Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Shows of DSF 2015

Brigham Mosley
Audacity Theatre Lab Announces the Artists and Schedule for the
2015 Dallas Solo Fest

DALLAS, TX – Audacity Theatre Lab is pleased to announce the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest, June 4 -14, 2015 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park.  Eight solo shows highlight this inaugural festival with several local performers as well as performers coming in from around the country. 

The second annual Dallas Solo Fest line-up includes:

’33: A Kabarett by Bremner Duthie (New Orleans). ’33 is a 'Kabarett of Ghosts' - recreating the final night in a Berlin cabaret, destroyed by the Security Forces.  In the ruins of a ravaged theatre, the Master of Ceremonies tumbles onto a ruined. His friends and colleagues were beaten and arrested by the authorities.  Only their shattered props and costumes remain.  He intends to give up and vanish into the night. But an audience has slipped through the broken door.  Inspired, the man pays homage to his fallen friends, performing each of their acts.  In these tributes, he gains the strength to carry on. Playing Thursday, June 11 @ 9:00 pm, Saturday, June 13 @ 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 14 @ 3:30 pm

Jeff Swearingen
An American Asshole in France by Jeff Swearingen (Dallas). An American Asshole in France is the story of a socially awkward man just trying to have a decent time abroad. Fate, however, will always take an otherwise magical experience and turn it into a hard knock lesson about one's self. Proving that if you are an unadjusted jerk it will haunt you where ever you go. And even when you're not being one, life will ruin that too. Take delight in one little man's pain, because it will just get worse in this true story that is full of danger, disappointment, and a vast language barrier. Playing Friday, June 5 @ 10:30 pm, Sunday, June 7 @ 8:30 pm, Friday, June 12 @ 10:30 pm

…And Then I Woke Up by Kris Noteboom (Dallas). Kris has known fear ever since he woke up in bed one night screaming, “I don’t want to die.” He was three years old. Through a series of humorous anecdotes, Kris traces his trouble with dreams, both waking and sleeping, real and imagined, as he looks for his “thing” in life. He wrestles with the expectations of family, friends, and society at large. ...And Then I Woke Up is about a guy who makes a decision, hell or high water, to reclaim his dreams and change his life. Playing Thursday, June 4 @ 9:00 pm, Saturday, June 6 @ 10:30 pm,
Sunday, June 7 @ 5:00 pm

Van Quattro
Lord of the Files by Lesley Tsina (New York). Comedian Lesley Tsina (NBC’s Community, HBO’s Funny or Die Presents) worked for a company that made cell phone ringtones. That is, until they announced nine months of layoffs and the entire office descended into savagery. Lord of the Files is a darkly hilarious story about losing your job, losing your mind, and still having to attend an all-company pancake breakfast. Playing Thursday, June 11 @ 7:30 pm, Friday, June 12 @ 9:00 pm, Saturday, June 13 @ 10:30 pm

Mo[u]rnin. After. by Brigham Mosley (Dallas). Mo[u]rnin'. After. is a mythic autobiography for the queer prodigal son - a journey to the ancestors and back to the homeland through magic, musicals, and time travel; dream ballets included. Playing Thursday, June 4 @ 7:30 pm, Thursday, June 11 @ 10:30 pm, Saturday, June 13 @ 9:00 pm

Standing Eight Count by Van Quattro (Dallas). Standing 8 Count is Van Quattro’s hard-knuckled, true account of 1975: the year he spent as a semi-professional boxer. Quattro faces down an opponent more formidable than any he’s faced before: the ghost of his own youth. Standing 8 Count will break your face, your funny bone and your heart. Playing Sunday, June 7 @ 3:30 pm,
Friday, June 12 @ 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 14 @ 5:00 pm

Carla Cackowski
The Seriously Neurotic Dream of Mary Shelley by Carla Cackowski (Los Angeles). Mary Shelley has been challenged to come up with a scary story by a room full of accomplished men. Paralyzed by writer's block, she falls asleep and is confronted by all of her womanly insecurities. History may remember Mary Shelley as an English novelist. But did you also know she was a bossy sister? A bad girlfriend? A so-so mother? And hey - a time traveler! Mary Shelley loves Beyonce! Thursday, June 4 @ 10:30 pm, Friday, June 5 @ 7:30 pm, Saturday, June 6 @ 9:00 pm

Tipped & Tipsy by Jill Vice (San Francisco). Whether you’ve been behind the bar, on a stool, or under a table, this one woman show was written for you. So, join the regulars and order the usual, but tonight… things are gonna change. With her excellent physical performance skills Jill Vice brings to life over a dozen different characters. TIPPED & TIPSY is a hilarious and touching send up of American Bar Culture. Playing Friday, June 5 @ 9:00 pm, Saturday, June 6 @ 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 7 @ 7:00 pm

The 2015 Dallas Solo Fest is a production of Audacity Theatre Lab and will play at the Margo Jones Theatre located at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park at 1121 First Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210. Single tickets and Festival Passes for all shows go on sale April 27.  Festival Passes include one admission to each and every festival show and are $55.  Individual ticket prices for each show are $12. Reservations can be made at the Dallas Solo Fest website or by calling (214) 888-6650. Details about the shows, artists’ bios, the full schedule and ticket information at: www.DallasSoloFest.com

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Down Low in the Dallas Voice

Jordan Tomenga and Jeff Swearingen in THE DOWN LOW
STAGE REVIEW: ‘The Down Low’ 
by Arnold Wayne Jones | May 15, 2015 | DallasVoice.com

Simon (Jeff Swearingen), a fussy high school theater teacher gets a strange phone call from his colleague Aaron (Danny O’Connor), the school’s health teacher. Why has he been beckoned so suddenly? Will they finally become friends? Simon kind of answers the question himself when he asks Aaron: “Why is a naked African-American man dead in your bedroom?” 

And so begins 85 minutes of dark-humored, often poor-taste (but hysterically funny) jokes about gay experimentation, inappropriate parent-teacher relationships, recreational drug use and the Polish secret police. Danny O’Connor also wrote this one-act comedy, called The Down Low, which is performed in front of a tiny 15 audience members in the home of one of the actors in East Dallas (it’s on Mockingbird Lane between Greenville Avenue and Skillman Street). There aren’t many seats available, if any still are in the two remaining performances, but do what you can to snag a few and see grassroots theater artistry that’s so alive, you can overlook how much it’s really about death. 

The plot is wackadoo but strangely believable. Aaron wants to experiment with giving a blow job (“I’m not gay!” he insists, despite all evidence to the contrary) and things go horribly wrong, necessitating he seek help from Simon, the only gay guy he knows. (The implication: Gays are used to disposing of tricks who die brutally; it usually happens between gym and brunch, I suppose.) Aaron’s roommate Jack (Jordan Tomenga), a male nurse, and Jack’s FWB Kassia (Robin Clayton) also get dragged into the plot, which takes more turns than a mountain road before becoming not just dark, but outright menacing. 

There’s much to love in the show, from the intimacy (the whole from of the house is utilized by directed Brian Grunkowski) to the off-handed line-readings (Swearingen and O’Connor are two of the best at what they do) to the deadpan dialogue that sneaks up on you with its sick humor. But say too much and you’ll ruin it. Suffice it to say, it goes where it has to, and takes you along for the ride. By the end, you’re more co-conspirator than watcher. That’s an exciting way to consume theater.

Original... HERE

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Down Low in the FrontRow blog

The More Absurd, the Better in The Down Low’s Hilarious Nightmare
BY LINDSEY WILSON | D Magazine FrontRow Blog | MAY 12, 2015

Two things to know about Danny O’Connor’s new play: it’s crazy, and crazy-good. 

Staged in a home on Mockingbird Lane, this wacky and bloody romp takes place entirely in a living room, where 15 spectators watch as a talented cast falls deeper and deeper into a hilarious nightmare. 

The “home” staging could feel gimmicky, as you crowd your car into the small driveway and amble into the backyard for a pre-show beer (this is actor Jordan Tomenga’s actual residence). But once inside the living room, the immediacy erases any notions of pretention. It’s thrilling to have the actors rush right by you as they enter and exit during the frantic 80 minutes, and the closeness draws you into the ridiculous plight of Aaron (O’Connor), who is nursing a slashed arm and hiding a terrible secret in his bedroom when Simon (Jeff Swearingen) arrives. 

This close-range seating also means that it’s impossible to hide any acting glitches, but that’s not a concern for the uniformly excellent cast. As Simon tends to Aaron’s bleeding arm, he finally cajoles the truth out of the shocked big guy: there’s a dead body in the bedroom, and Aaron is the cause. As Simon and Aaron debate how they should handle this bloody elephant in the room, spaced-out roommate Jack (Tomenga) drifts in and out, too high on mushrooms to really notice what’s happening. 

When Kassia (Robin Clayton), the European model girlfriend of third roommate Raymond (Brian Grunkowski, pulling double duty as director) arrives, it becomes outrageously clear that this is not Kassia’s first encounter with a dead body. O’Connor’s dialogue is clever and compact on its own, but with Grunkowski’s direction and the actors’ choices, nearly every line is laugh-out-loud funny. 

Once Raymond, a nurse, returns home from work, everyone is roped into a plan. More details about who the deceased is and how he might be connected to everyone also emerge, and the pieces start to fall into place. 

But just when it seems the play is heading for its conclusion, there’s another knock at the door and Cindy (Mercedes Arndt), a love-struck student, arrives with suitcase in tow. Arndt, a newcomer, is pitch-perfect as the highschooler who’s obsessed with Aaron (her health teacher). She’s the crazy catalyst in an already nutso situation, but her addition feels absolutely perfect rather than over the top.  
That’s the thing about The Down Low: the more absurd, the better. But in the midst of all this ludicrous action, each of the actors still manages to make their characters feel human rather than cartoonish. It’s this hint of reality that might make you consider what you would do in this situation. 

But do yourself a favor and go see this production instead of finding out for yourself.

Original post... HERE

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dallas Solo Fest 2015 coming soon...

Kris Noteboom

Dallas Solo Fest 2015 Lineup Announced!

Eight one-person shows converge on the DFW-area

DALLAS, TX – Audacity Theatre Lab is pleased to announce the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest, June 4-14, 2015 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park.  Eight solo shows highlight this second year festival with several local performers as well as performers coming in from around the country. 

This second annual Dallas Solo Fest line-up includes Bremner Duthie’s ’33: A Kabarett, Jeff Swearingen’s An American Asshole in France, Kris Noteboom’s And Then I Woke Up,  Lesley Tsina’s Lord of the Files, Brigham Mosley’s Mo[u]rnin’. After., Van Quattro’s Standing Eight Count, Carla Cackowski’s The Seriously Neurotic Dream of Mary Shelley and Jill Vice’s Tipped & Tipsy.  Collectively, these performers represent a wide variety of solo performance styles from storytelling, cabaret and clown pieces to pieces that defy easy categorization. 

Produced by Brad McEntire, the 2015 DSF will be the second annual Dallas Solo Fest after last year’s inaugural DSF 2014. The purpose of the Dallas Solo Fest is to celebrate extraordinary solo theatre as well as increase awareness and appreciation for the form in the north Texas area.

Jill Vice
The Dallas Solo Fest will be produced by Audacity Theatre Lab and will play at the Margo Jones Theatre. Located at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park at 1121 First Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210, the Margo Jones Theatre features ample free, well-lit parking, access to the DART Rail and a handy BYOB policy.

Single tickets and Festival Passes for all shows go on sale April 27.  Festival Passes, now on sale, include one admission to each festival show and are $55.  Individual ticket prices for each show are $12. Reservations can be made via the Dallas Solo Fest website or by calling (214) 888-6650. Details about the shows, artists’ bios, the full schedule and ticket information at: www.DallasSoloFest.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Down Low in the Dallas Observer

The Down Low Is Like Living Inside a Tarantino Film For 75 Minutes
By Elaine Liner | Dallas Observer | May 6, 2015

Watching Danny O'Connor's new dark comedy one-act The Down Low, set in a 956-square-foot house on East Mockingbird Lane, is like living inside a Tarantino film for 75 minutes. Bad things happen to people just inches away from where you're sitting. Hilarious things, too. Every time there's a knock on that red front door, look out.

There are only 15 seats squeezed into a corner of the front room of the little old frame house in East Dallas where O'Connor, who also stars in his play, and five other actors perform a twisted murder mystery (produced by Audacity Theatre Lab and Octaviar Productions). The cast roams the whole house, though the audience sees only what happens in the living room. It's a semi-immersive experience, with some imagination needed to picture what's said to be going on behind those closed doors and down that darkened hallway.

"How do you get blood out of a carpet?" asks O'Connor's shook-up character, Aaron, at the top of the play. Aaron's best friend Simon (a wonderfully twitchy Jeff Swearingen) has just arrived, summoned by Aaron to deal with an emergency situation in a back bedroom.

There's the body of a dead brain surgeon back there, lying naked next to Aaron's bed. A little misunderstanding during a sexual encounter has left the surgeon deceased and Aaron with a gushing stab wound in his left arm. Aaron's not sure what to do about the "sorta murder" he's committed, which he tells Simon began with his answering a Craigslist sex ad. "Craigslist! Have some self-respect," huffs Simon.

Before long, the living room gets crowded. Roommate Raymond (Brian Grunkowski, who also directed) wafts in from his bedroom, looped out on mushrooms and oblivious to Aaron and Simon's panic over the corpse. Roommate Jack, a nurse in blue scrubs, bops in from his shift at the hospital and starts drinking heavily. His Polish-model girlfriend Kassia (Robin Clayton, great at deadpan delivery) leads Jack to another bedroom for a quick boff before they're informed about the dead body. Then comes Cindy (Mercedes Arndt), a precocious teen who's stalking Aaron, who happens to be her high school health teacher. She's swept into the plan to dispose of the body and seems unfazed by all of the nefarious goings-on.

More blood and nasty secrets are spilled by these character in the R-rated (for language and fluids) play. The Down Low's writing is devilishly fresh -- O'Connor's biographical one-man show Bouncing Ugly was a hit at last summer's Dallas Solo Fest -- and the acting is tempered to the right level of reality for the in-your-face space. 

O'Connor, who's in this 30s, shows more subtlety as a writer than as an actor. He's a big, hulking bald guy, which gives his scenes with the much-shorter, slighter Swearingen a visually funny Laurel-and-Hardy contrast. But he's a delicately specific playwright, putting pointed details into his dialogue that give his characters texture. Kassia isn't just a model, for example, but a model for "trade shows for Swiss chocolates and pajama jeans." 

Grunkowski, as director, makes the house environment a flexible stage for the actors to prowl. The timing of entrances and exits feels natural and the choreography of a silent action scene in and out of the kitchen is tight and funny. 

One late-in-the-show jiggling of the front door knob has a jump-out-of-your-seat effect on the audience. And that's not the last entertaining surprise that arises from The Down Low

The Down Low continues through May 16 at 5922 E. Mockingbird Lane (between Greenville Avenue and Skillman Street, the house with the red door). Tickets, $15, 469-546-9127 or audacitytheatrelab.com/tickets.

Original Post... HERE