Author Archives: Jeremy Wine

Multi-week Round-up With Side of Tots

Feeling Round Down?  Say no more.  Let’s Round Up.

Procrastinator’s Special:  Several weeks in one.

Week 3: Jeremy Wine and his band of merry Rewrites

Week 3 of our full-length reading cycle continued with a constantly-changing read of Pre-Fabricated Homes, a play about iffy construction, having sex with national parks, and a man curiously called “Jeff”.  Jeremy Wine’s play is the best play ever written in the known world.

Full disclaimer: Jeremy Wine wrote most or all of this.

Week 4: Fearsome Frank, by Tim Duncheon, and his pocket pal, Marbles.

We were whisked away, island to island, to the year 1589.  Fearsome Frank is most likely a true story, or semi-true, but it’s certainly musical and pants-immolatingly funny.  A case of mistaken identity leads inevitably to sword and word play, the immaculate Concepcion, and a spot marked by an X.  It’s a musical with depth.

Ba-dum-dum.

Week 5: Exposing Yourself in Public

The first of several Submission Salons, Lather, Rinse, Repeat’s version of Career Night.  We came, we whiteboarded, we solicited ourselves.  It wasn’t pretty.  We are forming a nice little playwright’s helper system for professional development that will one day be shared with the world at large, solving all of American Theatre’s problems.  And we ate pizza.

Week 6: L’Aubergiste by the always happenin’ Natalie Wilson

This house has a mad crush.  It likes you, Jeanine.  It really, really likes you.  Jeanine.  Sure, Bernadette has been going steady with the house for the past trillion years, but it was a good run.  Jeanine.  This house really digs you, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, In a Land Not Unlike This Land…

Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights have all kinds of frothy action out there.  Not the least of which:  Caps Lock Theatre’s Pussyfest III: The Reckoning.  This year’s installment features a heady brew of LRR playwrights, including Tim Duncheon, Tim Errickson, Isaac Rathbone, Mila Golubov, Natalie Wilson, Jeremy Wine, and Jen Browne.  The line-up this year is stellar–get your tickets for November 2nd, 3rd, and the 10th or you’ll be THAT PERSON that DIDN’T GO.  Don’t be THAT PERSON.  Buy tickets at THIS PLACE.

This is not a drill.

Furthermore, our most beloved Isaac Rathbone will have his LRR-developed play The Gnome produced at the estimable LORT-tastic Barter Theatre early next year.  That’s a world premiere for those of you keeping score at home.  Many more details to come.

LORTLORTLORTLORTLORTLORTLORTLORT

Next Time, Whether As You Like It Or Not:

Issac “Ike” Rathbone brings in his latest Full-length “Fully” Play for a cast of Seasoned “Salty” Actors to read.  This is about that time of year when we stop showering.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I like art.

4 LRR Playwrights Featured at Hell’s Kitchen Commons

This Monday August 11 at 7pm thanks to Hell’s Kitchen Commons, the West 45th/46th Street Block Association and the Irish Arts Center we’re serving up a theatrical smorgasbord to the people of Hell’s Kitchen.

Check out FREE readings from four of our lovely LRR playwrights:

Spirit Dust by Natalie Wilson
The Ferryman by Isaac Rathbone
Pity the Fools by Mila Golubov
Love is a Blind Squirrel by Jen Browne

Talented Actor Folk:

  • Mike Callaghan
  • Nick Cocchetto
  • Gabby Sherba
  • Peter Smith
  • Sarah Todes

Bring chairs, blankets and snacks to Matthews Palmer Playground.

The fun continues with on August 25th with another Hell’s Kitchen Commons Play in the park night featuring Fundamental Theater Project’s new play Sanctuary Park by Ben Holbrook

For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/636623459778594/

See the Partners’ websites for more info on their Partnerness:

West 45th/46th Street Block Association

Hell’s Kitchen Commons is the program name sponsored by the Block Association

Mathew’s Palmer Playground

Irish Arts Center

Fundamental Theater Project

Guest Star Selfie #4

Julie Gomez Selfie

On April 8th, we welcomed the indubitable Julie Gomez as our honored guest, as we read the equally indubitable Tim Duncheon’s latest work-in-progress.  As part of my long con to make Tim Duncheon my new and very bestest friend, I took some time to interview Julie about her love of improv, contested archipelagos, and antipathy for creepy crawlies.

Jeremy Wine: Are you really from San Andres y Providencia?  I’ve never met anyone from there. Do you consider yourself American, Colombian, Nicaraguan, Caribbean, or something I can’t get my ignorant head around?

Julie Gomez: I am! It’s a beautiful little island in the Caribbean that belonged completely to Colombia, until recent legal battles that resulted in Nicaragua owning the waters that surround the land. It’s a strange and long history. I moved away when I was about 4 to Louisiana then to Texas later on in life, so the question about what I consider myself to be is one I love to contemplate. I became a naturalized citizen 3 years ago, which I am very honored and proud of, and I have a very strong tie to my family and Colombian culture as well as southern culture… so I like to think of myself as a cultural mutt. So D, all of the above, is my answer. I love all my frankenstein parts.

Jeremy Wine: With your background in improv, how does that influence what appeals to you in the scripted theatre world?

Julie Gomez: I studied theater in college and it’s been fascinating to see the world of theater and improv merge at UCB. I still deal with scripted material since I produce comedy web videos and UCB also teaches sketch writing in addition to improv.

We have made successful videos in the past that have had hilarious and well produced scripts, as well as videos that have had much of the script improvised. In both cases I’ve seen the writers and directors give freedom to the performers we cast, who are talented improvisers, to work with the dialogue or premise given.

Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, there is a great value to the writer and the work she has written, but I enjoy seeing an on-going process with scripted material with a creative team that includes the director, writer, and performer. I think that aspect of theater appeals to me as a producer (and perhaps why I enjoyed Lather, Rinse, Repeat so much!) to see creative minds nurturing an idea.

Jeremy Wine: You’re a producer at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Please pardon the unmotivated exposition.  That sounds like an impossible job to me.  Please explain.

Julie Gomez: HA! Makes me feel like a super hero. I am the producer for the Video/Film Department of UCB called Don’t Think Productions. I’ve produced many of the comedic web videos you will see on our site and Youtube channel. We are currently producing a feature length documentary on the Del Close Marathon and I also produce branded content videos and commercials for our company.

Jeremy Wine: If, to save a million lives, you had to punch one animal in the face, what animal would you punch?

Julie Gomez: Maggots. I would punch so many of their stupid chubby no-faces.

Jeremy Wine: Mike Nichols once said “Because it’s funny.” is a pretty good answer to the question, “Why are you telling me this?”  What do you think?

Julie Gomez: Oh yeah, I agree. Give me funny and I will laugh everyday all the time.

 

Weekly Round-Up 3.6

Mila

Yes.  That’s right.  It’s Mila Golubov week.  It’s March 11th and I found myself skipping down Ludlow St. like a Sochi ice dancer.  I’M THAT EXCITED.  Word on the street was shadow puppetry might be involved.  Do you know what?  It was.

With well-coiffed director Brian Gillespie as our special guest, Mila took us down a dark, robotic noir turn where shadow wolves and bears spoke for the inner nature of the denizens of a kind-of-future.  The play–a kiss before dying battery: a shadow play.  I never thought of androids and film noir together.  Now they’re motherfucking inextricable.  It was future-tastic, con-or-be-conned, and downright stichomythic (Look it up, people).

Notes of note:

  1. Dicks should be Private Dicks
  2. In the continuing, yet unplanned Lather, Rinse, Repeat Continuity Project 2.0, this week’s play was once again linked by total happenstance to the play before it.  This time, by virtue of the delicious and fruity mai tai.
  3. “Then what are we doing here.” “Rubbing parts.”  Didn’t I tell you?  Robosapiens and film noir!  Like Peaches and Herb!
  4. Mike Pitsikoulis basically is a robotic bartender.
  5. Carson Lee basically is the most handsome Dick in every room.

Stay tuned for the next Weekly Round-Up; a very special homecoming for our very own Lauren Ferebee, playing hookey from her residency in South Carolina, to treat us to her newest stack of tremendous.  That puts the happy in a 5:00pm – 9:00m $3 pint happy hour(s) at Local 138.

#selfies 2.9 ACTOR EDITION Isaiah Tanenbaum. (with questions by Jeremy W.)

Isaiah Tanenbaum

On the heels of our psychotically successful night of shorts, Mistakes Were Made: An Evening of Rom-Com and Political Shorts, Jeremy W. gathered mega-talent Isaiah Tanenbaum for a virtual coffee-side firechat.  And thus Selfies 2.9 was borne.

#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.:  Cyberstalking you has given me the impression you have a solidly developed nerd side.  We’re seeing a embrace of nerdness in our culture; do you think the theatre will sufficiently nerd out?

Isaiah T.: Ack! You’ve discovered my shameful secret! Yes, I’m a huge nerd. I was the kid reading Star Trek books on the school bus, the kid who went to science camp to shoot off rockets, the kid who raced home from his job at the Renaissance Faire to make his weekly online Star Trek roleplaying IRC group (I was a pirate cabin boy and a Betazoid science officer, respectively).

I’m still that nerdy kid, really, so I question whether anything can “sufficiently” nerd out. Nerds are inherent collectors and puzzle-solvers – facts, comics, board games – so there is always an opportunity for more stuff to collect and more puzzles to solve, and that includes theatrical experiences.

I do think, though, that a lot of writers and directors confuse the ephemera of nerd culture – spaceships or robots or comic book action or scientist characters or whatever – for true nerdiness, and it’s totally possible to overdose on that kind of “surface” nerdiness. True nerdy theatre uses these trappings to give the audience a puzzle, an idea, something to chew on. That’s harder than just setting Three Sisters on Mars, but it’s a question of craft, and the end result is simply a Good Play, which there is always, ALWAYS room for. Plenty of playwrights are up to the challenge – Mac Rogers and August Schulenburg come to mind, of course – but I’ve seen more than a few make the “spaceships=nerdy play” mistake. You can do the same with a love story or a crime drama or any other subgenre of narrative, really; just sprinkling a few familiar conventions on top of dull characters and calling it a day. It’s just particularly obvious with “nerdy” plays because the conventions are so in-your-face; when that’s all your play has, it all falls apart pretty quickly.

Jeremy W.:  I’m only just getting to know your acting work, but from what I’ve seen in the readings, from role to role, you innately bring to each character that universal need to be an engaged part of proceedings.  It’s very compelling.  Is that Isaiah coming out or is it a part of your craft?

Isaiah T: That’s really kind of you to say. If there’s anything of Isaiah in there, it’s my kind-of overwhelming personal need to be loved at all times by everyone around me. It’s probably pretty annoying in person but on stage I guess it reads as compelling, so hooray! YOU LOVE ME MY JOB IS DONE.

But seriously, I think it’s back to that nerdy puzzle thing I was talking about before. Why is my character doing X? Solving for X is part of the fun of performing a role. I’ve found that the answer is almost always something like “because another character just did or said Y, for which X is the only response my guy could have in that moment, because he wants Z to happen.” Then of course the director wants something else so I get to decide that, in fact, Q is really the thing I ought to do. But it’s always in response to the other person on the stage, and in the hopes of creating a change in them. This automatically engages me because I’m necessarily aware of what they are doing, and adjusting my responses accordingly. I even do that for monologues; the “other person” is either the audience or some future version of my character, which is to say, me.

This is all probably familiar to other actors who have read Declan Donnellan’s frankly amazing The Actor and the Target. That book was a godsend for me, because I never connected with the emotional sense-memory stuff that my college professor loved. I totally recognize it’s catnip for plenty of amazingly talented actors, but for me, it’s all about objectives and goals and tactics and DOING things. That’s where I live. So The Actor and the Target, combined with Actions: The Actor’s Thesaurus (which is basically a cross-referenced and organized-by-category list of highly specific, active verbs for actors to attach to lines), has formed the core of what I do on stage.

And when all that doesn’t work I just make funny faces.

Jeremy W.:  What is your dream hairstyle?

Isaiah T.: Anything. Literally anything. I like to say that my hair has exactly two styles: short, and jewfro. Mine just grows straight out and I look like The Wolfman, so basically it’s been variations of the Ceasar Cut since high school, and will remain as such forever. I am insanely jealous of people who actually have hair they can do anything with. I would kill for something like David Tenant’s infinitely styleable hair. It can do fun hedgehog! It can do long and mopey! It can get pushed back into a mohawk if for some reason he wants that! It can do whatever he wants! DAMN YOU TENANT.

Jeremy W.:  For those of us who live under rocks, what is it about your company Flux Theatre Ensemble that keeps you guys trucking along?

Isaiah T: Flux is just amazing. I don’t know what my life as a performer would look like if I hadn’t stumbled in on that group of people in 2006 off of a Craigslist ad (no joke, a Craigslist ad). We’ve been around for eight years now, which in Indie Theatre Years is two eternities and a forever. I think that longevity comes down to three highly-interconnected factors:

1) A tight focus on central operating principles we chose for ourselves that we call our Core Values (Joy, Compassion, Collaboration, Creativity, Excellence). We try to hold ourselves to these values in all things we touch, both in our artistic choices and in our producing choices. After everything we do, from full productions to casting calls to e-blasts, we ask ourselves “now, that thing we did, was it Compassionate? If not, how could it be more so?” And so on, down the list. It’s pretty easy to get lost in the day-to-day of making theatre, and even easier to make expedient choices, but having those five touchpoints to come back to keeps you focused and honest, and in the end a process that is more Joyful/Creative/etc is simply going to be more inspiring, rewarding, and enduring.

2) Our incredible community of fellow artists, collaborators, and audience members (many of whom, including more than a few Rinsers, are officially-designated Friends of Flux). Whether serving as box office volunteers, or running a fundraising committee, or offering props and costumes and expertise and shop-space, or just showing up again and again, the community that has grown up around us has helped us punch well above our weight for years. At this point, most of my personal friends are also Friends of Flux (or just lower-case-f friends of Flux), because that’s how close-knit this community is. When you develop that kind of long-term partnership, you don’t ever want to let anyone down.

3) We do a lot of stuff. Like, a lot. This semester, in fact (yes, I still think of my life in semesters), we’ve had or are having a major Flux event every month: The Annual Retreat, Have Another (our readings-in-a-bar series), a SpeakEasy (a kind of townhall for FoFs), next week’s Food:Soul (more staged readings, but with food), the upcoming Family Feud Benefit Party (please come!), and then another Have Another in December. And of course Flux Sundays nearly every week, which is like actor/playwright gym and just loads of fun. It’s kind of impossible not to keep going when there are so many things happening; there’s simply no chance to let the momentum falter.

And these are all related: our Core Values have attracted that community and kept it tight; the community, in turn, helps us run all these events; the events reward the community by giving them chances to perform and enjoy theatre; when we hew to our values they and we are doubly-rewarded, and we’re all moved to create more stuff to share. It’s like a triple-positive feedback loop and it’s kind of stupidly inspiring to be at the center of it.

Jeremy W.:  You seem terribly at home in the theatre in almost every way.  Are you as comfortable doing this work as you appear to be?

Isaiah T.: You are like the sweetest interviewer ever.

On the one hand, yes, I’ve always liked it when people listen to me, and it turns out there’s a whole career where actual adults pay real, actual money to buy a ticket where they just sit and listen to me for an hour or two at a time. That’s crazy!

On the other, though, I’m still a little terrified whenever I get up to do it. What if my fly is undone? What if I flub a line? What if I fuck up my blocking? What if I’m thinking about all that so I’m too in my head and they can see that OH GOD THE EYES THEY SEE EVERYTHING THEY CAN SEE MY SOUL HEEEEEELP.

Living somewhere between that pure joy of attention, and the cold, shivering terror of same, is why I keep coming back even when the rational part of my brain says “you know what, maybe you should get a real job or something.” It’s like the best high ever.

To catch Isaiah and all the #LRRit gang in action you’re too late.  Don’t miss the next one.  Seriously.