WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If You're going to Talk the Talk

You have to know how to walk the walk.

So we talk a lot on this blog about "growing our community" and "expanding the Boston theatre scene"... I mean if someone started a drinking game involving the blog and those phrases, within four posts everyone would be sloshed.

I know for some of you it must seem awfully theoretical at times, like "Yeah, ok, so these kids want to 'grow the community' but aside from talking about on their freaking blog what are they DOING about it?" Well folks, here's an opportunity - there are moves being made in Southie to build a new arts and cultural center in the abandonded D Street Police Station. It would include a new 150-seat theatre as well as rehearsal and studio space and a myriad of other artsy things like a gallery and the headquarters for the South Boston Historical Society. I mentioned this movement at the beginning of the summer and posted about sending a support letter. Tonight there is an Open Meeting to go over the proposal and continue to gather support for the new arts center. I will be there. I hope you'll consider joining me!

For more information on the meeting and the proposal please visit www.sobacc.org.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To "Anonymous"

In response to:

It's so difficult, in reading your blog, to understand what it is you're trying to say. I'm surprised most to read you criticizing anyone else's grammar or spelling when yours is so abysmal you seem to be taking every side, while criticizing both. What is your point?

Come on guy... I just want you to love me...

As I said in the post: dude, take it down a notch. We're not talking Israel and Palestine here. Yeah, I could afford to proofread my blog posts more closely. I agree. I also don't get paid to do this, have a full time job, and don't care. I like blogging informally. It's my style, at least until I start getting full nights of sleep and remember that people actually read this thing.

People like you. How nice of you to respond in barely more than an hour! It's nice to have fans. Between you and the publishing agents for the Kurt Weill Foundation, we have quite the illustrious readership! (Who are you anyway? I'm wicked curious!)

Anywho, I do appreciate your feedback. Seriously. The grammar thing is good to note. I won't change the conversational nature of my posts, but I did have a few obvious typos and grammar errors in my previous post. My bad.

But do you have to be so belligerent? See, this is what I'm talking about! Maybe I was a bit snarky. See, if I didn't like you, if I didn't think you'd made some worthwhile statements, I would've been much harsher. And I'd be ripping you apart right now. I do like what you have to say, but I couldn't help expressing myself. Quite frankly, despite my errors, I think I'm comprehensible. Certain sections of your statement...make absolutely no sense. Here's an example:

In terms of the form they are installing as the answer to what theatre can be in
the future the vessel is empty and void of any truly challenging ideas.


i want to be a part of the avant garde but only
when it is defined as the advanced guard that is moving forward with the skill
of a soldier to reconnoitre with intelligence the landscape and proceed as
guardians of what should always be considered sacred.

Dude. I had to read that like five times. Hence, I was pretty annoyed. You couldn't have taken a few extra seconds to fix the run on sentences.

As for my point... Maybe you don't understand it, but that's what dialogue is all about. Let's talk, guy! Why am I taking every side? Well, I haven't made up my mind yet. But I'd like to talk about it. I think the Boston theatre community can be better served by talking about it than by anonymous sniping on the internets. I'm not afraid to speak my mind. Quite frankly, I respect everyone I've talked about on this blog (except for the agents for the Kurt Weill Foundation. )That's why I dont make apologies. That's why we're different.

And that's why you're reading us right now. And others. Because we're willing to take emotional and professional risks to ask the difficult questions. And you, good sir, are helping us in that very endeavor.

Thanks, guy! Friend me on Facebook?


The Globe, A.R.T. and Will LeBow's Open Letter pt. II

After several weeks of talking to people about the A.R.T. controversy, I'd like to revisit the discussion for a few moments.

First, John had a great point regarding the number of Boston actors that Donkey Show and Sleep No More employed. I think that's a great trend, but what I'm really talking about is extending a hand out to the community as an equal partner rather than as a paternalistic LORT behemoth. As I said in the post, I'm not saying it's necessarily intentional, but at the very least it's a crisis of communication. Many members of the arts community do feel alienated by the A.R.T. Of course, the A.R.T. doesn't have to do anything if they don't want to, but I the choice is theirs to make: Do we remain a cog in the theatrical industrial complex? Or do we refocus our efforts on local development and community outreach...

Afterall, I'm pretty sure it's a 501 (c)3. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course.

So in that vein, I would propose that the A.R.T. conduct events such as open workshops with their resident (oops) company, or perhaps holding more widely publicized readings to the public. And having to talked to actors who have performed in Europe, where it's considered a professional sign of respect to comp local performers, maybe send out a few extra discount tickets on StageSource every so often? What you might lose in ticket revenue, you'll gain in support. Because god knows, the last thing I'm going to spend my money on during hard times is a 50 dollar ticket. And I can't keep using my old student ID to rush tickets forever...

It's like development... if you establish a relationship with me now, I'll look at the A.R.T. as more than a transaction, but something I'm a part of. And in the long run, that's worth much more than 30 dollars in cash.

Moving onto comments by "Anonymous"

read more here about some of the behind close doors deals. much of what is being
expressed by the leadership is idealized banter appealing to artists looking to
break out of the mold and into new forms.
I would suggest reading that article first. It's interesting, as sections of the article seem to imlpy that there's some sort of nepotism going on at the A.R.T. However, it's not as damning as you made it seem to sound. I'm not sure if anyone's accusing Eric Bogosian and Jo Bonney for their collaborations. Since you bring it up, I do believe the burden is on you to make a case using that piece of evidence.

In terms of the form they are installing as the answer to what theatre can be in
the future the vessel is empty and void of any truly challenging ideas. there is
room for more inside of the structure of the donkey show to express, whether it
be Shakespeare or not, more than a thesis that extends no further than ' gee
weren't the 70's fun? anyone want to take their shirt off for another bump of
Now, I do find this rather parochial. Do you attend fringe theatre? There's been a number of productions produced at Oberon utilizing the space in a manner that would've been impossible at a traditional theatre. I find it doubtful that anyone of these young, vibrant artists were not inspired in some part by The Donkey Show itself. Theatre is an event, and as much as you wish to take away from what it means to audiences (and artists) who experienced catharsis during the said event, your grand statement merely serves to put words in the Diane Paulus's mouth. You seem to know a thing or two about theatre. But frankly, I do think you could afford to take it down a notch. You are being rather presumptious.

i would ask if you consider theme park entertainment theatre? can't we have
changed forms with substance? i want to be a part of the avant garde but only
when it is defined as the advanced guard that is moving forward with the skill
of a soldier to reconnoitre with intelligence the landscape and proceed as
guardians of what should always be considered sacred. whether comedy or tragedy,
entertainment or agitprop, the theatre is a tool for a community to hold the
mirror up to themselves and evaluate what they see.
Okay, the grammar is starting to annoy me. But I'll try to respond nontheless. Do I consider theme park entertainment theatre? I guess I would, but I also wouldn't say that it's good theatre. It serves it's purpose. If one can make a smal child smile, isn't that worth something on it's own? I don't go to Disneyland expecting to see Lope de Vega. Although I did catch a great production of Mother Courage at Chuck-E-Cheese as a child...

As an artistic community shouldn't we be more concerned that our two main figure
heads ( Dubuis and Paulus ) are more interested in developing, living, and
collaborating with our neighbors in NYC? When will we have an artistic director
who throws the weight of the budget around to add to debates and conversations
that are happening in our community? Rise up fringe you are on the outskirts no
more there are cracks in the pavement and there we can plant the seeds for a
revolution that will crack the foundations of any 'institution'.

I believe it's spelled "DuBois".

That being said, I do agree with this sentiment. I don't believe the future of Boston theatre lies within The Huntington or A.R.T., though I do believe they serve an important purpose. I guess I am concerned with it, but at the same time, I'm not sitting on my laurels waiting for things to change. That's why I produce. That's why lots of people produce. The major changes in theatre come from the the bottom up, and I'm okay with that. I'll continue to see the Hunt and ART, and I'll continue to criticise their bad shows and laud their good shows.

In the meantime, I think your passion and energy is better spent strengthening the fringe than bashing Diane Paulus. Give the woman a chance. I still think it's too early to tell.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Exclamation Point!

A few weeks ago Marc Miller, Artistic Director for Fort Point Theatre Channel, asked The CoLab to get involved with their latest mixed-media Exclamation Point! event happening THIS Saturday October 2. Our contribution is that I'll be directing a reading of a ten-minute play called Superhero by California playwright Mark Harvey Levine. It's a sweet story about a boy a girl and the super-powers we all can find. Come see what Fort Point AND the CoLab are serving up in Southie and support fringe theater...I bet you know more than one person involved, just check the list below!

Exclamation Point 8! –MASKS.

Fort Point Theatre Channel’s Exclamation Point! #8 offers diverse new works & works in progress on the theme of “masks” from playwrights, filmmakers, mask makers, animators, poets, dancers

The evening includes work by Featured musicians, writers, actors, actresses, and helpers: Holly Adams, Sylvie Agudelo, Tammy Blue, Eric Bornstein, Joe Burgio, Curt Klump, Lou Cohen, Mary Driscoll, Kurt Cole Eidsvig, Conor Fitzgerald, Christie Lee Gibson, Silvia Graziano, Tim Hoover, Angie Jepson, Andrew Kluger, Rachel Kurnos, Hugh Long, Brett Marks, Krina Patel, Larry Plitt, Marc S. Miller, Mark Levine, Robert Murphy, Mary-Liz Murray, Jeremy Newman, Paula Plum, Stacey Polishook, Rachael Rosner, Matt Samolis, Jonathan Samson, Skip Schloming, Vincent Siders, Robin Smith, Ian Thal, Elaine Theodore, Nick Thorkelson, Douglas Urbank, Daniel J. van Ackere, Mark Villanueva, Betty Wang, Mark Warhol, Walter Wright . . . and friends.

Curated by Marc S. Miller, Robin Smith, Nick Thorkelson, and Douglas Urbank

October 2, 7 pm
Art at 12 Gallery, 12 Farnsworth Street, Fort Point, Boston

Refreshments will be served.

More Info at: www.fortpointtc.org


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It was fine...

That statement may be more disappointing than any other one I think or say after seeing a show. It means I wasn't excited, or moved, or intrigued, or even outraged. Everything was just...fine. What a horrible word, "fine". Everything about it lacks a connotation or an attitude or an emotion. Just the way the letters string together is boring. And so to describe a piece of theatre that way is ultimately disheartening. Not because anything was wrong. But because nothing was in any way provoking.

I saw the Huntington's Bus Stop tonight. And it was fine. It wasn't bad. The set was perfect but not noteworthy. The direction was, as I see it, antithetical to the playwright's intentions but not out of the ordinary to how the play is generally produced. Most of the acting was competent but not interesting or particularly watchable. I sat, I watched, I laughed a little, I didn't care at all about the characters, I listened to the words and saw a very average production.

I like Bus Stop. I think it's a simple soulful play about average American people with real lives and relationships and problems. It's wistful, and sweet, funny and dark. It has the potential to be intensely moving and greatly funny.

The play I saw tonight was completely on the surface. There was no depth. There was no heart. It looked good, it sounded good, it hit the marks as far as standard American situation comedy goes. It was played for an audience who wanted to say they "saw a play at the Huntington last night, and we had a good time". It was not played to honor the playwright or to make a directorial statement, or to give actors the chance to explore rich characters. It was not played to push boundaries or explore something new or present something interesting. It was presented to season subscribers as a fun season opener with a few local and a few semi-famous names attached. It was produced to not offend anyone and to keep people happy.

And that's fine.

That is a type of theatre that exists. I'm not a fan. It doesn't mean anything to me. For me as an actor, producer, and especially audience member, to produce theatre to placate your audience is a useless creative endeavor. I believe we need to push our audiences. Will it lead to some backlash? Sure. Might you lose some subscribers? You bet. Might you gain some new audience members and engage a demographic of people who are truly interested in theatre, who want to be pushed and engaged and can leave your theatre with something other to say then "Well, that was fine."? Hell yeah.

Bus Stop plays through October 17 at the BU Theatre.

~ Always, MLM

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting Passionate About Your Cubicle

Getting passionate about your cubicle or server's apron or secretary's desk can be difficult. We all have our good days and bad days with our work day. Last week, I couldn't set foot in the restaurant without being in a bad mood. People kept asking me what was wrong and I insisted that I was just tired or run down. It wasn't until the new server that I was training asked me, "Are you getting frustrated with me?" did I realize that I was coming off to my co-workers as miserable, grumpy, and jaded.

I've been at the restaurant for a year now and I've definitely settled into a niche there. Most things I do are second nature, I can recite off ingredients like its nobody's business and I can tell you where to find a "Lunch Sized Chinese Chicken Salad" on the computer screen like its the back of my hand. But I realized last week that my attitude can't be second nature. It's my choice to be in this job and I choose it for a reason. I choose to wait on tables because it allows me to take time off in order to act when I want. I choose to wait on tables because it keeps me from monotonously answering the phone all day. I like the staff, I like moving, and when I can make someone's day by providing them with a special experience at the restaurant, I really like my job.

If you asked me what my dream job was, I would tell you, I would be an actor full time. I'd be getting paid to act on a regular basis. But even though that's what I'm passionate about, there are things that I'm sure I would get grumpy and jaded about as well. And while I do hope that's where my career is headed, I think it's healthy for me to start realizing this now. There is work involved in any job, no matter what the job is. I was reading an article this morning that put it like this:

"When it comes to our work, we choose to be passionate. Or not. We choose to be actively engaged. Or not. We choose to be conscientious. Or not. We choose to treat customers and colleagues with courtesy and consideration. Or not. We choose to give more than is expected. Or not. We choose to see ourselves as part of the big picture. Or not."

- "Myths About Passion and Your Art Career." Read more here.

No matter what I want to be my future reality, that white uniform is my immediate reality and I need to choose to engage in that business to be happy with it. I've got some auditions coming up that will hopefully be fruitful, but even if they're not, I've got to choose to be happy at a place that I'm spending 40 hours a week, or my outlook on life in general is going to suffer. So break out that vase of fall colored flowers, or a new smile for your day today and be PASSIONATE about one piece of your work day. I promise, it will make the rest of your week that much more enjoyable.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Culture of Cross-Promotion

For a while now I have been pondering what Boston's niche is as a theatre town. What is our "thing" that we as a community can continue to cultivate to grow to make our mark? I've had a few different discussions on it and changed my mind about what I thought it could be, but I've never been able to come to a solid conclusion about it. But it has come to me in the last few weeks that the most unique thing about Boston theatre is our ability and willingness to cross-promote and collaborate. The support we got for play. only solidified that for me.

Now, some may argue this will only serve to make us even smaller and more insular as a community, and that eventually each company has to strike out on their own to be a viable organization and to promote healthy competition and a greater talent pool. And it's a legitimate argument.

But I think this culture of cross-promotion can only make our organizations stronger and more stable. So far it has encouraged new work and new companies and strengthened the independent missions of our varied organizations. To see two or three companies work together on a night of one-acts or a short festival or even in the creation of S.T.A.B (Small Theatre Alliance of Boston) , you can tell which organizations bring what to the table. You see side-by-side the different aesthetics, approaches, and philosophies that our companies are creating and acting upon. Aided by organizations like StageSource, ARTSBoston, and now also by S.T.A.B, as well as growing initiatives by our larger and more established companies to collaborate (see this article in Sunday's Boston Globe about the Shirley VT plays happening this fall) the community here is flourishing by working together to grow audiences and artists. It seems that the model that started in fringe theater of, "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine." is creeping up the ranks as a shrewd business practice as well as an rewarding artistic avenue.

So why is this Boston's niche? Because our community is still on the edge of forming it's identity as a theatre town. Although we do have a supportive community, there is a long way to go in growing an solid audience base for most of the theatre that is produced locally. And we also have a long way to go before artists are able to make a sustainable living. Nationally, our identity is still blurry and new, no one is quite sure how to categorize us except by saying we're "a smaller market than New York". This is our opportunity to use each other to create the identity of a supportive and integrated community with a completely different ethos than New York (or anywhere else for that matter). One that's based on dedication and collaboration instead of the bigger picture every man for himself idea. We still need to improve on our methods of collaboration and cross-promotion. Until it's truly embraced as our strongest asset it will be hard to get it to make as big a difference as possible. We need to continue to work on crossing the lines of "big vs small" appealing to our bigger and better funded companies to sponsor and promote the smaller companies. Showing audiences that quality theatre can be found in the Boston University Theatre and around the corner at The Factory and that patronizing both is the best way to keep Boston theatre growing is key to the success of cross-promotion. But I know we can get there. The Shirley VT plays are just the beginning of that.

By embracing this growing desire to support each-other's work on not just a personal level, but also on an organizational level, we have the opportunity to help each other grow. To help our city grow. And to help the identity and importance of professional theatre grow on a national level. Publicizing shows on the backs of programs, co-producing a one night 10-minute play event, sharing fund-raising ideas and production materials and costs, and promoting artist cultivation through co-sponsored trainings and workshops is a way in which we can show both audience members and artists that we are dedicated to producing good theatre to satisfy our missions, our supporters, and the actor's, director's and designer's who work in this city. Giving up just a little of our own ego to build a stronger environment seems well worth the sacrifice.

~ Always, Mary-Liz

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Kids Are (Just) All Right: A Review

With my INSANE schedule I often find it hard to get myself to the movies, even though I LOVE going to movies. It's fun in a different way than watching live drama. It's dark and cool and the mood is absolutely more relaxed. Also, if there are three people in theatre (like there were on this particular trip) the actors will never know! Recently, on a day off from work, I decided to treat myself to a flick at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. I decided on The Kids Are All Right, an indie film starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, and Mark Ruffalo. I left the theatre thinking to myself, "That was alright but I probably should have just gone and seen Inception and waited until this came out on DVD."

The plot line was interesting -- two women in a lesbian couple each get impregnated by the same sperm donor's DNA. The kids grow up and decide to try and find their "father," which is all well and good until the mothers find out and then everyone's relationships start to enter into new levels. While this was a great way to show the changing family dynamic in America, I think a lot of other media sources are doing it better. Modern Family, for instance, uses a mocumentary style to delve into the sometimes taboo topic of the changing face of America's family much more effectively. There are many reason why/how, but mostly, I BELIEVE that the people in this TV Show are family and I want the varying family members to succeed. Which brings me to my biggest problem with the film...

...the acting. I respect both Bening and Moore as actresses. That being said, they simply had NO CHEMISTRY. And I'm not even talking about as lesbians, but as two actresses side-by-side, I didn't feel/see any spark between them and that really bothered me. There's a line in the film where the couple is explaining why they watch male-male porn instead of female-female porn and their reason is that directors cast two straight women to play lesbians and they just don't believe the attraction between them. I found this to be the case with this film. Interestingly enough, I've seen both actresses play similar roles to perfection. Moore pulls off "the whole lesbian thing" with heartbreaking and ease in The Hours and Bening plays a fabulous jilted, miserable wife in American Beauty but the energy from those performance never made it into this movie and I can't quite figure out why.

The script MIGHT have helped these actresses inch apart as it left a lot of loose ends that I wanted to see tied up absolutely untouched. Mia Wasikowska (try to say that ten times fast) and Josh Hutcherson, who play the kids, give simple, beautiful performances and I only wish that some of the minor story lines that involved them were carried out further.

The shining moment for this film was absolutely the climax scene (pun intended for those of you who have seen it -- no spoilers here!) which involves a dinner scene featuring all five main characters. While Bening and Moore seemed somewhat mismatched, the combination of these two with Ruffalo, Wasikowska, and Hutcherson made for a beautiful bit of ensemble acting. Ruffalo, who gave a truthful performance as a lackluster human being, seemed to have connections with each family member in a different, sometimes creepy way and it manifested itself gorgeously in this scene. While I don't think that was the performance of his career, he definitely did a respectable job in this film. (I'm not saying that just because we've met before.)

The bottom line is, I'm glad films like this are being made, but I'm just not quite sure that all of the elements added up in this one. I didn't hate it, but I left the theatre feeling like something was missing from my viewing experience. The plot focussed enormously on the journey of a family with two moms and how this family copes with its "American family image." HOWEVER, there were so many more interesting plot lines in the film that didn't get carried out that would have made the characters fuller and this movie all-around better. (For instance, Bening's character's mood swings due to alcoholism were FASCINATING to watch. However, they were too abruptly inserted into the ripples of the political statements the film was making to help the movie along.) The movie showed the quartet as "a normal family with two parents and two kids" but I think it could have accomplished its goal better by letting the lesbianism be less front and center. But I guess when the writer and the director is part of the creative team behind The L-Word, this movie was created with an agenda in mind. I don't mind agenda, unless it gets in the way of the creative process, as it did in this film. I'd recommend this film if you're interested in the plot topic, but pay $1 at Red Box in four months, it doesn't need to been seen on the big screen.

Erika and friends Judah and Anthony (L to R) with Mark Ruffalo at Brandeis University, Fall 2008 after the premier of his Boston-based film, What Doesn't Kill You.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Theatre Blog Gets Sued (Almost)!

Solidarity with these guys. It looks like they had a more aggressive sitaution. But what makes this ridiculous, is that they weren't being threatened by a publishing corporation... they were being threatened by a theatre!

Without Prejudice: Why all the Royal Opera House posts have disappeared

For additional commentary, which put it better than I could:

On Why It's Time to Listen (Or a Love Letter to Theatre Bloggers)

And if you never read about the time we got threatened by an international publishing corporation:

Photo Shop Fun Post



Friday, September 10, 2010

Change of Season

Here we are in the middle of September! How did that happen. I have been M.I.A. on the blog circuit for the last few weeks as the school year starts my "day" job has me running around like a crazy person. And so does the new theatre season! There is so much happening and opening here in town over these first few weeks of September.

Here's a list of some things playing right now (or this week) and opening the 2010/2011 season for us.

Let the games begin:

The Real Inspector Hound:
Publick Theatre
Running through September 25, Plaza Theatre BCA

Cabaret: American Repertory Theatre
Running through October 29, Club Oberon

Boston Marriage: New Repertory Theatre
Running through October 3, Arsenal Center for the Arts

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Lyric Stage
Running Through October 2, Lyric Stage

Romeo and Juliet
: Independent Drama Society
September 16 - 25, The Factory Theatre

Bus Stop
: Huntington Theatre Co.
September 17 - October 17, Boston University Theatre

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
: Speakeasy Stage
September 17 - October 16, Roberts Theatre BCA

This list clearly runs the gamut and it's exciting to see so much different kinds of work happening at the same time. I've already crossed two off my list - how about you?


PS - Don't miss the StageSource Season Kick off event Monday September 27! Details TBA but check www.stagesource.org to stay updated.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All Things Horror

Last week, I recieved a phone call from an old friend.

"I just saw a movie listing for something amazing. I don't know anything about it, or what it is. But I need you to come with me. It's called Dead Hooker in a Trunk. And it's only five dollars."

On Wednesday, I found myself in the basement of the Somerville Theater handing over a five dollar bill for a film screening I knew nothing about.

"Hi. I'm here for Dead Hooker in a Trunk...?" my friend asked.

Wait, What?

Just over a year ago, Mike Snoonian and Chris Hallock began to collaborate on a blog to review, discuss and celebrate the Horror and related genres. After a debut year of sucess and an ever growing readership, All Things Horror began to showcase up and coming feature and short horror films on the first wednesday of every month. We're not talking Saw XII or Brother-in-Law of Chuckie. We're talking old fashioned, freak you out and have a blast horror.

As Mike proudly writes: "He promises you that his vampires do not sparkle..."

ALL THINGS HORROR: All Things Horror Presents-our monthly film series...: "All Things Horror Presents is a monthly film series showcasing new voices in horror. The event takes place at Somerville Theater s..."
I walked into the theater without any idea of what to expect. The house was full, as I was met with a warm, fun atmosphere of people who weren't here to see to sit quietly and politely zone out to background violence. No, this was a group of people who knew how to have a good time. People who would laugh, scream, and respond to loud groans with "It gets worse..."

I would like to take the time to focus on two films:

Rubber Whore Hell and of course, Dead Hooker in a Trunk.

Rubber Whore Hell

I'm just going to say it right here: This thing is weird. I would compare it to Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou meets Silence of the Lambs. Except with with humor and spaghetti.

However, beyond being a bizarre film, I found a sincere undercurrent of FUN and FREEDOM in this film. Which is why you're reading about this on a theatre blog.

As disturbing as this movie is, I never felt violated. You know what I'm talking about. Those really gratuitous, imaginationless attempts at visual exploitation that simply rape one's mind. Not with this movie. For every horrific image...there is something inherently funny and surreal about what's going on. The imagery is surprisingly beautiful, despite the extremely graphic nature of the film. And quite frankly, I have to say this film features an absolutely brilliant soundtrack choice... When it happens you'll know.

Here's a link to the movie. I remind you... it's really graphic. It's also dubbed, so don't be alarmed.

Dead Hooker in a Trunk

Four 20-something archetypes embark on a routine car ride the morning after an all out bender. They wake up to discover, more to their confusion than horror, an expired prostitute in the trunk of the car. The thing is... no one is exactly sure where the woman came from or how she got there? They resolve to dispose of the body and hope no one asks questions, until they accidently walk every so closer to the disturbing truth... at which point, hilarity ensues.

The film is the brainchild of two identical twin sisters (Jen and Sylvia Soska of Twisted Twins Productions) who wrote, produced, directed, stared in the film and killed an ACTUAL dead hooker for authenticity.* Strasberg would be proud.

As low-brow as the premise may seem, the acting is actually solid. If you're as big of a fan of gorefest slasher films as I am, you'll know how rare this is. You typically don't see horror films for the stunning naturalism. Though these actors won't be hearing the academy anytime soon, they give truly solid, fun and strangely believable performances. When was the last time you watched an actor running around holding their own severed arm and thought to yourself "Wow... she's really good at that!"

Second, there's some truly memorable characters here. Besides the sisters themselves, the character of "Goody Two-Shoes" is memorable for his performance as a devout christian simultaneously horrified as he is intrigued by the actions of his compatriots. There's nothing quite like watching this character call in sick to his choir group while his friends carry a dead prostitute through a hotel parking lot in the background, dropping her in the process.

Finally, the movie doesn't try to be something it's not. I wouldn't call it a horror film in the way we usually think. I have been describing this movie as a Slasher-Hijinks-Comedy. The only movie I can think of similar in structure would be... Well, The Big Lebowski, in that the mysteries and thickening plot don't exist to increase the suspense, but rather to remove you from the pedestrian world of realis and bring to a funnier version of the world, where really weird things just...happen...

Seriously, I don't mean this to be ironic. But Dead Hooker in a Trunk is a fantastic film. The ending is a little abrupt and forced, but by the time the storyline has wrapped itself up, you've had too much fun to let the 10 minute deus ex machina (Devil Ex Machina?) resolution ruin anything.

Laughs, shockers and dead prostitutes. Honestly, it's about damned time!

All Things Horror

I'm definitely going to keep an eye on this blog from now on. Moreover, I plan on making more of these film nights. They plan to do this the first wednesday of every month. Believe me, I'll be there whenever I can and will mostly likely mention it on this blog when I go.

ALL THINGS HORROR: About Us: "All Things Horror is run by two friends who share a love of the taste of karo syrup, the smell of latex, and the sight of stupid teenagers m..."


*Might have to check my sources on that one...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Spooky Acting Gig


Our friends at FlatEarth Theatre are looking for two actresses for their Halloween show. Check it out!

Plot description: Ever wonder what goes on in a department store after hours? A poet decides to make his life in a department store to avoid getting drafted into the army only to find that he's not alone... there are entire colonies of people living there as well!

Character Descriptions:

- Female (20s-40s), quirky, fiery character, a former victim of spousal abuse who bravely stood up to her husband, and caused his death. She reminds of one of the murderesses from the Cell Block Tango
- Female (30s-80s), former kleptomaniac who moves into the department store to try and quash her desire to steal merchandise

Rehearsal Schedule:

- Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-10 pm in Watertown

Performance Schedule:

October 29th-31st at The Burren in Davis Square

Andy McKnight, Director at (617) 584-4756

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Burn Out

I had a busy summer - I worked on two shows, worked as many hours a week as I could fit in, and tried to have some form of a social life. I blogged, I travelled, I partied, I made new friends and relearned to appreciate old ones, I learned to cook. One thing I did not do, was sleep. And I think I'm still tired. I've gone on a few auditions in the past weeks and I was almost relieved when I was not cast. It was like the universe was telling me, "It's time to sit back and relax for a little while." This is not to say that I'm auditioning for things I don't want. I would never attend an audition that I wasn't actually interested in. It just seems like the "not getting cast" is happening for a reason.

Actually, I was recently offered a really interesting part in a small show and I had to turn it down because I realized that I simply would not be bringing my best work to the project. This is not to say that I'm taking a hiatus from auditioning, but just that maybe a break isn't the worst thing in the world. I spent a few days on Cape Cod this week and I have to say, doing nothing was absolutely refreshing. There was sun, swimming, drinking, and napping for three hours at a time. (Not to mention excellent company.) And I absolutely needed it. I'm sure it won't be long before I get the bug again (or find a part that I can't live without) but it's been nice actually have a little free time and enjoy the last of the summer weather.

Plus, it gives me some time to work on our next CoLab endeavor! I've been reading plays, seeing movies, and starting to brainstorm. I'm excited to move forward, but boy has relaxing been excellent. Maybe I'll pull a Grace Kelly and just marry into royalty... :)

PS -- I'll be doing some more relaxing at the Holland Homecoming Dance on Friday night. If you want to help CoLab become royalty, vote for MLM and Kenny here! Then I'll at least be Co-Artistic Director with royalty!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When you really want it

So Wednesday night I had an audition.

Nothing out of the ordinary. If anything, that information should be expected right? I mean, if I continue to want to get cast, I'm going to have to continue to audition. And I have been. For months....and months...with 0 results. Which is also to be expected. It happens.

So ok, Wednesday I went into this audition, sides and headshot in hand ready to just go in and do my thing an leave. And then I got up infront of the auditors and did the monologues and just KILLED it. I mean I was on. It was the first time in about 3 months where I really felt like I belonged in an audition.

Then we read sides. And reading through them, I fell in love with the play and the character I was auditioning for. I mean I read it and it felt like part of me, something I'm supposed to work on. I could so easily live in this play for the next couple of months. And not just because I'm desperate to get on stage in a full length play, but because I relate to her...more than that I like her.

And then it occurred to me. I REALLY want this. Not because I want an audition to go well, or because I need to get something new on my resume, but because I want to dive in and make it mine. Because I can be myself in this play and do good work. It's a full fledged character. And I can make her me. OR make me her. Or some of both.

And so, I really want this. It was one of those audition experiences that reminded me why I like to do this, and why I keep putting myself through auditions. Because sometimes there are parts that you are just supposed to do.

And now I'm waiting...and hoping the director feels the same way I do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vote CoLab for Homecoming Court!

Today we're taking a break from all things serious to do a little promotion for Holland Productions' Homecoming Dance Bash: Written on the Stars.

Mary-Liz and I are running for Homecoming Queen and King, respectively. Before we ask for your vote, we are here to make our case, our pitch if you will, as to why Mary-Liz and I deserve this honor. Also, we enjoy enjoy pictures.

1. We're classy, respectable and attractive individuals.
We don't to imply that our competition aren't also hot tamales. But MLM and KSF demonstrate grace, beauty and a regal splendour worthy of the titles "King" and "Queen".

Here, MLM demonstrates her modest, natural beauty by demonstrating a classic 1990's "painted whore" look.

Kenny Steven Fuentes, known in social circles as "El Bossa-Nova Casanova", is a sweet, old fashioned lover who knows how to make the ladies swoon. He might not pay for dinner, but he knows how to treat a lady!

2. Nobility and a History of Mental Stability

How often do we find our cultural aristocracy engaging in uncouth, rock-star behavior? Kenny and MLM are hard working theatre professionals and producers who know how to work hard, play hard. They always keep a cool head.

Mary-Liz demonstrates her "about the author" style photogenic dignity.

Kenny continues to demonstrate that he has never been succesfully committed to a mental institution despite several court orders by the state.

3. We're classy broads.

Seriously, check us out!

On both counts...

...We're finger lickin' good!

So people have been asking "What does Erika think of all this? Who is she going to vote for?"

Well, we can't tell you, but she's very excited to hear that Kenny will ALSO be participating in the kissing booth.

She seems a little uncomfortable. Must be that other guy.

In anycase, whatever your choices, please come to support Holland Productions! It's going to be a fun night, and if last year's fundraiser is any indication, there will be a dance party galore!


Friday, September 10
8:00 pm
Elephant and Castle, downstairs
161 Devonshire Street, Boston
$10 (all proceeds go to fund our 2010-2011 Season)
Cash Bar


Be well,



I'm on a horse.