Meet Sabina England & Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life

Sabina EnglandName: Sabina England

Tell us about you. 

I am a filmmaker, playwright and performance artist. I am profoundly deaf and cannot hear but I work with musicians a lot in my projects. I just won a Jury Award at Lady Filmmakers Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California last month for my short sign language poetry film, “Deaf Brown Gurl,” which I wrote, filmed, directed, produced and edited.

Tell us about your current project? 

I wrote and created “Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life” which is a solo multimedia performance show with sign language, mime, music, video and movement. I incorporated elements from traditional South Asian dances and Sufi poetry into my show, creating an unique deaf theatrical experience for both deaf and hearing audiences.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

I am performing “Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life” at New York International Fringe Festival here in New York City. I believe New York City is a great fit because of the rich diversity of so many cultures and communities. My show appeals to everyone, not just for Deaf or brown people, but for anybody who has wondered about the meaning of life and why we are here on Earth.

What’s next for you? 

After I am done with New York International Fringe Festival, I will write, direct and produce a short silent narrative film about an undocumented man and deaf woman who fall in love together.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre, produced by SATE Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri

Any advice for your peers?

Don’t worry what everyone thinks of you. Just focus on doing what makes you happy and keep going with your dreams. You are here on Earth for yourself, not to please anybody or make others happy.


Show Information: 

WHEN: October 21 (7:00pm), October 23 (4:45pm), October 27 (1:15pm)

WHERE: 685 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

TICKETS: https://www.sabinaengland.com/allahearth.html

Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Sabina_England/

FringeNYC + FringeBYOV Returns 2018

After a one year hiatus, the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) returns with a new look.  It also returns with an additional moniker called FringeBYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) which opens the festival and audience members to theatre beyond the borough of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the Bronx wasn’t included but kudos to Staten Island for being creative in their presentation of The Ferry Play as a podplay.

So I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t some trepidation around the new format. August in NYC for theatre-makers and audience members comes with an acceptance. There will be 200 shows to read in the program guide (in addition to the other festivals and shows); you’ll only be able to get to maybe ten (2 if you are in the Fringe); and you’ll have to run from venue to venue in 100 degree weather. Honestly, as much as I complained about it, I LOVED it. Even if some of the shows were hit or miss.

This leads me to figuring out my Fringe schedule in October. The days are getting shorter, there are some serious plays being produced at our non-profit institutions, and now there’s the Fringe Hub where we all meet to be taken to our venue. How to see it all?! Yes, a luxury problem, but in today’s climate, the theatrical platform, soapbox, medium, choose your noun, is essential. So when Onaje is the play that kicks off my Fringe viewing, I am intrigued. The show is already sold out in the days prior to its opening.

Onaje uses the Cambridge riots of 1967 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a backdrop for a group of people who are neighbors turned enemies due to the race relations. An ensemble of nine tell the story of an astrological hobo, an ex-CIA operative, a stripper, a drunk, an angry cop, a family living a simple life, and hitchhiker as they intersect on the highway (literal and metaphorical). We learn soon that this is the first layer of the onion. Wrong place at the wrong time. Running away from the truth. Money solves all problems. The grass is always greener on the other side. Leaving the world better than we found it. All of these are reflected in each actor as in their insightful and careful expression of Robert Bowie, Jr.’s words.

It took me some time to unpack the 145 minutes of intensity. There were many aspects of the show that left me in thought. The cast was talented, Pat Golden’s direction tight in telling the story within the allotted time (though it felt long at spots), and the writing significant.

My next stop was Jamaica Center for the Arts & Learning (JCal) as part of the fringeBYOV/fringeQNS. On the way to see The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, I listened to a new feature of the Fringe called the podplay. I listened to Subway Plays which was simply a pretty cool thing to experience as I rode the 7 train. The good thing about the series is that you don’t HAVE to be on that line if you’re already familiar with the subway. I listened to Damper Felts: N on the bus and had the same experience. If you are a tourist, though, it’s a great companion piece for taking the train. All the conversations you have, don’t have, avoid, overhear, and imagine are in one place. Jenny Lyn Bader, Jessie Bear and Colin Waitt capture those moments. As a native New Yorker, I laughed aloud many times and didn’t care about the reactions of others.

As for The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, Frank Murdocco’s solo show was a breath of fresh air on a cool night in Jamaica, Queens. The experience began as soon as I arrived and was treated with a tour of the venue which boasts two artists’ gallery. That prepared me for another surprise – a beautiful state-of-the-art 120 seat theatre. It’s Christmas and something terrible has happened to Carol O’Grady! Murdocco’s tells the story through three characters in the style of Sarah Jones, Anna Deveare Smith and Eric Bogosian. He flawlessly and smoothly transforms into these characters. The only indication of a character change is a click of the lamp (which I loved) which added to the layer of the insanity created by Jessica DiPaola and Lindsey Smith.

My trip to the Fringe is coming to a close due to scheduling but definitely support the artists. We need their voices and their stories. And we need yours too. Start creating!


The NEW York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC + FringeBYOV)

www.fringenyc.org

October 1st – 31st, 2018

OCT 12th – 28th

OCT 5th – 28th

OCT 1st – 31st

Martin Denton: A Conversation

mddbwJust in case you haven’t heard the news,  Martin Denton is closing up shop. He announced on August 31st that he and Rochelle are retiring from the business of theatre. Our community was in shock and sad but grateful and supportive. The Dentons have been an integral part of the independent theatre community for the last 20 years giving us the voice we so desperately needed and now definitely need.

Thank you for all you have done for our indie community for 20 years which is how long I have known of you! You and Rochelle have always been kind when we saw each other at shows. I also thank you for taking the time to chat with me.

I love everything about this statement: 1996 October – Martin Denton takes an Internet class and builds his first website, dedicated to his number one passion, the theatre. What was going on in the indie scene that sparked an interest in writing about the community?

Discovering the indie community actually came later for me. When I started nytheatre.com I was very much focused, like most people, on Broadway and off-Broadway. But I started getting invitations from smaller indie companies to review their work, and I learned that this was the work I preferred, because of the passion and risk-taking that seemed to always be inherent in it. So I made the indie community my niche, which I think was a great decision!

Where did the ideas of creating a small press and a media outlet come from?

In 1999 we saw a play called “Are We There Yet?” by Garth Wingfield at Synchronicity Space in SoHo. After the play I said to Rochelle, “That was a great play—it’s too bad that after it ends its 16-performance showcase that it will probably be forgotten. Someone ought to publish it.” And then, a few months later, we decided that WE would publish it, along with other excellent new plays from the indie theater world. We did it because it needed to be done, like so much of what we did along the way.

When and how did you connect with Elena and The NY International Fringe Festival? And how did you and your team manage to review every show?

I went to the very first FringeNYC in 1997 and loved it. The following year we reviewed it pretty extensively. In 1999, we decided to bring our first volunteer reviewers on staff and made an effort to review as much as we could (perhaps 40 or 50 shows all told). I don’t remember how we made the connection with the FringeNYC folks, but I do remember that I met John Clancy for the first time a few days before the ’99 festival, when we sat down for a few hours at the Present Company Theatorium and he went through the Program Guide with me. We just clicked with the FringeNYC folks; they became our theatrical home base. We got involved in many aspects of the festival over the years: did you know that I was the master of ceremonies of the Opening Ceremonies more times than anyone else?

As for doing the reviews of every show in the festival, as we did every year from 2002 through 2014: we did it because we had dozens of dedicated volunteers to make it happen. Each of them saw and wrote about a few shows and together we got the whole festival covered. I think they all did it because they believed in the underlying idea, that all of the shows deserved some feedback.

“Martin Denton, Martin Denton” written by Chris Harcum is a wonderful tribute to you and Rochelle. How did this charming story make it to the page then to the stage especially at the Kraine with Horse Trade?

We had dinner with Chris and his wife Aimee (who directed the play) about a year ago. At some point Chris remarked that the various anecdotes I was relating about earlier days of indie theater might make a good play, and he asked if he could create one. By about January he had a first draft, and then we were involved in fact-checking and so forth. The whole effort was entirely Chris and Aimee’s. They booked it at the Kraine, which I thought was a splendid and appropriate choice.

So what was the moment that made you say to yourself, “it’s time”.

It was when I realized there was something I wanted to do more than what I had been doing. For nearly 20 years, the NYC theater scene was the focus of almost all my energy and resources and love. But people change, and now I have discovered that I want to spend my days exercising parts of my brain that I didn’t engage with as much in the past. I am becoming a maker, particularly of Lego creations. I am writing about what I am discovering on my new blog, Second Childhood. And we’re starting a little online Lego business as well.

What are your thoughts on the future of the indie scene in New York City?

I think that there are always going to be amazing, ambitious, talented artists coming onto the scene, who will morph and evolve it as their needs and desires see fit. It’s a much tougher place to work in than it used to be, mostly because, as someone famously said, the rent is too damn high. But that won’t stop these folks from making art, and I wish them well. Oscar Hammerstein II wrote in Cinderella: “Because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening every day.” He was right.

Do you know how much you will be missed?

That’s a sweet question. The people we worked with over the years have actually done a pretty wonderful job of making that kind of clear, in emails and Facebook posts.

Any words of wisdom?

Do what you care about. Do what matters to you. Don’t wish that things were different, just make each moment be as close to how you want the world to be as you can. And, quoting Yoda: Either do or do not; there is no try.

One more question! I am sure you observed the ebbs and flows of the scene. What were some high points and low points in your observation?

A low point: that too many wonderful artists spend their time on social media posting about what they’re feeling rather than creating art (for example, a play) about what they’re feeling.

Too many high points to name, but a couple come to mind. One was how the community came together in a meaningful, tangible way to help each other after 9/11. Another was how the community organically evolved in the early 2000s to embrace diversity (in terms of gender identity, sexual identity, race, religion, ethnicity, etc.). There is more to do, but I loved how it just seemed to spring forth without any organizing or lobbying right after 9/11.

FringeNYC Announces Plans For The Future

**Festival moves to October beginning in 2018**

After a 1-year hiatus spent evaluating the needs of New York’s indie theater community, FringeNYC (New York International Fringe Festival) has unveiled its plans for the next 3 years under Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy.

Beginning in 2018, FringeNYC will move to October and will have three components:

• A smaller, adjudicated festival. This smaller adjudicated festival will allow FringeNYC to continue to serve the NYC area’s truly emerging creators / underrepresented communities and those who do not have ample opportunity elsewhere. This will be where international shows, too, can be a part of FringeNYC – since helping them secure visas is key to their participation. Similarly, national artists who are less familiar with producing in New York, and New York City venues, will find a home at this new smaller adjudicated FringeNYC.

• Because of the shift to the fall, FringeNYC becomes the annual convening of indie performance makers, with panels and workshops addressing current issues and the gathering of all indie performance stakeholders and constituents.

• In 2018, FringeNYC will also add a twist on the “Bring Your Own Venue” model. In the coming weeks, FringeNYC be forming an outer borough steering group to devise a plan by which venues outside of Manhattan can apply to make their programming an official part of FringeNYC.

In October of 2019, through a network of affiliated fringe festivals from across the United States, FringeNYC will become the official “National” Fringe Festival. FringeNYC will invite the 2018 award winning show from each affiliated US fringe festival (which currently includes nearly 30 festivals in cities including Chicago, San Francisco, Tuscon, Boulder, Orlando, Hollywood, Atlanta, and Washington DC) to participate in the adjudicated festival starting in 2019.

And then in 2020, theater producers and producing organizations locally and regionally will be invited to present an award to the piece that they’d like to further develop and present in a future season, which FringeNYC will help to promote.  These further developed / next generation piece will also be welcomed back to a future festival.

FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy. In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival. FringeNYC has presented over 3000 performing groups representing every continent, prompting Switzerland’s national daily, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” FringeNYC has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Matt & Ben, Never Swim Alone, Jammer, Debbie Does Dallas, Last Train to Nibroc, Dog Sees God, Brandon Teena, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, 21 Dog Years, The Irish Curse, and Silence! The Musical; movies including WTC View and Armless; and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC alumni include Bradley Cooper, Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, CNN’s Inside Man), Mindy Kaling, Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), Leigh Silverman (Violet), W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), David Anders (iZombie), Sam Underwood (Fear The Walking Dead) and Kristen Schall (Last Man on Earth), among countless other success stories.

FringeNYC Presents Benefit — And Announces Plans For The Future/Sunday, August 20th

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FringeNYC (New York International Fringe Festival) will present FringeNYC 20/20: A Vaudeville, the first ever benefit gala for New York’s largest theater and performance festival. FringeNYC 20/20 will celebrate FringeNYC’s first twenty years with an evening of eclectic performances by FringeNYC alumni and will include the highly-anticipated first announcement of their vision for the future. Hosted by Todd Robbins, the evening will feature performances by Billy (The Mime), Jena Friedman, American Horror Story’s Naomi Grossman, Dominique Salerno, Gianmarco Soresi, and more. It will be presented Sunday, August 20 at The Gramercy Theatre (127 E 23rd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues). The VIP reception begins at 6pm, doors open at 6:30pm and the show begins at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $50 – $175, available at www.FringeNYC.org

FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy. In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco. FringeNYC has presented over 3000 performing groups representing every continent, prompting Switzerland’s national daily, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” FringeNYC has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Matt & Ben, Never Swim Alone, Jammer, Debbie Does Dallas, Dog Sees God, Brandon Teena, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, 21 Dog Years, The Irish Curse, and Silence! The Musical; movies including WTC View and Armless; and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC alumni include Bradley Cooper, Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, CNN’s Inside Man), Mindy Kaling, Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), Alex Timbers (Rocky), Leigh Silverman (Violet), W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), David Anders (iZombie), Sam Underwood (Fear The Walking Dead) and Kristen Schall (Last Man on Earth), among countless other success stories.

Todd Robbins (FringeNYC ’00) is a New York City based performer who has spent decades specializing in arcane forms of popular entertainment, offbeat amusements and intriguing deceptions. Currently Todd can be seen on the Investigation Discovery channel’s new series True Nightmares. The series features Todd as the host telling bizarre true tales of murder and mayhem that all have a lovely ironic twist to them. Recently Todd he was seen in the acclaimed off-Broadway theater show Play Dead. It is a joyous evening of true ghost stories about real people and unholy resurrection that he created with Teller (of Penn & Teller). The show also played to a sold out run at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and a new production will be opening soon in Las Vegas. Todd is also one of the partners in Magical Nights Inc, the producers of New York’s longest running magic show Monday Night Magic and its sister show Magical Nights at Feinstein’s. He is the author of the cult classic book The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing and the creator of the companion Modern Con Man DVD Collection.

Billy (The Mime) (FringeNYC ’06) first garnered attention with his show stopping appearance in the hit documentary The Aristocrats. After appearing at FringeNYC, he presented his show, America Love Sex Death, at The Flea Theater in New York, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Risadaria Festival (Brazil), Mainstage at Playwright’s Horizon, Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Lake Shore Theater and Mayne Stage (Chicago) and The Revolutions International Theater Festival in New Mexico. Television appearances include Mom, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Parks and Recreation.

Jena Friedman (FringeNYC ’08) is a stand up comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker. She is currently a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer and has worked as a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman. Her critically acclaimed stand up special, American Cunt, is now available on Seeso and Amazon.

Naomi Grossman (FringeNYC ’11) is best known for her portrayal of “Pepper” in “American Horror Story” Previously, she wrote, produced, and starred in her second hit solo show, “Carnival Knowledge: Love, Lust, and other Human Oddities,” which enjoyed a twice-extended, sold-out run and rave reviews (“Recommended” by LA Weekly); the show was then reprised at the world-famous fringe theatre festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it received more critical praise (4 stars: The Scotsman, Broadway Baby, Fringe Review) and a transfer to London’s West End (Leicester Square Theatre). It was later reprised Off Off Broadway in New York. Its predecessor, “Girl in Argentine Landscape,” also received critical acclaim (LA Weekly, “Pick of the Week”) and earned her an LA Weekly Theater Award nomination for best solo performance. Naomi also toured with “Girl…” to Chicago’s Single File Festival, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, and FringeNYC. A graduate in theatre from Northwestern University and a former member of the esteemed Groundlings Sunday Company, Naomi has starred in numerous self-penned/produced comedic shorts under her “Red Meat Entertainment” umbrella, as well as recently appeared in her first feature film, “Table for Three.”

Dominique Salerno (FringeNYC ’16) is a New York based actress, singer, director, improvisor, and playwright. She received her MFA in Acting from American Conservatory Theater, and her A.B. in Religion from Princeton University. Her hilarious solo show, The Box Show, recently won the Overall Excellence Award in FringeNYC and Best Comedic Script in the United Solo Theatre Festival.  It also was selected as one of the ‘Top 10 shows out of 200’ for the Fringe Encore Series

Gianmarco Soresi (FringeNYC ’14) is a comic, storyteller and actor, but his obituary will likely lead with “the guy from all those General Electric commercials.” A regular performer at The PIT, UCB, Broadway Comedy Club, The Creek and The Cave and more, he’ll be headlining Carolines Comedy Club September 27th and releasing his first hour special, Infinite Bris, later this year. His play, Less Than 50%, debuted in the 2014 Fringe Festival, transferred for Fringe Encores, and will return next summer to 59E59 for a full Off-Broadway run. His sketch comedy work has been featured Fast Company, A. V. Club, Huffington Post, Metro New York, CityLab, Splitsider, Laughspin, and he’ll be creating original video for Funny or Die in October. Besides his commercial work, you might recognize from Blue Bloods (CBS), Unforgettable (A&E), Hack My Life (TruTV), I Love You But I Lied! (Lifetime), The Last O.G. (TBS), Clown Bar (Pipeline Theatre Company) and the EST One-Act Marathon. Follow him @GianmarcoSoresi for upcoming stand-up dates or with his sketch team Uncle Function and check out his sketch series Matza Pizza and An Actor Unprepared. More at www.GianmarcoSoresi.com

fringeNYC 2016 Recap #3

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Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan by Dipti Mehta; Directed by Mark Cirnigliaro

I recently saw Born into Brothels about on the red light district in the the slums of India and was completely taken aback. I wasn’t surprised that there was prostitution because that would be naive, but there was a part of me that hoped that this issue wouldn’t be a part of my culture. For a culture that created the Kama Sutra and tantric sex, tonight’s performance reminded me that many a girl/woman/matriarch has to be a queen to many kings in one night especially if that is your destiny.

Dipti Mehta bravely writes and performs Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan which tells the story of a young girl, Rani, who dreams of a life beyond the sex industry and her mother who has secured her next station in life for a good price. Mehta seamlessly moves through her characters to  tell us the story through her mother, her father, a pundit, the neighbor, and a pimp (amongst others). In typical Indian fashion, Mehta incorporates traditional and Bollywood dancing as part of the narrative through her many characters.

Though I loved the bilingual aspect, the mix of Hindi and English pulled me out of the show at times. My own Hindi is rudimentary and very basic. Actually, I should just admit I don’t speak Hindi at all. I also yearned for a set to transport us to the “Fuck Lane” so we could grasp a sense of location and poverty.

That being said, I enjoyed the performance and seeing an Indian actress on the stage. I appreciated Mehta bringing attention to the sex industry. To learn more about her efforts with Apne Aap, an international aid organization dedicated to the saving of young girls from sex trade, visit www.apneaap.org.

Show Info:

FRI 8/26 @ 2
SAT 827 @ 5

VENUE #8: WOW Cafe
59-61 East 4th Street, #4
(between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)

Click HERE for more info.

fringeNYC 2016 Recap #1

200 shows. Hot Summer. The New York International Fringe Festival celebrates 20 years.

My journey with the Fringe began in 2001 supporting my friends’ plays. Then in 2006, my theatre company, Black Henna, produced Naughty Prep School Stories by Michael Quinones and for the last 3 years, I have been fortunate to be on the team for amazing shows.

One of the great perks is seeing shows and sharing it with you. I won’t be able to do all of them but here’s a taste:

img_7489HomoSapiens Interruptus by Carlos Dengler; Directed by Scott Wesley Slavin

If Soren Kierkegaard and Jane Goodall had a baby and that baby was raised by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and spiritually directed by Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, he’d grow up to be Carlos Dengler.

It is so refreshing to see a show that simply tells the story. Carlos D sits at a table and tells his compelling story of growing up a headbanger, then a philosopher and then the co-founder of the New York-based band, Interpol using the evolution of man as thread and metaphor.

As a metalhead, I was easily transported to my youth. The time when I was one of few girls who loved Metallica and Megadeth, defending it at my all girls high school, and now the woman who goes to nostalgia concerts – except Metallica because the tickets are ridiculously expensive. What a beautiful trip down memory lane under the guise of intellect which I too experienced. Open, raw, concise under the direction of Scott Slavin with light design by Leslie Smith.

Show info:

MON 8/15 @ 7:15
FRI 8/19 @ 9:30
MON 8/22 @ 2:45
THU 8/25 @ 9:30

VENUE #12: 64E4 UNDERGROUND 64 East 4th Street (Bowery & 2nd Avenue)

Click HERE for more info.


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The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer by Michael Bradley;  Directed by
Chris Goodrich

Ask a dreamer the question “Who are you?” and the myriad of thoughts and feelings dance around the fine line of reality and fantasy. Michael Bradley’s clever and creative retelling of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt takes us through the maddening and sensual adventure of a young man wrestling with himself. I’ll be honest. I’m always on the fence when it comes to a retelling because it is hit or miss. This is a hit. An intense 90 minutes, this energetic and connected ensemble cast take us on Peer’s adventures. we see that sometimes wanting it all and experiencing it all is sensory overload; making a decision to want what you desire comes with rules and maybe you don’t want it; or saying you hold many values instead of living them causes disappointment to those who look up to you.

The story is told on a bare stage with movable set pieces and brilliantly choreographed by Geovanny Fischetti. The play keeps moving. Kudos to Taylor Turner for turning out a lovely portrayal of Peer Gynt, the whole cast for moving seamlessly through characters and sharing their talent on what felt like the hottest day in NYC history.

Show Info:

TUE 8/16 @ 5
MON 8/22 @ 4:45
WED 8/24 @ 7
SAT 8/27 @ 1:30

VENUE #1: Teatro SEA at the Clemente 107 Suffolk Street (between Rivington & Delancey) New York, NY

Click HERE for more info.

Meet Michael Bradley Block & The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer

Michael Block Headshot 4Name: Michael Bradley Block

What is your current project? The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer will be presented as part of the 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival! I’ve been dreaming to be a part of the festival for quite some time so getting this opportunity now is extraordinary. FringeNYC is a place where works that may not be able to see the light of day get the opportunity to experience life in front of an audience. My play is inspired by Ibsen’s Peer Gynt told through the lens of modern sexuality. The pitch is filled with buzzwords but to a regular audience, it may not be their cup of tea. Because of the structure of FringeNYC, not only are we getting friends and family to attend, we’re getting patrons of the festival which then brings word of mouth! This play at this time is important. And I’m thankful that FringeNYC will be a part of the adventure!

What’s next for you?

I am keeping up with my site Theater in the Now (theaterinthenow.com) as well as pushing for my musical, The Girls in White, to see life on its feet. So if anyone wants to produce a musical that is virtually “Orange is the New Black” meets “Chicago” with a country twang, I got the show for you!

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

I’ve said this a lot recently, but I truly mean it. Right now, my biggest inspiration right now is Chris Goodrich, the director of The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer. Not only is he an amazing friend but he’s pushed me in ways that have made me a stronger person and a stronger artist. I’m not going to lie, producing a play for FringeNYC is not easy. Chris has been such a wonderful support and is the reason why this play is happening. If it weren’t for him, I’d probably have pulled all my hair out! Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like him.

WANT MORE?

Website: dreamerplay.com, theaterinthenow.com
Twitter: @dreamerplay2016 @theaterinthenow
Facebook: facebook.com/dreamerplay2016, facebook.com/michaelbblock

Michael Bradley (Playwright): originally from Mahwah, New Jersey, Michael is a theater artist based in New York City. Most recently, his musical The Girls in White, written with Artie Sievers, received a concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below featuring two-time Tony winner Michael Cerveris. As a playwright, his work as been seen and heard throughout New York including TinyRhino, Less Than Rent, Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City, PTP/NYC, and Rhapsody Collective, to name a few. He is the founder and artistic director of Rhapsody Collective. He is also the founder and lead critic of Theater in the Now (theaterinthenow.com), a leading source of theatrical criticism in the Indie and Off Broadway theater community. As a stage manager, Michael has worked on and off Broadway including Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys, Signature’s revival of Angels in America, and the original productions of Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris and Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker. Michael is a graduate of Boston University and a proud member of AEA.


Show Information

WHERE: Venue #1- Teatro Sea at The Clemente (107 Suffolk St.)

WHEN: SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 @ 9:30; TUESDAY, AUGUST 16 @ 5+; MONDAY, AUGUST 22 @ 4:45; WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24 @ 7; SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 @ 1:30

TICKETS: fringenyc.org

Dreamer Postcard Front

Fringe Recap: Alex Mahgoub & Baba and St. Francis

BabaI wasn’t planning to do a recap but since we are smack in the middle of the run and Lucky Chick and My Ass (in the world) are totally kicking asses with sold out shows, I figured hey, why not?

I didn’t get to see as many shows as I wanted but the ones I have seen have been super awesome. I’ll start with Baba.

One of my favorite sayings is that it all comes out in the light. That popped in my head as I read Brene Brown’s quote in the program. In a nutshell, owning our story is hard but not as difficult as running from it. Then the lights come up on Alex Mahgoub and we are instantly pulled into his story that most wouldn’t share because it’s painful. Mahgoub shares his story of growing up in Trenton, the son of self-made business man who emigrated to the states from Egypt. Mahgoub’s father is a tough man who started in a bagel shop and ends up owning several real estate properties and businesses. He was murdered when Alex was nine years old.

The one man performance is more storytelling rather than a performance. I appreciated that because this is a harrowing, moving, touching story of what could be living in the shadow of his father but breaking through the breakdown. And it is FUNNY.  Even as he moves through the characters, Mahgoub doesn’t forget about the audience who he has already let into the story at the top of the show.
TWO MORE SHOWS:
Thurs, Aug 27 @ 3:45PM
Sat, Aug 29 @ 7PM
Venue #04: Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor

BIAS ALERT. I went to grad school with playwright and actress Miranda Jonte, assistant director, Kerry Flanagan, and co-producer, Michael Bitalvo of St. Francis.

St. Francis is the patron saint of animals so if you are an animal lover, this is a heart wrenching tale of a young veterinarian fighting for them and herself. Under the flawless direction of Stephen Brotebeck, Jonte tightly written 75 minute play hits the audience in all the right places as she is pressured to find a new home for her animals before a corporation takes over; she is triggered by feelings when her old lover returns to town; she is the mentor of all mentors to her young assistant; and she tries to mend the pieces of her broken relationship with her dad.

Guest Blogger: Ian McDonald on Felicity Seidel Being a “Lucky Chick”

a38d952f-8684-4138-a374-6e5a42fb4a5dFrom the get go, Felicity Seidel’s Lucky Chick entranced me completely.  The show opens with a fairytale style cartoon that tells the story of a young girl trapped in her circumstances that escapes to join a wild carnival of color and joy.  That carnival parallels the audience experience as Felicity takes the stage and, through a series of vignettes and a motley cast of characters, leads us through a journey of awakening, questionable life choices, crime, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, culminating with her own redemption and acceptance of her inner peace deep in the wilds of Wyoming.

Ms. Seidel’s easy-going style and personality shine as she pulls the audience into the story, seamlessly slipping from one character to the next.  Particularly challenging is the sequence in Wyoming where she plays no fewer than five distinct characters apart from her own, without once betraying them as caricatures.  Each one had a distinct style, speech pattern, and posture, being so fully formed that I could almost smell the hay, whisky and perspiration on one and the engine grease, manure, and aqua velva on another.  My only issue with the show is that running at a brisk 60 minutes, likely a symptom of being in a festival, I was left wanting more of the story. I could easily have sat for another 30 to see the circumstances that brought the vibrant talent of Ms. Seidel out of the danger-seeking, wild child runaway that  began this odyssey.  Running in The White Box on Lafayette Street, Lucky Chick is a delightfully twisted way to spend an evening in The Village.

Performance Schedule:
FRI 8/14 @ 7:00 PM – SOLD OUT
MON 8/17 @ 9:30 PM – SOLD OUT
FRI 8/21 @ 3:15 PM
SAT 8/22 @ 5:15 PM
THU 8/27 @ 3:00 PM
Running Time: 60 minutes

VENUE #14: The White Box at 440 Studios
440 Lafayette St • 3rd Floor
(Astor Place & East 4th Street)

For more information, visit http://www.luckychick.nyc/.