Author Archives: famousexplorersociety

Guest Star Selfie #5

Sadly, I couldn’t be there that legendary day that the amazing Sergei Burbank graced us with his presence as our guest star. , I remedied that omission by reaching out to him and finding out a little more about his work. And now, a few months later, here it is, that wonderful moment when words – and worlds – collided.

Lauren Ferebee: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your art, and how you came to Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Sergei Burbank: I’m a performer-turned-writer-turned-producer. I followed some very good advice to be heedful of where there was a gap, and I quickly saw that while there was little need of another chronically insecure performer, there would be some utility for me as a playwright, and even more as a facilitator / producer. So that’s kept me busy. My plays tend to emerge from arguments I have in my head, so the themes revolve around race, gentrification, and war, mostly. I guess the theme I’m fixated on most consistently is cruelty: that shows up front and center in most of my pieces. For more blah blah blah people can go to my website: [http://boisterous-eremite.com/] After a decade or so of producing my own work I was happily absorbed into Oracle Theatre Inc., founded by Jennifer and Isaac Rathbone, and I’ve been with them for the past few years helping to coordinate their various reading series and full productions. It was through Isaac that I got invited to sit in with LRR for a session.

Lauren Ferebee: What are you excited about right now, in your own work & in the theatre world in general?

Sergei Burbank: I’m helping develop the script for a new (partial) Henriad (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, and Henry V) that Oracle will run in rep this fall with an original work by LLR’s own Isaac Rathbone. We’re drawing out the script process over many months, and I really enjoy longer schedules like this because it allows for more profound discoveries.

In the wider theater world I’m very excited that technology has become cheap enough to allow both mainstream and indie theater productions to incorporate film with live performance.

Lauren Ferebee: Career highlights?

Sergei Burbank: I’m grateful to have found a creative home with Oracle Theatre Inc. Being invited to join their company was a wonderful validation of my work thus far.

Lauren Ferebee: You’re our Guest Star. What’s the one ridiculous rider in your Star Contract that we have to fulfill (like green M&Ms, peacocks in the dressing room, etc.)?

Sergei Burbank: London Underground – themed towels. And Pat Kiernan on hand to read interesting articles aloud to me as he finds them.

Lauren Ferebee: Why New York? What keeps you here?

Sergei Burbank: I’m a native, so it is a lucky coincidence that I eventually decided to work in theater, since I could do it in my hometown. I stay because the more I see of other places, it’s clear I don’t belong anywhere else.

 

#selfie 2.7 ACTOR EDITION Heather LR. (with questions by Natalie W.)

Heather Lee Rogers comes to us by way of Flux Theatre Ensemble (where Lauren F. first met her and brought her in!). She was excellent in Jen’s play Iona Means Island, and we’re glad to have her back. You can find out more at http://www.heatherogers.com/.

#selfie 2.0  is an interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview the actor ensemble for their next night of short plays.  Playwrights have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, because we told them to.

NATALIE W. What is your earliest memory of a compelling moment of theater, and how did it influence your path to becoming an actress?

HEATHER LR.  I grew up in rural Massachusetts, so I didn’t see a whole lot of theater when I was growing up.  But we had class plays in school.  The first play I was ever in (that had actual blocking, and wasn’t just a line of little kids picking noses adorably) was a play version of The Nutcracker.  I was just a cousin in the first scene and had helped paint the big paper birch trees that represented the forest of the Sugarplum Fairy.  Anyway, after the play was done and people applauded I had my first RUSH.  It felt like there was this whole world of pretend we had created together and I had just felt it palpably slip away.  Total magic. Playing pretend but with a whole cafeteria full of people. That’s when I decided this was what I wanted to do.

NATALIE W.  On your website, you wrote that you want to “speak text and ideas that make rooms gasp”. What is your favorite gasp so far that you’ve provoked?

HEATHER LR.   It’s funny.  I’ve done a lot of theater with beautiful, strong language (and seek that out always), but the real live gasps I’ve experienced have been more about moments of human connection, not so much about the lines.  I think my favorite reaction ever was when I was playing Emilia in Othello for a bunch of 9th graders.  They were a terrible, rowdy audience; it was hell.  But they really connected with our Desdemona.  There is the scene where Othello is calling her a “whore”, and in our production he was just about to smack her, when Emilia interrupts by entering.  So I entered.  There was a real gasp.  And then some kid, not sure if it was a boy or girl, in a deep-dead-serious voice said “GET HIM.”  AND NO ONE LAUGHED.  It taught me that Emilia’s really the only person in that play that CAN save Desdemona, she’s the only one with enough brains and guts, and the tragedy is that in the last scene she just gets there a little too late.  I learned so much about my character from that kid!

NATALIE W.    You also mention you want to play villains and kings. What is your dream not-usually-performed-by-a-woman role and why?

HEATHER LR.   Oh man.  I’m terrible at answering “dream role” questions!!  I want to play Richard III, Claudius in Hamlet, Henry V (in Henry V)… huh. Why is it easier to imagine with classical roles?  Is it the distance or, the precedent of gross-gender casting throughout history?  But when I’ve seen theater that casts adults as kids or women as men or mixes up race roles it can be really profound.  You listen differently to what these characters say and what they’re about when you are forced to get rid of the short-cut conclusions you can make when actors are cast WITHIN type. Theater is kind of about the universality of the human condition, and acting by definition is taking on a character OUTSIDE of yourself… I’m rambling.

NATALIE W. What keeps you sane in this crazy business? (or are you not sane?)

HEATHER LR.  I have two keys to staying sane:  The first is to see as much theater as I can so that I stay inspired and excited about making theater. Then all the masochistic horribleness of this business keeps making sense somehow. The second is to surround myself with supportive, theater-making friends who hustle hard and work all the time. We inspire each other and we believe in each other which is everything.

NATALIE W.  Let’s take a moment to brag about you. Why do you think LRR asked you to be part of our awesome evening of short plays? What sets you apart as an actress?

HEATHER LR.     I think Lauren asked me to be part of this because she’s seen me play around at Flux Sundays (with Flux Theatre Ensemble) where the name of the game is making big, strong, choices and running with them. I’m good at working that way.  ALSO I was so enamored with her play Somewhere Safer, which she partly developed at Flux Sundays, that I approached stalker status… perhaps throwing me a casting bone was her alternative to getting a restraining order.  Yeah, seriously, I do think that’s why I’m here:  When I see work I like and connect with I’m very forward about introducing myself and saying point blank “I would love to work with you.”  There’s this weird conceit among actors that we need to wait around to be invited to the party, nonchalantly hope to be noticed, and be all cool and aloof about it. It’s a strategy I don’t have patience for or understand. Psyched to work with all of you!

To catch Heather, Natalie and all the #LRRit gang in action be sure to keep November 2nd free and clear and Buy tickets for Mistakes Were Made: An Evening of Rom-Com and Political Shorts

#selfie 2.6 ACTOR EDITION Tom F. (with questions by Isaac R.)

Lather, Rinse Repeat is happy to have Tom Frank, a man of few words, as part of our acting ensemble for Mistakes Were Made! Isaac browbeat him into answering a few questions for us, despite his deep dislike for interviews.

#selfie 2.0  is an interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview the actor ensemble for their next night of short plays.  Playwrights have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, because we told them to.

ISAAC R. How did you end up working with Lather, Rinse, Repeat?

TOM F. I did a play with Brandon’s husband a year ago.

ISAAC R. Where are you from originally? And how does that influence your work as an actor?

TOM F. Paris. Moving to the states as a kid and learning to assimilate was my first role as an actor.

ISAAC R. What do you enjoy most about working with playwrights and new plays?

TOM F.  The variety of possibilities and the passion/excitement of new material.

ISAAC R. What food do you crave after a few drinks?

TOM F. Another drink.

ISAAC R. In a reversal of the typical question to actors, what role would you absolutely hate to play?

TOM F. I have turned down work, not because the role itself was terrible, but because the dialogue, plot structure, and every other result of what could barely be called ‘writing’ was agonizingly terrible. It is hard for me to think of a role on its own that I wouldn’t at least want to explore.

selfie #2.2 ACTOR EDITION: kate d. (questions by jeremy w.)

Kate Dearing puts the “repeat” in Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Since she lives with an LRR playwright (Lauren F.) she has been our go-to gal since we started this crazy experiment, and by the end of Rinse Round2 will have worked with every playwright in the group.  Our own Jeremy W. commiserates with her on being a Texan and finds out what keeps her inspired.

#selfie 2.0  is an interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview the actor ensemble for their next night of short plays.  Playwrights have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, because we told them to.

JEREMY W. I see you’ve started your own new play development series called Playdate.  Is working on new plays the Dearing way?

KATE D. I started Playdate with a couple of friends. We wanted to make a home for playwrights, actors, and directors to just be in the creative process and play together…just like playgroup for little kids but booze instead of apple juice. I am a sucker for new work. I love the collaborative team sport aspect of it.

JEREMY W. What have we done to deserve you?

KATE D. Oh stop it…I mean go on…

JEREMY W. As a fellow Texan, I make a habit of informing residents of the other 49 how much fairer Austin is than Dallas.  Secretly, I know there is some fascinating theatre brewing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Do you still identify with the city?  Did it shape you as an actor at all?

KATE D. I did grow up in Dallas, which I lovingly refer to as Diet LA. Massive houses, expensive cars, groomed women, and segregated neighborhoods. However, after living in both Dallas and LA and rebelling against both cities, I have made my peace with both. Dallas taught me the art of the southwest warmth and woo. A skill set that is always useful. LA taught me the art of the hustle. Both skills have proved useful to have in my wheelhouse.

JEREMY W. Who taught you the spine of your acting craft and what is it made of? 

KATE D. For today the spine of my craft is exquisitely simple- trusting uncertainty and staying present. It’s a beginners mind. It’s saying YES and enjoying the ride.

JEREMY W. Favorite ride at an amusement park? 

KATE D. A big roller coaster. The sexy steel kind.

JEREMY W. What do you do when preparing for a role you would never want the audience to see? 

KATE D. Whenever I take on a role, I end up falling in love with that character. I figure If I truly see them and love them, I will be able to do them justice… and usually there are tears…

JEREMY W. If you could portray any real person, living or dead, whom would it be? 

KATE D. I don’t have an answer to this question. I always fail this part of the quiz.  I am a sucker for good writing. Theatre that makes it easier to be human. Laughter through tears. That is what gets me excited. That’s what I want to help bring alive.

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selfie #2.1 ACTOR EDITION: adriana d. (questions by lauren f.)

Adriana DeGirolami first came to LRR as a cast member of Lauren’s play Somewhere Safer, and hung around to be a part of our acting ensemble for our Fall Shorts Series.  In our first night, she brought some serious game to Rom-Com Night as a superhero, a cater-waiter, and a preying mantis.  Check out more of her work at www.adrianadegirolami.com.

#selfie 2.0  is an interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview the actor ensemble for their next night of short plays.  Playwrights have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, because we told them to.

LAUREN F. So, I’ve worked with you before and I know you’re a kickass artist who has done lots of impressive things. What are the highlights?

ADRIANA D. The projects I’ve been lucky enough to work on are impressive mostly because of the incredible people I’ve gotten to work with! But some of the highlights include the two unbelievable Fringe shows I’ve been a part of – the 2011 Winner for Best Play, “The More Loving One” and of course this past summer’s epic triumph “Somewhere Safer”. I was blessed to work with some of my closest friends on the films Drinking Games andProposals. And most recently I was on “The Late Show with David Letterman” singing and dancing around in a crop top. And you know that’s got to be a highlight.

LAUREN F. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done as an artist?

ADRIANA D. I was cast in a play that was largely made up of a collection of slam poetry. The play itself was beautiful; what’s weird is that I was cast in the first place. But if I’m ever asked to do slam poetry again, I’ll be, like, ready.

LAUREN F. What kind of projects really get you excited?

ADRIANA D. I love smart, witty, sharp work that entertains but also ignites conversation!

LAUREN F. I know you love to karaoke.  Tell me about your favorite karaoke songs.

ADRIANA D. [Don’t act like you know me, Lauren Ferebee!] My all-time best, most favorite karaoke song to crush is “Total Eclipse of the Heart”- the extended Bonnie Tyler version. Hands down, best song to get the crowd going. And I should know… I’ve seen them all.

LAUREN F. And finally, what are you working on now/next? Where can we see more of you?

ADRIANA D. In addition to being a part of this incredible collection of short plays brought to you by the masterminds behind Lather, Rinse, Repeat, you can catch me in the feature film, Drinking Games, out on iTunes. You can also check out my cameo as a loud-mouth lesbian on “The Better Half” series.

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