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Life. “Do you see this glass? I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. But when the wind blows and the glass falls off the shelf and breaks or if my elbow hits it and it falls to the ground “I say of course.” But when I know that the glass is already broken every minute with it is precious.” - Ajahn Chah
xo Maya 

Life. “Do you see this glass? I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. But when the wind blows and the glass falls off the shelf and breaks or if my elbow hits it and it falls to the ground “I say of course.” But when I know that the glass is already broken every minute with it is precious.” - Ajahn Chah

xo Maya 

The Song: “It Hurts Me Too” For “The Bloodline of Shadrick Grace” #FringeNYC
Sung by Tonya Abernathy
Guitar by Bobby Crace
Original by Tampa Red.

(Source: vimeo.com)

Kristin Skye Hoffmann

An Interview with our director of “The Bloodline of Shadrick Grace.” xo Maya

theatredirectors:

image

Hometown?

Pueblo, Colorado. I’ve lived all over (Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming etc.) but Pueblo will always be home.

Where are you now?

Astoria, New York! I just celebrated my 10-year New-York-iversary so I guess I’m an official New Yorker now. Couldn’t be happier about that.

What’s your…

Me and @Bobbycrace on our Wedding day at The Box in NYC. Photos by Annabel Clark. xo Maya

Photos by Dixie Sheridan

THE BLOODLINE OF SHADRICK GRACE at FringeNYC

Tickets on Sale Now!

Writer: Maya Contreras

Director: Kristin Skye Hoffmann

Take one abandoned Bootlegger, add one bitter wife, a Caddo Indian, two muddled Aunts, three dashes of corrupt cops, a pinch of lesbian nuns, and pour into a depression-era-glass for a Southern tale about a diamond in a rough place. 

The Show dates for “The Bloodline of Shadrick Grace” at VENUE #4: Teatro LATEA at the Clemente (tickets on sale now, click the dates to purchase tickets): 

SAT 8/9 @ 7:00-8:00

MON 8/11 @ 4:00-5:00 

SAT 8/16 @ 12:30-1:30 

THURS 8/21 @ 7:00-8:00 

SAT 8/23 @ 2:15-3:15

for more information go to: thebloodlineofshadrickgrace.com

bellisvintagemono:

I have a bias towards French women, primarily older French women. As the French say “what do the Americans know it is an immature nation not an ancient one”. I therefore always see older French women as being more at ease with the process of ageing - a reflection of their rich heritage - Cheri and Colette, female courtesans, the coquette - a long legacy of older women in French society.

Alongside this, French women take very seriously the sexiness and attractiveness of the mind which develops with age - the cerebral - rather than just surface beauty. With maturity also comes the essence of understanding their own style and what suits.

Fanny Ardent is one such woman - elegant, thoughtful and stylish -  spanning a long career, she epitomises that French woman “bien dans sa peau”- at ease in her own skin. 

Voila la femme vintage - freedom and style

The background music is My Love is by Little Willie John. The moving images are from Les Beaux Jours (Bright Days Ahead) and La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty).

Love this.

themidnightmasses:

Inspiration for the upcoming Midnight Masses video. We are very excited to work with the lovely Ellison Aston (photo credit) and can’t wait to share!

Great band. Good peoples. xo Maya

themidnightmasses:

Inspiration for the upcoming Midnight Masses video. We are very excited to work with the lovely Ellison Aston (photo credit) and can’t wait to share!

Great band. Good peoples. xo Maya

“NO HOMO” written by Brandon Baruch. Interview by Maya Contreras.

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America.  It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “NO HOMO” written by Brandon Baruch.

Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show? 

Brandon Baruch: NO HOMO.

MC: What is it about?

BB: NO HOMO is about what happens when you confuse emotional intimacy with sexual desire. The play tells the story of two straight men, Ash and Luke, who have been best friends for six years.  Although their relationship is completely platonic, their loved ones are convinced they’re secretly inamoratos.  When the men are forced to examine their own relationship, they’re surprised by what they find, leading to an evening from which their friendship may never recover.  

MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?

BB: The idea for this play came from a real-life relationship.  When I started writing this play, I was very (VERY) close friends with a disarmingly handsome heterosexual man.  We did everything together: parties, beach days, spa days, hikes, vacations, and we spent ample couch time drinking beers and watching cartoons.  Facebook was flooded with images of the two of us smiling, arms around the other’s shoulder, so it didn’t take long before all of my friends and family became convinced I secretly harbored feelings for him that would ultimately lead to heartbreak (spoiler alert: I’m gay.)  Nothing I said could convince them otherwise.  I found it offensive (and amusing) that people who had known me for years still couldn’t grasp my friendship was healthy and pure.

A few weeks after my last play (“Me Love Me”) closed in the New York Fringe Festival in 2013, I made a facetious post on Facebook declaring that my next play would be titled “NO HOMO.”  It was intended as a joke, but the post garnered hundreds of likes within minutes, leading me to wonder what a play called NO HOMO would actually be about.  I didn’t want to write a polemic gay-rights play (I’m incredibly disinterested in polemic gay-rights plays) and I didn’t want to write a coming out story (I’m hyperbolically disinterested in coming out stories) so I decided to start from what I know and write about my own bromance.  I didn’t want the play to be autobiographical, so I decided to make both lead characters straight.  I’m also very proud to have written the first gay play I know of where both the leading men are heterosexual. 

MC: What was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?

BB: This is a personal story.  Like I said, It’s not an autobiographical piece by design, but many of the emotional arcs I wrote for the characters are grounded in my own experiences.  While I was writing the play, my friend who inspired the script began the audition process for a world-premiere national tour that would take him out of LA for 15 months.  The role was perfect for him, but the notion of losing him was heartbreaking, and it influenced the narrative arc of NO HOMO.  The original ending of my script was based on how I predicted it would feel if he left me for the tour.

A month after I finished the first full draft of the script, my friend went to his fourth callback and finally landed the role.  I reacted selfishly.  Instead of being proud of him, I became mopey about the thought of him leaving me.  He was (bless him) never anything less than wonderful in our final pre-tour time together, but I was mortified by my own behavior, and we never really talked about it.

I dropped him off at the airport one morning in April and headed to NO HOMO rehearsal, where we started our day by staging the final scene.  Watching from the back of the house, I realized that nothing in that final moment felt honest.  I was making Luke into the villain for leaving, when it was actually Ash who was being selfish for wanting him to stay.  I excused myself to the restroom for a moment to compose myself.  Which is to say I cried.  (Spoiler alert: I’m really gay.)

My director had been urging me to rewrite the final scene since she first joined the project.  This was the first moment I understood what I needed to do.  A few days later, I presented the cast with the scene that we now use to end the play.  It’s more ambiguous than the prior draft, and our audiences have argued over whether it’s a happy or sad ending.  I still have a hard time watching the final moment of the play, and I usually step out into the lobby then return at curtain call.

MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?

BB: There are two characters in the play who are heavily based on aspects of my own personality.  This allowed me to write some really fun dialogue and strongly assert my voice as playwright into the piece.  (Critics have praised my “endless one-liners” but I think the reason the comedy works is because it’s firmly rooted in character voice.)

I also really enjoyed toeing the line between high-brow and low-brow in this piece.  Ash has a moment wherein he says “last night was an unfortunate confluence of circumstances - tempers were raised, buttons were pushed, and I hope we can get past everything without any familial animosity” that comes about 2 minutes after bidding his friend “buona notte, fart face.”  

I’m patting myself on the back for that one.

MC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the New York Fringe Festival?

BB: It’s exciting to be an official participant in a curated theater festival.  It validates the work that my collaborators and I have been putting into this piece for the last year.  It’s also an opportunity to bring LA Theater to New York audiences and show them what we’re made of.

MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?

BB: You can visit our website, follow our twitter and instagram, like our facebook, or find me in a bar and buy me a glass of single malt whiskey - I’ll talk your ear off. www.nohomoplay.com twitter: @nohomoplay instagram: @nohomo_play www.facebook.com/bromantictragedy.

Part Two: Proust’s Questionnaire:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Always knowing what my goals are.

What is your greatest fear? Never knowing true love.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  I always feel the need to be the most entertaining person in the room.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? The need to always be the most entertaining person in the room.

Which living person do you most admire? My mother.

What is your greatest extravagance? I eat out a lot.

What is your current state of mind? Motivated.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Decency. 

On what occasion do you lie? When I have something to gain and the other person has little or nothing to lose.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Belly fat, skinny arms.

Which living person do you most despise? I’m not saying his name in print.

What is your most treasured possession?  My life-size standee of WWE Superstar John Cena.

What is the quality you most like in a man? 

Rapier wit.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Rapier wit.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

Hyperbolically, spectacularly, emphatically, verisimilitude, penchant for sesquipedalian loquaciousness, avowed logophile, hey girl hey.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Storytelling.

When and where were you happiest? Opening night curtain call of NO HOMO at Schkapf Theater in Hollywood, CA on June 10, 2014.

Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could sing. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be the type of person who goes to the gym every day because he likes it, instead of because I have to.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? My circle of friends. 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A parrot, or a person who gets to spend all day with parrots. 

Where would you most like to live? Tri-coastal with a loft in Downtown LA, an apartment in Lake View, Chicago, and a pied-à-terre in the East Village of Manhattan.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not knowing what you want in life.

What is your favorite occupation? Career Artist. 

What is your most marked characteristic? My sense of humor. 

What do you most value in your friends? Their intelligence, kindness, loyalty, and ambition.

Who are your favorite writers? Anton Chekhov, Edward Albee, Charles Busch, and David Rakoff.

Who is your hero of fiction? Sterling Archer.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Is Charles Nelson Reilly a historical figure?

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents, Jessica Hanna, Nancy Keystone.

What are your favorite names? Benoit, Brock, Serge. 

What is it that you most dislike?  People who replace vowels in curse words with asterisks.  Who the fuck do you think you’re fooling?

What is your greatest regret? I wish I’d stuck with the piano lessons.

How would you like to die? At a really inopportune time so everyone talks about how tragic it is. (But obviously due to sickness or accident so no one blames me for it.)

What is your motto?“Smile and be happy to be there.”

“The Warrior and The Princess” written by Shirley Van Sanden. Interview by Maya Contreras. 

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America.  It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “The Warrior and The Princess” written by Shirley Van Sanden.

Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show? 

Shirley Van Sanden: The Warrior and The Princess.

MC: What is it about?

SVS: It’s set during the early days of World War 2 and is about a Japanese diplomat who goes against direct orders from his government and issues over 6000 transit visas to Jewish refugees enabling them to escape from Europe.  The play is inspired by the true story of Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara.  

MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?

SVS: I was appalled by the way asylum seekers were being treated by the Australian government.  This is quite a few years ago now, but I came across the Sugihara story around the time of ‘the children overboard affair’ – the Australian government falsely reported that asylum seekers had thrown children into the ocean to encourage their own rescue. I was horrified that this story was perpetuated and used as some kind of proof that these desperate people were less than human.  

Around the time, a documentary was screened on Australian TV called “The Jews of Shanghai” which told the story of many Jewish refugees who had spent most of World War 2 in Shanghai (then under Japanese rule).  It revealed that these people had arrived there on transit visas issued by a Japanese diplomat based in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara. 

I was fascinated by this man and his selfless act of courage. Put in the context of the time, his position as a government official and that he was of Samurai background, it was astonishing.  What he must have had to overcome to willingly go against orders, a man that was brought up under the Bushido code.  I was in tears by the end of the documentary.  Sugihara’s humanity and generosity was such a contrast to the current attitude to asylum seekers.  

MC: What was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?

SVS: The story is BIG!  I mean big as in it is a historical piece that spans continents and political complexities.  It’s easy to get bogged down in detail and lose the plot.  I had this project on the back burner for some time, just brooding on it.  There were so many characters, so much going on, there were schemes you would not believe, and I knew I would need to be selective.  

The reality of theatre in Perth, Western Australia, is that a play with a small cast is more likely to be produced.  So my biggest hurdle was coming up with a viable storytelling format for this big story.  

I didn’t want to write a straight out factual, linear re-enactment of what happened during World War 2; there are documentaries that do that already. I did, however, want to make a play that would affect an audience in the same visceral way I had responded when watching “The Jews of Shanghai”. I decided I wanted a child character and that I wanted the audience to emotionally invest in the plight of the Jewish refugees – so I came up with the characters of Anna, a little girl who likes to play at being a Princess and her Uncle Jakub. I also decided to amalgamate Sugihara’s wife, Yukiko and his German assistant Wolfgang Gudze into one character – which is how I came up with Johanna.  Since I had departed this much from history, I decided to change the name of the Sugihara based character – hence we have Kiyoshi Yoshida. 

Another crucial element of this storytelling format was the use of puppetry.  Not only did it allow the introduction of more characters without actors having to change costume yet again, but it also brought a certain visual style to the piece.  The whole ethos of the play is very ‘old school’, we purposely steered away from digital technology for a hands on approach, hence the use of live music and live projection (with overhead projectors) and shadow play.  “The Warrior and The Princess’ is highly visual, it’s tightly woven with imagery and supported throughout by a fastidiously chosen live piano score.

MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?

SVS: It was most convenient when history and invention came together.  An example of this is ‘the Manchurian incident’.  The real life Sugihara, complained about the treatment of Chinese civilians by Japanese troops when he was stationed in Manchuria and he got nowhere.  That one incident gave me artistic license to invest in the rest of the play. It became the opportunity missed that gives the hero the determination to succeed at all costs.  The other part I really enjoyed was the re-writing that takes place during the rehearsal period, it’s quite liberating when you know it just make the work better.  I also had a fantastic dramaturge that I worked with, Richard Tulloch and the director, Monica Main. 

MC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the New York Fringe Festival?

SVS: It’s a long time since I’ve been to North America. I toured a few times in the nineties and noughties with Barking Gecko Theatre Company on the US and Canadian Children’s Festivals Circuits. The last time was 2006 when we did several Canadian Festivals with another of my plays, the Award winning “Hidden Dragons”.  I am very proud of that play and that tour.   

Generally speaking, though, touring is not easy, although I love it, and that is because we are geographically challenged living in Perth, the most isolated city in the world.  It’s even isolated in terms of Australia.  Ironically, the nearest capital city to Perth is Denpasar in Bali, Indonesia. 

“The Warrior and The Princess” is a big story with universal themes that we want to share  with a larger audience. So, as a group, Blue Moose, we thought, where would be the best place for us to take this show?

We specifically approached the New York International Fringe Festival with “The Warrior and The Princess” because we thought that New York was the ideal place for the subject matter of the play.  There are foundations like Visas for Life that have Sugihara as their inspiration, and there are descendants of Sugihara survivors living in New York. We want to share this story with them as well as with a wider audience.  We want to inspire others the way Sugihara has inspired us.  Being part of FringeNYC enables us to do this.   

MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?

SVS: This is the Blue Moose website.  You can find out more about “The Warrior and The Princess” there.

http://taitmail.wix.com/blue-moose

Part Two: Proust’s Questionnaire:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A cat purring on my lap and a good book in my hand, because if the book was in my lap, the cat would be purring on it.

What is your greatest fear? Forgetting my lines or what play I’m in. 

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Self-doubt.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-assuredness.

Which living person do you most admire? Sir David Attenborough.

What is your greatest extravagance? Pole dance lessons.

What is your current state of mind? Anxious.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Which virtues are you referring to? Bushido?  If so, honour, because if you have fairness, courage, benevolence, respect and loyalty, chances are you’re honourable. 

On what occasion do you lie? When I absolutely HAVE to.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? The lumpy bits.

Which living person do you most despise? I try not to despise anyone.  Sometimes I have to try VERY hard.

What is the quality you most like in a man? If I like the person, I like them.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? If I like the person, I like them

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

Uhm… basically…ahh…literally…yep.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? The smell of the grease paint.

When and where were you happiest? Hoping that’s something to look forward to, although I was pretty happy when “The Warrior and The Princess” was nominated for a prestigious Australian Writer’s Guild (AWGIE) Award.

Which talent would you most like to have? The one that consistently doubles in value.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My feet.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Still being alive.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? This is one of those occasions when I would absolutely HAVE to lie… 

Where would you most like to live? UK.

What is your most treasured possession? My flexibility.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Day time TV.

What is your favorite occupation? Acting.

What is your most marked characteristic? Being annoying.

What do you most value in your friends? Acceptance.

Who are your favorite writers? I have lots.  I really like Martin McDonagh, Stephen Adly Guirgis and that guy, William Shakespeare.  

Who is your hero of fiction? Fox Mulder or maybe Arthur Dent

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Alexander The Great, because I’m short and want to conquer the world.

Who are your heroes in real life? Chiune Sugihara.

What are your favorite names?  I quite like Greek names.

What is it that you most dislike? When my dogs eat manure then try to lick me, and the dustbin.  

What is your greatest regret? Not learning to be a contortionist as a child 

How would you like to die? Quickly.

What is your motto? Wear them down with persistence.


"Bedroom Secrets" written by Thomas & Judy Heath. Interview by Maya Contreras.  
The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America.  It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “Bedroom Secrets” written by playwrights Thomas & Judy Heath.  
Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show? 
Thomas & Judy Heath: Bedroom Secrets.
MC: What is it about? 
TJH: It’s a comedic-drama that peeks into the world of a Psychotherapist and five of her patients dealing with  different issues around sexuality today. The kicker is that one female actor (Ashlie Atkinson from “Fat Pig”, “Rescue Me”, “Wolf of Wall Street”) plays the therapist, while one male actor (Stephen Wallem, “Thor” on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie”) plays all five patients, men and women.
MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?
TJH: Sexuality in America is ever-changing and so too are the concerns that come into a therapist’s office. There is an increase in internet pornography addiction, more experimentation bi-sexually, and a host of other issues that have exploded over the past 10 years. “As a Psychotherapist, I see the struggles and the changing perceptions, good and bad, as we all navigate our way through this tumult together,” Judy explains. Without humor we are sunk. One of our most redeeming human qualities is the ability to laugh in the face of pain. People can be quite heroic in their daily struggles. It was a pleasure to write dialogue for our quirky, very human characters and to portray a therapist as a real person as well. To then have such incredible actors breathe life into these roles for the first time is a thrill for a playwright..
MC: What was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?
TJH: There were no real hurdles in writing this piece. The idea came all at once and the words flowed freely. As playwrights, we tend to pick our words apart and edit quite a bit. That though, can be a brain drain, sometimes. 
MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?
TJH: Getting to workshop our story in both New York City and Charleston with the actual actors (Stephen and Ashlie) to flesh out the characters more completely was amazing! It became very collaborative at times.
MC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the New York Fringe Festival?
TJH: It is an honor for us and exciting to come back as the TheaterMania Audience Favorite Award Winners for last year’s play, PERFECTLY NORMEL PEOPLE. We love working with Elena Holy and her team and the craziness that is FringeNYC!
MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?

TJH: Twitter: @ThomasJudyHeath  Facebook: ThomasAndJudyHeath, Writers  Website: www.ThomasAndJudyHeath.com

"Bedroom Secrets" written by Thomas & Judy Heath. Interview by Maya Contreras.  

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America.  It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “Bedroom Secrets” written by playwrights Thomas & Judy Heath.  

Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show? 

Thomas & Judy Heath: Bedroom Secrets.

MC: What is it about? 

TJH: It’s a comedic-drama that peeks into the world of a Psychotherapist and five of her patients dealing with  different issues around sexuality today. The kicker is that one female actor (Ashlie Atkinson from “Fat Pig”, “Rescue Me”, “Wolf of Wall Street”) plays the therapist, while one male actor (Stephen Wallem, “Thor” on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie”) plays all five patients, men and women.

MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?

TJH: Sexuality in America is ever-changing and so too are the concerns that come into a therapist’s office. There is an increase in internet pornography addiction, more experimentation bi-sexually, and a host of other issues that have exploded over the past 10 years. “As a Psychotherapist, I see the struggles and the changing perceptions, good and bad, as we all navigate our way through this tumult together,” Judy explains. Without humor we are sunk. One of our most redeeming human qualities is the ability to laugh in the face of pain. People can be quite heroic in their daily struggles. It was a pleasure to write dialogue for our quirky, very human characters and to portray a therapist as a real person as well. To then have such incredible actors breathe life into these roles for the first time is a thrill for a playwright..

MC: What was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?

TJH: There were no real hurdles in writing this piece. The idea came all at once and the words flowed freely. As playwrights, we tend to pick our words apart and edit quite a bit. That though, can be a brain drain, sometimes. 

MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?

TJH: Getting to workshop our story in both New York City and Charleston with the actual actors (Stephen and Ashlie) to flesh out the characters more completely was amazing! It became very collaborative at times.

MC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the New York Fringe Festival?

TJH: It is an honor for us and exciting to come back as the TheaterMania Audience Favorite Award Winners for last year’s play, PERFECTLY NORMEL PEOPLE. We love working with Elena Holy and her team and the craziness that is FringeNYC!

MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?

TJH: Twitter: @ThomasJudyHeath  Facebook: ThomasAndJudyHeath, Writers  Website: www.ThomasAndJudyHeath.com