porter's gospel number for the Transfiguration in our purple choir robes never gets old.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Getting to watch my fellow actors do what they do best every night. For six hours straight.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: It is unlike anything that has ever been put on a stage before, and it will allow each individual audience member to go on a unique emotional journey with us. Plus, you'll get to hear a chorus of flatulent llamas. Just kidding, I promise we sound good.

For more on Emily, visit www.emilyknash.com

Round Up Time with...Joe Flynn

Name: Joe Flynn

Hometown: Oak Hill, Virginia

Who do you play in Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: I’m the youngest person in the cast playing the oldest in Old Mac. I also play Waxey Gordon, Michelle Kwan, Elvis, and Booker T Washington among others.

Tell us about Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man: Little Mac is a comedic roller coaster through the history of the social, political, and economic ups and downs of the United States and what’s still to come.

Describe Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man in 3 words:
Hmmm.  A Clown Capitalist Coaster

Which company member is most likely to be a Wild West Outlaw?: Tom... He already is.

Most likely to achieve the American Dream and/or be rolling in the dough?: Well after seeing Matt's portrayal of the tree, he's got to have it made. He really puts himself out there in this vulnerable place and I think people are going to commend him for it.

Most likely to become a future famous pop culture icon?: I think Matt’s godfather impression will take the place in pop culture of that Brando guys version. Either that or people will believe Elvis has been reborn when they see myself with all natural Elvis hair and sideburns. 

Most likely to multiple personality disorder (as a result of this show)?: Alex Kramer.. We're all worried. I caught him in the bathroom at tech putting on lipstick and shaving his legs for a 10 second scene as Marissa Tomei. He played it off as if he always does that but I'm not so sure. Then when he puts on the Reagan mask, bad things happen. He loses it. I found him on the streets at 3 am bashing his fists against the side of a PF Changs saying "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." His fists were bloody and he passed out soon after that. All of us are to scared to say anything...

Who’s the fastest gun slinger?: Corey. Kids got calluses on his trigger finger for John Wayne’s sake

Who’s the best singer?: Ben Diserens. He hits this note in “How to Make it in the Mob” and it is truly impeccable. I've never heard anyone hit a note so low. Every night he hits the "crimes" note, I really envy him.

Who’s the most offensive?: I play Booker T. Washington... So....

If you could grab a beer with one pop culture icon from Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man, who would it be?:
Jessica Rabbit ... I think we know why.

What pop culture icon do you think should’ve made an appearance in Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?:
I would say Daniel Day-Lewis but he's been secretly playing Michelle Kwan's pushup bra and none of us are allowed to acknowledge him so I guess I can say the play would have gotten a lot more publicity had be had the appearance of Mr. Lewis.. Or is it Day-Lewis? Is day his middle name? Whats goin’ on there?

Why should we come see Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: Come laugh at the ugly truths of society presented in the most fast paced, action-adventure, film noir, and spaghetti western dramas since Tommy Wiseau’s "The Room". Whether you’re laughing at us, or with us, at least your laughing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Gospel According to...Julie Ann Earls

Name: Julie Ann Earls

Hometown: Paramus, NJ

Education: BFA in Acting from Boston University and LAMDA

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: Angel

Tell us about The Mysteries: 48 playwrights each write an episode of the Bible giving a whole new, varied perspective on stories we have known for centuries. It's a whole evening of theatre that will challenge you, feed you, and entertain you.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Sexy Fresh Faith

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: I'd say, but I think it would give away a fantastically silly moment in the show :)

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Mary? Although, when I watch the show, what always moves me is that, at the end of the day, she is just a mom who loses her son, regardless of him being the Messiah, and how painful that must be. She is so courageous.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Kyle Hines

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Actually, probably Colin.

Most likely to become an angel?: Jessie MacBeth

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Xan Russell

Who's the most spiritual?: Rebeca Rad

On the 8th day god said_____: brb

Are you going to heaven or hell?:
Well, I WAS cast as an Angel... ;)

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
Envy

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: I think we quote the show constantly... there are so many hilarious moments. Also, Ed's acting notes. You can't get more specific than "ANGELS - MORE MICROWAVED-BABY ACTING PLEASE!!!"

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: The Apostle picture... breaks my heart every time! You fall in love with those boys by the end of the show.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Working with all of these wonderfully talented, kind-hearted young artists and being a part of new work. Also, finding my inner gospel singer a la Billy Porter every night.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: I think this show actually challenges people and makes them ask major questions about their faith. So take on the challenge and have a drink with us.

For more on Julie Ann, visit http://julieannearls.com/

Review: Ingredients to a Perfect Theatrical Potion

Everyone wants to change something. That's why we engage in the vices we do. But what if these vices had magical powers and these potions truly altered you in the way you wanted? That's what Potion: a Play in 3 Cocktails explores. Unfortunately like our real life vices, the magic will eventually wear out. For the voyeurs who enjoy listening and watching others at the bar, this play is for you. Conceived by Kiran Rikhye and Jon Stancato, written by Rikhye, in Potion, you get the opportunity to eavesdrop on the special potion bar and the personalities that inhabit the haunt.
Inspired stylistically by Italian operas, Potion is a spoken word opera, or a tunless libretto, that follows Charley’s Potion Bar where she serves up potions, not cocktails, that allow a person’s inhibitions to take a new level. On this special night, Charley, who’s in love with her coworker Tom, serves Andi, a usual, Emma and Philip, a pair of young passerbys, and a mysterious man who turns out to be a health inspector. Mr. Forth, the health inspector, tells Charley that the only way he won’t shut her business down is by concocting the only potion she has never mastered, a love potion. Rikhye’s story is fun and engaging. While some would be turned off by the extensive use of repetition, the colorful characters well earn their stay and make up for it. The cast, lead by outstanding performances by the ladies, Natalie Hegg, Liz Eckert, and Molly O’Neill as Charley, Andi, and Emma respectively, all do a wondrous job at bringing a wide array of heart and whimsy through their vastly different approaches in characters. With a cast of seven, the unsung eighth member Sean Cronin, who performs the live music, is a huge and integral presence in the world.
The immersive theatrical experience is a stunning examination on how to cohesively unite audience and production together. Potion touches on this, but could have been pushed even further. Sure there are natural breaks worked in as the potions are being served, but the length unfortunately stops the show, allowing the audience to talk amongst themselves. In this particular context serving and storytelling had to be separate dispute it's natural desire to be one. Director Jon Stancato uses the architecture of People Bar to its capacity, but it's layout may keep some participants in the dark when action occurs behind the bar. The drinks expertly crafted by mixologist Marlo Gamora help enhance the environment and bring you right into the world of the play. Will the love potion work on you afterwards, whose to say? But the delightful buzz you get will surely help you socialize with your fellow viewers.
Potion: a Play in 3 Cocktails is a unique theatrical atmosphere that reminds you why it’s important to keep theater fresh. If the drinks aren’t a draw, the experience is.

Round Up Time with...Eugenio Vargas

Name: Eugenio Vargas

Hometown: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Who do you play in Little Mac, Little Mac, You're the Very Man?: Bugs Bunny, Ronald McDonald, Ben Franklin, a generic old man, the Tri-Star Pegasus, JFK, a saloon banjo player, a cow, Tiger Woods, and for a hot second, myself.

Tell us about Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man: I could, but then I'd have to kill you.

Describe Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man in 3 words: Madcap, nostalgic, communist. (To be clear, I'm not nostalgic for communism...)

Which company member is a West West Outlaw: Sarah Daniels (playing Taylor Swift). She's pretty and nice and a total badass.

Most likely to achieve the American Dream and/or be rolling in the dough?: Joe. He's the youngest in the company, and thus hasn't made as many poor life choices to set him on the road to ruin as the rest of us

Most likely to become a future famous pop culture icon?: Sarah Daniels. Have you seen her social media presence?

Most likely to multiple personality disorder (as a result of this show)?: I mean, after this show, this could really be any of us other than Tom and Sarah, who are the only ones who only play one character. I'm already having a hard time distinguishing between myself and the cow I play in Scene 2...

Who’s the fastest gun slinger?: Cory. It's actually kinda terrifying.

Who’s the best singer?: I plead the 5th.

Who’s the most offensive?: I'd actually have to throw this one to James and Sean Patrick, the guys who wrote the show. They are equal opportunity offenders, and have found the perfect balance of being offensive to just about everyone and everything in one way or another throughout this show, which makes it ok.

If you could grab a beer with one pop culture icon from Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man, who would it be?:
Bugs Bunny, hands down. That guy is a LEGEND.
What pop culture icon do you think should’ve made an appearance in Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?:
I feel like we could have used a good musical theatre diva. You know, a nice Ethel Merman or Patti Lupone. I don't know how exactly she would have fit in, but then again, before reading the script, I couldn't have told you how Waxy Gordon, Marvin the Martian, and Ben Franklin would fit in either.

Why should we come see Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man?: Someone, I can't remember who, referred to Little Mac as the stage version of The Lego Movie. I think that's pretty accurate in a lot of ways, ways that may or may not be clear when you see the show. And the Lego Movie was awesome. Ergo, our show is awesome. The only thing is we don't have our version of Everything is Awesome, but I'm working on getting the guys to write it and add it in.

The Gospel According to...Paul Thomas Truitt

Name: Paul Thomas Truitt

Hometown: Berkeley Springs, WV

Education: BA in Drama from The University of Virginia

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: James the Less

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is a marathon production historically telling the stories of the Bible while paying respect to the core myths and mysteries that are crucial in the religious text.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Smart, sexy, mind-bending

What’s the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: My wildest costume would have to be from Jeff Whitty’s play, where I enter the stage dancing and wearing cat ears and a makeshift Tallis.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Lazarus for sure. He got a second chance and lived it up!

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: Leemore Malka. She even used to live in Israel.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Alex Seife. He holds an otherworldly knowledge behind his pensive eyes, as if he just knows.

Most likely to become an angel?: Dominique Brillon. Sweetest. Person. Ever.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: AJ Ditty.

Who’s the most spiritual?: Thats a good question. I’d say Rebecca Rad, but I’m not sure why. It’s just a feeling I get about her.

On the 8th day god said _____: Let there be coffee!

Are you going to heaven or hell?: If Hell exists, I’m definitely headed there.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Lust. It’s gotten me in some pretty tight situations before.

What’s the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Probably snapping our fingers and yelling “WERK!” when we like something onstage during rehearsal. Or backstage. The snapping stems from the workshop, where we performed in Ed’s loft apartment and refrained from clapping because of his neighbors.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Working with SO MANY talented people. I learn something new every single day from these guys. Ed has assembled a cast that not only clicks onstage, but very quickly began clicking offstage as well. I never tire of heading to the bar after a show and enjoying a brew with my fellow cast mates. Some lifelong friendships are being made.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: You should come see The Mysteries because it is unlike anything you have ever seen before and unlike anything that will ever happen again. We are telling the most well known story on the planet, but telling it in a way that sheds light on what religion became afterwards and how it changed during that tumultuous time in Judea. Sure, some people aren’t going to like what we have to say about the stories that they’ve held as absolute truth their whole lives, but why else make a piece of art like this if you’re don’t want people to question something? It’s hard to explain. You just need to come see it.

Review: A Romp in Americana

Audiences always enjoy something they can relate to, whether it’s a story that hits home or a character that they’re familiar with. And nothing is more relatable than pop culture. But finding the appropriate opportunity to place pop culture icons into an already established story is the challenge. With perhaps just the names that truly represent the adaptation, Less Than Rent’s Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man transports Macheath and Co. from The Begger’s Opera and Threepenny Opera fame to the Wild Wild West. Oh, and along the way he encounters upwards of 85 colorful characters from the American pop culture canon.
Cowrriten by Sean Patrick Monahan and James Presson, Little Mac lives in a world of complete incohesiveness. Placing the British outlaw in a world of Wild Wild West outlaws was a smart and sensible choice. But with the other added layers, the sensibility was completely lost and unfortunately, at times, made no sense. Imagine a parallel universe where time and space are merely nonexistent or imagine a colorful cast of characters exiting a time machine to Little Mac Land. While the notoriety struck a chord with the audience, the specificity of who appeared were, at times, arbitrary. Little Mac seemed more like a series of sketches within a theme than a play that considered any dramaturgical background. Presson and Monahan's script knew what it wanted to do. However the world of the play didn't properly lend to it. The overall theme of money hungry America and the influence of capitalism wanted to be explored without the distraction of the characters. How can characters like Henry Ford, Michelle Kwan, Bill Gates, Jessica Rabbit, Ronald Reagan, Ethel Rosenberg, Michael Jordan, and a subway car all can coexist in the Wild West?
While resemblance of pop icons are present, they don't seem to land. If you're going to include these names, full commitment is necessary to prove the point. When you do impressions of famous people, we should see and hear them and not rely on a catchphrase and repeating their name to figure out who they are. With that being said, there's no doubt the ensemble knew how to bring the funny. Though with an audience of friends, the laughs came more frequently than they were earned. There were strong performances within the company including Sarah Daniels as Taylor Swift, Alex Kramer in a creepy Ronald Reagan mask, and Matthew George, making the most of his bit parts.
Director Charlie Polinger and lighting designer Alex Freer established a nice dialogue bouncing from story to Taylor Swift narration. The Americana influence of the set and the simplicity of the one-dimensional pieces allowed for seamless transitions, though the ensemble did have some difficulty maneuvering them.
Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man is a big and ambitious undertaking. It desired more time, perhaps a workshop or two, before taking on the big stage.