Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene Can't Beat At Hand's The Big "A"

It looked like The Big "A" had been bested by Hurricane Irene when the Fringe Festival's final weekend was cancelled, but Dan Horrigan won't be stopped that easily.  The Big "A" is getting one more performance on September 1st as part of the FringeNYC Make-Up Series.



Written by Dan Horrigan
Directed by Matthew DiCarlo

The Laurie Beechman Theatre

407 West 42 Street

Armed with only his wit, Dan Horrigan does battle with evil bosses, giant hairy nipples, sassy nurses, and living with HIV... all while searching for the perfect set of kitchenware. Come and find out if laughter really is the best (anti-retroviral) medicine!

From NY Daily News: "People have told me I'm funny," he says. "But what if I could make people laugh and challenge them by talking about something that's difficult. Being positive is a very different situation than in the '80s. But there's still shame and stigma. The story is about a person who is growing up and confronting things."

"Run, don't walk to see The Big "A"... Dan shares his story with passion, razor sharp comedic timing and gentleness." -

"Dan knows how to hold your attention for 70 minutes with his amazing mixture of humor and heart!" -

Tickets $15 plus food and drink!

Writer / Performer: Dan Horrigan
Director: Matthew DiCarlo
Stage Manager: Shelley Miles
Lighting Design: Josh Bradford
Producer: Justin Scribner
Associate Producer: Nick Catania
Company Manager: Laura Wright

Redd Tale Theatre Company Presents Its Take on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in Two One-Acts

By Byrne Harrison
Reposted from

As part of their "Summer of Creation," Redd Tale Theatre Company breathes life into a pair of one-act plays inspired by Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

The first, Frankenstein With Mary Shelley, is an adaptation of Shelley's work by Virginia Bartholomew, who also performs the piece.  This outstanding one-person play has Bartholomew at turns playing Shelley, Victor Frankenstein and his Creation, as Shelley recounts how the story came to be and brings it to life for her audience.  Bartholomew is a versatile actor and seamlessly moves from character to character, bringing a remarkable depth to her performance.  Her tormented Creation is particularly moving and effective.

Ably directed by Redd Tale Artistic Director Will Le Vasseur, Frankenstein With Mary Shelley is a wonderfully atmospheric piece, dark and somewhat creepy.  Le Vasseur's set and Jason Richard's lighting for the show successfully recreates the feel of a dark drawing room where supernatural things are bound to occur.

Across the board an excellent play, Frankenstein With Mary Shelley will no doubt be brought back for future productions (and if that isn't already in the works, it should be).

The second play of the evening is Gabriel, Will Le Vasseur's take on the Frankenstein story.  In it Le Vasseur plays Henry, an exceedingly wealthy man with a scientific bent, who discovers an astounding secret in human DNA.  With the unwitting help of his colleagues Susan and Pierce (Cameran Hebb and James Stewart), he is able to leapfrog human evolution by 2 million years.  The result is Gabriel - not a monster, but like Shelley's original, something unique, out of place and lonely.  To add to the sense of otherworldliness, Gabriel is played by two actors; Michael Wetherbee, who performs Gabriel onstage and Michael Komala, who voices the telepathic Gabriel from offstage.  It takes some getting used to, but it is an effective portrayal.

Le Vasseur's Gabriel is intriguing and does a good job of bringing the Frankenstein story out of the age of electricity and reanimated corpses and into the modern era of molecular biology and space travel.  The exploration of the ethical implications of creating something so different and strange is fascinating and well thought out by Le Vasseur, not to mention his exploration of the bonding that occurs between creator and creation, between a lonely man and the lost soul that he has brought to life.

The acting in the piece is strong, with particular praise going to Wetherbee for his child-like Gabriel, and Hebb for her comic timing.  Michael Komala does an excellent job with a potentially difficult part (playing a disembodied voice is no doubt challenging).  Stewart and Le Vasseur acquit themselves well, as usual, with Le Vasseur doing particularly effective work with Henry's longing - whether it be for love or to create a legacy.

My only issues with Gabriel have to do with its length and the juxtaposition of this play and Frankenstein With Mary ShelleyFrankenstein With Mary Shelley draws much of its atmosphere from Gothic horror.  Gabriel is a much lighter piece, with dry humor and even some moments of farce (there is a wonderful bit of comedy between Hebb and Stewart after Hebb's Susan is accidentally put into sexual overdrive by Gabriel's telepathy).  This is a stark contrast to the creepy and intimate Frankenstein With Mary Shelley, and it is a bit jarring, even with the intermission between the two pieces.

But more to the point, Gabriel is a bit overstuffed.  Le Vasseur has a lot that he wants to explore in the play, and as a result some of the show, especially the love story between Henry and Gabriel, feels rushed.  This is not to say that Gabriel needs to be cut, rather that Gabriel deserves to be explored and nurtured into something larger.  I, for one, would like to see a full-length version of this play where Le Vasseur has time to fully explore his characters and themes.

With the loss of Nicu's Spoon Theatre, this will be the last full performance from Redd Tale this year (though I hold out hope that they will continue their one-off sci-fi movie festivals, radio shows, etc., until they find a new performance space), but they will be back with full productions in 2012.

Frankenstein With Mary Shelley
Adapted by Virginia Bartholomew
Directed and Edited by Will Le Vasseur
Featuring: Viriginia Bartholomew (Mary Shelley/Victor/Creation)

Written by Will Le Vasseur
Directed by Lynn Kenny
Featuring: Will Le Vasseur (Henry), Cameran Hebb (Susan), James Stewart (Pierce), Michael Komala (Gabriel's Voice) and Michael Wetherbee (Gabriel)

Set/Lighting/Website Design - Will Le Vasseur
Stage Manager - Brittany Ray
Assistant Stage Manager - Michael Komala
Poster Design - Graeme Offord
Ligting Design/Production Photos - Jason Richards

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Del Shores: More Sordid Confessions To Play This Friday at The Laurie Beechman

Del Shores, creator of the cult favorite TV series Sordid Lives (starring Olivia Newton-John, Rue McClanahan, Leslie Jordan and Caroline Rhea), brings his hilarious standup back to New York City. On August 26, The Laurie Beechman Theater presents DEL SHORES: MORE SORDID CONFESSIONS for one night only.

Whether he's recalling details of his "slut" years or calling out the assholes and bitches he's worked with, there is no subject off-limits in DEL SHORES: MORE SORDID CONFESSIONS. "Del says what most people think. He has no censor -- on or offstage. Audiences love him because of his ‘bless-their-hearts’ Texas charm," explains Caroline Rhea. "Look, I'm on Paxil and I don't give a shit anymore," Shores warns.

Del Shores is a writer, director, producer, activist and comic. His career took off with the 1987 play Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got The Will?) and the subsequent 1990 film. He is best known for his 1996 play Sordid Lives which became a film in 1999 and later gave birth to an acclaimed 2008 TV series for Logo. His other plays include Southern Baptist Sissies, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife and mostly recently Yellow, which was just nominated for three Ovation Awards, including one for Shores for Best World Premiere. His work has garnered countless other awards including GLAAD Media Award, NAACP Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Back Stage West Garland Award, Ovation Award, Drama-Logue Award and LA Weekly Award (including their 2006 Career Achievement Award). Shores has also written for TV shows including Queer As Folk, Dharma and Greg and Ned and Stacey. In 2006 he was given a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. He is married to actor/Billboard Top 20 recording artist Jason Dottley and is the father of two daughters.

DEL SHORES: MORE SORDID CONFESSIONS will be presented Friday, August 26 at 7:30pm. The Laurie Beechman Theatre (inside West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street -- at Ninth Avenue, accessible from the A,C,E,N,R,V,F,1,2,3 trains at 42nd Street). Tickets are $18 with a $15 food/drink minimum per person, available at 212-352-3101 or  Or click here for tickets.