October 2011; Roy Arias Theatre Center
The grizzly murders of Jack the Ripper take on a whole new level of brutality in modern day New York City. As a sadistic serial killer terrorizes the streets of the East Village, four women fall victim to ghastly acts of contempt. But a dark secret slowly rises to the surface on the night of the final and most brutal murder. A psychological thriller filled with accusations, sharp knives, and buckets of blood, East in Red is sure to leave your heart pounding, your blood frozen, and your eyes peeled over your shoulder before you even leave the theatre!
Written and Directed by Ashley Griffin
October 2011; Roy Arias Theatre Center
“The Death of Emily Webster” gives new meaning to the term dark comedy and one that crosses between Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman, Lieutenant of Inishmore), and Christopher Durang (Beyond Therapy, Why Torture is Wrong and the people who Love Them).”The Death of Emily Webster” written by Ashley Griffin, tells the story of 3 young adults who are thrown into a game of cat and mouse after their self proclaimed influence in a mutual friend’s suicide forces them to accept that selfishness and manipulation ultimately lead down a path of blood, death, and destruction.
On the verge of another meaningless year, Madeline, a “queen bee” discovers that she may be partially responsible for the suicide of a friend, Emily Webster. After clandestine visits from two other friends of Emily, Ivy and Eddie, the three manipulative victims of their own guilt team up to take credit for their friend’s “life work” guaranteeing them a free ride for the rest of their lives. But when an unexpected visitor from the trio’s past arrives, they must learn that the traps we set for others inevitably ensnare us all before discovering just who is the predator, and who is the prey.
by Steven Dietz * Directed by Jordan Hue
Fall 2010: Gene Frankel Theatre
“That theatre crowd” is at it again!
Steven Dietz’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, carries with it all the famed suspense and horror, without all the camp we relate with contemporary productions. As homage to Stoker, Dietz establishes the theatricality of the man and his world through a prologue delivered by one of literatures’ most beguiling characters. Despite the highly stylized nature of the piece, Dietz’ maintains the old world ambiance of Stoker’s tale through his use of imagery and effects. While maintaining the original story, Dietz re-imagines the sequence of events in such a way as allows his audience to experience this aged story in a new way. Although other adaptations lean more toward British manner and dialect, this adaptation, seems more apt for American audiences. The Dracula legend has become a prominent staple in world superstition that the vampire element has evolved away from the campfire and is sweeping more modern mediums such as film and television. Dietz’s Dracula captures the roots of the legend, leaving you with a fear and excitement lost in most modernized vampires myths. Steven Dietz’s Dracula demonstrates how “a fear – once rooted in your mind – is yours forever.”
Written by Lynde Rosario
Performers: Honor Amongst Thieves; Tony Grend; The Amazing Amy; Michael Matson & Noel-Marie; Catt John; M.C. Nelson Lugo
Summer 2010:The Producer’s Club
Revival: Gene Frankel’s Brag Festival
Starting off the evening our M.C., the delightfully ostentatious Nelson Lugo, warmed the audience up by performing an act called “The Human Blockhead”. It consisted of a 6 inch spike, a hammer, and the man’s nose. The act itself forced more than a few bodies to squirm in their seats while simultaneously laughing hysterically at the strangeness of it all. The fact that Mr. Lugo performed this feat it was no trick with such showmanship and glee set the tone for the next 90min of amazingly entertaining spectacle. “The Amazing Amy” performed an act called “Jedi Yoga: Stretching from a Galaxy Far, Far Away”. Not only was this an incredible act that would be right at home with any “Cirque Du Soleil” show, but it was inspiring. “The Amazing Amy” truly lives up to her moniker. Over 55 years old and in as good or better physical shape as anyone I have seen, this woman is a testament of what one can achieve with the human body, and the best argument on the practice of Yoga I have ever seen or heard. Plus the entire routine was choreographed to the score of “Star Wars”, making Jedi Yoga a memorable piece indeed. Much could be said of every act. The singers had the audience enthralled, clapping along with the music. The sideshow of “Honor Amongst Thieves” had us stupefied with each member of the troupe presenting his or her own peculiar talent. A man escaping from a Straight Jacket the way Harry Houdini used to. A woman walking, barefoot, up a ladder made out of razor sharp swords, and another man juggling two pins and an actual Machete that he used to shave himself with while Juggling. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the “Bed of Nails”. It was a great night filled with things that I imagine no one in attendance had seen before. The combination of so many different acts together on one stage was truly a Return to the Vaudeville of old. It felt like lightning in a bottle.
Written by Johnny Lang
Written by Jaqueline Brunner; M. Dalts; Kelly Feustel; Eric Gordon; Olivia Mammone; Nolan Menditz; Derj Sanxiun * Composed by Kelly Feustel
Summer 2009: Gene Frankel Theatre
A Collaborative Poetic Drama, many imaginations wove together to create the story. A unique look into the process and creativity of the modern poet, Words follows the fateful night of a poet who suffers from writer’s block and the pressure of success. On the edge of his sanity, the Poet is visited by his five Muses: Time, Mentor, Nymph, Romantic, & Aggressor. Each Muse competes for attention, slowly chipping away the Poet’s patience.
Words was created through the unique process of Collaborative Poetic Drama – the first of it’s kind. Words features the original works of the poet/actors that performed them: M. Dalts, Jacqueline Brunner, Eric Gordon, Olivia Mammone, Nolan Menditz, and Derj Sanxiun. The poetry was arranged and directed by Kelly Feustel, creating a cohesive story that was easy to follow and heart-wrenching; a true transformation from your typical poetry reading.
Written by Pierre Cornielle [Translated by Ranjit Bolt] * Directed by Richie Pepio
Summer 2009: Gene Frankel Theatre
Pierre Cornielle’s Le Cid has become largely forgotten by American audiences because of its genuine simplicity. As the centuries passed since its first production (France, 1637), popular drama begun to focus on the more internal, subtle inner workings of the characters minds; causing the subtext to drive the play rather than the text alone. What distinguishes Le Cid is that the characters free-willed actions bind them to a tragic fate rather than an act of god, as is common in other neoclassical theatre. In adjusting the script, pacing the scenes, and staging the overall production, Pepio retains the traditional intentions of the characters and the romantic chivalry of the piece while still being fast-paced and exciting enough to appeal to the modern audience.
Keeping the melodrama to a minimum, Pepio emphasizes the speed and magnitude at which the events are spiraling out of control. A unique overlapping of scenes keeps the action rolling and the audience engaged. In this distinctive interpretation, the usually offstage battles unfold chronologically between scenes and three artfully potent tableaus serve as chapter headings emphasizing the ever-changing relationship between the lovers. The clever set up forces the two areas of the audience to face one another, creating an edgy illusion that not only are you part of the action – but you must choose a side.
by Kelly Feustel * Directed by Jordan Hue
Summer 2008: Queens Theatre in the Park
“Peter” is a prequel to the J.M. Barrie classic, “Peter Pan.” Drawing from a variety of Barrie’s stories, Kelly Feustel’s work details the dark and mysterious circumstances surrounding a naïve, innocent boy’s transformation into the tragic figure who refuses to grow up. First performed in April, 2008, “Peter” served as Feustel’s senior practicum presentation at Hofstra University.
“Peter” charmed, shocked, and captivated its audiences by concentrating on the adult themes provided by J.M. Barrie’s imagination. This unique story bridges the gap between “The Little White Bird” (J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan’s first literary mention) and “Peter and Wendy.” This story surfaces the largely forgotten demons that have always been present in Peter Pan’s past. Clever costuming (design by Sarah Reeb & Alexandra Rubin) easily lent audiences to connect with fairies, children, birds, and the Greek god, Pan. A series of epic fights (Robert Westley – Fight Director, Charlie Rohlfs – his assistant) brought battles between timeless characters to life. Jordan Hue’s direction personified the most fantastical characters that kept the audience on the edge of their seat throughout both acts. All-in-all this tale of love, loss, friendship, and determination touched the audience’s heart by surfacing the horrific past of this classic character.