Category Archives: Selfies

#Selfie 4.1 Meet Our New Members! Gina Femia (w/ Questions from Amanda Keating)

It’s the return of the #Selfie!  We are so excited to bring you three new #selfie interviews featuring our three new members!  First up we’ve got Amanda Keating interviewing Gina Femia.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for when Gina turns the tables on Amanda and an interview with Matt Barbot by the illustrious Lauren Ferebee.

Aaanndd here we go!

Amanda Keating: What’s your favorite place to write?

Gina Femia: I’m partial to writing anywhere I can be curled up, my laptop or notebook balanced on my knees.  Preferably wearing sweats with an oversized sweater that covers a graphic tee.  This usually means writing on my couch or on my bed, but I like writing on the subway, too.

AK: Do you write on a computer? Pen to paper? On a typewriter? In the air?

GF: On my laptop, work computer or pen to paper – anything that gets the words out!  I’ve never tried typewriters, they look frustrating.  In the air sounds awesome but I think I’d have a hard time sharing it with actors.

Writing on my laptop is usually the best.  I close my eyes and just write.  It feels like a different kind of instrument, or like an extension of my hands.  I feel the most Me when I’m doing that.

AK: What time of day do you like to write? Why?

GF: I used to only like writing at night but now I prefer writing when there’s light outside.  I think I’m part plant and the sun energizes my brain, lights it on fire like kindle.  There’s more possibility in the beginning of the day, or even at the beginning of the afternoon.  I’m freer, I can practically smell the words in the air, practically see them darting around like butterflies that I can’t wait to capture in my hands.

But I’ll write whenever I can.

AK: Do you share your work with anyone while you’re writing it? Or do you prefer to wait til it’s done? If the former, who do you show it to?

GF: It depends on the piece.  Usually I want to get a draft out as soon as possible and will force myself to write it fast and then I’ll want to hear it just as fast, if not faster.  I’ll show it to whoever will listen, whoever will read it out loud with me.  My boyfriend is especially supportive and has read many-a-play out loud with me, from multiple characters to 2 sisters in a kitchen.  He says he’s not an actor but he does a great job impersonating one!

AK: What’s the first story (not necessarily in play form) you ever wrote?

GF: I wrote an instant classic when I was in Kindergarten called “The Very Blind Whale”.  I still have the original manuscript, it begins “One day a whale looked up at the sun. ‘Ahh, I am now blinded!’ screamed the whale.”  The rest you can buy at your local indie bookshop, I’m sure.

AK: What are some things that inform/inspire your writing? Music? Images? Other writing? The universe?

GF: Brooklyn and magic inspire and inform my writing the most.  I can’t escape Brooklyn – it’s where I grew up and where I continue to live.  All of my stories started here and they continue to bloom here.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written plays that don’t take place in Brooklyn, but the characters are still very much from Brooklyn in some way.  Not literally but still, in some way.

Somebody once challenged me to define magic, saying that when they thought of it, they thought of magic as tricks.  And I think that’s what people tend to think of when they hear the word magic, they think of clowns at kid’s birthday parties, folding balloons into shapes and pulling cards out their asses, a reason for everything, a sly hand movement here and a distraction there.  But my definition of magic is simply this: When something that shouldn’t happen, happens.  Which sounds a lot like the definition of a miracle.  But I never really saw a difference between the two.

AK: Fill in the blank: On Saturday mornings, you can find me _______ .

GF: Making breakfast, making lists, making plans!  And drinking coffee.  Copious amounts of coffee, always.

gina Thank you Gina and Amanda!!

 

#Selfie First Flight w/ Tim Errickson and Boomerang Theatre Company

Good news world,  got to chat with Tim Errickson about First Flight, Boomerang Theatre Company’s annual festival of new plays.  It’s this week so read up and then get out there and check out some AMAZING PLAYS!!

 

Jen Browne: So something that is super great about Lather Rinse Repeat  is that a lot of playwrights in the group are so much more than playwrights, they’re very often writing, producing, directing, everything and you my friend might be king of the all-arounds working with Boomerang Theatre Company.  Can you tell me a little about where this all began for you and maybe how you’ve seen the company grow over the years?

Tim Errickson: Hardly the king, if you look around our little group. It began for me about 20 years ago when I began my first theatre company after college. I love making theatre, I love the audiences and the work. And I love validating work and encouraging playwrights by producing new plays. For the last 16 years, Boomerang Theatre Company has been my passion project. We’ve produced 55 plays and over 60 new play development readings and workshops. We began like all do, poor and not knowing how to do this work. But we learned and grew and gathered like-minded people.

 

JB: Boomerang breaks its season into three sections or so your website tells me, the third being First Flight, a reading series for new work.  Can you speak to the company’s relationship to new plays and playwrights?

TE: It’s funny, as I think it’s changing. Originally, we did all classics, and then began programming new plays to run along with classics in tandem. As we’ve gotten more established (and maybe as I’ve gotten older too), I love new plays more and more. I think that mystery of producing the new play, the unknown audience response, the unforeseen change in rehearsal, is just so exciting. I really love getting new plays off the page, out of readings and in front of people. And the writer is a huge component of that, because really we are supporting their idea of story and theme. We want them there as much as they can be, and we want them to feel like they have a place to bring work and make it better.

 

JB: Can you break down the details for this year’s festival?

TE: The 2014 First Flight New Play Festival consists of public readings of six new plays in various states of development. We kick off on Wednesday Nov 19th at 7pm and go through Monday Nov 24th at 7pm. All of our readings are at ART/NY, 520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd floor. Readings are always free, but if you’ve got $5 burning a hole in your pocket, we’ll take it and put it to good use.

 

JB: Producing new work can be risky business why is the risk worth it for you?

TE: Yeah, it’s a funny thing…what’s the risk? If you believe in the work, and it expresses your heart and mind, something important and passionate, it’s always going to work on some level. And it can be done expensively or cheaply depending on what you’ve got to work with. So I’m all in. More New Plays!

 

JB: How has producing new work influenced the development of your company and your place in the New York theater landscape?

TE: I think on some level we put our own stamp on things. I hope that people see a play and recognize that it’s a Boomerang play, that it has substance, intelligence, daring use of language, and fearlessness. We apply that to all our projects, but I think it is more obvious in the new plays we choose to develop.

 

JB: Any other tidbits we should know about this year’s Fest or future Boomerang programs?

TE: We just keep trying to grow the festival all the time. Constantly improving it to make it more helpful to the writers, so that their needs are served. We’re excited about this year’s lineup, and hope you’ll come check them out.

This year’s First Flight Festival includes work by Vincent Sessa, Johnna Adams, Michael Aguirre, Adam Kraar, Tim Errickson, Shelley McPherson.   Dates and times for all readings can be found HERE!

MEGA ROUND UP!!!

You’ve read our weekly rounds ups and they were of course entertaining and now we bring you (in a booming echoing voice) MEGA ROUND UP!!!!!!

MEGA ROUND UP!!!!! compiles an entire summer’s worth of happenings, two weeks of long form adventures, and a whole lot of madcapperie in one concise post.  It’s MEGA ROUND UP!!!!

THE BEGINNING:

It all started in June 2014 when Filling the Well: An Artists Retreat took the Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights by the hand and led them on an amazing journey at the Dragon’s Egg Studio in Ledyard, CT.   Gorging on healthy, hearty food, sunshine, and inspiration everybody left very full indeed.

SUMMER: A SEASON OF DOING AND THEN DOING MORE

Moving ever deeper into summer, a time when many New Yorkers escape the city, travel, maybe even rest or “chill-out” as the kids sometimes say, but not our LRR playwrights, not at all.   LRR playwrights do not believe in taking it easy.  They laugh at summer vacations.  Their work is their vacation.  When asked what they did on their “summer vacation” here is what some of our playwrights had to say:

Tim Errickson: For my summer vacation I’ve directed the New York premiere of John Patrick Bray’s DONKEY in the Planet Connections Festival, which was nominated for 13 Festival awards, followed by producing A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM in Central Park and LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST in Bryant Park. I also returned to serve on the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Honorary Awards Committee, and am leading NYIT through a six month Board refresh process. Plus I’m getting married at some point.  (and he did, just last week)

Isaac Rathbone: For my summer vacation my play “The Gnome” received a staged reading at Barter Theater’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights in Abingdon, VA on 7/8. I attended the festival and met some wonderful people, including the other amazing playwrights associated with the festival. (he also just remounted an amazing play called March of the Bonus Army, if you missed it, well, you missed out, didn’t you)

Lauren Ferebee: For my summer vacation I finished up a six-month residency in South Carolina with a workshop production of my play The Reckless Season (my first round Lather, Rinse, Repeat play).  In July,  I was a juried fellow at the Saltonstall Arts Colony, where I wrote, read and ate delicious food in Ithaca, NY. My play Sexual Geography (third round play for LRR) was selected for March Forth Productions’ Summer Salon in August. As the summer wraps up, I’ll be spending time with family in Dallas and bringing pages in for the brand new Dallas play incubator The Aviary.

Amanda Keating: For my summer vacation I spent a few wonderful weeks out of town workshopping my play GO THAT WAY with the Williams College Summer Theater Lab. Highlights include a) kicking it all day every day with smart, cool, seriously talented students and fellow artists, b) seeing the play on its feet for the first time, and c) eating, hiking, and biking my way through the pastures, farms, and fields of Williamstown MA. Aside from these glorious days of writing and drinking copious amounts of beer in the great outdoors, I sweated my way around the city working my myriad jobs and lamenting my lack of air conditioning. It was a killer summer.

Who’s That Girl?:

Woah, Amanda Keating, who is that?  WELL, if you haven’t been paying attention, Amanda Keating is our newest, shiniest member.  LRR member Lauren Ferebee is off sowing artistic seeds south of the Mason Dixon line and will remain a member at large (#lrr4eva) so we needed another amazing playwright to round out the team.  We held an open call and received an astonishing amount of submissions all of which were really, really fantastic.  So after reading loads of plays and talking it through all signs pointed to Amanda and we couldn’t be more excited to have her!  Keep an out for more from Amanda, a #selfie interview could be on the horizon…..

ALMOST DONE:

Now, to round off this, our first ever MEGA ROUND UP!!! (don’t forget the voice) Let us reflect on the last two weeks of long form plays.

Kicking this cycle off was none other than Mariah MacCarthy, she brought us the beginnings of what will no doubt be an amazeballs play filled with plotting teen girls, a dead dog, magical You Tube videos and thousands and thousands of dollars.  Week two Jen Browne brought in an updated version of a play we’ve seen before that may or may not be about a mermaid, the jury is still out but let’s just say there were a lot of questions about mermaid rules and habits.

THE FUTURE:

The future, oh yes the future holds many things, eight more weeks of brand new plays, new LRR workshops, parties, adventures, and more, literally more and more.   Check in and often, you never know what we’ll be throwing down.  You don’t, you just never know, there may even be another MEGA ROUND UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

 

Guest Star Selfie #3

On March 4th, Lather, Rinse, Repeat had the ultimate luck to snag the delightful and talented Kevin R. Free to join the feedback fray for LRR playwright Jeremy Wine’s new play.   Despite being knee deep in a production of a new concert version of The Music Man, Kevin took the time to answer a few questions from Jen Browne.

1. Jen Browne: Last week you spoke briefly about working with the New York Neo-Futurists and on your website you credit them as “the people who helped me find my voice.”  Can you talk a bit about your time with them and how it’s shaped you as a theater maker?

Kevin R. Free: Being a Neo-Futurist was the most amazing challenge! It’s a grind – from writing all the plays, learning the plays, running the whole organization administratively, and navigating being in an ensemble in which we are all artistic directors. It made me a better theatre-maker. I make my own sound cues now; I know more about how to make or procure my own props; I am generally much better at making a way out of no way when there isn’t budget to do all the things I want. As the only writer of color in the company for a while, I had race and identity on my mind a lot, and I learned how to write about it. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind  is still the item on my resume that gets the most comments when I audition. I am so grateful to have done the show.

2. JB: Trolling through your website I also found an amazing list of books that you recorded as audio books.   Are there types of books that are more fun to record?  Is there a book out there new or old that you would love to add your vocal talents to?  Do you listen to audio books or are you more of a book in hand type of guy? (If it’s against the law to say you prefer to read a book over listening to it if you record them, don’t answer!)

KF: Thanks for trolling my website! I really love my job, though sometimes it is harder than I expect it to be. I love a good story, so it’s hard to say which kinds of stories are my favorites. I can say that my favorite book I’ve ever recorded was a book called The Mushroom Hunters. It’s a non-fiction book about people who forage for mushrooms. There are restaurants in Seattle mentioned in the book that I cannot wait to visit. There’s an author named Mat Johnson whose books I LOVE, and I want to be his narrator. Really bad. Mat, hit me up. I generally don’t listen to audiobooks, but that’s only because I have a short attention span. My mind wanders easily…

3. JB: You also mentioned your work as the producing artistic director  for The Fire This Time Festival can you speak more about the festival, where you’ve been and where you’re going?

 KF: The Festival provides a platform for early career playwrights of African and African-American descent for two years. The first year, we produce 10-minute world premiere plays of the playwrights we’ve chosen; the second year, we produce readings of full-length plays written by those playwrights. I was a playwright in Season 3 and 4, and I became the Producing Artistic Director of the Festival in Season 4. At the end of March, we are taking 6 plays to Boston to Hibernian Hall, and we hired a company of four kick-ass actors (Chris Michael Burke, Tracey Conyer Lee, Sara Thigpen, and Chinaza Uche) to play the roles, all directed by Nicole A. Watson! I really love the work we do, and I love cultivating and working with this community of artists, and I am excited about the way the festival is growing!

4. JB: You are an actor, writer, director, and a producer.  What challenges, if any do you find wearing all of these hats?  Do you think your work in any of these roles is mirrored or reflected in any of the others?  Is producer Kevin different from actor Kevin who is different from writer Kevin?

KF: I think Writer Kevin reflects actor Kevin pretty well. I like to make broad choices as an actor until I am reined in by a director, and my plays tend to be a little larger than life. Producer Kevin is much more tired than any of the other Kevins, and doesn’t like the fighting involved with Producing.

5. JB: You seem to be a snappy dresser and I appreciate your use of the bowtie.  Do you have a go-to bowtie shop?  When it comes to personal style, is there a word that best describes you?

KF: YES. Thank you! I love shopping at Beau Ties Limited. beautiesltd.com. They are the best!

Kevin R. Free

After a great run at Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ, The Music Man, featuring an all-African-American cast can also be seen this weekend at NJPAC.   Get your tickets here: http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/the-music-man.  And for more from Kevin R. Free visit his website kevinrfree.com.