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Cast Announced for Pretty Theft

Friday, February 27, 2009 0 comments

(This cool season poster above was created by Kelly O'Donnell for the Battle)

We have a cast for our upcoming production of Pretty Theft, and it's a great mix of Members, friends, and new folks. Playwright Adam Szymkowicz, Director Angela Astle and myself worked very hard on achieving a consensus, and the rewards of that process are not only a great cast, but an enhanced understanding of how Adam's play works. But more on that anon. Here's the list:

Pretty Theft Cast List

Allegra: Marnie Schulenburg
Suzy: Maria Portman Kelly*
Joe: Brian Pracht
Bobby: Zack Robidas
Marco: Todd D'Amour*
Ballerinas/Ensemble: Candice Holdorf*, Cotton Wright*, Lynn Kenny
(The Ballerinas play all the over roles, including the Waitress, the Supervisor, the Psychiatrist, Allerga's Mother, and more)

You may notice some familiar names in that cast list, including:

Candice Holdorf

(Candice as Chuck in Rue, photo Jonathan Slaff/As Claudia in 8 Little Antichrists, photo Johnna Adams)


Cotton Wright

(Cotton Wright as Azazyel, photo Justin Hoch/ As Thalia, photo Jonathan Slaff)


Marnie Schulenburg

(Marnie Schulenburg as Joann in Angel Eaters, photo Justin Hoch)


Brian Pracht

(Brian Pracht as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, photo Isaiah Tanenbaum)


Zack Robidas

(Zack Robidas as Jeremy in 8 Little Antichrists, photo by Johnna Adams)

We also welcome Maria Portman Kelly (so good in our Imagination Compact), Todd D'Amour (What To Do When You Hate All Your Friends, Stella) and Lynn Kenny to the production! Tickets go on sale March 17th, so mark you calendars. And if you want to learn more about Pretty Theft, read up on our Food:Soul entry from a year ago here.

We are all very excitedto share this beautiful, funny, disturbing, entertaining, moving, kick-ass play with you.
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See Greg Waller in OYL's Bald Soprano

Monday, February 23, 2009 0 comments

Did you love Gregory Waller as the pleasure addicted prime minister Zynth in Rue? Fall for his smooth talking Fortune Clay in Angel Eaters? The check out his work in One Year Lease's current production of The Bald Soprano. You will surely see some Fluxers, myself included, in the audience! Read the full story

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Battle of the Bards Recap

SOMETIMES, things get a little messy. And so it was with our participation in Battle of the Bards, Partial Comfort Productions fund-raiser that pitted us against 6 other companies (PCP included) to write a short play based on a TV remote control.

The event was structured a little like an Elizabethan playhouse - the VIPs and celebrities sat in a separate section with a bouncer, while the only place to sit for us groundlings was the bathroom (which were fine and private places). The mics broke in and out, the audience mushed and moshed, and the Harvard Sailing Team valiantly strove against all obstacles to bring the funny.

And Flux did all right! Our little play managed to be the audience's second favorite, thanks in large part to our wonderful community of artists and audience who came out in force. I was thrilled by the response to the play, especially the show-stopping laugh Tiffany Clementi landed as the Avatar of Radio; though we ended up feeling a bit like we brought a knife to a bludgeon party.

Congratulations are in order for Ma-Yi, who took the hot button issue of radicalism in gay politics and pushed that button until the audience exploded - their applause was bone-shaking. They not only won the audience favorite, but came in second for critic's favorite (though I'm uncertain how our poor celeb/critics were able to see/hear anything - they were so far away they might as well have been at the Oscars).

And nabbing their first critics favorite award was the home town team, Partial Comfort Productions! Their absurdist-meta skit featured an opening from last year's Battle, a Christian Bale spoof, and then a clever rap about, well, how they were going to beat the other teams. My favorite bit was the rhyme of "panacking'" and "manequin". Oh, did I mention they had a tuba and someone dressed as a remote control? Yup, they pulled out all the stops and deserved the victory. Congratulations Ma-Yi and Partial Comfort!

But the highlight of the evening, at least for us, was the bizarre tribal dance circle that somehow happened after the plays were over. It started with a few purses placed in the middle of our circle, and ended with shirts, bras, phones, programs and even a miraculously removed pair of underwear; all piled higher and higher as Fluxers and then strangers gathered round our circle to dance. We brought a play about the Gods of TV, Internet and the Radio, but we ended the night getting down to a more pagan god entirely. There are more pictures...but this is a respectable blog.

A deepheart felt thanks to everyone who braved the chairless, deafening environment to cheer us on; to the cast and Heather for making my tricky play sing; to Becca Doyle, Susan Melissa Dahl, and Jason ??? for making the tech and the performance run so smoothly; to Electric Pear, Youngblood, Naked Angels, Fire Department, PCP and Ma-Yi for the dancing, singing, Vidyasagaring, electro-schocking, mocking, name-dropping, shit-talking, hip-hopping, pant-dropping, remote-control-sodomozing evening of theatre; and most of all, to Molly and Chad, our hosts at Partial Comfort Productions, for giving us a chance to jump in the mosh pit. From all of us at Flux we say thank you as we drop our pants and dance a jig. Read the full story


Cotton Wright in Oberon Theatre Ensemble's "Much Ado About Nothing"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 0 comments

If she can play Ben Brantley...
If she can play the spirit of a magical island...
If she can play a demonic angel hell bent on unleashing the Angel Eater against God...
If she can play 1/3rd of God herself...

(and if you've followed Flux, you know she can do that all that and more)

...then just what will she do with Hero in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing? Find out at Oberon Theatre Ensemble's production, currently running at Theatre Row.

And while you're at it, see her play a God of a very different sort this Friday at Battle of the Bards! Read the full story

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Channeling at Battle of the Bards

Monday, February 16, 2009 0 comments


The play is written, the cast is smoking, and rehearsals have begun... but due to the competitive nature of the event, we must get Cheney-style with the specifics of plot. All I will say is William H. Macy has chosen a good prop, and we are running with it. The short play is written by me, directed by Member Heather Cohn, and features Members Tiffany Clementi, Michael Davis, Jason Paradine, Christina Shipp, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Cotton Wright. Yup, all star. And if you've wondered how to fit Zeus, The World Wide Web, Iraq, high school, and Alvin and the Chipmunks into a ten minute entertainment, check out the details here, buy your ticket and we'll see you there! Read the full story



So you've already bought your tickets for Battle of the Bards (and thank your doing that!). But how, oh how, will you be able to stay in touch with Flux after that but before Pretty Theft? Why not check out this event from our friendly neighborhood company Impetuous Theater Group that features a play from Member me and some acting from Member Jason Paradine! Read the full story

Hearts Like Fists

Flux represented last night at the final Julliard performance of Adam Szymkowicz's new play, Hearts Like Fists. Adam is the playwright of our upcoming Spring show, Pretty Theft; and so Jason, Cotton, Christina, Heather, Johnna, Isaiah and myself left our Flux Sunday adventures a little early to check it out.

And it was a delight! In contrast to the darker, more grounded aspects of Pretty Theft, Hearts Like Fists is pure unadulterated buzzing fizzing farce; a genre send up of super heroes that explores what brave people do to hide their more vulnerable parts.

My favorite parts were the list of villain names (Tarantula Sue!), the extended awkwardness of the Commissioner scheduling a date with one of the Crimefighters; and the dangerously beautiful Lisa bursting into Peter's lab to profess her passion right as the hapless nurse was about to ask the good doctor out. There is also a moving scene where the usually nameless victims of Dr. X are made memorably human, deep in the satisfaction of their requited love, that stands out like an island of simple goodness in the otherwise madcap world of the play. We all left the show eager to return to work on Pretty Theft! Read the full story


Good News From A Theatre Company

In contrast to the last post, here's some very good news* from the LA Times blog Culture Monster about the East West Players. They are celebrating their 44th birthday, making them the country's longest operating professional theatre of color.

What I liked especially was when asked why they had survived and thrived for so long, Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang said, "I think being calm and not jumping to any reactionary position is key to our longevity. Talking things out has always been important to us in bridging the many parts of EWP."

This is something we are frequently talking about in Flux - how best to bridge our many differences and become a more cohesive Ensemble. While we are not always successful, when we fail we try to fail in the right ways - through openness, access to process and honesty. As we move into our fourth annual retreat this August, I hope we can come even closer to articulating these values into an even more resilient and flexible process. And I find it both challenging and reassuring that when asked of their 44 years, Dang focused first not on fancy audience development or marketing schemes, and not even on the product itself; but on the calm and kindness his organization used in internal communication.

*(h/t Thomas Cott's "You've Cott Mail") Read the full story


Sad News from a Theatre Company

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 0 comments

Though I never got out to Brooklyn to see a show at Tuckaberry Productions, I know a number of their regular artists and they seemed like genuinely good people, bringing quality childrens theatre to an under-served community. With all the big theatres making big splashes with their big financial woes, the email announcement of Tuckaberry's less heralded ending makes me remember just how fragile a species each theatre company is - like rare amphibians where the slightest change in the water can stop us before we are able to breathe the air. The ending of a theatre company, however small, always gives me that strange sense of loss that reading about endgangered languages does - like some unique way of saying the world is gone.
Anyway, best wishes to the artists and audience of Tuckaberry. Read the full story

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Casting Madness

Monday, February 9, 2009 0 comments


That is the sound two weeks of casting madness make. This year we saw a much higher quality of talent then we have in the past. A large part of that comes from having a wider community of directors and producers to recommend folks (and a special thanks to Tlaloc Rivas , Sherri Kronfield and Scott Ebersold for sending their legions of talented friends). But, Backstage still provided us one of the best surprises of the process, proving it may yet be worth wading through the swamp of open submissions.

For those who auditioned for our 2009/10 season, we are hoping to announce the casts of Pretty Theft and The Lesser Seductions of History by the end of the week; for J.B., the casting process will continue (it not being all that easy to cast a verse play riffing on the story of Job, after all).

We are also very close to announcing the cast for our Battle of the Bards and our next Food:Soul, so stay tuned! Read the full story

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The Return To A Wonderful Wife

Friday, February 6, 2009 0 comments

Tonight was one of the many nights that make being a part of Flux Theatre Ensemble grand. A few of us met to read through the latest draft of Jeremy Basescu's A Wonderful Wife, previously profiled here. David Crommett was a both arrogant and humble as Carl, Candice Holdorf continued her human excavation of the demon Angela, Brian Pracht (in spite of being sick) found the humor and anger of Max, and Tiffany Clementi was a boyount Christine, changing from a sassy undergrad to a more intruiging and morally ambivalent force by the end.

But a special thanks goes to our host Jane Taylor, who also played June, and who only deepened in her rich and complex portrayal of this challenging part. A great talk about the play afterwards lead into speculation over wine on the nature of beauty, ensembles, the 60's, the foolish goodness of any decade, the Yankees versus the Red Sox, and the difference between free love and friends with benefits...in short, one of the good nights.

Oh, and Jeremy's rewrite was great. Read the full story

Battle of the Bards

Thursday, February 5, 2009 0 comments

Join Flux on February 20th as we participate in Partial Comfort Productions' 4th Annual Battle of the Bards. The one-night-only competition pits New York theatre companies against one another to write, rehearse and stage a world premiere one-act play that incorporates the use of a prop that will be selected by current Speed-the-Plow star, William H. Macy. The plays will be judged by a celebrity panel, including playwrights Suzan Lori-Parks (Topdog/Underdog) and David Auburn (Proof); actors John Slatterly ("Mad Men") and Daniel Sunjata (Take Me Out); and Time Out New York journalist David Cote. For tickets, ranging from $15-$74, call (212)-352-3101. Battle of the Bards will take place at the Canal Room, located at 285 West Broadway and Canal Street in Manhattan.

An additional award will be given to the audience favorite, so join us and holler for Flux!

To learn more, go here.
And to purchase tickets, go here.
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Flux's 2009/10 Season Announcement!

A dark comedy about what beauty steals...
An epic journey through the seductions of history...
A classic tragedy of what remains when all is taken...

Flux's 2009-10 Season of Give and Take

Pretty Theft
By Adam Szymkowicz
Directed by Angela Astle
April 23rd - May 17th, 2009

The Lesser Seductions of History
By August Schulenburg
Directed by Heather Cohn
October-November, 2009

By Archibald MacLeish
Directed by Kelly O'Donnell
Winter 2010

Season Synopsis
Is beauty a thief or a gift?
Flux's 2009/10 Season of Give and Take begins with Adam Szymkowicz's Pretty Theft, a play about ballerinas, boxes and the dangers of beauty. After the death of her father, Allegra falls under the wing of bad girl Suzy, only to find an unexpected friendship with Joe, an autistic savant. When things between them take a violent turn, Allegra and Suzy escape cross country and befriend Marco, a mysterious thief who claims he cannot be caught. Newest Flux Member Angela Astle stages this unsettling comedy from the critically acclaimed playwright of Nerve, Food for Fish and Incendiary.

What is the cost of changing history?
The whimsical comedy of Pretty Theft expands into the epic journey of Flux's fall production, August Schulenburg's The Lesser Seductions of History. Following ten characters through each year of the 1960's, this play was written specifically for the actors of the Ensemble. History becomes as intimate as a lover when the decade's fracture points of race, sex and war break and remake the characters. Fringe NYC award winning director Heather Cohn teams up again with the playwright of Other Bodies, Riding the Bull and Rue.

How do you survive losing everything?
Our Season of Give and Take culminates in Archibald MacLeish’s 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning play, J.B. A radical re-telling of the biblical story of Job, J.B. wrestles with the seeming indifference of God in the face of suffering. Two washed up actors transform a ruined theatre to battle over the meaning of a banker who loses everything. Flux Member Kelly O’Donnell, director of Rue, Riding the Bull and 8 Little Antichrists, will use masks, puppets and movement to create a uniquely theatrical event.

Why these three plays? Each takes one of three great movers in our lives - beauty, history and faith – and asks what each gives, and what each takes away. Join us as Flux Theatre Ensemble journeys through our third season, a Season of Give and Take.
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