Dec 21, 2011

RUDNICK mentioned in Naked Holidays 2011 review

The Holidays Are Coming – Better Get Naked First: Naked Holidays 2011

by Karen Tortora-Lee of The Happiest Medium on December 20, 2011

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like naked people running around.  (At least not where I come from.  Your experience may vary.)  If you like naked people (and who doesn’t?) and you like jokes about Santa, Hanukkah, Rudolph, Elves, and wrestlers (not necessarily in that order) then End Time Productions Naked Holidays is the show for you.  Not only will you get skits, musical production numbers, wry commentary on the holidays and parodies of old favorites but you’ll get full frontal nudity that is both essential to the plot as well as completely gratuitous.  It’s enough to jingle anyone’s bells, and then some.

Unlike prior productions this 5th year anniversary of Naked Holidays, which features “best of” skits as well as new material, has moved uptown for the momentous occasion; a fact which the cast gleefully acknowledges as they survey their surroundings with astonishment: “You guys!  There’s no herpes on this floor!” After a bit of back and forth where they decide if it makes sense to get naked again this year the cast agrees that of course it does!  And so it’s on with the show which is sponsored, in part, by GOD … who’s been bringing you naked people since the very beginning.

What follows is, I expect, an experience akin to being in the audience of a Saturday Night Live taping where some things are hilarious, some things are worth a giggle or two, some things last a bit too long and there are a few musical numbers.  What makes this show different is (if I haven’t said it enough) the full nudity that is sprinkled throughout and then takes up the entire last ten minutes of the show.

Keep in mind – not all of the show is nude.  But while you’re waiting for them to take it all off this talented group of folks will have you chuckling with some great holiday comedy skits.

. . .

Everyone knows the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, right?  It takes a funny (and deeply disturbing) turn when Rudolph becomes Rudnick (written by Brad McEntire) who is not a very special reindeer but rather a very misunderstood unicorn who has a candle where his horn should be.  Poor Rudnick — he’s not allowed to play twister (or any other Unicorn Games) with the other unicorn gals (who come off like a pack of Heathers).  So how does Rudnick save the day?  Not by guiding Santa’s sleigh, but by leading his three one-horned bitches into an ambush where his reindeer friends  are ready to tear them to pieces while a cloaked chorus intones O Fortuna with rabid intensity.  It’s how I picture the Tarantino remake, should he ever choose to fix his eyes on movies for the young ones.

Dec 20, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, everyone. In celebration, I'm posting a little video.

In 2008, I was commissioned by Plano Childrens Theatre to put together a puppet show. I wrote, designed and directed a charming little piece called THE ANGEL IN THE BARN. I worked with a wonderful group of performer/puppeteers. The show was about an old man with wings that crashes into the barn of a poor and struggling married couple. This causes strife in the household. And a "Christmas miracle" happens to set all that is wrong right.

I really enjoyed working on this little table-top puppetry show. I post the highlights video for your enjoyment.

All the best, this holiday season, friends!

Dec 10, 2011

Striped shirt like Pud...

So the good news, first off, is that EndTime Productions' NAKED HOLIDAYS (which includes my short play RUDNICK: THE CANDLE-HEADED BOY) has totally sold out the first three performances! So, hazzah for those guys! Wish I could make up to NYC to see the show - I missed it the first time they did RUDNICK in 2009 - but no can do. I'm treading water grading papers this December since I've been a working man this past "semester."

In my tiny moments of creative productivity, I've been closing in on the next piece of my master opus... a new one-act I'm currently calling RASPBERRY FIZZ. And it is so fun.

I had a few images in my head: a kid dressed like a the little boy in old Dubble Bubble gum comics (his name was Pud) who never stands still. A sort of street corner con man dressed in a flamboyant vest. A girl who refuses to give up a newspaper. A mysterious cardboard box.

I spun all those together and placed the piece in 1949, right at the cusp of summer and autumn when the afternoons stretch on so magically long and imperceptibly turn into evening. A street in a small Maryland town. Two characters right on the edge of adolescence, with all the expectations of growing up right there at their feet, stretching out before them.

I wrote the never-still kid role for my friend Jeff Swearingen and he took it to Andy Baldwin, a good local director. We submitted it to a local theatre festival and will find out if it gets in in another week or two. If so, I'll show next March. If not, I'll find a way to mount it myself through Audacity in the future... maybe this summer or next fall. It is not quite done, but close and, wonderfully, it continues to be a really fun project to work on.

And that is always something to shoot for... fun.

UPDATE: [Dec. 19, 2011] Just got word a few days back that RASPBERRY FIZZ is officially accepted into the 2012 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival presented by the Water Tower Theatre of Addison, Texas. It will play in early March. I'll post more info as it comes in.

Nov 20, 2011

Rudnick at Naked Hoildays

My play RUDNICK: THE CANDLE-HEADED BOY plays in the "Best of..." version of Naked Holidays 2011from EndTime Productions in NYC. It was originally part of their 2009 show and they called me up to see if it could be included this year as well. If you're in New York this December, check it out.

NAKED HOLIDAYS is a darkly comic Yuletide bacchanalia, a gleeful pageant filled with indulgent tidings which climaxes in a scantily clad routine that looks a lot like Christmas. This boisterous holiday celebration puts a theatrical spin on some of our best-loved winter traditions. Highlights include:
  • “The Annihilator” by Steve Strangio, about X-mas at a professional wrestler’s house.
  • “Dead-Nosed” by Oliver Thrun, in which Santa’s reindeer plot the assassination of Rudolph.  A Samuel French short play festival finalist.
  • “Fear the Nog” by Rebecca Jane Stokes, The North Pole meets Orwell’s 1984 with Santa as Big Brother.
  • “A Very Special Hanukkah Special Hanukkah” by Mark Harvey Levine, a Jewish-themed spoof of It’s A Wonderful Life.
  • “The Naked People Play” by Stacy Lane, the traditional Naked Holidays closer.
  • “Rudnick the Candle-Headed Boy” , by Brad McEntire, A Brief and Cheeky Retelling of a Certain Reindeer Myth
Tickets and more info here.

Oct 31, 2011

Halloween Greetings

Didn't dress up much this year, but here's a pic from last year. I went as my comic character, Donnie Rocket Toaster-Face.

Oct 29, 2011

In the San Antonio news...

I am mentioned in San Antonio Express-News blog. My play FOR THE LOVE OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST is part of the Overtime Theater 2011-2012 season.

Article here.

Engagement Pic

Several weeks ago, Engel and I spent a hot morning and early afternoon out with the wonderful husband-wife duo of Albertex Photography. I was not altogether excited about Engagement photos, since quite frankly, I do not photograph well. But Engagement Photos are part of the tradition nowadays, and Ruth and I never have had professional pictures taken of us as a couple, so...

Despite my oddly shaped head, doughy features and narrow eyes, they managed to get one or two good shots where both Ruth and I look presentable. We were going for a sort of travel theme. Albertex sent over a bunch of untouched-up pics and here's a few I dig. I realize Ruth and I pose the same way a lot...

Oct 9, 2011

13 hours of improv...

Around hour 28 of a 30 hour longform set. I'm playing a sea crab.

So, from the last post (or here), you could see what I was up to this weekend. My friend Jeff Swearingen set out to raise money for a charity called Orphans Outreach. I believe the fund-raising goal was less than successful, since during the entire time I was there the audience never really passed 8 people (there might have been 12-15 the first hour). Much of the time it was a teenager or two texting in the front row and a gaggle of kids who would run in and out.

The event lasted just under 30 hours straight from Friday night to Saturday morning. I started with the group at 8:30 PM on Friday and stayed until around 3:30 AM and then returned Saturday night about 8 PM and stayed until the event wrapped up at 2 AM that night. So, 7 hours of continuous improv one night and six the next.

Though the audience attendance was spotty and at times non-existent, the whole experience was fun. I haven't played with a large group of improvisers - especially of such wide ranging experience levels - in a while and it was both enjoyable and frustrating. With hours and hours to play with we certainly developed rounded characters most of the time and had some wonderful interactions. Of course, there were also a few individuals who kept bringing in their own agendas, trying to steer the plot.

If Swearigne sets it up again in the future, I will probably go in again. Maybe I'll clear the rest of the weekend and stay the whole time next time.

Oct 3, 2011

48 hours of Improv...

My friend and frequent improv-cohort Jeff Swearingen is doing an interesting improv stunt this coming weekend... he's producing a 48 hour long improv set to raise money for orphans. I'm sitting in on some (maybe most) of this.

Come out and see some if you want. Basic info below. More info here and here.

October 7-9, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 and runs 48 continuous hours. A single ticket is $10, or get a pass for $20, which is good for multiple visits. At the Cox Building Playhouse, 1517 Avenue H in Plano, Texas.

Ticket at the Fun House Theatre website.

Sep 21, 2011

New Job

Rum & Coke on the patio = unwinding after work
I am currently working as an Adjunct Professor of Drama at Tarrant County College in Arlington, TX. I am teaching Film and Theatre Appreciation classes. I must admit, I really enjoy being back in the classroom. Since Ms. Engel and I recently also moved into a new rental house, I spend the early evenings drinking cocktails on the deck before sitting down to grade papers.

Sep 12, 2011

Ten Years

I write about how my life changed direction ten years ago over on my blog. Click here.

Aug 31, 2011


Back in 2004 I wrote a play I was really fond of called FOR THE LOVE OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST. It was this metaphysical meditation of life's choices and featured, embedded in the piece, many of my early sketches I'd written for comedy troupes. Until now, it has only been produced by myself (it premiered as a festival entry at a theatre festival in Dallas).

Overtime Theatre in San Antonio has announced they will be producing the piece this coming spring. Hazzah! I'm super-thrilled to see this little play on its feet once again.

Playing April 13 through May 12, 2012. More details to come.

Aug 15, 2011

Recent pics...

At Houston Fringe Festival with my solo show CHOP
At the San Jacinto Monument

 With Jeff Swearingen performing FUN GRIP at the 3rd Annual Improv Festival of Oklahoma

Got my hair cut at Doug's, on of the locations from the movie Rushmore.

Jul 19, 2011

Winded solo improv

DRIBBLE FUNK Solo Improv - July 2011 from FT Bonnigan on Vimeo.

Get the breakdown of how the July 15, 2011 Dribble Funk solo improv went from my onstage perspective HERE.

Jul 11, 2011

Small Batch Theatre

Elijah Craig is one of my favorite bourbons...

Small Batch is a term usually applied to bourbon (which is why I am familiar with it):
A small batch bourbon is made for the true connoisseur, every sip a testament to the work and love that has gone into each handcrafted bottle.
A while back on, the term was applied to small, focused businesses... A company that's small and cares about quality and originality and is trying to do something great for a few customers instead of trying to mass produce crap in order to maximize profit. 

I think it is a great term for a small, focused theatre company. Instead of boutique or indie ( a phrase I like to use), the term small batch seems to sum it up pretty well.

Jun 6, 2011

Looking back at the 2009 DirectorsLab Chicago

Two years ago, this month, Ruth and I were participants at the DirectorsLab Chicago. We had a great time, sitting in panel discussions, participating in workshops, seeing shows and doing a lot of networking. We stayed with the awesome Matt and Kim Lyle, who run Bootstraps Comedy Theatre and were comped into seeing shows at Steppenwolf.

Highlights included:

* a Commedia workshop with Larry Grimm. I let out my chaos in the clown work and recieved an informal "If you ever move to Chicago, you got a place to work..." from Larry.

* Visiting the Russian Tea Room and sampling vodka flights...

* Seeing a Modigliani at the Chicago Museum of Art and re-enacting scenes from Ferris Beuller's Day Off.

* Attending (twice!) Lookingglass Theatre's production of ARABIAN NIGHTS, directed by Mary Zimmerman. It is still in the top five best productions of theatre I have ever seen performed.

May 14, 2011

CYRANO A-GO-GO is a go!

Brad McEntire presents a new original "oration" coinciding with Shakespeare Dallas' production of the Rostand play this summer!
CYRANO A-GO-GO is semi-autobiographical exploration of one restless theatre artist's fascination with the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. A chance encounter with the script at a suburban public library at the age of 15 leads to a cruel and wonderful calling. Mixing the personal, historical and literary into a journey through Rostand's play and a meditation on the differences between art and life, McEntire puts a funny, warm, insightful spin on the usual coming-of-age one-man show.

Plays Saturday afternoons at 3 PM from June 18 to July 9, 2011.
At the Green Zone, 161 Riveredge Drive, Dallas, TX 75207 (map)

Admission FREE! (though suggested donation of $5-10 is appreciated)

Cyrano A-Go-Go Promo from FT Bonnigan on Vimeo.

May 13, 2011

FUN GRIP at the 2011 Big Sexy

FUN GRIP (meaning Jeff Swearingen and I) will be playing at the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv on June 4th. Come out and see us goof around. Also my own is a co-sponsor...

Apr 29, 2011

Visit to Annandale and Washington DC in Mid-April!

On the Mall with Ruth Engel.

Apr 12, 2011

Coming this summer! CYRANO A-GO-GO

CYRANO A-GO-GO is semi-autobiographical exploration of one restless theatre artist's fascination with the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. A chance encounter with the text at a suburban public library at the age of 15 leads to a cruel and wonderful calling. Mixing the personal, historical and literary into a journey through Rostand's play and a meditation on the differences between art and life, McEntire puts a unique spin on the usual coming-of-age one-man show.

Since the age of fifteen, during the first few weeks of his first ever theatre class, Brad McEntire has been obsessed with the swashbuckling, romantic, tragi-comic play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand. 

He has grown, over the years into a performer/ playwright, in some ways like the title character of the piece. 

It is there the similarities stop. In this story-telling structured performance piece, McEntire explores his fascination with the play from many angles: historical, literary and personal. CYRANO A-GO-GO is also about his life-long coming-to-terms with the hard lessons about how art imitates life, and vice versa...

Coming June and July 2011! More details coming soon... 

Mar 18, 2011

CHOP in Portland

CHOP, the twisted, romantic solo show about a man finding his place in the world by finding himself in a subculture of amputation fetishists makes it's way to the Pacific Northwest. Invited for an exclusive one-weekend engagement at the Portland Mini Fringe Festival
March 17-19, 2011 at 8 PM.

At the FUSE Theatre, 3430 SE Belmont Ave., Portland OR 97202.
For more information about CHOP click here.
To view a video mini-documentary of the trip to the New Orleans Fringe Festival with CHOP, click here.

Special workshop: IMPROV FOR THE SOLO PERFORMER taught by Brad McEntire on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 2 PM. Workshop cost $20. Info here.

Ruth at "Noodles & Company" in Portland


Mar 11, 2011


 Loop Review: 
I Have Angered a Great God
Audacity Theatre Lab gets Tiki with it at Out of the Loop.
by Kris Noteboom -
published Monday, March 7, 2011

If there’s one thing theater sometimes needs, it’s a lighter side. In a landscape strewn with weighty dramas, the occasional quirky comedy is an oasis for the laughter-famished gut.

And in I Have Angered a Great God, Audacity Theatre Lab gives the audience that healthy dose of comedic nourishment they so desperately need.

The brainchild of Audacity founder Brad McEntire, I Have Angered a Great God takes the audience on the flashback-laden tale of Robert von Ritchie Ritchie (Oscar Contreras), as he tries to figure out just what he did to spark the wrath of an ancient Tiki god (Jeff Hernandez).

Much of this introspection is accomplished in the office of his therapist (Jeremy Whiteker), who coincidentally also happens to treat Robert’s now ex-girlfriend, Martha (Angela Parsons), and the Great God itself. Due to a crippling selfishness, Robert is oblivious to how his actions affect those around him, particularly the Great God. Naturally, he comes to realize his mistake and make amends, but not until after most of his friends and family have paid the price in his stead.

Opening with a rapped prologue complete with cardboard cut-out Tiki gods, McEntire quickly establishes the expectations for the performance. It’s gonna get a little weird…but, in a good way.

Jokes pepper the non-sequential, sometimes hard to follow, script, and while they don’t always fully land with the appropriate oomph, McEntire’s offbeat sense of humor still manages to shine through.

Parsons and Whiteker bring substantial comedy chops with them to the production, and it shows. With all apologies to Hernandez, whose lines under his giant, cardboard Tiki head consisted of a series of grunts and barely decipherable words, Parsons and Whiteker stood apart from the bunch when it came to communicating McEntire’s unique comic voice.

McEntire himself, who delivers the opening rap and plays several other minor characters, channels Graham Chapman with his deadpan delivery. The purest measure of a truly gifted comedic performer is their ability to make any character funny. McEntire does that with his turns as a barista and a MENSA rep.

I Have Angered a Great God is a quirky romp through the human psyche, externalized in the visage of a blue-clad Easter Island escapee. The comedy is sometimes bungled in the delivery, but enough of it connects that this remarkably peculiar, yet boldly inventive, story comes out all smiles.

I Have Angered a Great God plays at the Addison Theatre Centre's Stone Cottage.


Mar 3, 2011

Ejecting a Cow

 I have contributed a monologue to entitled "Ejecting a Cow" outlining how to remove a stubborn bovine from one's apartment in two easy steps. Helpful on many levels.

Check it out here.

Feb 27, 2011


Here's the idea: a lone performer on the stage takes a suggestion given by the audience and then simply tells a compelling story or monologue, in character, based on that suggestion. I have been interested in this precisely because of the apparent simplicity. 

Anyway, before the holidays during the winter of 2010, I brought the idea up to my friend John Rawley, who was running the Alternative Comedy Theater at the time. I pitched it as a possible project and new format to work on. He liked it, so we gathered up our friend and colleague (and all-around improv guy) Jeff Swearingen and rehearsed the format a a few times. 

Kyle Bradford performing in the Monologue Jam to a packed house.
Cafe Bohemia, Plano TX - March 22, 2014

The first Monologue Jam was presented February 12, 2011. After that the format was presented intermittently, but on aa consistent basis.

The Monologue Jam is a simple format presented in two possible sections. It is entirely possible, and likely, this format or something very like it, existed before. I don't know. Maybe I invented it.

Rory Scholl in the MJ at the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv 2014, Dyer Street Bar, Dallas TX

Liz Robinson in the MJ at the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv 2014,
Dyer Street Bar, Dallas TX

Section one involves individual performers taking a stab at improvised story-telling based on an audience suggestion. This suggestion is usually drawn from a bowl or hat filled with suggestions on little slips of paper. the improviser draws the suggestion, reads it aloud and then begins. The monologue lasts between 2 and half and three minutes. There is a hard stop at three minutes (blackout).

Section two - the optional one - is a "round robbin" (or "jam") session where the performers tag in and out continuing a single storyline based on an audience suggestion. 

At the end of the Jam, the audience votes by applause who should take home the coveted jar of Monologue Jam jam that evening.

Shea Smith in the Monologue Jam (Margo Jones Theatre - Nov. 9, 2014)

The Monologue Jam briefly became its own stand-alone evening with the addition of games, contests, give-aways, etc. It was produced by MINT Presents for a short time (2014 & 2015) at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, Dallas TX.

From January 2015 to the Summer of 2016, the Monologue Jam expanded to Austin TX, presented by the Institution Theater and hosted by Tyler Bryce. The Austin Monologue Jam ran monthly (first Saturdays). Tyler continued to expand the concept with workshops and even (on one occasion) puppetry. 

The Institution Theater closed in February 2022.

Brad Hawkins, "All Puppet Monologue Jam" winner
(March 5, 2016 - Austin TX)

Currently, the Monologue Jam is still presented from time to time, most recently as part of the annual Big Weekend of Improv produced by the Alternative Comedy Theater in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

The prize jam for the Monologue Jam - July 9, 2022

MONOLOOGUE JAMS (not an exhaustive list):
» February 2011 at Cafe Bohemia (Plano TX) First Annual
» January 2012 at Cafe Bohemia (Plano TX) Second Annual
» June 2012 as part of the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, Dyer Street Bar (Dallas TX)
» July 2012 at the Cafe Bohemia (Plano TX) as part of a fund-raiser
» January 2013 at Cafe Bohemia (Plano TX) Third Annual
» May 2013 as part of the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, Pocket Sandwich Theater (Dallas TX)
» March 2014 at Cafe Bohemia (Plano TX) 4th Annual 
» July 2014 as part of the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, Margo Jones Theatre (Dallas TX)
» November 2014 at the Margo Jones Theatre, Fair Park (Dallas TX)
» June 2015 as part the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, Pocket Sandwich Theater (Dallas TX)
» Starting in January 2015 thru late 2016 the Monologue Jam branched out to Austin, Texas as well, at the Institution Theater, hosted by Tyler Bryce.
» The Monologue Jam made a return as part of the 2018 and 2019 Big Sexy Weekend of Improv presented by the Alternative Comedy Theater.
» July 9, 2022 saw a return of the Monologue Jam, hosted by founder Brad McEntire at the 12th Annual Big Weekend of Improv presented by the Alternative Comedy Theater.

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Feb 10, 2011

Interview with John Rawley of the Alternative Comedy Theater

Interview with John Rawley of The Alternative Comedy Theater from Christopher Taylor on Vimeo.

Going to the Theatre now implies much more than passive attendance at a performance (i.e. the way we might file into cinemas); it signifies participation in the social life of our cities, our communities. 

Contemporary theatre-goers - those brave few who recognize how important it is to feed one's mind and soul as well as one's stomach and investment portfolio - are likely to arrive early for pre-show snacks in the lobby or grab dinner, perhaps, at a restaurant in the neighborhood. A contemporary theatre-goer will more than likely stay late for a post-performance discussion, chit-chat with the artists in the lobby after the show, attend lectures on a Saturday afternoon, visit the plaza for a midday lunch concert or reading, take a youngster to a children's puppet theatre performance at an informal outdoor amphitheatre. Today's theatre-goer may take in a late-night comedy revue over cocktails. 

In short, contemporary theatre-goers are informed, involved and demanding. Expectations are high. And well, they should be. Educated patrons and sincere supporters should be valued, especially in today’s media-saturated, million-choice society. Pandered to? No. But valued and developed.

So, should a single theatre company provide all the services listed above? Maybe, though I imagine such an institution as a theatrical equivalent to Walmart. Like its retail doppelganger, this one-stop theatre might have a wide selection, but the quality will be kind of “meh…” 

Besides, when the cold light of reality shines on the financial resources of most theatre companies, this is hardly possible or practical.

But, and here’s the silver lining…This is what a theatre community is for.

A bunch of theatres sticking close to their guns and mission statements share the burden… no not burden… responsibility of supplying for the needs of the cultural community.

The Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex is blessed in that it has an incredibly diverse theatrical ecosystem.  

Theatre for different ethnic audiences? Got it.  
Puppetry? Got it.
Mid-century fare? Got it.
Light comedy and farce? Got it.
Regional off-Broadway pieces? Got it.
Musicals of all kinds? Got it.
New and original works? Got it.
Dance theatre? Got it. 
Classics? Got it.
Popcorn-throwing melodrama? Got it.
And so on.

This diversity is a boon for audiences, but also for artists as well. Whatever your poison, DFW was some of it. If, as an actor, you want to try your hand at murder mysteries or experimental works, there are avenues for it in the DFW cultural landscape. 

It is with this in mind I sought out John Rawley. He heads a local improv theatre. Improvisation is not always understood by the general public as a form of theatre (it is, unfortunately, often confused with stand-up comedy or considered only under the dubious, dismissive heading “entertainment”). In fact, improv is a rather pure form of theatre, invented on the spot and performed without a net, so to speak. 

Improvisation is, in this writer’s humble opinion, an excellent way to train actors in almost all the basics of stage performance: listening, awareness, physicality, response, projection, collaboration, and the list goes on…

The Alternative Comedy Theater is housed in a small studio close to SMU, a few blocks north of Mockingbird Station. Rawley, with a background in commercial acting, music, traditional stage performance and, of course, improv comedy organizes his company specifically around spontaneous theatre. His mission is to train, promote and produce improv theatre shows. 

The Alternative Comedy Theater, with its specialized mission is holding up its end as one branch of what is the dynamic theatre community of North Texas.
~ Brad McEntire

reposted from the Stage Directions Blog 

Feb 5, 2011

Monologue Jam... WORLD PREMIERE!

So, I've had this idea for a while: a solo performer on stage taking a suggestion from the audience and then simply telling a compelling story or monologue based on that suggestion. I have been interested in this precisely because of the apparent simplicity.

Anyway, before the holidays last year, I brought the idea up to my friend John Rawley, who runs the Alternative Comedy Theater as a possible project and new format to work on. He liked it, so we gathered up our friend and colleague (and all-around improv bad-ass) Jeff Swearingen and have rehearsed a few times.

The Monologue Jam is a simple (perhaps new?) format presented in two sections. Section one involves individual performers taking a stab at improvised story-telling based on an audience suggestion. Section two is a "round robbin" (or "jam") session where the performers tag in and out continuing  a single storyline based on audience suggestions.

We're going to world-premiere it at Cafe Bohemia on Saturday, February 12, playing on the same bill as the all-girl group The Band Wreckers. Should be fun and interesting, to say the least.


Jan 23, 2011

Being Harold Pinter/Belarus Free Theatre Reading

I participated in a local reading of "Being Harold Pinter" in support of the Belarus Free Theatre. The artists involved with the BFT are in exile, viewed as political enemies of the state in their homeland. Click here to read more about their story. And here to sign a petition in support of the Belarus Free Theatre.

The local reading was held at ICT's Ruddy Seppy Rehearsal Studio and had a number of Dallas-area actors on-hand participating and a small audience of supporters showing solidarity.

The reading was organized by Chris and Dan of the and Bill Fountain, Artistic Director of Ground Level Arts. To hear a summation of the evening via podcast, including myself speaking a bit, click here.

I rarely get involved with "political theatre" projects, per say, since my core belief is that theatre (and other arts, in that vein) can't really change the world. People can change and with individual change comes institutional change which can, potentially, change the world. It is a slow process and theatre, in and of itself, plays only a very tiny part in the process of large scale change. Theatre reflects change, it doesn't lead it. At least not politically.

In this case, with the Belarus Free Theatre, when human rights violations are taking place and fellow artists are being blacklisted, beaten, jailed, and censored, the situation strikes me on a human level. I feel the slight urge to stand up to evil dictatorships and political corruption, but only in the abstract. What I can put my support behind is the more specific dilemma: individual artists should be allowed to express their art. Period. I consider expression a basic human right. And it is in this regard that I participated in the local reading.

Plus, my friends Chris and Dan asked, and it seems important to them. So my support is kinda unilateral.