Saturday, December 27, 2008

Word Is Spreading...

From the Dallas Observer (Dec. 24, 2008)

"Shortly after winning critical raves and winning over sell-out crowds at Dallas Children's Theater for their silent comedy The Boxer, playwright Matt Lyle and actress-wife Kim moved from Dallas to Chicago to pursue improv training with the star-spawning Second City. Lyle recently starred in a short Off-Broadway run of Tom Sime's play My Favorite Animal but then returned to Chicago. His words will be back in Dallas in February with the premiere of his play Hello Human Female by the Audacity Theatre Lab at Ochre House on Exposition Avenue."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CASTRATO to go to Phoenix!

ATL is proud to announce that Andy Eninger's THE LAST CASTRATO, the little show that could, has been accepted into the 2009 Phoenix Fringe Festival.

We at Audacity are very excited after the great response we recieved at the 2008 New Orleans Fringe in November.

More details as they come in. For more info on the PHX:Fringe click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


In February 2009, ATL will present the World-freakin'-Premiere of Matt Lyle's twisted romantic comedy HELLO HUMAN FEMALE.

Here's who's in it...

Jeff Swearingen… Blork
Arianna Movassagh… Tamela
Jeremy Whiteker… Dr. Gorn/ Mother
Becca Shivers… Timmy/ Mandy
Scott Milligan… Homeless Harry/ Gramps

With Naration by the wonderful Emily Gray

The adventure begins...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Here's a pic of Ruth Engel doing some shadow puppetry this past weekend in Phoenix, Arizona at the Phix Gallery. She's one of the puppeteers in ROSELITA'S DEAD MAN by Audacity Artistic Director Brad McEntire. ROSELITA was a one-act puppet piece presented by ATL as part of Theatre In My Basement's 6th Annual Teatro Caliente Experimental Performance Festival.
Ruth and Brad had a great time in Phoenix and special thanks go out to dear friend and colleague Greg Romero, for recommending Matt's Big Breakfast (the griddlecakes get the highest marks!) and to Chris Danowski, the festival founder/coordinator for both putting Brad and Ruth up for the weekend in his spare room and for inviting them out to play to begin with.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ROSALITA'S DEAD MAN: notes on the play and playwright

About the Play
ROSELITA'S DEAD MAN is a Lesbian/ Death/ Love Triangle revenge story presented as a multiform puppet piece (shadow and articulated tabletop) and accompanied by an original electronic soundscape. It's part of a larger puppet/mask piece being developed by ATL called THE LUNATIST [AND RELATED TALES OF WOE]. It is an expansion of the same excerpt Brad McEntire presented solo at Bobbindoctrin Theatre's Puppet Festival in Houston in 2007. 

Engel and McEntire had a great time in Phoenix. The show went great and everyone was so freakin' friendly. Special thanks go out to dear friend and colleague Greg Romero, for recommending Matt's Big Breakfast (the griddlecakes get the highest marks!) and to Chris Danowski of Theatre In My Basement He was the festival founder/coordinator. Thanks to him for both putting Engel and McEntire up for the weekend in his spare room (which was his office/daughter's room... so it had a Mac on one side and a Barbie Dream House on the other) and, most of all, for inviting them out to play to begin with.
About the Playwright
Brad McEntire serves as the founding Artistic Director of Audacity Theatre Lab. His plays include ARSENIC & ROSES, FOR THE LOVE OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST, CHOP and A TALL TALE OF TEXAS. Besides ROSELIA'S DEAD MAN, he is also the author of two other plays for puppets: RAPUNZEL: A FUNK MUSICAL SHADOW PUPPET TALE (produced in Hong Kong by DEER Theatre, Oct. 2006 & Apr. 2007) and ANGEL IN THE BARN (produced at Plano Childrens Theatre, Dec. 2008). He is a member of UNIMA-USA and the Playwright's Center. 

McEntire also plays as one half of the improvisational comedy duo FUN GRIP and is the inventor of the solo improvisational format DRIBBLE FUNK. 

For more information on Brad McEntire visit here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

EYE IN THE SKY is coming...

We are excited to announce Chris Humphrey will be creating an original sound scape for the EYE IN THE SKY project, and we here at ATL are pleased as punch to have her...

Wait! Wait. What is the EYE IN THE SKY Project, you ask?

EYE IN THE SKY is a specially commissioned experimental epistolary radio drama.

ATL's Brad McEntire and Ruth Engel hand-selected writers from around the country. Each writer was to use the blurb below as a springboard for a 1-3 page contribution.

"For one week in the middle of the summer a giant eye appears in the sky over the city. At the end of seven days it disappears as suddenly as it had originally materialized..."

This contribution could take the form of... well... anything. Nearly anything. We are doing the project as a radio drama, so spoken or sound related texts were encouraged. We were open to scenes, monologues, letters, news broadcasts, newspaper clippings, diary entries, e-mail correspondence, lecture notes, etc.

These pieces will be put together to form a series of impressions and reactions to The Eye In The Sky.

A public reading by professional actors, supported by several rehearsals with an ATL director, will probably be held in Dallas when the whole thing is completed. The pieces will also be recorded and the resulting recording will be placed as a podcasts on this blog and the ATL website.

Some of the contributors include:

Chris Alonzo (Brooklyn)
Vicki Cheatwood (Dallas)
James Comtois (New York)
Erin Courtney (Brooklyn)
Andy Eninger (Chicago)
John Flores (Dallas)
Zach Gonzales (Austin)

Jeff Hernandez (Dallas)
Chris Humphrey (Austin)
Mark Rigney (Evansville, Indiana)
Greg Romero (Philadelphia)
Ben Walker Sampson (New York)
Crystal Skillman (New York)
Jeff Swearingen (Dallas)
Daniel Talbott (New York)
Jason Tremblay (Austin)
Ken Urban (New York)
Gary Winter (New York)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Brad here. I'm posting from a coffee shop on St. Charles in New Orleans. Swearingen and I have arrived to present Andy Eninger's twisted little play THE LAST CASTRATO at the 2008 New Orleans Fringe Festival.

After the success of Greg Romero's THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LULLABY YOU'VE EVER HEARD back in May and then both Swearingen and I visiting NOLA last month (as the comedy duo FUN GRIP for the 2008 New Orleans Improv Festival), we are thrilled to have come back to New Orleans to make some new friends, watch some good theatre and remount this strange, wonderful little play.

THE LAST CASTRATO is the darkly comic, bittersweet tale of Joseph, who was born without a penis, and his love affair with Elena, who was born with her skin inside out. Elena, though, was blessed with a beautiful singing voice to balance her deformity, while Joseph has no talent whatsoever to make up for his missing member. "A penis," he muses, "in terms of artistic merit is worth nothing."

THE LAST CASTRATO sprang from the mind and pen of Chicago playwright Andy Eninger after initial development as part of a solo performance workshop at The Blue Rider Theatre. Audacity Artistic Director Brad McEntire (me) made contact with Mr. Eninger in October 2004 when they were both featured performers in Chicago's third annual Single File Solo Performance Festival. THE LAST CASTRATO recieved its world-premiere at Single File, performed by its author. The piece was then presented by Audacity Productions at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival. It was subsequently presented exclusively by Audacity Productions throughout 2005 and 2006 at theatres in Dallas, Addison and Austin, Texas.
The piece runs about 50-55 minutes and is performed by a single actor who portrays nearly a dozen different characters.

Though this is the first time THE LAST CASTRATO will be presented by ATL, Jeff Swearingen returns to act in the piece and I've come back aboard as Producer, Designer and Director.

I love this play so much. It fulfills the bottom-line credo of what I look for in my theatre projects - which is to say, I strive to create the kind theatre I like to see. This is a fast, dynamic, imaginative, phyisical, full-blooded show that runs the gamut from disturbing bizarreness to piss-your-pants funny to tender and heart-breaking. I've loved directing it.

And Jeff Swearingen does an excellent job. He's played the role a number of times now and really "owns" it. And since we mature as artisits, it has deepened since we originally mounted it in 2005. Each time we re-mount it, baby-steps of intensity, clarity, percision and variety layer into an already powerful piece.

If you're in new Orleans, come see us. We're playing at...

The Side Arm Gallery and Theatre,
1122 St. Roch Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117

November 13 and 15 at 8:30 PM
and November 16 at 2:30 PM

For more info and tickets visit:

Monday, November 3, 2008

ATL takes puppet play to Phoenix

Audacity Theatre Lab is hard at work creating ROSELITA'S DEAD MAN, a lesbian/ Death/ Love Triangle puppet story about revenge. This piece that will combine shadow puppetry, table top puppets, an original electronic soundscape and is part of a larger puppet/mask piece being developed by ATL Artistic Director Brad McEntire called THE LUNATIST [AND RELATED TALES OF WOE].
ROSELITA'S DEAD MAN is written, designed and Directed by ATL's Artistic Director Brad McEntire and featuring the puppeteering of Ruth Ann Engel and Brad McEntire.

Presented as an official part of Theatre in My Basement's annual experimental theatre festival 'Teatro Caliente', Phix Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona. November 21 & 22, 2008.

We'll post pics after we get back from Arizona. Check back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PENS & STRINGS in development...

ATL's Jeff Hernandez and Brad McEntire have been collaborating on an original one-act play for the 2009 FronterFest at Austin's Hyde Park Theatre.

The piece about a heart-broken writer, his ideas with ideas of their own and the exploration of the subtle differences between creation and manipulation will be directed by ATL Managing Director Ruth A. Engel.

The cast - just announced - will include Ms. Jamie Marchi, Ms. Rasa Hollander and Mr. Oscar Contreres.

We will be holding our first informal reading of the play October 26th with the full cast. Hernandez and McEntire continue to turn out drafts.
Details on the production, including performance dates and times, will be posted soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

World Premiere coming in February!

Coming February 18 - March 7, 2009

The World Premiere of
HELLO HUMAN FEMALEA new play from the twisted comic mind of Matt Lyle

The playwright behind Bootstraps Comedy Theater’s 2007 run-away hit THE BOXER teams up with Audacity to present the world-premiere of his brand new play!

HELLO HUMAN FEMALE is set in motion when an online dating service connects Tamela, a guileless 37 year old virgin looking for love, with Dr. Gorn, an evil scientist with ambitions of world domination. Things don't go according to Dr. Gorn's dastardly plan when Tamela falls instantly in love with his henchman, Blork, a simple, misshapen creation of the evil scientist's. When Tamela takes Blork home to Mother, Blork is quickly sent away on what ultimately becomes a journey of self-discovery. The play follows Blork on his trek, with Tamela hot on his trail. HELLO HUMAN FEMALE is an odd and whimsical tale with the message that being full of love and kindness can make up for all of our apparent shortcomings.

Playing at Dallas' newest theatre venue, the Ochre House, 825 Exposition Avenue, Dallas. February 18-March 7, 2009. Directed by Audacity Theatre Lab Artistic Director Brad McEntire.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The idea began about this time last year. At the time, this idea didn’t seem that radical…

The idea was this... to put together a theatre company that was small and fast and wily. This theatre company would do small, dynamic, high-quality productions not seen anywhere else in the area. This small theatre would be started by a group of artists not right out of school, but mature artists in their late twenties to mid-thirties, who have worked for years in the theatre and have developed their own voices. This theatre company would invest in emerging playwrights – not playwrights who are already well established on the regional theatre circuit and still labeled “emerging,” but genuine, hard-working, up-and-coming writers who haven't broken through yet to the broader mainstream theatre scene. These writers would have small, but defined and idiosyncratic bodies of work under them. This theatre would stay small with a beginning operating budget under $12,000, with the idea that one production would pay for the next. More time and energy would be spent on each project, and, flying in the face of traditional models, the “season” would consist of just two full-out productions. The artists in the company would also have the freedom to create, develop and devise smaller-in-scope, more personal projects under the theatre's name - fitting in with the mission, of course - and take these projects to festivals around the country, do site-specific work, or what-have-you. There would be no subscriptions. Fund-raising would be kept to a minimum. The artists would strive to be out creating the art rather than constantly asking for money. When they inevitably would have to ask for funds, they’d cast their net wide instead of deep, usually soliciting individual donations of $50 or under. This theatre would stick close to its mission. This theatre would serve the community and that community of audience members would be respected, cultivated and appreciated. This theatre would be a laboratory, but it would keep in mind that the word “Experimental” is but a modifier for “Theatre”, therefore its first priority, like that of all Theatre, would be to engage and entertain. This theatre would assert that small doesn’t have to mean shoddy; compact doesn’t have to mean low-quality. This theatre would be called Audacity and it would be a laboratory for a new way of approaching how small theatres create, operate and serve.

Initial incorporation plans began last winter, just after the New Year. Donations came in from supporters from around the country. We enlisted the help of a volunteer lawyer for the arts who filed our articles of incorporation with the State of Texas. That came through last May. In mid-September we acquired out tax-deductible 501(c)3 status (meaning all contributions by individuals can be written off on their taxes).

Last May we presented our first full-scale production with Greg Romero’s THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LULLABY YOU’VE EVER HEARD. It was a solidly successful production and we established ourselves as a progressive, fearless little group in the Dallas area. A website was created and now this blog.

Now we are gearing up for our first major national festival, a innovative experiment in radio drama, another showing at the largest fringe theatre festival in the southwest, the world-premiere production of a hilarious new play by one of Dallas’ favorite self-exiled playwrights and finally a return to the strange and beautiful world of Greg Romero with the regional-premiere of his intimate time-travel saga MILKY WAY CABARET. Please come back and check in with this blog. It gives a good run down on what we’ve been doing and what is in the works, as well as our thoughts on theatre in general.

If you are reading this, thanks for your interest and support.

First half of GRADING ON A CURVE... on video

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

LULLABY production pics


Jeff Swearingen, Tyson Rinehart and Paula Wood in performance.

Jeff Swearingen as "Man", Tyson Rinehart as "Narrator" and Paula Wood as "Woman"

"Did you ever scream so hard you tasted blood?"

Tyson Rinehart and Paula Wood

Monday, May 12, 2008 reviews LULLABY

Jeff Swearingen, Tyson Rinehart and Paula Wood in THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LULLABY YOU'VE EVER HEARD
 Theater Review: The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard

By Mark-Brian Sonna of MBS Productions. From PegasusNews. com - Monday, May 12, 2008

“Careful what you name your play” I’ve told authors who submit works to me for consideration for my theatre group. A title can make or break a show; it can also be fodder for critics since we frequently try to find clever ways to incorporate the title into the review. Sometimes we can be a bit sarcastic, or caustic, even when we like the play, because the temptation to make a pun is too great. So here goes: The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard by Greg Romero is not. I’ve heard more beautiful ones. That isn’t to say that this isn’t beautiful, for it is very aesthetic, but it doesn’t break any new ground: I’ve heard this song before. The descriptive word "most" is the problem. Ok, I got it out of my system. Thank you for indulging….moving on.

Audacity Theatre Lab - which is basically Audacity Productions version 2.0 - is (re)launching with this area premiere. Brad McEntire, the genius behind the original Audacity, is known for doing fearless theatre. With this play he is making a strong statement: conventional theatre will not be seen here. His mission statement uses the words “bold”, “dynamic”, “incubation”, “exploration”. Don’t expect Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple unless it’s re-imagined and presented as Balinese shadow puppet theatre. Unconventional is the operative word. Based on his superb direction and the choice of this unusual play, Mr. McEntire is well suited to bring this form of theatre to life. The trick of course will be to find willing audiences that want to take that leap of faith with him. If you are an avid theatre goer you will enjoy what he does. If you are a newbie and think Miss Saigon is as edgy as you can handle, or are a lover of traditional plays, then this theatre group may not be presenting things you enjoy.
The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard runs a little over one hour and nothing happens. Boring? No. Tedious? At times. Three people: a Man, a Woman and a Narrator sit in chairs all dressed in white. The Narrator sits behind the man and the woman and he begins his narration with “A man and a woman are at a bar…” or “A man and a woman are sitting in an apartment…”, etc. No, he’s not telling a joke, he just tells us the setting, what follows is a small vignette in which the Man and Woman enact a moment: a bad pick up line, a discussion about pets, a personal confession, etc. As the play progresses we are able to piece together from the non-linear structure the lives of the couple. The Man and Woman never face each other, they talk to each other facing out to the audience, and they never get out of their chairs, till the last few minutes of the play. Attention getting? Yes, but it’s been done before. This is where the play falters.

Earlier this year Rover Dramawerks presented a jaw-dropping and astounding production of An Infinite Ache. In this play the couple is on a date and we flash forward through their lives, seeing small vignettes of what the relationship could be or perhaps was. Samuel Becket trapped a woman in a mound of dirt immobilizing her on stage in Happy Days back in 1961. I utilized the convention of two characters communicating yet not facing each other in my script Killing Thomas which was part of Theatre of Death this last fall. I’m not taking credit for innovating this staging, for this type of staging has been done in the past. All of these modernistic conventions have been done before, so the play doesn’t break any new theatrical ground. We are left to rely on the script to see if there are any new revelations. The person sitting next to me summed it best: “that was really cool, but I’m not sure what the playwright was trying to tell me.” Ditto. I didn’t glean anything new from this script. Yet by presenting it in such a minimalist way our attention is focused on every detail of the script. Every word carries tremendous weight when you have the action on stage pretty much frozen. Perhaps the playwright wasn’t trying to communicate a thing? Then don’t waste my time! The truth is, this play is worth seeing, not so much for the script, which does prattle for about 15 minutes too long, but because of the team of performers presenting it.

Jeff Swearingen and Paula Wood together on a stage is a dream cast. You could not ask for a better pair to be working together. They could be the Lunt-Fontanne of Dallas – for those of you who do not know Lunt-Fontanne they were, regarded as the acting couple in New York for decades. These two can take the most ordinary line, and the script is full of them, and imbue a depth that is astounding. Watching them together is like seeing a Renoir masterpiece for the first time. They scintillate, they are a whirl of emotions, they are ephemeral, and the vibrancy of their performance reverberates in the theatre. I’ve directed and worked as an actor alongside Paula Wood and she’s brilliant. I’ve seen Jeff Swearingen in many plays and he’s magnificent, but together they are transcendental. Tyson Rinehart, the third wheel in this group, is good, and manages to hold his own against these two powerhouses.

Brad McEntire firmly directed this piece. For a play with minimal movement his thumbprint is all over the play and it shows. I’m sure he was enamored by the script because he saw the possibilities of what it could be. The opening line of the program tells us exactly what he thought about it: “Wow, this is not the usual.” He then describes his impressions of the non-linear structure of the play. It is clear he is using the script to explore his artistry. And he does so effectively.
I hate to point it out but it must be said: Tyson Rinehart’s underwear was distracting. All three characters wear solid white cotton clothing. The pants are a bit sheer. Mr. Reinhart wore boxers that had red white and blue stripes. Because there is practically no movement, and the staging is so minimal, the eye wanders. Everything is maximized. Every gesture, every hair, and every blink reads greater then what it would be in a conventional setting. Since Mr. Rinehart is required to sit with his legs spread apart, making the white fabric press up against his legs and thighs, and the lighting is so bright and intense; we can see his undergarment clearly. Suffice to say I wasn’t the only one who noticed or commented about the underwear after the play was done.

The bottom line is The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard is worth seeing because of the performances. Oh…and welcome back Mr. McEntire!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

LULLABY: Notes on the Play and Playwright

About the Play
"Wow, this is not the usual." That was director Brad McEntire's first thought after reading LULLABY the first time. Playwright Greg Romero has endowed the piece with its own original set of stage conventions, including how the actors engage each other as well as with the audience. It creates its own world, shifting back and forth through time, or even playing the same encounters over and over through infinite possibilities. The piece is a nonlinear, almost cubist, view of a relationship that begins with a Man and a Woman. They each breathe in the possibility of a blank sheet of paper. The paper becomes a sailboat and their breath becomes a journey over impossible distances. An exploration of what is inside the human heart when a person falls in love with another equally and beautifully broken individual. 

Greag Romero: Playwright and Coffee Drinker
About the Playwright
Greg Romero received an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas-Austin where he held the James A. Michener Fellowship. Originally from Louisiana, he is currently based in Philadelphia. Mr. Romero's works include THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LULLABY YOU'VE EVER HEARD, THE MILKY WAY CABARET, DANDELION MOMMA, THE MISHUMAA, and THE SHELTER, and have been produced off-off Broadway by City Attic Theatre and Working Man's Clothes Productions, and across the country by Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rude Mechanicals Theatre Collective, Theater In My Basement, Specific Gravity Ensemble, City Theater Company, Little Fish Theatre, and Audacity Productions. 
Mr. Romero has been a semi-finalist for the National Playwright's Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, a finalist for the Heideman Award given by Actor's Theatre of Louisville, and a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award. His works have been published by Heinemann Press and, soon, by Playscripts, Inc. Mr. Romero currently works as a Resident Artist for The Cardboard Box Collaborative and teaches writing at the University of the Arts and the Wilma Theatre. 

For more information on Greg Romero visit his blog... click here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brad talks about LULLABY

Theater Spotlight of the Week: Brad McEntire

By Shawn Parikh. From - Thursday, May 8, 2008
Audacity Productions had a nice run from 1999-2006 until Artistic Director Brad McEntire left for Hong Kong. Now that he is back, he has revamped the theater company, calling it Audacity Theatre Lab, and is directing the first show of their season, The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard.

We start off by talking about how Audacity was originally formed and what their mission was in the metroplex.

I ask him about "the comeback" of the theater company and what he hopes to accomplish with it now. I also ask what niche he sees Audacity filling in the DFW theater community.

He talks about choosing The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard as the first show of their season and how it came together. I ask him what he ultimately wants the audience to get out of the show. We end by discussing the future of the theater company, what shows they have planned (including one with dildos), and what venues they will use in the future. The show runs until May 17 and you can call 214-621-9683 to make ticket reservations.

Listen to podcast here.
original article here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

LULLABY in rehearsal

Jeff Swearingen, Tyson Rinehart and Paula Wood in Rehearsal...
 Some pics of Greg Romero's MOST BEAUTIFUL LULLABY YOU'VE EVER HEARD in rehearsal (at Jeff Swearingen's tiny efficiancy apartment. Big thanks to Jeff for donating the space).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

LULLABY team announced!


Playwright: Greg Romero

Director & Designer: Brad McEntire

Co-Producer & Box Office: Ruth Engel


Man: Jeff Swearingen

Woman: Paula Wood

Narrator: Tyson Rinehart

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First large production as ATL: LULLABY


This Regional Premiere of Greg Romero's full-length meditation on truth and the human heart's power to love another who is equally beautiful and broken was directed By ATL Artistic Director Brad McEntire and featured Jeff Swearingen, Paula Wood and Tyson Rinehart. A Man and a Woman breathe in the possibility of a blank sheet of paper. the paper becomes a sailboat, their breath becomes a journey over impossible distances, the world bursts wide open, and the truth spills out.

The production played at the Risk Initiative Theatre Space, 3605 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204. May 7-17, 2008. Wednesdays thru Fridays at 8:15 PM, Saturdays at 5:15 and 8:15 PM Tickets were: $10 Wednesdays and 5:15 PM on Saturdays, $12 Thursdays, $15 Fridays and Saturdays at 8:15 PM

Saturday, March 8, 2008

GRADING ON A CURVE playwright and cast talk with Audacity

About the Play

Grading on a Curve follows a bored artist with intense feelings of ennui. This leads her to embark on an epic hunger strike, complete with delusions, observations and yearnings- especially for nacho cheese.
About the Playwright
Writer and artist A.V. Phibes

A.V. Phibes is a mostly self-taught illustrator/designer based in Brooklyn, who has been working professionally in New York for nearly a decade.

As a freelance Illustrator, Phibes has done work for plays, events, catalogs, websites, party clowns and fire-eaters. She's also done illustrations for books published by Little-Brown, Penguin and Andrews McMeel. She's worked on staff in the design departments of Steve Madden, Acme Tees, Neu Industries and now-defunct teen website

Through her own company, Evilkid Productions, she has been producing original artwork and designs in her trademark cartoon style. Evilkid designs have been licensed for a wide array of products which have occasionally turned up in such places as Target, Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic and Spencer Gifts.

Phibes has shown her artwork in shows at Trinity Gallery in Philedelphia and Blue Ruin Gallery in Pittsburgh. She has also had art featured in the annual Dirty Detroit Show and the Seattle Erotic Art Festival.

For more information on A. V. Phibes click here.

An interview with the ladies of GRADING ON A CURVE

On January 31, 2008 Audacity Theatre Lab sent director Ruth Ann Engel and actress Jamie Marchi to Austin, Texas to present A.V. Phibes' one-person show at the Hyde Park Theatre's FronteraFest. FronteraFest is an annual 5-week, multi-venue "fringe" festival presenting over 800 theatre artists/companies from around the nation. Named "Best Theatrical Event" by the Austin Critics' Table, FronteraFest has garnered audience praise and critical acclaim. It remains the largest fringe theatre festival in the Southwestern United States. What follows is an interview with the ladies that put on this show, conducted by ATL's Artistic Director Brad McEntire.

AUDACITY THEATRE LAB: Ruth, Alia and Jamie - Thanks for agreeing to this informal interview. Alia, let's start with you. GRADING ON A CURVE was not originally a one-woman theatre piece. When and for what did you originally write GRADING ON A CURVE?

AV PHIBES: I wrote GOAC back in 1999 not long after I moved to New York and still had designs on being a fiction writer. was sponsoring a short fiction contest with a $10,000 prize and I wrote the story with the intent of winning that contest, which, obviously I didn't. It's a testament to my youthful naivete and blind overconfidence that I actually thought I was going to win.

ATL: What has surprised you most about the stage life of GRADING ON A CURVE?

AVP: What surprises me most is that it has a stage life at all. Since, outside the support of Audacity Productions [and now Audacity Theatre Lab], the story was met with pretty much no response at all, I assumed that the story was just going to be another dead-in-the-water endeavor. But thanks to Audacity, it's managed to have a whole new life and get some positive feedback, which I appreciate.

ATL: Ms. Engel, how did you come across the script to GRADING ON A CURVE and what drew you to it as a director?

RUTH ANN ENGEL: I had seen the script in an earlier staging when Audacity [Productions] used it as the opening act for THE LAST CASTRATO. I thought it was just a brilliant script. I love the dry wit and rapid pace of the piece, not to mention the language. This script is ripe with so many possibilities and is so tightly written. It's just great fun to work on.

ATL: Alia, you are actually known more as a graphic artist more than a playwright. In fact, you've worn many artistic hats over the years. Cartoonist. Filmmaker. Sideshow performer. Illustrator. Cat Owner. How does being a playwright fit in with your many guises?

AVP: I'd say I've pretty much lived a life of obsessive dilettantism. Of being extremely focused on what I'm doing at any given time and then almost immediately thereafter losing interest and moving on to something else. This has produced a life full of half-assery, unfinished projects and existential malaise. Although if I may have a moment of megalomaniacal self-congratulation, I have been more successful being half-assed than many people using their entire asses! Still, I live in constant remorse that I am not living up to the potential of my full ass. I suppose I've found that the beauty of playwriting (or my paltry facsimile thereof), is that other people pick up the slack. There are producers and directors and actors to make something complete in a way that I probably could never execute of my own accord.

ATL: Ms. Marchi, in GRADING ON A CURVE, you play the protagonist, an artist, perhaps with touches of dilettantism, who develops cannibalistic tendancies arising from an intense ennui. Has boredom ever led you to do something extreme?

JAMIE MARCHI: Well, I've never been so bored I needed to do something as drastic as quit eating and/or chew on my fingers. However, I have spent my fair share of too much time online as well as watched a few too many television programs that only have commercials for the army and vo-techs.

ATL: You and director Ruth Engel worked on the piece over a few weeks before taking it to Austin's Frontera Fest. One-person pieces are difficult usually because the production team is so small, therefore the concentration on progress must be a little more heightened. A level of focus is higher comparatively with the rehearsals of a traditional play with a large cast, full crew and the like. How was the working relationship between you and Ruth?

JM: Awful. That Ruth Engel; I tell you.... It was great! Anyone who knows Ruth will tell you she's great to work with. It helps that we're both friends. Ruth took a lot of time putting me into the right space for the character, and she was a terrific director. More importantly, we are very popular in Irish bars.

ATL: Ms. Engel, same sort of question. How was your experience working on a one-woman piece in general and how was it working with Ms. Marchi in particular?

RAE: It is a challenge but I truly enjoy it. I like the intimate rehearsals and the ability to have a very narrow focus, giving all my attention to just one person. However, it does add the element to my part to help the actor keep the story going through creative blocking, props, and set pieces. It keeps me on my toes and constantly looking for new approaches. As for working with Ms. Marchi, she is a gem. She is smart, talented, beautiful and she brings so much to the piece. She takes directions beautifully, is tremendously playful and up for anything. Not to mention she does not back away from throwing out her suggestions. This is immensely helpful for me when I am the only one in the room watching. For me, collaboration in a production is a must.

ATL: Ms. Marchi, you've performed GRADING ON A CURVE before, though not with Ms. Engel as the director. How is it returning to something like this? Has your take on it changed?

JM: I first performed GRADING ON A CURVE about four years ago. I've had quite the four years myself since then, so it's interesting for me to follow my process of personal growth and how it translates into this performance. The changes from the original performance are pretty significant. I think I love performing this monologue so much due to my narcissistic need to follow my emotional growth. That and the spotlight. I don't have to share it with ANYONE!....I am an actor after all.

ATL: Ms. Engel, you also have experience with the piece. You originally directed GRADING ON A CURVE in Hong Kong last year? How has your take on the piece changed?

RAE: The first time I directed it I was more focused on the audience and entertaining them as opposed to just telling a story. I focused a lot on the mechanicals of the piece. And due to circumstances I tried to fit the piece into a peg that I wasn't as happy with (i.e. a waitress in a diner). This time around, I tried to let the story and character tell me what it wanted to be and where it wanted to go.

ATL: Ms. Marchi, how did you originally get interested in theatre and acting?

JM: When you have no particular set of skills, there are only a few things you can do. I like to talk and have people listen, so acting was a no-brainer. You know, I really hate this question. So many people have these great "moments" that called them to acting like God calls preachers to the church. God didn't call me to acting. I just have always thought it was fun. That's my great lame story. I think it's fun. How boring is that?!

ATL: And Ms. Engel, same question. What drew to the theatre?

RAE: Well my journey was a long one. I've always loved the stage but never thought of it as a career. I remember in the 2nd grade my class did a comic staging of Columbus receiving his commission to find the New World and I played Queen Isabella. But that was where I saw theatre for me, as a hobby and nothing more, that is until after I had taken some PhD classes in English Literature and decided that wasn't what I wanted. I knew my schooling wasn't over yet and my brother suggested theatre. So I enrolled in theatre classes at TWU [Texas Woman's University] and told myself I'd give it a semester. I was there for four years and I've never looked back. I couldn't be happier now!

ATL: Alia, now that you've had this experience with GRADING ON A CURVE, how's your take on playwriting? Do you plan to write more for the stage?

AVP: I would like to say "Yes! Definitely!" but when it comes to artistic projects, I'm a slippery eel who can't be trusted. I could tell you to your face that I am going to sit down today and write a three-act play about two suicides whose ghosts are haunting the same apartment that's like "Beetlejuice" meets "Before Sunrise," but then I'll go play nintendo wii and watch youtube videos all day instead. Or maybe I'll just come up with "high concept pitches" all day. It's like "Serpico" meets "All Dogs Go To Heaven!" It's like "Kramer vs. Kramer" in space!

ATL: Ladies, thanks so much for your time. One last question before we sign off. Artistically, what is next up for you?

JM: You can currently hear my voice on IFC in Witchblade as well as other anime on The Cartoon Network. I've been doing voices for anime for almost 6 years now, and I'm getting more immersed into that market. I've got more acting plans on the horizon, but I'm really, really lazy, so we'll see if anything happens.

REA: Well currently I'm trying to learn the producing side of things with the Undermain Theatre in Dallas for their show GREENDALE. As for independent projects, I am working with two playwrights developing two different scripts that I hope to get up on their feet by summer.

AVP: My goal this year is to get a book or two published. I'm trying to come up with ideas dumb enough to sell a zillion copies and make me rich. Something like "The Get Rich Quick Diet: Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog while Surviving Cancer." Oprah is going to eat that up! But in all seriousness, see above [answer regarding me as a] slippery eel.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Audacity is Back!

Audacity Theatre Lab kicks off inaugural season this week with regional premiere
By Pegasus News wire. From PegasusNews. com - Monday, May 5, 2008

Audacity is back. Audacity Theatre Lab is proudly kicking off it’s first season in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area with the regional premiere of Greg Romero’s The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard.

Previously known as Audacity Productions (1999-2006), the company participated in many DFW area fests such as the Festival of Independent Theatres and Out of the Loop, represented north Texas at the New York International Fringe Festival multiple times, produced works for Austin’s FronteraFest and mounted over 50 plays - large and small - in the Dallas area. The leaders of this little theatre absorbed a lot, often learning by doing, from this earlier garage-band-sized Audacity. Audacity Productions filed articles of dissolution in the summer of 2006, when Artistic Director Brad McEntire headed off for more than a year abroad, living and working primarily in Hong Kong. McEntire is now back in the Metroplex and Audacity is taking it up a notch from the considerable benchmarks made in the past. Audacity Productions was the pilot program, so to speak, for the new Audacity Theatre Lab.

The Most Beautiful Lullaby You’ve Ever Heard is an engaging nontraditional theatrical romance that begins with a Man and a Woman. They each breathe in the possibility of a blank sheet of paper. The paper becomes a sailboat and their breath becomes a journey over impossible distances. Lullaby is a hilarious, touching, meta-theatrical exploration of what is inside the human heart when a person falls in love with another equally and beautifully broken individual.

It will be directed by ATL Artistic Director Brad McEntire and will feature actors Jeff Swearingen (recent winner: Best Actor DFW Critics Forum Award for last season’s The Gnadiges Fraulein and The Boxer as well as a "Best Actor (Non-Equity)" Column Award), Tyson Rinehart and Paula Wood. Call 214-621-9683 to make ticket reservations.

Posted by Shawn.


Posted by Jason Rice [of Rover Dramawerks]

Brad McEntire (Audacity) does some of the wildest stuff you'll watch, sometimes even worth stealing. (With his blessing, we adapted our One Day Only projects from his original concept) I also love Greg Romero's writing. In one of the early Audacity/Rover One Day Only projects he wrote a brilliant metaphorical piece that eventually captured an Honorable Mention in the Louisville One Act Play Festival. Six actors, three wristwatches and a sheet - and absolutely riveting. With this pedigree, I don't think it's too far a stretch to assume this event will be beautiful, bizarre and worth every femtosecond of your time and interest.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

First show as ATL... GRADING ON A CURVE

Audacity Theatre Lab's first foray out of the gate was A.V. Phibes' GRADING ON A CURVE. This one-woman piece about an artist with cannabilistic cravings (especially for fingers) made a great entry in Austin's FronterFest.

Directed by ATL's Managing Producer Ruth Ann Engel and featuring Jamie Marchi. Set Design by Jeff Hernandez.

Presented at Hyde Park Theatre, Austin, Texas January 31, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Welcome to the ATL blog, Notes From the Lab. We'll do a more formal and intense introduction to the company and this place of information a little later. For now... WELCOME!