Nicole Pandolfo by Hunter Canning
I met Nicole Pandolfo a couple years back in Craig Lucas' playwriting workshop at Stony Brook Southampton. Nicole is smart and funny and inquisitive, and incredibly generous in collaboration. I loved the humor, irreverence and authenticity in her work. So when I was thinking about how Hard Sparks might follow up Eightythree Down, I called up Nicole. It's been a blast producing the latest version of her one-woman play Love In The Time Of Chlamydia at the FRIGID festival at UNDER St. Marks.
- JSB1. Why must Love In The Time Of Chlamydia be seen to be believed? Because so much crazy stuff happens to me! And I actively participate in creating it! Plus also who doesn't love hearing someone dish about all the crazy things they did growing up. Plus there's Ejaculators and Hot Wheelchair Guys!2. What theatrical experience really rocked your world?
My all time favorite theatrical experience was Love, Janis in Summer 2001. It was the first Off-Broadway production I had ever seen, it rocked (literally), and it was pre-September 11th. And the show was just so amazing, so beautiful, and even though there was a band it was really a solo show. And the actress just kept the audience riveted!3. When people ask me if I consider myself more a playwright or an actor, I always respond with “Yes.” What’s your answer?
Yes! I love both. Acting provides more instant gratification than writing. But I love both and they use two different parts of me. I can't imagine ever not doing either. Acting can be more fun in a way because it usually involves getting to play with other people, but writing, especially when it's going well, really feels good too.4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Jersey Girl! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? Cher, circa Mermaids.5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag?I really love charities that help people help themselves or hone a creative outlet. Especially for single moms, young girls, and formerly incarcerated individuals. Some local favorites are GIRLS WRITE NOW and THE DOE FUND.6. One thing that makes LITTOC so compelling – not to mention hilarious – is that you really ‘go there.’ Why is it still so taboo for women to speak frankly about sex? I think the answer comes down to the fact that some men (or at least some societal representation of patriarchal male views) still can't handle strong women. And by strong I mean honest. It's not what some men want to hear. Why? I don't know. Maybe they worry if women are too strong, or equal, or smart, or vocal, or honest that they'll then use that power to dominate the male gender, like they've been doing to women for so long. I hate to say something like this because I don't want people to think that my show or I are man-haters. We're not, We're man lovers (that's why we get down with so many in the show). But it's true. Many men, especially men in power, can't handle the thought of women being anything but subordinate in someway. They don't want to see us as anything but sex machines who clean and cook good and enjoy 3 minutes of rabbit sex. I try not to surround myself with those men. I know a lot of guys that are great, who see women as equals, with interesting and important points of view. And I do think that's what's in our future as a society. Equality.7. Okay, seriously: is your boyfriend cool with all this?
Oh Gosh. Poor Chris. The first time I showed him pages on my first draft like way back in '08 or '09 he threw the pages at the wall. We had a talk about it and I explained that even though some of this probably sucks for him to hear, it's a part of who I am as a writer and artist, and ever since then he's be so super supportive and amazing. And really now there's so much time and art in between the show and me that I think he can see it as something than other me just reading a diary on stage. But I do always thank him all the time, especially for all he's helped out with, and he's cooler than I could expect, let's put it that way!
Hard Sparks' production of Love In The Time Of Chlamydia plays the FRIGID festival at UNDER St. Marks through March 4. Get your tickets from SmartTix.com
While Hard Sparks is in the thick of producing Nicole Pandolfo's one-woman show Love In The Time Of Chlamydia for FRIGID NYC, I thought I'd take a minute to look at our sister act in the festival, I Married A Nun. Writer-performer D'yan Forest has been gracing stages around the world for seven decades. Her one-woman show depicts her own search for love and meaning in life, and how, with humor, art, and her ukelele, she found the answers - at age 77 - in the smoldering cabarets and demimonde of Paris. I can't wait to check it out! -JSB
1.Why must I Married A Nun be seen to be believed? My experiences have been post-modern transformations of sexuality. From experiences with a nun for 25 years to adventures abroad for decades, unusual travels and a message thru all this for people of all sexes and ages...make this a very unusual surprising evening!2.What theatrical experience has really rocked your world? When I was 7 years old , my parents took me to the pre-Broadway opening of Oklahoma in Boston. I was wowed and so impressed that I knew then what I wanted to do in life. I danced and sang in front of the mirror in our living room for months afterwards.3.When people ask if I consider myself more a playwright or an actor, I always respond with “Yes.” What’s your answer? I consider myself an actor first, as it has been my vocation for decades. Writing just began a year ago!4.A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of yourlife is in production. Sadly, the producers of D’yan! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? Carol Burnett is my choice, as I think she's just as crazy as I am.5.What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag? PETA! (Oh dear, I do wear fur coats. I've got 5 of them!)6.You play 5 instruments and have performed in 9 languages. So what’s the one thing you still really want to do onstage? Sing, dance and shock and educate people thru all my adventures. No matter what age you are--L'amour n'a pas d'age: Love has no age and no bounderies.7.How is life better at 77? Same shit, different day, and more of it.I Married A Nun, written and performed by D'yan Forest and directed by Stephen Jobes, plays the FRIGID festival Wednesday, February 22 at 9:00 pm, Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 pm, Sunday, February 26 at 1:00 pm, Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, March 3 at 8:30 pm. All performances take place at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St Marks Place, basement level. (Between First Avenue & Avenue A) Tickets are $10 to $15 and can be purchased at www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444.
portrayal of the eternally midwestern Tom Kemp in my play Shiny Pair Of Complications
was one of the loveliest performances I saw this year. His total commitment to the curmudgeonly but well-meaning character was very funny, and totally endearing. I'm lucky to know him.In addition to being a fabulous actor, Marc's also a terrific playwright. His Friends And Relations
, opening December 1st at the Jume Havoc on West 36th Street, tells the tale of Miles, Dean, Byron, Ross, Bobby, Corey and Glen in New York City during the wild 1970's and the sobering 1980's, as they search for love (and other things) in a world gone just a bit mad.
1. Why must Friends And Relations be seen to be believed? Besides the 7 hot guys? Well, because, personally, I think it will be an amazing production! My director, Adam Fitzgerald, and the designers have created a seamless cinematic effect that makes the play flow. It’s kind of like watching a movie on stage, (only with a much smaller budget!) Oh, and did I mention the 7 hot guys?2.What theatrical experience has really rocked your world? I’ve been around a long time, and was lucky enough to have parents who took me to the theater as a child, so I have a lot of experiences that totally blew me away. As I’ve written plenty of musicals, I’ll say the original production of “Company.” Saw it twice and it was a seminal experience. Changed the shape of musicals. Changed my life.3. In addition to being a great playwright, you are also a fabulous actor. So if you could play any part in Friends And Relations, which would it be? I’d want to play all of them! (Though not at the same time!) But if I really had to choose one, I’d say Miles. He’s the main character, and there’s a lot of me in him. (And it’s a damn good part!)4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Castle! The Musical! Not The TV Show! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? Paul Rudd - just because. Or maybe Angelina Jolie - she has my lips.5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag? I give mostly to gay causes as I figure who else but gay people will? If I had to choose one, I’d say Lambda Legal Defense. But then I am also a volunteer as well as a supporter of the Actors Fund so I feel especially connected to them.
6. Is ‘gay theatre’ redundant? Only if you spell “theatre” with an “r-e.” If you spell it with an “e-r”- uh - not so much.7. In celebration of Tennessee Williams’ 100th, I invite you to rewrite Stella Kowalski’s response to the following:
BLANCHE (lightly) Honey, do me a favour. Run to the drugstore and get me a lemon-coke with plenty of chipped ice in it! - Will you do that for me, Sweetie?
What should she have said?
STELLA (uncertainly) Yes. (She goes around the corner of the building)
NEVER f**k with a master!
But then again, if I WERE to f**k with a master I’d deconstruct it to have her say:
STELLA : Fine, Blanche! I’m going! I totally understand that I’m only a third wheel around here. I understand that you two need to have a big confrontation scene and the author has to get me off the stage. So I’ll just go and get that soda for you. But I plan on treating myself to a nice tall frosty Mai Tai while I’m at it. (SHE starts to exit) Oh, and if I’m not back in time for my next scene, sweetie? (beat) Improvise! Marc Castle's Friends And Relations runs December 1st - 17th at the June Havoc Theatre under the direction of Adam Fitzgerald. Get tickets here.
has staged nearly 700 of my plays, and has directed me in a few as well. His work is smart and stylish, and he's very good about allowing brave actors to make their own bold choices. With Tennessee Williams' Now The Cats With Jewelled Claws
, he's really in his element. He's got Ludlam alums and some of downtown's hottest up-n-comers in one of Williams' most ideosyncratic and rarely produced works, now playing at LaMaMa.
Okay, maybe it's
not been 700, but we have worked together on a great many. Next is a staged reading of my play The Jamb
on November 19, and Nicole Pandolfo's Love In The Time Of Chlamydia
at the Frigid Festival in February 2012. -JSB
1. Why must Now The Cats With Jeweled Claws be seen to be believed?
To quote one of the tag lines of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival (where this production started) “This isn't your grandmother's Tennessee Williams!” Williams was a huge influence on the birth of Off-Off-Broadway; the Caffe Cino did his one-acts all the time, and a production adapted from his short story “One Arm” was a Cino hit that transferred to La MaMa in the first few months of the latter venue's existence. By the time he wrote Now the Cats With Jewelled Claws
, though, the influence was going the other way – you can see the influence of Ridiculous Theatre innovators Ron Tavel, John Vaccaro and Charles Ludlam all over the place. With that in mind, I've cast Everett Quinton and Mink Stole, both veterans of Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company and stars in their own right; as well as Lower East Side painter/actors Regina Bartkoff and Charles Schick and young performance artists Erin Markey, Joseph Keckler and Max Steele. No southern belles here! 2. It’s Tennessee’s 100th birthday and everyone in the Western World is claiming to have uncovered an obscure Williams play like no other. Now The Cats seems like the real thing. How did you find it? What do you know about past productions?
David Kaplan, the curator of the Provincetown Festival, pointed me towards it once he had gotten to know me. It blew my mind, not something that happens very often. The world premiere was at Hartford Stage in 2003 (this is the New York premiere) as part of a series called 8 by Tenn.
I don't know much about that production, so the great majority of what you see on stage comes out the crazy heads of myself and my collaborators on this production. 3. What play have you always wanted to direct, and who would be in it? The Lion in Winter
by James Goldman. Christine Ebersole would be an amazing Eleanor of Aquitane, and there are lots of great actors who could play Henry II, Alan Rickman being one I particularly like. 4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of WarMan! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job?
I was once mistaken for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Orson Welles would be perfect, but... For singing voice I'd probably go for Jake Shears. 5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag?
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
(IGLHRC) is a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. In spite of inequities gay and transgendered people experience here, gay people in other parts of the world suffer far worse. IGLHRC does a wonderful job of working for our human rights all over the world. 6. What theatrical experience has really rocked your world?
I saw Leonard Bernstein's Mass
at a very young age, but I still find it to be one of the most breathtakingly sweeping theatre pieces ever made. I long for the day when I can direct a really huge production of this really huge work. 7. We all know Williams’ work as classic mid-century American drama. You’re presenting his play at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Tell me how Tom would react to the notion of his now being ‘avant-garde.’
Tom was always
avant-garde in his heart of hearts, he only ever flirted with naturalism to speak to the broad, mainstream audience he wanted to reach. The Glass Menagerie
tells an emotionally real story, but in an symbolic and expressionistic way. In the middle of writing the more naturalistic plays for which he was best known, he wrote Camino Real
, probably the most ambitiously experimental play by a major author ever to play on Broadway. And from the early 1960s onward he committed himself to experimental work and only rarely looked back. He would love
that we now realize
he was always
avant-garde. Now The Cats With Jeweled Claws runs through Novermber 13th, 2011, at LaMaMa ETC. Chick here for tix and info.
I first encountered Andrea Alton
's comic alter-ego Molly Dykeman at, of all places, a party in Southampton. Attendees' reactions to Molly ranged from adoration to horror, with most of us feeling a bit of both. I knew at that moment that she was destined for greatness. Not to be outshined by her creation, Andrea is a very gifted performer herself. Her turn as Connie in Mark Finley's The Chiselers
at Emerging Artists Theatre was one of the funniest things I've seen this year. After a flurry of appearances at benefits, comedy clubs, and pageants (!) Molly makes her Fringe debut on August 13th in The Fucking World According to Molly
1. Why must The Fucking World According To Molly be seen to be believed?Andrea
: There are so few plays out there that have a mullet wearing, vagina-loving lesbian poet/security guard as the leading lady. It’s also insanely funny and Molly’s breaking out some hot dance moves and highly inappropriate poetry. The biggest compliment I’ve got this past year is when people have told me they were feeling down and Molly snapped them out of their depression. 2. What theatrical experience has really rocked your world? Andrea
: I grew up in Hillsboro Oregon and when I was nine or ten my parents took me to a production of West Side Story
at Hilhi High School. I was mesmerized by the singing, dancing and cute high school boys. I also remember that the performers seemed to love what they were doing and seemed so happy onstage. I was hooked. I wanted to go back and see the play over and over again.Molly
: The last play I saw was Murray Hill’s Miss Lez Pageant at The Knitting Factory. There were topless ladies. It rocked.Andrea
: That’s not a play, Molly.Molly
: Whatever, Andrea. Why don’t you go look at your hair. There was a stage, lights, and I bought a ticket. Therefore it was a play.3. When people ask me if I consider myself more a playwright or an actor, I always respond with “Yes.” What’s your answer?
Andrea: I’m definitely both. I also consider myself a comedian now since I’ve been working and making money in clubs. It’s a nice little mix. It keeps things interesting and gives me a lot of freedom.4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical About Andrea Alton do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? Andrea
: I would love to see Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge or Wanda Sykes play me. They crack me up.Molly
: I’d like to see kd lang, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres, Sara Gilbert, and Portia de Rossi play you, and I’d like to sit in on the casting sessions. 5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag? Andrea
: I like to support smaller theatre companies because I know they are so in need of funds. If a friend is showing up and walking for some cause, I’ll usually do my best to support them even if I can only afford a few bucks. The gay and lesbian community has been very good to me and Molly so while I sometimes make money from doing fundraisers I often give a discounted rate and I do a lot for free. I also support the “Cheryl B Fund at Astrea
.” It helps writers that may have slipped through the cracks. I’m hoping to help them do some fundraising this year.Molly
: I like Butch Voices
, Dykes On Bycles, PFLAG
, Queers For Economic Justice
, and the Harvey Milk School
: Wow! Molly’s having a lucid moment. 6. We hear a lot about Molly’s bad habits, less about her good heart. I think that on some deep deep level, she’s an activist. Will we see a more conscientious Molly Dykeman at the Fringe? Andrea
: Molly at her core will always remain a lovable loop sided train wreck who loves processed food and the ladies but in this play her existence is more fleshed out. She also delves into areas such as mental illness, kids getting bullied and growing up with an alcoholic parent but it’s done in a slightly off kilter way that only Molly can do. 7. Has your family met Molly? Are they completely freaked out or what?Andrea
: My family spent Christmas at the Oregon Coast. Molly stopped by on Christmas day. They were cool with her but I think they may have been a little freaked out. At the end of the day, they are happy I’m doing what I love and as my Mom told me recently, she’s ready for my big break to come because she wants her dream house. If that comes via a lesbian poet with a mullet so be it. My family just wants me to be happy. I hope they get to see her onstage soon. I think my parents will be very proud and I don’t think they’ll stop laughing for a long time.Molly
: They loved me.
The World Premiere of The F*cking World According To Molly
@ The New York International Fringe Festival.
Written and Performed by Andrea Alton, Directed by Mark Finley. The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street (btw West 3rd & Bleecker) Saturday, August 13th at 9:15 PM; Friday, August 19th at 6:00 PM; Saturday, August 20th at 8:15 PM; Thursday, August 25th at 2:00 PM; Sunday, August 28th at 4:15 PM
Tickets now on sale. $15 advance, $18 at door at www.fringenyc.org
more info at www.mollyequalitydykeman.com
.Andrea Alton is a New York based actor, comedian, producer and award winning playwright. Favorite theatre credits include; Big Girl, Little World (NY Fringe Festival), The Strangest Kind Of Romance (Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival), The Chiselers (Emerging Artists Theatre), Reckless (Kaleidoscope Theatre), Blue Window (Firehouse Theatre, Or.) and Carl & Shelly, Best Friends Forever (co-writer/actor) which premiered at the 2008 NY Fringe Festival and had a month commercial run in 2010. Andrea also performs sketch comedy, stand-up, characters, improv and has performed at the Chicago, Toronto, Washington DC and San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festivals. She also recently performed at the SoloNOVA Festival and in three different HOT Festival shows at Dixon Place as her alter comedy ego Molly “Equality” Dykeman. She is one half of the comedy duo Carl & Shelly and is a member of Emerging Artists and TOSOS Theatre Company. www.mollyequalitydykeman.com
Dan Dinero (r) with playwright Dan Fingerman & producer Elyssa Rabinowitz.
A couple years ago when Dan Dinero was directing Jon Spano's wicked one-act cultural commentary Family Comes First, he asked me to play a role that no self-respecting Black actress in NYC would touch. We've yet to live it down.
Since then Dan's been very busy. We've talked about his directing something for Hard Sparks, but so far he's been booked. His latest is Dan Fingerman's The Austerity of Hope at the 2011 Fresh Fruit Festival. Here's Dan's 7Q.
1. Why must The Austerity of Hope be seen to be believed?
First, there’s our cast – we found eleven (!) people who are incredibly talented. And although we didn’t cast based on looks (I swear!) they are also one of the hottest ensembles I’ve ever directed. If you come hang out with us after the show you’ll find that they are beautiful on the inside as well. Every single moment of rehearsal has been an absolute joy, and I think that joy comes through in the performance. Then there is Dan Fingerman’s script – The Austerity of Hope
concerns a group of friends living in Astoria, Queens just before and a few months after the 2008 election. Dan has very much written this play from his own life, to the point where those who know him may recognize (or think they recognize) certain characters and situations. Dan has tried to be as specific as possible about the minutiae of gay life in Astoria and New York City, and I think this specificity actually allows The Austerity of Hope
to appeal to a wide cross-section of audiences. It’s like with any good play – the more specific you get, the more you are able to speak to those who are not necessarily “represented” on stage. 2. What theatrical experience(s), your work or others’, has really rocked your world?
I see way too much theatre – it is a result of living in New York, studying theatre, and being the kind of person who needs to see everything. So I could write pages in answer to this, but I won’t. New York is wonderful because it is one of the few places in the U.S. where one can regularly see some of the amazing work developed in other countries. BAM’s Next Wave Festival often has some interesting work: a few years back I was utterly captivated by Krum
, three uninterrupted hours (all in Polish) that have stayed with me ever since. More recently at BAM was Robert Lepage’s Lipsynch
, a marathon nine hours filled with some exquisite moments of stagecraft. For the past 14 or so years I have been a big fan of the theatre company Complicite – if you ever have a chance to see something by them, definitely go. And I thought the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch
was one of the most thrilling, moving, and heart-breaking pieces of theatre ever. But I love American artists too! The recent Tony Kushner season at the Signature was wonderful, and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide…
actually inspired my direction of The Austerity of Hope
. The only problem with the Kushner season is that it left out Caroline, or Change
, which is hands-down the best musical of the past 20 or 30 years. Every time I listen to it, I get chills. I am forever in awe of every single element of that show. 3. How do you decide what sort of underwear should be worn by the actors in AOH?
Ha! This is the first piece I’ve done where I have had to deal with this. Not that I’m complaining. It’s funny – I found myself focusing on color and cut, and the other Dan (the playwright) was all about having the proper brand. We both wanted to choose underwear that was authentic to what these characters would wear – not all of them necessarily put on fancy “hot” underwear when they get dressed in the morning, and we wanted to reflect that. Yet let’s be real – we all
want the actors to look good in the underwear, so we tried to pick stuff that is flattering. And it was important to me to make sure that the actors were very comfortable wearing whatever we picked. 4. A big-budget Broadway play based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Mas Dinero! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job?
I’d want an out actor. And although it’s a shame there aren’t more A-listers to choose from, I think my pick would be the same regardless: the intelligent, funny, charming, and very handsome Neil Patrick Harris. And given my life, I’m sure Cheyenne Jackson and Ricky Martin would have sizeable featured roles. 5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag?
As valid as the argument for marriage equality is, much of the related discussion and activism tends to ignore various segments of the population, including those (like myself) who are not
in relationships with U.S. citizens. Immigration Equality (www.immigrationequality.org
) is a group that fights for equality under U.S. immigration law for LGBT and HIV-positive individuals. Immigration law is incredibly complex and confusing, and Immigration Equality provides up-to-date legal information for those who need it. And just as importantly, they lobby for changes in legislation so that bi-national queer couples and families might one day not have to make the difficult choice (a choice other bi-national families generally aren’t forced to make) to either separate when one person’s visa expires, or else leave the U.S. in order to stay together. 6. Is 'gay theatre' redundant?
The term itself isn’t redundant (although “gay musical
theatre” is another story – as I argue in my academic work, all musicals are pretty gay). As for the genre? Gay theatre is absolutely necessary. If the question is why do we need to distinguish it from “theatre” in general, it’s because queer folks are not
all “just the same” as everyone else. It’s crucial to honor the specificity and diversity of our fabulous queer lives, and gay/queer theatre is one way to do that. 7. Mum always says you should have a Plan B. So if you weren’t making theatre, what would you be doing?
Finishing my dissertation. I’m getting a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at NYU, writing a dissertation called Feeling Musical: Contemporary Musical Theatre and the American Liberal Subject
. And yes mom, it’s almost done.The Austerity of Hope opens Monday July 18th at TBG Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor.
Ticket at www.SmartTix.com or 212 868 4444Dan Dinero
has directed six plays for Emerging Artists Theatre, where he is also the Associate Directors' Company Manager. Other NY credits include Fixing Frank
and Lonely Planet
with the Greenland Theatre Collective, a company he co-founded. Most recently, Dan directed one of the companies in Artistic New Directions' innovative production of The Rubber Room
. Dan assisted Jeff Calhoun on the Broadway productions of both Brooklyn (also Denver Civic, NY workshop) and Deaf West's Big River
(also National tour), and he assistant directed the New York premiere of Tennessee Williams's Spring Storm
. Dan is currently writing his dissertation for a PhD in Performance Studies at NYU.
In 2009 I had the opportunity to present a staged reading of my play The Jamb
at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity
. What drew me to PCTF was its dedication to the idea of theatre as a tool for social change, especially in the area of ecological issues. It's green in meaningful ways, and each of its productions champions a charity. Mine was Raising Malawi
.When I started Hard Sparks, I was inspired by PCTF to do something similar. Every Hard Sparks show partners with a non-profit organization working to improve people's lives. For Eightythree Down, it's the Keith Haring Foundation.Glory Kadigan
is the Executive Director and Artistic Curator of the Festivity, and a tireless supporter of NYC's independent theatre scene. She's one of those dynamic artist-slash-administrators who does it all - in addition to running the fest she's also directing one of its readings. With the 2011 PCTF about to kick off this June, we're lucky she had time to answer 7Questions!
Glory Kadigan with Joe Barros and Duncan Phlaster
1. Why must this year's Planet Connections Theatre Festivity be seen to be believed? The shows are great, the people are great and we have a ton of fun while supporting causes in our community. 2. What theatrical experience - your work or others’ - really rocked your world? Every year I'm rocked by the returning Planet Connections artists. Playwrights/Directors: Mark Jason Williams, Duncan Phlaster, Carol Carpenter, Oscar Mendoza, Jeremy Bloom, Leah Bonvisutto, Felipe Ossa, Sergei Burbank, Bubi Roi, Brian Rady, David Stallings, Lenny Schwartz, Jonathan Wallace, - to name a few. But I'm excited to see all of the work created by our new artists as well! 3. Looking at all you’ve got going on, it seems like even your hats are wearing hats. What’s the secret to successful multitasking? Organization and taking responsibility. I plan in advance. Also, I'm not afraid to step up to the plate, problem solve or do what has to get done to make it all happen. So I DO work hard - but also, its important to take time for yourself as well. Its a balance. 4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Glory Us! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? Well, I'm not really sure who should be hired to portray someone better than that someone themselves but maybe Meryl Streep? That would be amazo! 5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag? Independent Theater Artists are my FAVORITE charitable cause and philanthropic organization. I LOVE them and will always support their efforts. What's great about Independent Theater - is I that all of the artists really have something to say and want to be there. It's not about money for them - but about artistic exploration. Also, I love having coffee with the artists, hanging out with them and talking with them about their work. On the independent theater scene - the artists are accessible and easy to meet and speak with. Many times I'm blown away by the creativity of the work being done in the Indie Theater community. It is a vibrant valuable beautiful part of New York - all of these different people from all types of cultures, financial backgrounds, locations, religions, perspectives - all of them coming together to make art together - beautiful. 6. Make a deal with the universe: This years Festivity sees record breaking attendance and earns a huge profit – how do you express your gratitude? By giving my hard working amazing staff a bonus! Also universe - I would like the profit to include a community comprised of talented generous artists who want to come together every year, to use their art to make a contribution to the NY community at large. Bring it to me! If this happens - and financial profit - I will put aside money for our permanent eco-friendly green theater where we can all do our shows together year round to raise awareness in New York about local charitable organizations. 7.
Okay it’s the last week of June 2011 and, having coordinated the largest PCTF yet, you’ve earned a day off. What do you do with it? Travel to someplace I've never been before, eat/drink something I've never tried before and make an effort to engage someone I've never met before in a lengthy conversation about their life. The 2011 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity opens June 1st in multiple Manhattan venues. Glory Kadigan directs a staged reading of Martirio on June 14th before a full production at the Gene Frankel Theater October 31 - November 20.
When planning the Hard Sparks launch earlier this year, I knew I wanted Christopher Borg in a reading of my play Furbelow. The only question was which of the fifteen roles he’d play. As anyone who saw his work in Emerging Artists Theatre
’s critically acclaimed Penny Penniworth can tell you, Borg has an astonishing comic range. I also know from working with him in various readings at EAT and TOSOS that he’s a fantastic dramatic actor as well. He also happens to be a director, dialect coach, cellist, back-up singer for the now-defunct indie band Utah Mafia and an ensemble member of the New York Neo-Futurists since 2006. Christopher could surely play just about any role thrown at him, and brilliantly. His latest is as writer, performer, and cultural anthropologist in Locker #4173b opening May 3rd at The Monkey West. Borg and co-creator Joey Rizzolo purchased two storage lockers at auction, cataloged every item contained therein, and created what promises to be one of the most unique, exciting, and timely productions of 2011. - J.Stephen Brantley 1. Why must Locker #4173b be seen to be believed?
Well, I must admit, those aren't MY words, but the words of a great publicity team - everyone to whom I describe the story believes me 100%! However, I do think that descripion speaks to the rather fantastic journey of the piece. We take the audience along with us on the story of our excavation of a modern archaeological dig - that is the storage lockers that we purchased last July...and the voyage through our examination of the artifacts we found inside and the discoveries we make about our subjects and finally (hopefully) how it all relates to each of us as humans who share this world, it is just so freaking unsusual a subject that it is difficult to describe. 2. What theatrical experience(s), your work or others’, has really rocked your world?
Well, I am really moved and inspired by the amazing work that I have seen in the Off-Broadway and Indie Theatre world. I love the experimental and the ground-breaking, especially by artists like James Scruggs (Disposable Men
) and my uber-favorite, rock-star Taylor Mac (The Young Ladies Of..
.). Other examples of AMAZING theatrical experiences include last year's New York Neo-Futurist's nude, feminist piece The Soup Show
, as well as Milk Milk Lemonade
at APAC. I also really went NUTS over BananaBag and Bodice's Beowulf - A Thousand Years of Baggage
and I get excited and giggly over anything that is done by 'The Reynaldo The'. My 'uptown' inspiration has come from [title of show]
and August: Osage County
. I also really loved the B'way production of Ragtime
it was gorgeous and beautifully done, I don't know why it closed so early. 3. If you could play any sort of role – anything at all - what would it be?
Well, with the Neo-Futurists I don't get to play roles, I am always myself, so I DO get hungry to sink my teeth into some characters...I am, at heart, a transformative character actor. I would love to take on I Am My Own Wife
and for many, many years I have wanted to play Valere in David Hirson's LaBete
. 4. A big-budget Broadway play based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of Borg! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job?
Oh jeez...are you serious? I have NO idea. There isn't anyone that I am like in the Hollywood realm, which might explain why I am not in the movies...and I like how you imagine a big Broadway Play that has to be cast by a HOLLYWOOD A-lister...a sad truth!...But...well...I would ask Paul Rudd to play me. If he is willing to put on a few pounds, lol. 5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag?
My favorite charitable cause right now is fighting for LGBT human rights in the developing world. For two years the Neos have raised money through their very successful Pride Show editions of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind
to help fund advocacy and legislation for LGBT people living in Uganda. Things are EXTREMELY dangerous for people there and lives are lost and ruined on a daily basis. Americans have so much money and so many resources and a little goes a long way in Africa. They need our help. You can help them by donating to the Fund for Global Human Rights
. I am also an outspoken advocate for Indie Theatre artists in New York and I volunteer many hours each year to The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation (the 'IT Awards'). I believe whole-heartedly in their mission to honor and celebrate and advocate for the artists working Off-Off-Broadway. You can donate to them at www.nyitawards.com
! 6. Make a deal with the universe: Locker #4173b’s entire run sells out – how do you express your gratitude?
I will make a stronger, more concerted effort to support my friends' shows! I feel so lucky to have so much support from my community and I feel bad that because of my busy performance schedule through the year, I am only able to see a FRACTION of the amazing work that is being done out there by people whom I respect deeply. You included, JSB! 7. Mum always says you should have a Plan B. So if you weren’t making theatre, what would you be doing?
"Mum"? What, are you British now? LOL. Well...honestly....I'm not sure what I would be doing if I wasn't involved in making theatre. This has been my focus since I was young and it is my passion. But I imagine that if it wasn't theatre it would be music (I'd be a blues singer or an orchestra conductor). Or else I would be working with kids..or maybe I would just like to open a little shop and cabaret on a beautiful beach with Desmond and meet wonderful people and make necklaces out of shells. Ahhhhh....Locker #4173b written & performed by Christopher Borg & Joey Rizzolo opens May 3rd at The Monkey West - 37 West 26th Street. Previews start April 28. Get info and tix at www.nynf.org .
Christopher Borg has a 2009 New York Innovative Theatre Award for his autobiographical (Not) Just a Day Like Any Other (New York Neo-Futurists), two OOBR awards for Doric Wilson’s A Perfect Relationship and What the F***? (TOSOS II) and two Spotlight On awards. He was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Bernadette & the Butcher of Broadway at TOSOS. Other NY credits include Modern Living (LaMama), The Death of Griffin Hunter (Inverse Theatre), The Sabbath Queen (Storahtelling), Bury the Dead (Stage Door Acting Ensemble); Nothing (Ontological) and The Crackwalker (Soho Rep).