Author Archives: timduncheon

Mega Weekly Roundup: Vol. 1 and 2

For the first week of our new cycle, we heard Raindrop and Sundrop, a new play by Gina Femia, one of our new members! Composed by Gina in one whirlwind week, Raindrop and Sundrop tells the story of two estranged sisters reunited in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The incendiary situation leads to some dark revelations about their family and their past relationships.

Impressively, Gina’s play also takes place on one set and transpires in real time! If he had been alive and able to join us for her reading, Aristotle would have been proud.

What about the second week, you ask?

Great question.

On the most recent Tuesday, we heard a new draft of Isaac Rathbone’s play Chub, a comedy-drama about parenthood, puppets, and the Great Recession. If you’ve ever wanted to steal a rental car and track down an eBay seller because the stench of one of the used puppets you bought has exacerbated marital tensions, then maybe this play is based on your life.

Here’s a list of things we learned over these two wweeks:

1) Abusive relationships make for bad vacations.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that vacations are always fun, but Gina showed us that, under some circumstances, they are not.

2) One should do one’s best to attend one’s father’s funeral, even if it’s in another borough.

The fact that it’s in Queens and there are weekend service changes is NO EXCUSE.

3) All of Gina’s other plays have unicorns in them.

Gina’s other plays feature magical realism. All magical realism has to do with unicorns. Therefore, it follows that all of Gina’s other plays have unicorns in them.

4) Amanda may not be able to make Jeremy’s funeral.

She’s got plans.

5) The playwrights of LRR know a surprising amount about real estate.

So says Matt Barbot. As a new member of LRR, he has obviously not made it through the Lather Rinse Repeat Playwrights’ Guide to REIT Investing. All proceeds go to our reading series.

6) When your marriage is in trouble, consider the bowling alley in Syosset.

Maybe it’ll get your marriage back on track, but even if it doesn’t, at least you’ll get to bowl.

7) Chub the puppet is not actually named Chub!!

We won’t tell you what he’s actually named, because that would be a spoiler.

8) Puppets are great.

This is self-evident.

 

Gina and the actors of Raindrops!

Gina and the actors of Raindrops!

 

 

Jeremy and Ike ponder Chub.

Jeremy and Ike ponder Chub.

Weekly Round-Up 3.3

On Tuesday, the LRR team had a delightful evening reading through Isaac Rathbone’s whimsical play Chub. It’s about how difficult it is to be a parent. It’s also about a secondhand puppet named Chub that (slight spoiler alert) is not actually named Chub.

Jennifer Conley Darling, the producing artistic director of the amazing terraNOVA Collective, was our guest star this week. See below how happy she was to spend an evening with us (or, at any rate, an evening with Chub).

We were very concerned about Chub’s puppet feelings and asked a lot of questions:

  1. Why does Chub smell?
  2. Does Chub know he smells?
  3. Can Chub feel pain?
  4. Does Chub know he’s going to die?
  5. How does Gary feel about his chub?

Etc. etc. (no, but for real, this was a good 45 minutes of our discussion…)

The play also included a character who goes only by the moniker BuffBillsFan12. We thought this was very telling, because it means there are also BuffBillsFan1-11. They, however, are not featured in this play, or any other play that we know of.

NEXT — Check out this picture of Jenn raising her left hand! She’s so riveting that Jeremy can’t help but stare.

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Other things you should know:

1. $8 divided by 10 is NOT $1.25. If you think it is, you might be having money problems just like the people in Ike’s play.

2. Mila is, in her words, “not invested in hope.” (You probably already knew that.)

3. We decided on our theme for our evening of shorts this cycle (coming up in June)! We are SUPER excited about it, and we think it’s going to be the most cohesive and awesome evening Lather Rinse Repeat has put on yet! I’m not sure if I’m allowed to reveal anything yet, but suffice to say that when it is revealed, you will be approximately as excited as we are.

4. We took more pictures of ourselves. Hooray!

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selfie #2.4 ACTOR EDITION: julia g. (questions by tim d.)

Julia Giolzetti is a rockstar member of our acting company for our Fall Shorts series of (mostly) political plays, recently playing a role in a RomCom date play about sex-cannibalism. So, needless to say, she has a lot of range as an actress! Read on about the superiority of In ‘N Out to all so-called “burgers” in this city, what about new plays excites Julia, and find out about a music video featuring one of Julia’s best body parts…
#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.
TIM D. Do you have a favorite role that you have performed? What made it stand out?
JULIA G. In 2009, I played a 12 year old girl in a production called Pink! with Down Payment Productions. It was a 90 minute real time thrill ride which took place in a single cabin. I, along with my 4 castmates, became completely immersed in the world of tweens, including going on a 2 day “retreat” where we stayed in character and came up with team cheers and such. It was great because I got to sing a song about Twilight, play with period blood, get shaving creamed in the face, and have a total emotional meltdown every night. Weirdly, after the show lots of strangers told me “I completely identified with you.” Lots of closeted 12 year old girls out there, apparently.
TIM D. Like me, you are a California transplant to New York City. Do you still feel like a Californian at heart? What does that even mean? What are your favorite and least favorite parts of this big ol’ town?
JULIA G. I moved to New York from San Diego 9 years ago last month. I feel like having spent so many years here now, New Yorker-ness is creeping in on my Californian-ness (those are definitely not words). I like to curse out cabbies and people on CitiBikes, but I usually end up shouting some California-ism at them like “Cool man!” or “Way to run that red light dude!”. Everyone to me is a dude. I like to wear flip flops everywhere and get confused when people think it is gross, and Valley Girl up-speak does creep into my speech. And I spend every winter muttering about how I am moving back to California ASAP. NYC likes: Gray’s Papaya, walking everywhere, the one time per year it snows and doesn’t immediately turn into brackish sludge. Dislikes: the 6 train and having to carry groceries. And no In N Out…what is UP with that.
TIM D. Do you think the Chargers will do well this season?
JULIA G. The Chargers are terrible. I’m saying this from a place of love–I was indoctrinated at an early age and try to make it out to at least one home game each year. The O line is just sad. Rivers throws almost as many INTs as TDs. Only a miracle could get us into the playoffs, let alone finishing at .500.
TIM D. Which nonexistent people close to Manti Te’o do you expect to die?
JULIA G. I predict his goldfish will die of fish cancer.
TIM D. What excites you most when you read a new play (or a classic)?
JULIA G. I enjoy reading any plays, new or otherwise, because I love discovering characters and voices. Anytime a character has to go through crazy shit, or reveals some universal life truth, I am definitely drawn to play with that. We all experience insane shit (especially in this city) and we all have moments where we figure something out or have earth shattering revelations. But being able, as an actor, to jump into another person and express those thoughts and feelings artistically so other people can share them is what it’s all about.
TIM D. What makes you instantly say “I have to play that role”?
JULIA G. If the part involved making out with a hot dude. Apologies to my husband.
TIM D. What are you working on next and where can we go to see more of you???
JULIA G. You can see me (hopefully) in the upcoming music video for the band Luscious Jackson. The song is called “Number One Bum”, and it’s about a very special butt. I also just began a year long journey with Theater in Asylum to devise a piece based on what it means to be extraordinary. I also also frequently perform entirely unrehearsed Shakespeare plays with the amazing group Accidental Shakespeare Company, and I am a company member of the Tempest Ladies, an all female ensemble devoted to making Shakespeare accessible through clear and engaging storytelling. Here is my website: www.juliagiolzetti.com
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Julia at a Mayan ball court in the ruins of Coba, having just learned that court was used for blood rituals… hence the apprehensive face.

selfie #6: jeremy w. (with questions by tim d.)

On Tuesday, Jeremy W. regaled us with “Proximity,” a dark comedy in which a mysterious experiment leaves a modern-day mad scientist cohabiting with the consciousness of historical mad scientist Nikola Tesla. This week he and Tim D. chatted about science, the nature of comedy, and the vicissitudes of college bureaucracies.

#selfies are an ongoing interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview one another. They have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, for the sake of being meta.

TIM D. Why Tesla? Also, who is your favorite scientist and why?

JEREMY W. The week before I went to Bosnia, I thought I’d do a little Wikipedia research on the place since I knew next to nothing about it.  After several hours, I knew less than I knew when I started.  In the backseat of a car leaving Sarajevo, I felt like writing 50 plays about the place.  Just as soon as I figured out what the hell was going on.

I think I might write a few plays that have something to do with Yugoslavia.  I was looking for some kind of way in.  So I tried Tesla out.  I researched him up and down; as people who knew me knew what I was researching, they kept sending me articles and links about Tesla and how he’s more and more in the dreaded Zeitgeist.  I’m a lot more ambivalent about him than most people seem to be.  And I’m a lot more interested in that parts of him that have nothing to do with Edison.  You’ve got to be a bit of an asshole to think you see something nobody else seems to see.  I’m that asshole.  So was Tesla, now that you mention it.

My favorite scientist right now is Sir Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin.  I envy the scientists of yore and their ability to advance a number of different fields in one lifetime.  Galton was a little bit of everything, seemingly in search of analytical justification for common sense.  He coined the phrase “nature versus nurture”, established the uniqueness of fingerprints, devised the first weather map, and sorted out regression to the mean.  Galty and I would have been homies.

TIM D. Though set twenty years in the past, “Proximity” touches on issues of great relevance to today’s world — including the military-industrial complex, drone strikes and the ethics of war. What leads you to write about contemporary issues?

JEREMY W. When I started the play, drone warfare wasn’t so topical.  I came at it more from piecing together these odd coincidences from Tesla’s inventions, his writings, and what happened in the former Yugoslavia in the early 90s.  That the father of wirelessly controlled vehicles and wireless power transmission was, himself, a Croat. Serb, and New Yorker just seemed to fit.  I kept wanting to kiss Tesla’s feet and punch him in the face.  He’s infuriating.

Drones are tough.  World War I kicked off in Sarajevo, and Tesla living through World War I, he experienced second-hand what trench warfare was.  If you put yourself in his shoes, you can see why he dreamt of an unpeopled war.  Now that the era of the drone is upon us we know they are no panacea.  I don’t think we’ve determined if war is less or more terrifying the more impersonal it becomes.

TIM D. In a blog on your website, you call yourself “a deep, morbid, brooding soul” and conclude that this is why your work is often comic. Can you explain this a bit more? What kind of humor most excites you?

JEREMY W. I wrote that?  I couldn’t have been serious.  Really?  I wrote that?  The whole idea of me having a blog about playwriting is never going to work for me.  I should probably take it down.

I’m naturally gregarious in social settings.  I think I’m deep when I’m alone.  I’m not.  My trying to be profound while I simply want to go be an idiot in public is probably what’s funny.  It’s undignified at the very least.

There are two very different pathways through the brain to smile.  The forced smile, the awkward one in so many photographs, runs through your more evolved, conscious brain.  It’s actually quite a nuanced muscular feat, the genuine smile.  That instinctual smile of yours runs through the old, reptilian brain.  A smile is very similar to that menacing face meant to ward off would-be dangers.  The baring of teeth, the narrowing of the eyes.  One of my favorite neuroscientists has a theory that the smile is a way to turn “I’m going to eat you if you step any closer” face to “Oh, hey, hahaha, it’s cool” face.  Laughter is inherently a stress reliever.  We laugh to tell each other, and ourselves, it’s okay; but first there’s danger.

TIM D. You designed your own major in college. What was it? Why?

JEREMY W.  Long story.  Technically, it’s called “Humans and the Arts”.  When asked, I have instinctively given a very different answer every time.  I took the idea of my major very personally for some reason; it would be a topic unto itself to give you all the whys and wherefores.  Essentially, somehow I was aware I was a very young man, even for my age, was a fist-by-fist eater of everything I could stuff down my brain, and I thought it would be an insult to call what I did in college anything that was already a single or combination of majors.  I couldn’t specialize.  I wouldn’t lie about it.

I might hold the record for denied applications to the self-designed major program at the university.  I played academic chicken with them; eventually, they just let me graduate.  Come graduation, the Dean who seemed to feel my approach cheapened her program, did something shitty at the podium in front of my family.  I thought that was pretty low.  I’m left with a lot of conflicting feelings about that major o’ mine.

TIM D. What do you think your next play is going to be? Where did the inspiration come from?

JEREMY W. I recently finished a first draft of a play I recently titled “Pre-Fabricated Homes”.  It was originally going to be a very short play that couldn’t end in less than 90 minutes.  After Elevation and Proximity, I needed to do very little research for whatever it is I was going to write.  I really just tried to follow myself, see where I was going.  Once it hit me, I thought it was terrifying in a “Hey, I’m right here!” kind of way.

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