Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Gospel According to...Alex Seife

Name: Alex Seife

Hometown: Larchmont, New York

Education: So much Hebrew School.

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: I play Cain, John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate, and a guy who yells "Mustard Seed."

Tell us about The Mysteries: http://www.dailyfresher.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/0_a7ccf_8759f4a9_orig1.jpg

Describe The Mysteries in three words: God: Yay? Nay?

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: My cravat is wild.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Queen Esther.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?:
Karsten Otto. He seems pretty old.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Elijah Trichon. We leave a cup of wine for him after the show.

Most likely to become an angel?: Matthew Jeffers has a nice singing voice, so.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: That would be a very serious matter.

Who's the most spiritual?: The thunder sheet

On the 8th day god said_____: Happy Festivus

Are you going to heaven or hell?: I think we all go to Pittsburgh. 

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Let's not be dramatic.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: A full night's sleep.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?:
Yenta pooping.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Yenta pooping.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: Yenta pooping.

Blog Hijack: Wombat Theatre Co.- Independent Independence Newsletter

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...Molly O'Keefe

Name: Molly O'Keefe

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Education: Middlebury College

Select Credits: Serious Money (Potomac Theatre Project), Harriman-Baines (Theater for the New City), A User's Guide To Hell and LoveSick (Project Y Theatre), We Run The Ship (Mohawk Arts Collective/Bowery Poetry Club)

Why theater?: Because storytelling is essential. That's what theater is. There's nothing more awesome than the pure human connection that results from sharing a story.

Tell us about If the Saints Arrive in Germany: It's a play about the struggles of personal faith, and the strength of communal faith. And it is simultaneously really heart-wrenching and really hilarious.

What is it like being a part of If the Saints Arrive in Germany?:
It's wonderful to be collaborating with such a talented ensemble of women on such a smart and imaginative piece. It's phenomenal.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm interested in theater that challenges the audience to see the world differently without bashing them over the head with an agenda, theater that tells an engaging story in an imaginative way. I'm currently obsessed with Taylor Mac.

Any roles you’re dying to play?:
Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd)

What’s your favorite show tune?: Impossible to choose! Eek! I love "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music and anything from Singin' In The Rain

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Audra McDonald.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Liza Minelli, because she's my spirit animal. And it would be called "The Froyo Diaries".

What show have you recommended to your friends?: TV show? The Wire, duh.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: My top 2 most played are 'P.I.M.P' (50 Cent) and the choral interlude from Act I of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin…my taste is eclectic...

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Those new B&J's flavors with 'cores'. And also the show Scandal.

What’s up next?: How Steve Died, a new play by the amazing Gillian Durkee, presented by Rhapsody Collective at the end of May. And then I'll be revisiting We Run The Ship (a choose-your-own-adventure musical for kids in which I play a spunky Russian shoe named Nina), at the Portland Fringe Fest (Maine).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blog Hijack: Wombat Theatre Co.- Denise Von-Trump's Resume

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

 


The Gospel According to...Tyler Gardella

Name: Tyler Gardella

Hometown: Naples, FL

Education: Ithaca College; Interlochen Arts Academy

Who do you play in The Mysteries?:
Beelzebub

Tell us about The Mysteries: "Best of the Bible"... more or less. As told by over a hundred of New York City's most exciting, passionate and talented artists; presented in the form of a 6-hour party.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Crazy. Sexy. Cool.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: Roman guard, without a doubt. Shoulder-guards, leather skirt, and baggy pants.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: The burning bush.

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

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Matthew Jeffers. He gets it more.

Most likely to become an angel?: Anna Dart. Not sure why. Just got that feeling. 

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Kara Kaufman. 54 voices at the very least.

Who's the most spiritual?: Kyle Hines. He's got that zen spirit glow about him.

On the 8th day god said_____: Where did I put the beach?

Are you going to heaven or hell?: TBD?

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
Wrath. It's got a nice ring to it.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?:
"Dick-weeds like Darren."

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?:
It's toss-up between the Baptism/Transfiguration sequence, and the Pentecost. Both are  moments filled with so much energy and love. Beelzebub doesn't quite make it to the party, but I watch from offstage every night. They are really amazing moments of theatre.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Having been able to work with the caliber of artists involved, and to really get to know them throughout the process. These guys are all keepers.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: It'll be good for you salvation.

Spotlight On...Ben Otto

Name: Ben Otto

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

Education: BA in English from Fordham University, Minor in Creative Writing

Select Credits: Pipeline Theatre's BYUIOO, Fresh Ground Pepper's Shoot the Freak, Leading role in the web-series "Pepper and Paul"

Why theater?: For me theater has always held and demanded a kind of intimacy that I know I crave in my life. It's so much more exciting to me when I know that my audience is right there with me. I can hear their laughs, I can feel their emotions just as much as my own. There becomes a kind of mutual responsibility with a good audience and even when they get uncomfortable or bored or whatever they might become, it’s evident and I can adjust and move forward. I like it because I discover just as much as those who come to see the play.

Tell us about Debutante: The play is so beautiful and so simple, but has such richness to it. These characters are all struggling in some way to come to terms with the reality they live in and the place that they fit in the world. Most of the characters in the play come from this place of really potent naiveté, but through a kind of domino effect of situations combined with an especially pressurized time – both for the girls during the preparations for their debut and for the society at large with the financial crisis – we watch the characters unravel the world around them and eventually try to find their place in it.

What is it like being a part of Debutante?: I've been involved with the project pretty much since the beginning so it's become a passion project for me. The cast that we have and the actors we worked with before have all been so integral to the development of the play and of the characters. Playwright Ryann Weir and director Annie Tippe have been amazingly fearless leaders too and I've always felt supported and encouraged to experiment and test things out. Our presentation at ANT Fest was phenomenal and got great reactions from all who saw it. I'm excited that more people will get the chance to take in this fantastic new piece of work.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: As an actor, I've always appreciated character driven work, whether it be experimental or more traditional. I've worked on a lot of different types of shows with a lot of different types of companies and the work that I get most excited for is work that presents a challenge or a new possibility to society. Art is the lens through which we allow ourselves to see the world and express our feelings about it, so, for me, the wider the scope of understanding and contemplation, the better. The most powerful theatrical experience I've ever had was watching Mark Rylance in Jerusalem. When he took his bow I've never felt more connected to an artist. I want to do that.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I have a lot of guilty-pleasure roles that I think about. This fall I had the privilege of playing my first villain in Pipeline Theatre's BYUIOO and I really loved it. I also have always loved Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" and other off-beat male lead type roles. When I was younger I gravitated much more toward male ingénue-type roles but now that I'm getting older that stuff seems so trivial. I like stuff that requires that you play around in the mud.

What’s your favorite show tune?: This is where my sensitive side will come out: The first play I ever did was a community theater production of Carousel. It made me realize the power of theater and what people coming together to tell a story can do. SOOO I'd say "You'll Never Walk Alone" takes the cake. I love the message of the lyrics and the unbelievable progression of the music. It always reminds me that my hard work will not be for nothing, no matter the result.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: The list is really long but definitely Christian Bale. I've watched that guy since "Newsies".

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I haven't done anything worth filming yet so I can't answer that. I also selfishly don't trust anyone to play me. Maybe I'll pull an "8 Mile: someday and play myself, haha

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I saw Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss recently and recommended that all of my actor friends see it. Her language is just insane but I felt honored that she would write a play that was a tribute to actors and what they go through.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "Scenic World" – Beirut

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Probably being alone in my apartment and having "art-gasams", just putting on music or playing music and allowing myself to be fully expressive. It's a nice little exercise when you can make it happen.

What’s up next?: Spring will be interesting. I'll be on the West Coast for a few weeks doing some exploring. I've also been working with Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble on developing their project You on the Moors Now and hope that my schedule permits me to continue that involvement. Otherwise, just continuing the search!

For more on Ben, visit http://www.benotto.net/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Gospel According to...Jack DellaTorri

Name: Jack DellaTorri

Hometown: Staten Island, NY / Tucson, AZ

Education: BFA in Musical Theatre from University of Arizona

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: A punk rock angel.

Tell us about The Mysteries: You've probably already heard the facts: Radical retelling of the Bible, 48 playwrights, 54 actors, awesome downtown theatre, etc. What you really need to know is that you will be affected by this experience because it's not like anything you've ever seen before. You, like I, may have been raised going to church and hearing the stories in the Bible, but The Mysteries expresses the humanity of these characters we're familiar with. This show isn't about religion and Christianity, it's about the human condition, what connects us all in the essence of what it is to be alive, regardless of gender, race, culture, class, or beliefs.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Emotional. Beautiful. Transcendent.

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: Fluorescent glow-in-the-dark mummy/zombie takes the cake. Easy.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: Jael or Judith. Badass women for sure.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: I'm pretty sure everyone in this company has a smart phone so I'm gonna say none of 'em.

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?:
Alesandra Nahodil. She represents women so beautifully in this production and I'm constantly in awe of her.

 Most likely to become an angel?: Tyler Gardella, which you'll find is pretty ironic once you see the show. He is such a kind and compassionate soul, you can't help but love him.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Xan Russell, without a doubt. We always joke that she's spacing out on Planet Xan.

Who's the most spiritual?: Jessie MacBeth and Brittane Rhodes because they take you to church in their duet. It's stunning.

On the 8th day god said_____: I'd like to think he said something along the lines of "Live a life that brings joy to you and those who have the pleasure of meeting you. Above all else, love each other, and yourself."

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

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?:
Pride. Maybe lust. It depends on the day.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: All of the Ed-isms we quote to each other. Our director has a brilliant way with words and when giving notes he can be extremely hilarious. We crack up every time. Also, "You are blessed in face."

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: "The Transfiguration". It's the first time you get to see the angels really let go and radiate joy, and the response we get from having the whole company on stage just does something magical to my heart.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Meeting this community of other young, passionate, talented artists who want to make meaningful art and share it with people. I can't say enough how in love I am with this entire cast.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: We have everything you're looking for in a fantastic night out. Innovative theatre, music, food and drinks, a wonderfully social setting, beautiful, talented people, and the promise of the continuation of the party into the wee hours of the morning.

For more on Jack,visit http://jackdellatorri.com/

Spotlight On...Lena Hudson

Name: Lena Hudson

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Education: BFA NYU

Select Credits: Debutante (Ars Nova), Folk Wandering (Joe's Pub/Ars Nova)

Tell us about Debutante: It's a wonderful, exotic bird of a play. It’s about how we learn to measure our own worth, and figuring out what we want for ourselves even when it might be at odds with what the outside world tells us we should want. It’s also got a hefty dose of weird.

What is it like being a part of Debutante?: There's a great sense of camaraderie, everyone is trying to figure it out together.  The world is pretty wacky, which means there's not a lot that's out of the realm of possibility; there’s a lot of funny happening.  Annie Tippe (our director) has such a great sense of musicality and timing. I'm always fascinated by how that works its way into her stuff.  It makes you have to trust action and timing over subtext.  The characters sense of forward momentum becomes paramount; you can’t let yourself sit in anything too long.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I mostly just want a good story, told by people who care. I like things that are messy, not too easy to figure out. I’m really lucky to be surrounded by a community of artists who have a lot of heart and guts. They inspire me all the time. Also, right now, Joan Didion, a true warrior against sentimentality.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Oh god, too many to list! I've always wanted to play Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All the ladies of Tennessee Williams, and then I guess--all the ones that haven't been written yet.

What’s your favorite showtune?: “Tonight” (the full choral one) from West Side Story. We used to sing it in the car on family road trips. Everybody took a different part. We were probably all in different keys, but we had a blast.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Again, too many! David Cromer, the Annie Baker/Sam Gold duo, I also recently got to be in the same room as Reed Birney and I turned into a teenage fan girl, so him too.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently, A Doll’s House at BAM. It’s (embarrassingly) not a play I had ever spent a lot of time thinking about, but holy crap, it’s revolutionary!

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell. I have a lot of feelings, what can I say?

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Just--all the TV. All of it.

What’s up next?: Can’t wait to find out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: A Triumph of Biblical Proportions

Trying to tell the stories of the Bible on stage is a bold undertaking because it needs to be done in a fresh and creative way. Take over 100 artists, including upwards of 50 actors and 48 playwrights, and give them six hours of your time, and you’ll get one of the most unique retellings of The Bible you could ever imagine. Presented by The Flea, The Mysteries puts a new spin on everything you've ever believed.
From start to finish with nearly story in between, The Mysteries is broken up into individual episodes, written by the 48 playwrights, and placed into three acts inspired by medieval mystery plays. Told through various different lenses, The Mysteries literally gives you everything you could want from a night at the theater. Some of the highlight episodes included “Transfiguration” by Billy Porter and Kirsten Greenidge, “The Next Supper” by Lloyd Suh, and “Pentecost” by Sean Graney. Additionally, one of the grandest song and dance moments that got everyone smiling came from the band The Killers as the ensemble accompanied themselves to the perfectly positioned and integrated “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, along with dramaturg Jill Rafson, curated a nearly cohesive through-line to tell the tale. Though there were the occasional plays that were jarring, including “The Shepherds” by Kimber Lee and “The Conspiracy” by Yussef El Guindi, overall the transition from world to world was effortless. Because these are characters of great note, the arcs came naturally even with the tag team writing.
The ensemble of 54 actors, comprised of the Flea’s resident acting company The Bats, many of whom spend a good portion of their evening on stage, did a tremendous job of sharing the six-hour event. There were some incredible performances throughout the ensemble. If there were an award for perfect casting it would go to Colin Waitt as Jesus. Waitt's passion and life was highlighted by his naturally enormous heart. You can't help but fall in love with him. The scripted villains weren't always the hated in The Mysteries, specifically in regards to Lucifer and Judas. Asia Kate Dillon's take on Lucifer was fresh, dominating her moments on stage. Her portrayal of Lucifer as the occasional voice of reason, allowed her to bring incredible depth to the infamous fallen angel. If you had empathy for Dillon's Lucifer, it wasn't accidental. Peter Sansbury is fascinating as Judas. As one of the strongest performers on stage, Sansbury takes the betrayer to new heights. Combined with sensational chemistry with Waitt's Jesus, Sansbury's Judas is filled with compassion and love. Deep within the ensemble came brilliance. Though filling in as incidental characters throughout, Kate Thulin shines as one half of a couple that discovers the recently risen Jesus. Her performance brings tears and earns a much-deserved moment of applause. Alex J. Gould, Rory Kulz, and Eliza Simpson offer some of the hilarious comic relief in their various roles while Tyler Gardella and Elijah Trichon bring the dramatics. The Angel Chorus fills the space with their beautiful voices behind the set, even showcasing many in solo moments. This included spotlighting Ned Riseley's perfectly angelic voice. Overall, the well balanced ensemble truly invites you to be a part of their night.
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar can do what others can only dream. Iskandar has assembled an incredible group of artists to tell the greatest story through heart and merriment. By creating an event that blurs the lines of actor and audience, you're instantly included in the action and have a deeper connection with the actors and stories on stage. Iskandar breathes life to his youthful company who are more than willing to bare their hearts, souls, and occasional skin. Along with Iskandar on the creative end, music director and composer David Dabbon and choreographer Chase Brock put their personal stamps bringing stunning fluidity to the world. Loren Shaw’s victorious undertaking in the costume world includes everything you could possibly imagine. From period inspired pieces to hip and modern, Shaw incorporates these styles effectively. Jason Sherwood’s blood red set may seem like a lot at first but accompanied with Seth Reiser’s innovative lighting design, the space transformed from scene to scene, keeping everything fresh.
When you take on something big, you expect brilliance. Fortunately, this undertaking is brilliant. The Mysteries is a beautifully triumphant event of epic proportions. Even after six hours and a full belly, you won’t want to leave your new friends.

Spotlight On...Keilly McQuail

Name: Keilly McQuail

Hometown:
Newtown, CT

Education: NYU Tisch and the Atlantic Theater

Select Credits: Most recently, Albee's The Death of Bessie Smith (New Brooklyn Theater) and I'M MISERABLE BUT CHANGE SCARES ME with New Saloon and The Brick.

Why theater?: Another lonely little kid to add to the pile, I think. I feel happy doing it. I think empathy is important and it's getting harder to come by.

Tell us about Debutante: It's about coming out and into your own. Or not. It's strange and sad and funny. I've never been a part of anything like it.

What is it like being a part of Debutante?: It's been wacky, man. Good and great.  I'm very lucky to be working under such smart, bold women. Director Annie Tippe and playwright Ryann Weir are my dream girls. Get to know them.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I love Tennessee Williams--the Catherines, and the Blanches, and the Carols in trench coats. I'd love to be a McDonagh girl, an Enda Walsh girl, too. I think Lucy Thurber's women are gorgeous. In another life, it'd be fun to be a Bond Girl, right?

What’s your favorite showtune?: Oh, tough. I recently unearthed Boy George's Taboo. I had forgotten how beautiful some of that music is. That's on my mind right now.

Who would play me in a movie and what would it be called?: A talking dog. But it would be a sequel to "Baby's Day Out" called "Baby's Day In" where baby doesn't leave her couch, and all her friends stop by. They are also talking dogs.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Too many. The National Theater of Scotland seems fun.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: It recently closed, but I had such a good night seeing Charlotte Miller's BARN in the back of Jimmy's No. 43. Daniel Talbott and the gang over at Rising Phoenix know what they're doing. It's the cool, good stuff everyone should know about.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Fiona Apple's "Daredevil"

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Watching garbage television with my mom. "The Real Housewives" will eat my brain cells for breakfast. Andy Cohen is a diabolical genius.

What’s up next?: Lots of stuff. Busy and broke as ever. Keep up with me. www.KeillyMcQuail.com

The Gospel According to...Alex J. Gould

Name: Alex J. Gould

Hometown: Brockton, MA

Education: American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?:
First Person (a very historically accurate character in the Noah story), Isaac, and Matthew

Tell us about The Mysteries: Wow. Who knew two words could mean so much? A radical retelling of the Bible from 48 playwrights, 54 actors, and a creative dream team. It's an event that started back in Nov. Beginning in a loft in Midtown and is now coming to life in a 70 seat theater. It is passion beyond compare.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Joyous, Emotional, Marathon

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: Before previews I would have told you I I don't have a wild costume. However, with previews come new ideas. For The Last Supper written by Jeff Whitty, the director felt something was missing. That something was a man in a dress. I didn't tell the cast about the change, so there was a genuine reaction in front of an audience. Can't beat live theater folks.

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?:
GOD. No actually I'm too exhausted to even try that. However, he created all. So I would create another day of rest to rejuvenate and be God. And I would appear to people as Morgan Freeman.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: I will go with Karston Otto. He's wise and I like that in a biblical figure.

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

Most likely to become an angel?: Tyler Gardella. He knows more about angels than anyone. Ask him anything. Esp about the spear of fire.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Peter Sansbury. Too dangerous to explain.

Who's the most spiritual?:
Kyle Hines.

On the 8th day god said ____?:
Souths? (For those who don't know, this is bar around the corner from the theater, a common hang out for cast and anyone who wants to join after the show. I wasn't saying that God was asking to go down South. That would be interesting, but not what I was going for.)

Are you going to heaven or hell?: Where there is a Chipotle.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Look at my previous two responses.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Ed tends to give very interestingly worded notes. Some stuff that would make you laugh, cry, and also ask yourself "Where am I?"

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: There have been so many, but I think any moment we perform scene 43 (Pentecost). Seeing pure joy in the audience's faces makes every hour spent on this show completely worth it.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?: Working with this cast. The hardest working people in NYC right now!

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: You will walk away from this show having been touched with some form of great feeling and have an experience that you can't get anywhere else. It is crazy what we have done. Come join the crazy!!

Spotlight On...Heather Cadarette

Name: Heather Cadarette

Hometown: Hemet, CA

Education: Bachelor of Arts specializing in Theatre from University of California, San Diego

Select Credits: Wrong Highway (Carla, NYC), The God-Shaped Hole (Jane, Chapman), PATTY (Jessica 2, Highways), Mrs. Scrooge the Musical (Miss Cratchit/Understudy Mrs. Scrooge, Highways), Much Ado About Nothing (Margaret, UCSD), Big River (Mary Jane, WOB), Seussical the Musical (Gertrude McFuzz, UCSD)

Why theater?: I love how theatre can touch our souls, whether we're on stage, behind stage, or in the audience.

Tell us about If the Saints Arrive in Germany:
This play is an exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of personal faith, specifically how the faithful react when faced with their own pain and suffering.

What is it like being a part of If the Saints Arrive in Germany?: We've been working on character and ensemble building exercises, which is my favorite way to approach a text. I'm excited to explore my own faith through the building of this piece.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The kind of theatre that seeks the truth in the moments is the only kind of theatre I want to see or do. I believe this can be found in every piece, and I am thrilled to have seen it in recent Broadway productions I've had the pleasure of enjoying, musicals and straight plays alike. It is these artists, who manage to be so comfortable in themselves and their character, so that they can bring forth utter honesty, who inspire me most. Further, it is the directors who can demand this honesty from their actors. And finally, it is the artists who support each other no matter what, on and off the stage.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I always seem to be cast in wonderful dream roles before realizing they're dream roles. So I'm dying to be cast by a director who sees my potential even before I do.

What’s your favorite show tune?: It depends on my mood, but RENT and The Last 5 Years were the two musicals that really drew me to a grown up life in musical theatre, so those musicals have a special place in my heart. Also, Sondheim is God. (She says, while interviewing for a very religious play...)

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

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Any type-cast female side-kick- "Little Girl, Big City"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I've seen some amazing theatre lately but the two that stick out are Glass Menagerie and Pippin. Breathtaking productions.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?:
"Oh, What a Day" by Ingrid Michaelson

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: FRIENDS

What’s up next?: I can be seen hostessing at Bareburger Hell's Kitchen or on the Special Events Team at the New York Kid's Club. As far as theatre goes, I'm auditioning my butt off, so sooner or later you'll see me on the stage again.

Works in Progress: Searching for Sebald with Howie Kenty

Name: Howie Kenty

What is your role in Searching for Sebald?: Primarily, I am the composer of music!  During the production, I'll also be performing a bit of guitar, bass, electronics, or whatever is called for, along with the rest of the ensemble (violin, piano, and percussion).  But as with all the members of the team, it's also been a lot of fun for me to step in and help the performers when needed during our rehearsals, and to give feedback on the work in progress.

Tell us a little about The Deconstructive Theatre Project:  This is my first production with DTP.  My introduction to the group was via my friend Adrianna Mateo, who played violin on DTP's previous production, The Orpheus Variations, and she had heard that they were seeking a composer for this upcoming piece.  From the description, it sounded like a really innovative and experimental group, and I was mightily intrigued.  I met with the Founding Director Adam J. Thompson, and in our discussions, it was immediately clear that we shared a lot of artistic ideas, and that this new work was going to be something quite unusual and unique.

How is the creation process going so far?: After beginning "The Rings of Saturn", the text on which Searching for Sebald is based, I had a few ideas for what the music might sound like, but nothing concrete. Attending the rehearsal workshops, however, was really inspiring and gave me a whole slew of new ideas and methods of developing the music. At the first rehearsal, I was thoroughly delighted by what I found.  Earlier, Adam had developed exercises for the performers that involved them interviewing each other and recording their reactions to and thoughts on the book, and at rehearsal, in a darkened room with a spot lit stage, each performer listened to the recorded interview of another on a headset, while simultaneously acting out this performance, becoming a different person reacting to a work written by another entirely different person.  The way this played with identity was quite intriguing (parallel to the ambiguity of identity Sebald cultivates in his narrative), and the words themselves, performances, and lighting all together created an effect that was magically indescribable.

What is the developmental process like for you as an artist?: When I've worked composing for this project, so far, it has been at home with a piano, and sometimes also with a computer.  (I tend to compose using different tools for different projects, and for this one, the piano seems to fit best.)  Part of what I've created is inspired by my own interpretation of and reaction to the book itself. But I also find that attending the rehearsals is great for new inspiration.  For instance, from that first rehearsal, with the focus on shifting identity, I realized that it would be very interesting to represent musically, and one way this could be done is through a technique called heterophony, which a former teacher of mine described as follows (to paraphrase): imagine that both of our great-grandfathers learned the same folk song, but perhaps from different teachers, and since they were from different areas, also with slight variations. If the two met and played these songs together, at the same time, they would end up mostly playing in unison, but their little differences would create interesting and occasionally divergent lines.  So that's one example of the kind of collaborative feedback particular to this production team and project that I find very inspiring.

What is it like working with mixed media? What are some challenges, benefits, risks, etc.?: I find that, aesthetically, it's often easier to become immersed in works that engage more than just one sense.  So the way this project uses text, live performers, video and projections (of both the digital and analog variety), physical objects, music, and sound creates a very powerful work.
That said, working with more formats does invite more complications and ways for things to go wrong.  Analog tape breaks, microphones feed back, computers crash, etc.  But the team here has done a good job so far of figuring out where these problems can occur, minimizing these places, and successfully managing the  fallout when things do go wrong.

Tell us a little about W.G. Sebald and "The Rings of Saturn": "The Rings of Saturn" is quite a singular book, a semi-fictional travelogue written by Sebald after he, or the book's Sebald character, suffers some kind of existential crisis of both the body and the spirit.  There is a marked focus on death and decay, which vacillates between acting in the text's foreground versus underlying one of the many excursions Sebald takes into topics as diverse as the cultivation of silkworms, Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson, the skull of Thomas Browne, and so forth.  These digressions often occur without warning, emerging suddenly from Sebald's walking journeys though the coast of England, exploring the subjects at great length, and disappearing just as quickly, either to return to Sebald's explorations or to descend another level into a different excursion.  There isn't ever a stated or implied goal, or a straightforward narrative of any kind, so what follows is always something of a surprise.  It's frustrating, tortuous, wonderful, and brilliant, and thoroughly unlike other books.

How do W.G. Sebald and "The Rings of Saturn" inspire you as artist?:
It has been a terrific challenge to capture the mood of the text in just the right musical fashion.  There is this deep darkness underlying much of the book, but at the same time, there seems to me to be a real sense of wonder, and an appreciative astonishment at natural and manmade objects, systems, and environments.  So while this darkness is a great resource to draw on musically, there needs to be a balance.  Additionally, the shifting of focus and topical lines is an integral characteristic of the book.  I've found that one way to represent all three of these features is to create musical sections that shift unexpectedly between moods, either quickly or by the introduction of a dissonant element that undermines the harmonic ground and initiates a transition to another gesture or section. Incidentally, while working on the music for Sebald, I've also been working on another unrelated piece, a trio with electronics, for a group called First Construction.  I had initially expected that piece to follow one aesthetic path, but it turns out that the music for Sebald has had a huge influence on that piece's style, and totally changed the way it has emerged.  That piece is a bit more aggressive, free, and improvisatory, but has ended up sharing a great deal of the same musical vocabulary.  So the book has had a significant effect on my recent musical output.  (An observant friend also noted the delicious “First Construction” and “The Deconstructive Theatre Project” pairing.  Ha!)

What is the importance/relationship of memory and the wandering mind to you as an artist?: Memory is our own subjective collection of our experiences.  It helps us to process new material, giving us connotations and associations when presented with things we haven't seen before.  I think most artists have wandering and playful minds, because sometimes one has to sort through a lot of information before something sticks out as artistically relevant to our own style.  Once this happens, our memories become invaluable in drawing out meaning from this new artistic inspiration, and allows us to take it from an individual experience to once that is collectively relevant to many people.

What is it like exploring neuroscience through creativity?: The brain is one of the most complex individual units in existence.  Picking apart how it processes input, and for artists, particularly how it processes a work of art, is fascinating.  Searching for Sebald is exactly that: an exploration of interpretation and response via the creation of a new work, itself open to new interpretation and response.

Why Searching for Sebald now?: Sebald seems to be a natural progression for DTP, evolving from the explorations in The Orpheus Variations and other earlier productions.  But for me as a newcomer to the company without that back history, Sebald also seems somehow timeless, an exploration of an exploration of the most intimate musings on memory, life, and death.

What can we expect to see in Searching for Sebald?: A thoroughly unique theatrical multimedia meta-production!  This is a really special work, put on by an exceptional team, and I don't say that lightly.

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