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February 7, 2017
FRIGID Festival 2017: A Q&A with this Year’s Artists – Part 1

Now in its 11th season, the FRIGID Festival will bring 30 shows to UNDER St. Marks and the Kraine Theater, February 13 through March 5. We had the opportunity to ask several of this year's participants about their work. Below are responses from eight -- be sure to check back later this week for more!

18 days. 48 girls. Show Photograph 3Writer/Performer Courtney Antonioli, "18 Days. 48 Girls":

 

Tell us about your show.

One camp director’s true stories about the time she didn’t strangle children, but so wanted to at times. In charge of 48 girls for 18 days with 0 cell phones, Courtney Antonioli endured every (in)conceivable disaster camp had to offer. They didn’t get their periods all at once, but there sure was crying.

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

How replaying the different conversations and interactions with the campers and their parents provides a new dynamic to the show. It isn’t me telling the audience about them, but the audience getting to live the moments with me.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

Favorite playwrights, top six in no particular order: Brian Friel, Sarah Ruhl, Martin McDonagh, Annie Baker, David Harrower, Amy Herzog.

What would you change about the current state of theater?

The need for profit. If theaters could eliminate the fear of losing money on a new show and be able to go for it, allowing more opportunity for new work my emerging artists.


Photo credit: Chris Weigandt
Photo credit: Chris Weigandt

Writer/Director Genny Yosco, "A Fifth Dimension: An Unauthorized Twilight Zone Parody":

 

Tell us about your show.

You are entering another dimension - one of killer dolls, drastic over-acting, and (of course) a gremlin on the wing. We will parody eight classic Twilight Zone episodes, each more ridiculous than the last. You have just entered "A Fifth Dimension."

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

I always love to see how each actor interprets their role! Plus, when it comes to any of my parodies, I love to see iconic classics played out in real life (with some obviously comedic aspects thrown in, of course).

What would you change about the current state of theater?

There are so many actors, but not enough work to go around! We should all try our hardest to put as much of our work out there as possible, so no talent has to go wasted.


Aint That Rich featuring Kate RobardsWriter/Performer Kate Robards, "Ain’t That Rich":

 

Tell us about your show.

This is a show about money that appeals to anyone who has ever used it, wanted it, or had it. Kate grew up “poor.” She thinks her husband is “rich.” His family says that’s not a nice word. As Kate straddles two different extreme ways of life, she realizes what money can and cannot buy, including the possible salvation for a loved one.

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

My writing process for this show has been very stream of consciousness. I’m kind of disgusted with how materialistic I am and how frequently I find myself shopping online, and yet, I feel rewarded when I buy an outfit or an item and get a compliment on it. So, I started writing about my own shallowness. Writing can be a very solitary act. I’m really lucky because I started writing this show in San Francisco where there is a vibrant solo theatre community. I was able to develop it with help from David Ford at The Marsh and Solo Sundays at Stage Werx. The Solo Sunday performance series allowed me to put up multiple chunks of material in front of an audience and it really helped me figure out what works. I’d say 40 minutes of material I used during those early performances was drastically edited or cut entirely. This summer in DC when I performed at Capital Fringe, I felt like I finally had an hour-long show that was closer than what I was originally putting on stage. The next step and challenge for me is as a performer. I’m confident in the script and the characters, but I want to make sure I do the work justice. I’m really trying to commit to the story I wrote and go for the emotion because that’s what I find compelling about live theatre. Being able to challenge myself with being real and vulnerable and raw in front of an audience is truly just about the most exciting thing I can think of.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

Since I’m doing a solo play, I’m going to have to list the solo theatre performers I admire. David Cale’s performances transfix me. He really puts his whole heart and being out there and he has a beautiful voice and his presence just seems to cradle you as an audience member. A huge inspiration and a friend and mentor is Lauren Weedman. It was seeing her show, Bust, at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., that made me think I might be able to write and perform my own show too. I’m really lucky that I’ve gotten to work with her on my shows. She’s laugh till you cry funny, and she’s not afraid to show the dark side of humanity. One more who isn’t a solo performer, but who just understands characters and Southerners and gosh-darn if he isn’t the finest, Tennessee Williams.


Photo credit: Lauren Toub
Photo credit: Lauren Toub

Writer/Performer Nataša Warasch, "Awkward But Graceful":

 

Tell us about your show.

Inspired by the sitcom "The Golden Girls", Nataša packs her bags and naively embarks on a journey from the Austrian countryside to America. Her dreams of making it in show business are challenged as she is exploited in Los Angeles and becomes homeless in Washington Heights before making a decision that alters her life.
Evidence that the American dream is still kicking and alive.

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

The most exciting thing about seeing my show jump from the page to the stage is sharing my life story with my creative team. Not giving up. Believing. I am having so much fun and pure joy.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

My favorite playwrights are John Guare, Dario Fo, and Tennessee Williams.


Michael W. Brown from BLACK!Writer/Performer Michael W. Brown, "BLACK!"

 

Tell us about your show.

The show "BLACK!" looks at the lives of several individuals who live their life with this word. Each person describes their personal experience with the word “BLACK!” We will learn about their stories, how their lives are affected by this word, whether positively or otherwise, and most important, their individual perspectives. We hope to better understand whether there are any similarities or has society ‘bought into’ the stereotypes that exist. If so…why?

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

The most incredible thing I have witnessed are the unsolicited responses and comments from audience members who have given me their feedback on the show. The idea that my words could affect people in such a way, and possibly even inspire or create a conversation, is the greatest gift I could hope to render.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

I admire the work of Athol Fugard, Maya Angelou, August Wilson among many others. I love work that explores the overcoming of the human struggle.

What would you change about the current state of theater?

I would make the work of new and emerging artists and their voices more readily available. The world is a changing landscape and I don't feel that 'mainstream' theater necessarily is a reflection of the various voices, stories and experiences that the world represents in 'this time'. I understand there's a business element involved but I believe the two can co-exist in a way that still produces meaningful stories and opens up the ability for new dialogue, in and outside of the theater experience.

You are coming to us from Phoenix, Arizona. What is something you are looking forward to doing while you’re in NYC?

I will inhale the very substance of what makes NYC such an epicenter of everything cultural. Seeing other productions and 'hitting the streets' by foot is my way of feeling the vibe that is New York City.


Photo credit: Heidi Garrido
Photo credit: Heidi Garrido

Writer/Performer Scot Moore, "Break Your Heart":

 

Tell us about your show.

After being dumped and stranded halfway around the world, I bought a plane ticket to the Middle East (because, logic). In the process of meandering my way through the UAE and up to Europe, I started dealing with how breakups have hurt and benefited me over the years. I then hired an animator to capture the precise moment when I knew everything would be okay.

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

Discovering that animation and theatre do go well together! I've met dozens of other broken hearts and commiserated with all sorts of beautiful souls. Also: catharsis!

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

Billy Shakes, August Wilson, Ruth Virkus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a bunch of Fringe/local writers who do incredible things with intimate storytelling.

What would you change about the current state of theater?

Less dead white playwrights and WAY less white male directors and producers. Theatre doesn't serve the community when it doesn't look or sound like the community (says a white guy doing solo shows).

You are coming to us from Minneapolis. What is something you are looking forward to doing while you're in NYC?

Vegan/vegetarian restaurants, getting lost on the subway, and giving NY pizza a second chance.


Dangerous When Wet featuring Jamie BrickhouseWriter/Performer Jamie Brickhouse, "Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex, and My Mother":

 

Tell us about your show.

Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex, and My Mother is for anyone whose ever had a mother, too much to drink, or had bad sex. Ripped from the pages of the memoir that Interview magazine called ‘as funny as an evening with Carrie Fisher,’ and Paul Rudnick dubbed “witty, blisteringly honest…intoxicating,' the solo show, written and performed by sodomite and two-time Moth SLAM champion Jamie Brickhouse, sparkles under the direction of theater legend David Drake. Never have alcoholism, suicide, HIV, and mother love-extremis been as simultaneously funny and poignant.

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

My show has truly jumped from page to stage since it is adapted from my darkly comic memoir of the same title. I’ve felt like a French chef making a 60 min. reduction sauce of my 271-page book: simmering until the essence of the book’s flavor was reached. I “simmered” by performing stories from Dangerous When Wet at the Moth, Risk! and other storytelling shows across New York. Turning those stories into a cohesive whole has been a double reward as both a writer and a performer.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, Paul Rudnick, Douglas Carter Beane, Tracy Letts: their plays are blisteringly honest, witty, and devastating (and devastatingly funny).

What would you change about the current state of theater?

My name being absent from any of the marquees. That, and less overblown musicals (I happen to love musicals) and more new plays.


Photo credit: Steven Crouch
Photo credit: Steven Crouch

Writer Christina Augello, "Denial is a Wonderful Thing":

 

Tell us about your show.

Denial Is A Wonderful Thing is a bold, funny, revealing expose into a roller coaster life of a dreamer and seeker of adventure. From Mumbai to the Outback, New York to the Haight, and naive schoolgirl to free spirit Christina reveals all in this one-woman "talk story".

What have been the most exciting things about seeing your show jump from the page to the stage?

Even though Denial is deeply personal the greatest surprise has been learning to approach myself as a character separate from myself.

Who are your favorite playwrights, past and present?

Eugene Ionesco and Clive Barker.

What would you change about the current state of theater?

So many things it's hard to say but for sure accessibility for all.

You are coming to us from San Francisco. What is something you are looking forward to doing while you're in NYC?

Walking through the snow in a the city blanketed in white with streets that are like a quiet country village.

FRIGID Festival 2017 is February 13-March 5 at UNDER St. Marks and the Kraine Theater.

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