Monday, June 6, 2022

Ben & George

Presented by Blue Vanity Productions in association with Theater Asylum. Ben & George is written; produced and directed by Lorne Stevenson. The play also stars Stevenson as George. The Stephanie Feury 5636 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles,CA 90038 

Lorne Stevenson is an independent artist, based in LA.  He'd like to thank his friends and family for their love and support. 



Explain who Ben and George are and their relationship. 

LS| Ben is a traumatized young man trying to cope with the loss of his father and older brother. He is toxic and presents a macho alpha male persona to the world. Underneath it all he is fragile and scared.-George is a queer; non-binary; freewheeling; depressed; wild and anxiety riddled individual. They fly through life by the seat of their pants, and are addicted to falling in love. They also have a temper and a violent past.-On the surface, Ben and George would call themselves best friends and roommates. But they’re in love, and neither of them knows how to process or express it properly. Ben has told himself that he is straight, but we later find out that that isn’t the case.-George has been gaslit and rejected by guys like Ben for far too long. And they are tired of it.-These two are plagued by male toxicity and must move past it in order to live fulfilling lives.-George is at least aware of their issues. Ben however chooses to ignore them and live in a facade. 

Tell our readers how you personally are involved in the plot. 

LS:Well, I am playing George and the character is based off of me. Some plot details have also been lifted from my own real life experiences with men. George can sometimes be delusional when it comes to men. I can definitely relate to this. But other times, people can’t deal with their own desires, so they deflect; lie and gaslight. I wanted to explore and ruminate on this.-Anything I write is me working through something in my life. An artistic way of healing myself. Releasing what I don’t need onto the stage. In this case it’s my own toxic ways. I’m getting older, and they no longer serve me. 

Why would I want to see your play as opposed to another Fringe play? What makes it extra special? 

LS: I would say come see this show if you love seeing stories that don’t follow conventions or hold your hand through the plot. See this show if you want to take a leap into the dark.-Also this show features a queer non-binary character in the lead role. There aren’t a lot of plays with characters like George. This is also a horror show; it pays homage to TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. This show is special to me because it has so much of my soul; so much of my humor and sensibilities. It is a semi-autobiographical piece; I am currently living with a roommate I cannot stand, but have feelings for. He has the same feelings, but different belief systems, different ways of expression that keep us apart. So come to the show if you want a glimpse into someone else’s life. You might see yourself. 

Is there a lot of humor invested? Is it character driven rather than a batch of silly jokes? 

LS: This show has a lot of trauma; grief and horror in it, with lowbrow humor along for the ride. Nothing horrible is laughed at, but the horribleness is eased by the humor. This is a character driven piece and nothing is there just for the sake of being there. At the heart of the piece is the love story, and a majority of the show is spent sketching out Ben and George’s relationship. 

Do you have a Fringe Festival backgtound? In what capacity? Writer, actor, director? 

LS: This is the second show that I have produced at the Fringe Festival. The first was called Edward: Black Psycho. It was a one man show which I wrote and produced. It was directed by Ovation award winner Brittney S. Wheeler. I also starred in the piece. 

Do you have future plans to move this play forward? 

LS: The next step with this play is to turn it into a two act musical. The first of many plays with the character George.

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Presented by Blue Vanity Productions in association with Theater Asylum. Written; produced and directed by Lorne Stevenson. Starring Jared Gaxiola, Raphael Buenaventura and Lorne Stevenson. The Stephanie Feury 5636 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles,CA 90038 

BEN AND GEORGE Premieres at the Hollywood Fringe Festival This is the newest dark comedy from Fringe veteran Lorne Stevenson. 

 Tickets: $15.00

Performance Dates:
Thursday June 9th at 8:30pm (Opening Night)
Friday June 17th at 9:30pm
Monday June 20th at 6:30pm
Saturday June 25th at 1:30pm

tickets Admission 18+
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Jared Gaxiola below in red shirt costars as Ben. Raphael Buenaventurs in black and white photo plays Christian.




Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Bearer of Bad News


Unladylike Theatre Presents
The Bearer of Bad News
A Femme Forward Imagining of the Future
At Hollywood Fringe Festival
The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company)
Sat. June 4 (7pm) • Sun. June 12 (1pm) • Sat. June 25 (5:30pm)


The newly established Unladylike Theatre presents The Bearer of Bad News at Hollywood Fringe Festivalfor three dates in June 2022 at The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company). The Bearer of Bad News explores the intersection of identity and purpose set against the backdrop of a world irrevocably altered by climate change. In this collaborative creation written by non-binary playwright Alex Kingsley, three actors play nine roles. These very same actors—Ashley Victoria Robinson (award-winning comic book creator and podcaster), Tiana Randall-Quant (BLKLST Co-Founder), and voice actor Kendell Byrd—founded Unladylike in 2022.

The three queer femmes pictured below from top to bottom Tiana, Kendell and Ashley all participated in answering each question and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.


What entrances all three of you about sci-fi projects?

Science Fiction allows creators to push boundaries and expand our ability to comment on issues we see as timely. For example, with The Bearer of Bad News hitting the stage in a time when Roe v. Wade is being threatened we, as people capable of pregnancy, are able to examine our relationship with pregnancy - and the archetype of “The Mother” that is put on us because of that capacity - from various points of view. 

Sci-fi, in particular, can drive an important message home creatively. The genre allows us to imagine worlds we do and don’t want to see. It allows us to make the audience uncomfortable in a way that will make them think.

How does The Bearer of Bad News fit into the mission statement of Unladylike Theatre?

The Bearer of Bad News is quite literally set in the future - which helps the three of us achieve “Reimagining in the future through femme-forward theatre.” It presents critical examinations of what AFAB characters owe to their society simply as a point of biology. The Bearer of Bad News is an alternate future which scares us, as creators, and we hope by inhabiting the world on stage, it inspires audiences.

You formed this company this year but worked together before at the Wallis Annenberg. Do you feel that three queer femmes can change the face of Los Angeles theatre for the better? How?

Queer femmes are creating some of the most exciting independent theatre in Los Angeles, in our opinion! We wanted to join the femmes stepping outside the status quo to bring big art to the small spaces across LA. Following Project Nongenue, Beating of Wings, and BLKLST we want to inspire the next generation of creatives to dive right in.

Los Angeles indie theatre doesn’t get its due compared to Chicago or New York and the queer femmes of the city are changing that.
 
This is an extension of the previous question.
Gay theatre by and large appeals to gay audiences. Do you feel we can change straight theatregoers to more heartily accept what you want to say? How do we make them more open and cooperative?

For us it’s not about making folx more cooperative it’s about not letting them forget we are here. As three queer women we’re often put in boxes by the status quo and, frankly, we’re not inspired to sit in those boxes. If straight-identifying audience members don’t want to attend it’s their loss, not ours.

Now is the time in my mind to have more women take control in the theatre, especially minority women. I laud you. What other techniques besides sci-fi stories are you planning to utilize to make us all inclusive in a real community?

In addition to fostering new works (which our tastes happen to lean sci-fi), Unladylike Theatre also has plans to bring classics to the stage as well. By playing in the world of tropes and stories audiences are more familiar with, we’re hoping to further our exploration of how femmes will shape the future. What’s nice about looking backward to move forward is it offers us, as founders, the opportunity to reflect on our work and encourages larger casts which encourages further collaboration. For us, collaboration over competition is key in order to build the Los Angeles Theatre Community we want to see.
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Unladylike Theatre Presents
The Bearer of Bad News
A Femme Forward Imagining of the Future
At Hollywood Fringe Festival
The Other Space Theater (at The Actor’s Company)
Sat. June 4 (7pm) • Sun. June 12 (1pm) • Sat. June 25 (5:30pm)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Mother Grace

  • Do you agree that God’s love can redeem us all? Is it a good thing, if so? Mother Grace, written by dynamic playwright Aditya Putcha, whose debut Inversion performed to sold-out audiences at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2017, and directed by Stephen Juhl, Edinburgh Fringe Festival veteran, asks the tough questions. Mother Grace opens June 4th at 1:30 pm at the Stephanie Feury Studio at 5636 Melrose Ave., Hollywood CA 90038.

    The protagonist, Linus Stephenson, has a heart of gold and has touched countless lives during his decades of ministry work. He proudly attributes his effect on people to the healing influence of God, who turned him from an abused little boy and tormented young man into a pillar of the community. Yet there is much we do not know. Even as Linus uses the Lord’s strength to aid a traumatized young congregant, he realizes he may have entered a battle in which even his spiritual mother cannot help him. Yet if she can, does he deserve it? This timely play builds on the strength of the #MeToo movement while asking timeless and universal questions.
  • Starring: Leslie Foumberg, Charlotte Fr√łyland, Sydney Grey, Julia Linger, Tristan Meyers, Linda Nile, Wade Oxford, Richard Page, and Christine Viviers

Playwright Aditya Putcha chats with us about Mother Grace

Explain the title,

AP: It’s a pun. Grace is a concept central to Christianity, the centerpiece of the main character’s life, and plays a vital role in the events of the play.
 
However, it is also a woman’s name. When I first got the idea for the play, my elevator pitch was, “It’s about a guy’s very, very VERY complicated relationships with women throughout his life.”
 
One of those women in his biological mother. One of them is his spiritual mother. One of them is the Divine Mother. There are more, and it gets twisted. Disturbing even.
 
The title Mother Grace thus perfectly captures the play’s themes cleverly.
 
Is the play funny?

AP: Mother Grace is one of the most intense and disturbing stories you will ever find, featuring child abuse, domestic violence, self-harm, and rape.
 
But yes, we get to laugh plenty at the hapless main character’s coping with this mommy issues!
 
We also get great zingers from characters who find that laughter really is sometimes the best medicine, even when dealing with trauma.
 
Talk about the challenges of your creative team.
 
AP: I’m also the producer and have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off making sure we have everything we need for the play, all the pieces are flowing smoothly, and it’s getting the publicity it deserves.
 
I have delegated directing to a friend who has a real gift for determining what plays well on stage, how to keep the audience intrigued, and how to get the best possible performances out of the actors.
 
Speaking of the actors, I gave the lead role to one of my best friends, knowing he’s perfect for the part. For the other eight roles, I used Actors Access to find a variety of talented performers, and ALL EIGHT have impressed me with their passion for the project.
 
Why should audiences choose to see this play as opposed to another in the Festival?

AP:You will never see anything else like Mother Grace. Why? Let me count the ways:
-It’s about the allure of both BDSM and Christianity.
-It explores ALL those incredibly intense themes described earlier
-It features live poetry
-It uses time fluidly and non-linearly
 
Do you like Mother Grace more than your other plays? Why?

AP: It’s my masterpiece! I literally feel like Orson Welles, because not only does Mother Grace resemble Citizen Kane in terms of having incredibly bold subject matter and audacious storytelling techniques, but thematically the two stories are very similar. Each one is about a man who has reached the absolute pinnacle of his profession and gotten so highly lauded, but deep down is a complete mess, tracing back to the maternal love we see him denied as a child.
 
Do you foresee plans to continue with it after the Fringe?

AP: Broadway, Tony Awards, Samuel French, you name it. There’s the quote often attributed to Ernest Hemingway about how the way to be a great writer is to sit down and bleed onto the typewriter. I bled gallons and gallons onto my MacBook Air and now will put in as much work as necessary to make this the next classic of theatre. Come to a Fringe performance and one day you can brag about having seen the world premiere run of Mother Grace!

 

WHERE: Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre -  5636 Melrose Ave., Hollywood CA 90038

PERFORMANCE DATES:Saturday June 4, 2022, 1:30 PM/ Friday Jun, 10, 2022, 6:00 PM/ Sunday June 12, 2022, /2:00 PM/ Thursday June 23, 2022, 9:30 PM/ Sunday June 26, 2022, 12:00 PM

Running time: 90 minutes
Ticket Price: $15.00 (Discounts available for sex workers and religious professionals)
Ticket link: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7085
Admission 16+