Phare Play Productions "Who Wears Short Shorts" Festival

11:01 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

I have a paragraph below that will explain these pictures...

Yesterday I participated in Phare Play Productions' "Who Wears Short Shorts" Play Festival. It was a 24 hour theatre festival involving writers, actors and directors (I was a director). Anyway, what happens is at 10:30 pm on Friday night the writers got a piece of music an a sentence that they each ha to incorporate into their plays. At 10:00 the following morning they had to have their play ready to be handed over to their directors and from 11:30 am - 5:00 pm, the actors and directors worked and had a 15 minute tech for a 7:00 pm an 9:00 pm show. (The actors also had to be completely off book). If this paragraph makes any sense... you can definitely understand how both fun and challenging this project can be. I definitely took a lot away from the exercise and know what I would an wouldn't do for the next time I get the opportunity. I am very happy though to have had the opportunity to work with Phare Play Productions (looking forward to working with them again) and meeting 4 new actors and a new playwright.

The festival was held at the Beckman Theater (American Theatre of Actors) at 314 W, 54th Street. I didn't have the chance to post about this beforehand or send an e-mail blast because I foun out at 8:00 pm the night before (one of the directos had dropped and they had my resume on file).

My show was called "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" by Jennifer Spragg
Cast: Sasha Higgins, Chelsea Holland, Graeme Humphrey, Alison Wonderland

Produced by Phare Play Productions

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"A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer" By Eve Ensler

10:36 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

I seriously have to get better at updating this thing... I've been very busy finishing up my MA Project, a documentary theatre piece on Academic Freedom, which has completely taken on a life of its own. We have a blog for the project ... . We have managed to get interviews from Ward Churchill, David Horowitz (in the process) and everyone in between. It's truely been a pleasure working with Lauren, Molly, Shannon and Mike. I'm looking forward to seeing where this project will go post grad school. This coming week (on Tuesday) I have a meeting with Jessica Blank, author of "The Exonerated". I'm looking forward to speaking with her about her own experiences with documentary theatre and hearing her suggestions of where we should go next with the project. I have two upcoming public presentations of my piece coming up in April and May. We aren't done yet with the full manuscript but we'll be presenting a few scenes from the play, discussing the work and hearing audience feedback.

Here are several (long overdue) pictures from the Circle of Health V-DAY benefit, "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer" by Eve Ensler. These pictures below were taken by a fantastic photographer, Mindy Tucker. A full list of her other theatre photography can be found on her website . All of her work is beautiful.

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Springboard 2008

6:32 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be participating in the American Theatre Wing's 2008 Springboard Program this summer.
Springboard is a 2 week theatre intensive for up and coming artists. There are 3 tracks- Musical Theatre, General Performance and Directing. I will be doing the Directing track. I'm super excited, as I've heard nothing but rave reviews from friends and colleagues who've participated in Springboard over the past few years.

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Review of "Vignettes for the Apocaplyse"

6:29 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Unfortunately the critic didn't come on any of my nights but here is an overview of the festival.

Vignettes for the Apocalypse: 2008
EndTimes Productions review
Martin Denton
February 6, 2008

End Times Productions is presenting a compact festival of a dozen and a half original short plays, in six different programs, at their new space Underground at the Gene Frankel Theatre. As the umbrella title suggests, these are ostensibly pieces about the (looming?) end of the world; the pre-show announcement about turning off cell phones rather wittily sets the tone. I caught two of the groupings (for a total of six plays) and though the theme is not necessarily adhered to throughout, the overall quality of the presentation is pretty good for this kind of thing. And at least one of the pieces I saw ranks as very good: Paul Cohen's The Accommodation (interestingly, the second excellent new play of his that I've seen this week; the other is Cherubina) is great fun, combining two familiar genres—the crime caper and the poking-fun-at-pretentious-art parody—into a seamless, savvy whole.
Let me begin, then, with The Accommodation, which is the final item in Group 1 of Vignettes for the Apocalypse 2008. It starts with the line "It's set inside Golda Meir's vagina"—surely a can't-miss opening if ever there was one. The "it" being referred to is a very arty one-woman play about politics and empowerment and a whole mess of other Important Stuff, which is being presented in a 35-seat off-off-Broadway theatre that has the ill fortune to be located next door to a jewelry store that three unlikely criminals—Sarah (the bomb expert), Mike (responsible for diverting the alarm company), and Doug (who will be on the scene at the theatre)—are planning to burglarize. I'd be a criminal myself to reveal too much more about this charmer of a comedy. Cohen's sense of the absurd is perfectly balanced by director Kristin Skye Hoffman's assured sense of timing. The piece is also blessed with a quartet of excellent performances, anchored by Hoffman herself as the eminently pragmatic Sarah, with Lea McKenna-Garcia as the serious-yet-flaky actress/playwright Muriel, and Jake Paque and Kurt Rodeghiero as Mike and Doug. All four are superb. This play deserves a life beyond this festival, and on the basis of the two Cohen shows I've seen in the past three days, he's becoming a playwright to keep an eye on.
The other two items in Group 1 are A View Unassisted by Craig Abernathy and Old Faithful by Ian Grody. The former adheres to the festival's theme, imagining a future in which something that we take for granted becomes the stuff of illicit, furtive dealings. The central idea of this piece is a knockout, but perhaps not enough to sustain even the 10 or 12 minutes of this play. Rebecca Lovett and Tana Sarnt are effective under Jeremy Pape's direction. The latter is an intriguing tale of blackmail between two unexpected parties (the victim is a rabbi, the blackmailer is one of his congregants, a painter trying to quit his three day jobs). Alessandro Colla is fine as the painter, but Paul Krassner and Monika Schneider are unconvincing as the rabbi and his secretary. Laurie Rae Waugh is the director.
Group 2 contains a piece that packs some emotional wallop: The Title Fight, by Ian August, pits two brothers against one another to play out the final rounds of a competitive battle that's been imposed on them by a careless father almost literally since they could walk. Although this piece reminded me a lot of Daniel MacIvor's Never Swim Alone, it is nevertheless a powerful drama. Colla again does effective work as the elder brother, who got to go to college, while Patrick McDaniel matches him as the younger sibling, who learned to make his way in the world with his fists. Jimmy Blackman plays their spectral Dad, who referees the bout. Tony Macy-Perez directs; the staging is good, but perhaps too scarily authentic in terms of the fight choreography (to the point where I worried for the safety of the actors).
The first play in Group 2 is Elizabeth C. Bachner's Pretty, Pretty, which I confess I found a bit hard to follow. It's about a former actress who is looking back at her life choices with a mix of regret and melancholy, but the other characters on stage (who include a Russian/Italian supermodel and her rock star boyfriend) occasionally intrude as she confides in the audience, which for me was distracting. The last play on this bill is another one that bows to the apocalyptic, in this case with the supremely funny idea of zombie telemarketers. However, playwright Brett Hursey seems unsure of the best way to exploit this terrific premise, and unfortunately this piece ultimately flounders.
I left the double-header feeling well-satisfied, finding something worthwhile to take from just about each of the entries in the evening—and in a couple of cases, much more than that. End Times is offering a grittier-than-usual version of the familiar one-act compendium, and they've uncovered some noteworthy talents who deserve to be seen and heard.
Copyright ©2008 The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. All rights reserved.

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ZehlSteen Think Pound performs at EndTimes Underground TOMORROW and April 2nd!

6:22 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

My sketch comedy group, ZehlSteen think Pound is performing at End Times tomorrow night. We'd love all of the support we can get. It should be an excellent show! Come and check us out.

ZehlSteen Think Pound vs. Jungle Jungle tomorrow night!!!

EndTimes Productions invites you to a no-holds-barred Sketch and Improvisational Comedy Exposition.

Featuring the grittiest and gutsiest comedy groups that Gotham has to offer.

Each Tuesday and Wednesday night, see two groups go head to head in a winner-takes-all showdown. The victor’s chosen by YOU the audience. So come, we “Promise you safe passage through the Wasteland” of contemporary comedy.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays @8:00pm
March 4th - April 16th 2008
Underground @ the Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street New York, NY 10012Admission $10

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