Reviews Are In: ANOTHER MEDEA

“Dash to see Another Medea. With this one, (writer/director Aaron) Mark really got me going. It’s a tale that if told around a campfire would keep everyone awake for the rest of the night. Hewitt delivers it chillingly.” The Huffington Post

 

“A disarming psychopath…played with great suppleness…Mr. Hewitt has a light touch with some unnerving moments.” The New York Times

 

“Tom Hewitt makes a chillingly sympathetic sociopath in Aaron Mark’s solo thriller about Marcus Sharp. Particularly disturbing is how damn relatable Marcus is—and disarmingly funny, too. He really puts the me in Medea.” Timeout New York — Critic’s Pick

 

“And in an era where not even the high kicking ensemble numbers of Broadway can seen to give us a jolt, the fact that a single actor in an essentially bare stage manages to electrify us with such intensity, seems nothing short of a miracle. A maniacal, impassioned, bloody good miracle.” Center on the Aisle

 

“As the realization sinks in that this is indeed another Medea, replete with gory, if unseen, details, we’re both enthralled and horrified.” Theater Pizzazz

 

“Tom Hewitt is thoroughly compelling and Mr, Mark’s play has the full impact of the Greek tragedy.” HI! Drama

Our 2015 AIR: Bill Bowers!

We are beyond excited to announce that our 2015-2016 Artist in Residence is Bill Bowers! 

 

As an actor, mime and educator, Bill Bowers has traveled throughout all 50 of the United States, Europe and Asia. His Broadway credits include Zazu The Lion King, and Leggett in The Scarlet Pimpernel, and he has appeared at Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center, The White House, Yankee Stadium, and many of America’s premiere regional theatres.

Bill has written and performed his own plays Off Broadway and in theaters around the world. These plays include ‘Night Sweetheart ‘Night Buttercup at HERE, Under a Montana Moon at Urban Stages and the Kennedy Center, It Goes Without Sayingat Rattlestick Theatre, and Beyond Words at Urban Stages. His ensemble play, Heyokah Hokehay, has been produced in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and the Edinburgh Festival. Bill has been hailed by critics as “ the great American mime of his generation”, winning the Dallas Ft Worth Critics Award, Best of the Berkshires, Best Performance in the International United Solo Festival and International Fresh Fruit Festival, and the Grand Prize at the International Thespis Festival in 2014.

We know only great things will come from Bill’s time with us as he develops his new show, which will premiere in the fall. Stay tuned for more updates!

From former employy Kati Frazier:

So long, and thanks for all the feels.

Working for All For One changed my life.

That’s not an exaggeration, though those who know me would tell you I am prone to exaggeration.

I came to New York later in my career than was probably wise, and when I was still green I stumbled upon All For One. I tested myself in this office. I gained the confidence to design and launch our Works-In-Progress series. I found myself covering a conference table in marketing materials and leading our staff in finding a new visual identity for AFO. I got to watch a whiff of an idea I had in a staff meeting turn into SoloLab. I walked through Times Square every day coming to this very office; you can chart my transition from newcomer to New Yorker by the way I shoved through tourists then and now.

In short, I owe AFO a lot. I’ve grown to love the solo theater community through serving it day in and day out in my job. As many of you may know, I’m moving on to my next adventure. It is so tremendously satisfying to have spent the past two years working with this amazing community and All For One’s stellar staff. I’ve learned and come in to my own while working here. No matter where I go, AFO is till in my heart. Don’t be surprised if you see me in the audience at an AFO show, or at the bar at the next salon. I’ve been proud to be a part of the AFO staff, but I am proud to remain a part of this community.

A Few Words From Patrice Miller (Devil in a Box)!

I have been listening to Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “The Body Electric” a lot these past few weeks. It is a response to the traditional murder ballad. It is a song that has made its way onto most of my new playlists, a song that feels like its filled a void that I only vaguely had a sense was there — sometimes they blur together, those voids, sometimes we work very hard to ignore them, the abyss has a funny way of speaking back in the winter. The song came into my universe as I was rehearsing A Little East of Jordan [The Geography of Healing], a commissioned piece that used theater, dance, crowd-sourced text, and anthropology to explore the dialogue between our bodies, minds, and space as we consciously undergo change (or “healing”). The piece was a year-long in the making, contained a number of people’s narratives, and was built through a highly collaborative process. It was exhausting and thrilling. “The Body Electric” was the song I used in those last weeks of the project to focus my mind, and remind myself what we had set out to do — to create a piece of performance that like this chilling ballad was exacting, honest, and did not hide from the truths it was trying to tell. It’s so, so easy to hide. Especially in theater/dance where we have  a multitude of conventions, distracting designs, the seemingly superhero abilities of dancers to bend without breaking, the ability to decide literally what the audience sees and does not see. The temptation of spectacle without substance is ever-present. But of course, that was not what we had set out to do. Presenting our truths meant not getting hung up on convention, and letting a dancer’s strength and flexibility be a metaphoric layer of the narrative, not a distraction of feat.

So, when AFO let me know that Sarah Jane Johnson’s Devil in a Box needed a director for its January run I felt strangely prepared. Here within weeks of A Little East of Jordan’s first performance, I was being given the opportunity to continue creating work that speaks truth to power, that bravely uses our craft to tell new and necessary stories (counts blessings).

Devil in a Box is one of the most honest pieces of theater I have ever encountered. The honesty of the piece lies in its craft: its solo form, its narrative devices, and Sarah Jane’s no-holds-barred performance are the ingredients that theatrical alchemy is made of. This piece does not shy away from its truths, it stands strong in its vulnerability and invites its audiences to be there too. I said yes right away. I listened to “The Body Electric” as I made my way through the holidays, grounding myself in the tasks at hand, to sustain this focus on creating exacting work. I thought about how fortunate I am to work with the artists who are making the work that impacts me, that keeps me (and suspect many others) going (counts blessings again).

These last few days in the studio with Sarah Jane and Nikki (our incredible stage manager – thank you Nikki!) have been exhausting in the best possible way. We are diving long and deep into this material. Sarah Jane is a writer who strives for narrative clarity alongside emotional honesty and will not stop until she gets there (spoiler alert: she does). She is an actor who holds herself to such a high standard of no-bullsh*t, no-hiding, and no-self-indulgence, that directing her is becoming a masterclass in finding nuance, fine-tuned performances with an artist. Her strengths have been shining through this process, and working with her to create a focused, honest piece of theater is thrilling. The room buzzes with an energy that is daring the universe, sustained by our team’s commitment to finding the truth and putting it out there. And you know what? This truth involves a tallboy of Miller Lite. And laughter. And a handful of “WTF” moments. In short, this is my dream job (and I suspect that of many other directors). This was a dream play that I did not even know was available to me.

Going from A Little East of Jordan to Devil in a Box means that I have spent months thinking about how trauma is experienced and what we do with it, what we can do with it. It was and remains incredibly daunting, and often painful work. And yet, it is necessary. Stories sustain us. Our truths must be told. Being given these opportunities to find and create the physical and verbal languages to tell these truths has not only been an exercise in performance creation, it has been the beginning of an investigation of what it means to carry the burdens of trauma in our bodies and minds. This is, I believe some of the most important work artists can engage in (counts blessings one more time).

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next week, and what happens a week after that as Sarah Jane finds new and deeper connections between the dots as the run progresses. I guarantee you it will be beautiful. And funny. And tear-jerking. And hopefully it will spark you to find a new truth of your own and fearlessly live (with) it. Or at least to drink a beer with us. We’d like that.

Intern Farewell: Joshua Signs Off

From the moment I started with AFO, I felt like I belonged. My experience has been challenging and rewording, both personally and professionally. Instead of being reduced to a simple go-for or remedial task expert, I was an active member of the All for One team, responsible for assisting with large goals within the organization. In the small window of four months, I was responsible for assisting with promotional material, creating blog posts, reading and evaluating scripts, and working directly at performances. I now feel better prepared for any career I choose after graduation because of the diverse amount of responsibilities AFO gave me.

In terms of an internship, I cannot recommend what AFO offers highly enough, but All For One is more than just an organization. It’s a community. During our anniversary celebration, I got a chance to see some of its passionate contributors and supporters, and it felt wonderful to be a part of that warming culture. With all of you, I’ve had more fun here than I previously thought possible in a professional setting. I’d like to thank Michael Wolk for creating All For One. Also, I want to thank all of my co-workers for making the workplace enjoyable. I won’t say “all good things must come to an end” because I despise clichés and I question that pessimistic sentiment, but no one can argue against change being a constant. Change is what helps people grow and better themselves.

All for one has changed me for the better, and I’ll miss everyone who made me feel so welcome—not that I won’t be back to see the January lineup.

See you all soon!

–Joshua R. Askildsen

Artist In Residence Spotlight: James Judd and Killer Quack

Today, I’ll be focusing on our current Artist in Residence, James Judd, and the development of his latest production, Killer Quack, during his residency with All For One thus far. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, I’ve provided few brief videos of his past performances. I invite you to watch them if you’re in need of a laugh–Judd has a talent for comedic timing, and his stage presence is overwhelmingly engaging. These abilities, combined with a plethora of interesting events worth telling make his shows a true roller-coaster ride in that they inspire suspense and laughter. Child of a Vegas cocktail waitress and a missionary from Utah, Judd is monologist and a man of unique experience. His adventurous exploits range from shark-punching to courtroom drama (with a heavy emphasis on the drama). He’s been able recount these moments in fantastic shorter pieces, as shown in the videos provided. However, translating these experiences into a solo show presents its own unique challenges, and this is where Our residency was able to assist.

Our Artist in Residence program offers unlimited access to All For One Salons, and Judd made full use of this tool: During his residency, he used the Salons as a testing ground to transform a profound experience he’d had from a brief anecdote into dynamic full-length solo show called Killer Quack. Killer Quack, a recounting of Judd’s interactions with a dangerous dermatologist who became a scandalous tabloid sensation. All For One has since connected Judd with both a director and a professional consultant to help him further strengthen the production, and now Killer Quack promises to be an amusing, engaging experience.

 

The show has also gotten feedback from AFO staff members to assist in the process of development, and after it’s initial release, All For One will work with Judd to create a plan that will allow him to continue performing Killer Quack long after his residency has concluded.  Judd will unveil Killer Quack for New York audiences in the spring of 2015. More details about the exact location and ticket information will be provided in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Meet The Show: There’s Iron In Your Future

Welcome back to Meet The Show! Here, we give you the haps on new solo shows that have recently caught our attention in the hopes that they will grab yours as well.

Today’s edition showcases There’s Iron In Your Future, written and performed by Mindy Pfeffer and directed by Aimee Todoroff. Up at Estrogenius as a part of their Sola Voce Festival, the show “enters the wild world of triathlon training” as Mindy “prepares for her first Ironman triathlon” and gets more out of the experience than she anticipated. This is what Mindy had to say when we asked her a few questions about her show. Enjoy!

What initially inspired you to create this solo show? 

Not sure exactly when – but – at some point during my Ironman training it occurred to me that if I did a one-person show, I’d be able to combine my love for two things I love doing (one could even say my two obsessions) – theatre and triathlon – in a most unexpected way.

Now that I write that, it sounds sort of vague? But I honestly can’t remember what the actual “spark” for the show was. I do know, though, that when I talked to my theatre friends, and when I talked to my triathlon training friends, each group was completely fascinated by my activities in the “other” realm.

Maybe that’s what started the whole thing… Also I’ve written a play about someone learning to swim, and I did a one-person show written by someone else about a cross-country cycling trip – so it was probably brewing somewhere, somehow, in my creative brain.

What is it about this story that you think makes it important to share with the world?

I think it’s important for everyone to reach beyond their comfort zone at some time, at some way, in their life. You never know what’s inside you! My becoming an athlete was completely unexpected, both by me and probably most people who know me – and I want to share this idea, that you never know what’s inside you, in a positive way.

Why solo? Why did you choose solo theater as the medium for this show? What made solo theater the best way to tell this story?

I can’t imagine telling the story any other way.

What has been your biggest challenge while working on this show?

 

As my training and racing experiences progressed, a big challenge was choosing what was important to the story. It all seemed important!

Also, How to make it as active as possible – since it is about athleticism (among other things), how to show that onstage?

Finding the humor has not been a challenge although that might not be what people think about first when they think about triathlon training!

When audiences walk away from the theatre, what do you hope they take with them?

The idea or thought or whatever you call it that we all can do surprising, unexpected things, and that you never know what life will bring or where it will take you!

 

There’s Iron In Your Future is a Estrogenius Sola Voce Festival production. Written and performed by Mindy Pfeffer, and directed by Aimee Todoroff.

Know Your Intern: Joshua Askildsen

What’s your name?

Gasp, the pressure! Josh– no wait, Joshua!

What did you study in college?

Liberal Arts followed by Business, but somewhere along the way I wised up and chose something I actually have a passion for:  English with a focus in creative writing.

 

Why did you want to go into theater?

Theater was always something I enjoyed in my teens. Something about exploring the emotional state of others was always captivating to me. My favorite experience was being given a chance to portray Jack Skellington , but college concerns made me lose touch with that part of my life. Now that I’m graduating, I’d like to reconnect with that part of myself-albeit in a much different capacity. It feels great to be here at All For One!

If you could travel back in time to see any show, ever, in all of history, what would it be?

Something Greek.

If traveling back in time to see that show irreparably altered history, would it be worth it?

Not really, seeing as how I enjoy the way things are going for me currently. Also, age doesn’t always corrolate with entertainment. There will always be innovative, exciting shows created within my own time. Why not see them and save the space-time continuum?

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Jedi.

What about now?

See above.

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

A Joshua Tree (See what I did there?)

Tell us a joke:

Nonpartisan Journalism.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what 3 items in the AFO office do you think would be most important for your survival?

This laptop, the wifi router, and the Purell sitting on my desk currently; maybe it’d disinfect the bites.

If you were to write a solo show about your life, what would be the title?

Hark, a Loser.

What are you looking forward to the most in your time with AFO?

Getting to read the wide range of submissions is hands-down the best perk of this position: Regardless of what you read, you learn something new.

Know Your Intern: Taylor Steele

 

What’s your name?

 

My birth name or the name I go by? Let’s go with the latter: Taylor Steele.

 

What did you study in college?

 

Culture and Media with a concentration in Screen Studies.

 

Why did you want to go into theatre?

 

Don’t judge…but when I was about 12 years old, I became obsessed with RENT; its unapologetic displays of love, politics, and transparency. I auditioned for my first musical two years later because I wanted to give others what RENT gave me.

 

Do you have a favorite solo show?

 

One of my favorite poets, who I am also honored to call a friend and collaborator (Timothy DuWhite), was a feature in a show called “Honest Bodies,” a curated show of solo acts in BAAD’s Festival “#OutLikeThat.”

 

If you could travel back in time to see any show, ever, in all of history, what would it be?

 

I would see Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring;” it caused a riot during its first performance (1913) because of its “barbaric” music and choreography.

 

If traveling back in time to see that show irreparably altered history, would it be worth it?

 

Prolly.

 

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

I think I wanted to be a teacher. But mostly just high school valedictorian.

 

What about now?

 

I want to write and produce film, television, and theater.

 

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

 

Sycamore or Willow.

 

Tell us a joke:

 

A man walks into a bar, orders 3 beers, sits by himself and drinks them all. Every Friday night he comes in and does the same thing. The bartender, concerned, asked why he does this. The man said, “I have two brothers, and we all live in different parts of the world, so we agreed that every Friday night we each drink 3 beers. That way it’s like we’re drinking together.” Every Friday the man showed up, and every Friday the bartender happily obliged his tradition. One Friday, though the man only orders two drinks. Knowing his weekly tradition, the bartender offers his condolences about what must be the loss of one of his brothers. The man corrects him saying, “Oh, no one died. I just quit drinking.”

 

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what 3 items in the AFO office do you think would be most important for your survival?

 

I have kinemortophobia, so this question is all too real for me. Anyway: 1. Scissors. 2. Hand sanitizer. 3. Cupboard to hide in.

 

If you were to write a solo show about your life, what would be the title?

 

Probably something really Culture and Media-y like, “The Lack of Media Representation of the Decolonized Brown and Female-Read Body.” Or something weird and faux-intrinsic like, “The Three-Legged Vagina.”

 

What are you looking forward to the most in your time with AFO?

 

Rejecting people’s plays. But, in all honesty, just being in a creative and warm environment with people that love art, theater, and its interconnectivity with culturally relevant themes and issues.

 

:)

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh Diary: Solo In More Ways Than One

 

This blog post is from All For One literary director Kati Frazier.

 

 

 

As my time here in Edinburgh comes to an end I’m finding myself at more shows in the free fringe. It makes sense in a way. The shows you plan to see before you get here are the ones whose marketing is further reaching, the shows that got write-ups in major press before the festival began. But the longer the festival goes the more effective word of mouth becomes, and the more effective old fashioned flyering gets.

 

In concept, the free fringe is close to my heart. Personally, I believe in keeping theatre as affordable as possible. There should always be a place for free theatre in our community, and good shows shouldn’t always cost an arm and a leg.

 

And true to that aesthetic, I saw some very high quality performances in the free fringe. But, I also saw some of the elements that make fringe such a struggle for so many solo performers.

 

in one fringe venue, the solo performer acted as their own front of house, and even stage manager, quickly flipping on the stage lights before bounding onto the stage. With no front of house staff, people wandered in towards the middle of the show disrupting the performance. In another venue, the comedy club style Free Fringe backdrop was hung on the wall with packing tape, and the lights were two Ikea lamps.

 

From a marketing perspective, I know that free and unticketed shows are surprisingly hard to fill. Without the commitment of purchasing a ticket, audience members are much more likely to change their minds. When dinner takes longer than expected, why rush to the theater  when you dont even have a ticket? Much of the free fringe audiences I saw came on a whim. The performer fly ering right outside the venue moments before the show starts, results in some of the most reliable audiences for fringe shows.

 

all this is to say, that as lonely as fringing can be, free fringing can be even lonelier. But also, entirely unpredictable. In both good ways and bad. Many performers chatted with me about how doing the free fringe their first year in Edinburgh helped them to break in, get their feet wet, and build a devoted audience. Ultimately, it all goes back to what I talked about in my last post. Why did you come? Free fringe shows clearly have an uphill climb toward success, but the experience can be a wild ride.

 

 

 

 

Meet The Show: MAGDALEN

 

With United Solo, Fringe Encores, and Women At Work the number of solo shows out there is almost overwhelming! That’s why we’re starting a new series on our blog: Meet The Show, to give you a chance to get the skinny on the exciting solo show out there so you can support your fellow solo show artists!

 

First up is Magdalen written and performed by Erin Layton and directed by Julie Kline. We had the pleasure of getting a glimpse of this show at our salon this summer, and Erin is a captivating performer! In Magdalen long-silenced voices emerge to tell the stories of the women and girls who were sent to “wash away their sins” in commercial laundries run by nuns. Writer/performer Erin Layton took a moment last week to answer a few questions we had about her show and the power of the solo show genre.

 

 

What initially inspired you to create Magdalen?

 

I heard a song by Joni Mitchell called Magdalene Laundries years ago and was haunted by her lyrics – descriptions of innocent women sent to work as unpaid slaves to Irish Catholic orders of nuns as penance for their sins. I started researching the subject of the Laundries as a passing interest and like the rest of the world, was shocked by what I found. I was especially disturbed but intrigued by an article in the Irish Times in the mid ‘90s about the mass graves of unidentified women found on the grounds of a convent Laundry in Dublin. The material laid dormant in my conscience until I was at a crossroads in my career as a theatre artist and wanted to pursue a large scale project. It was then that I revisited the Laundries, traveled to Ireland and became deeply invested in the material. I felt so strongly compelled to create but didn’t know the work would take shape as a one person play until much later. I just kept mining.

 

What is it about this story that you think makes it important to share with the world?

 

I never intended my play to be relevant or political or carry some social message. I wrote it because the history intrigued me as a person of faith and as a performer, artist and writer. However, it is through the audience and their response that I come to understand the play’s relevance to the world. MAGDALEN is universal. Not only are people shocked to hear about the thousands of incarcerated women and children by the Catholic Church but they also relate to the play in a myriad of social layers – as people of faith, people who’ve either been adopted or fostered, people who have been shunned and bruised by religious institutions or leaders, people of minority, disability. I am always amazed at my play’s far reaching impact and consider myself fortunate to be the one to carry it.

 

Why solo? Why did you choose solo theater as the medium for this show? What made solo theater the best way to tell this story?

 

Choosing to perform my play as a piece of solo theatre was a purely artistic choice. I wanted to stretch my understanding of the solo show genre and explore my voice as a writer/performer. I also wanted the freedom to develop the play for as long or as slowly as it needed. As the characters took shape in my brain, I was right there, able to write down their stories and bring them into the rehearsal room. Any other collaborator, aside from my director and script development partner, would have rushed the creative process. It was a very intimate story for a long time and needed to be until we were ready to unleash her into the world. It is only recently after two years of performing MAGDALEN that I’ve come to understand how the solo show genre serves the story, the hidden truth revealed in a singular body.

 

What has been your biggest challenge while working on this show?

 

The biggest challenge and payoff of working on my play is the great balancing act required to hold and sustain a one-person production. Not only am I playing multiple roles on stage but I’m also producer, writer, editor, booking manager, fundraiser, publicist, designer, not to mention the work I do during the day to afford wearing the many hats. Some days my energy wears so thin that I lose sight of when or why I keep on going. But whenever I put on the costume and see my reflection in the mirror, I understand why. The labor that I pour into my play represents how much it weighs in the world and that in itself is invaluable.

 

When audiences walk away from the theatre, what do you hope they take with them?

 

Some of the takeaways I always hope for: revelation, shock, marvel, empathy, anger, call to action, call to education, inspiration, gratitude.

 

Magdalen is a United Solo Theatre Festival Encore. Written and performed by Erin Layton, directed by Julie Kline, set/lighting design by Cat Tate Starmer, sound design by Janie Bullard, costume design by Laura Catignani, and stage managed by Rae Rossi.

 

You can see the show Friday, October 3rd at 6pm at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St.) Go here to buy tickets or check out www.magdalentheplay.com  to learn more!

 

 

 

Edinburgh Diary: A Blizzard of Postcards!

 

This post is from All For One Artistic Director Michael Wolk.

 

I got home from Edinburgh — a blizzard of promo postcards! a blur of shows! – and was shocked to find just one photo I’d taken with my cellphone.

 

Nary a selfie or star or show poster, just this picture of Edinburgh Castle — not even the part of the Castle you pay $26.50 to see, but the butt end hanging of a cliff that you can see for free.

 

It made me realize that the history and grandeur of Edinburgh proved a blessed counterweight to the manic flurry of the Fringe; just taking a turn or two down a cobblestone lane gave me the space and serenity to reflect on the extraordinary work on view.

 

I and the AFO team of Scott Slavin, Corinne Woods and Kati Frazier saw LOTS of extraordinary work in Edinburgh that expanded our idea of what a solo show can be and do. We hope to bring some of this work to NYC for the first time.

 

We also began making connections  to give the NYC solo community performing opportunities abroad. Clearly there is a torrent of NYC solo talent – this year represented in Edinburgh by folks like Jessica Sher, Jeanette Bonner,  and Valerie Hager  — who are ready and waiting to span the world.

 

In the weeks to come, we’ll be sharing  what we learned at Edinburgh. AFO is fortunate in having a unique inside perspective: Executive Director Scott Slavin directed Naked In Alaska, a major EdFringe hit.

 

Edinburgh proved to me there is a world beyond the “New York solo show” – but it also proved shows born in little black boxes off-off-Bway can take on the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh Diary: Why Do We Come?

 

This blog post is from All For One Literary & Communications Director Kati Frazier.

 

imageThe Airline lost my luggage, somewhere between New York, a layover in Iceland, and landing in Glasgow. This  is after our flight sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half because of technical issues, and we nearly missed our connection. Then, once we discovered my bag was not waiting for me at baggage claim. we spent an hour and a half waiting for someone to come to the baggage enquiries desk, and then being sent from desk to desk to desk in the Glasgow airport. Then the bus, to the train, to a cab to our hotel in Edinburgh.

 

All of this is to say, that getting here wasn’t easy.

 

But I shouldn’t be one to complain. Our friends the Neo-Futurists arrived in Edinburgh and discovered that the flat they had rented had burnt down. It was still smoldering when they arrived (Completely true story. Here’s a link to a write-up in The Scotsman about it.)

 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s no end to the Edinburgh Fringe horror stories I’m sure we’ve all heard. Travelling abroad to do your show in a festival with hundreds and hundreds of other shows, in a venue that most likely isn’t even a theatre the other 11 months of the year is not a typical recipe for success. But why do we come? Why do so many American and international artists come here year after year?

 

There is something magic here. I keep looking at the Edinburgh streets and trying to imagine what they look like when the city isn’t super saturated with festivals (After all, it isn’t just the Fringe. There’s the Edinburgh Book Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival . . . ) and it really must be a different city the rest of the year. Spaces are transformed. Restaurants, bars, and spaces whose normal use I can’t even discern transform themselves into theaters. For some shows it’s a technical challenge and a burden being in these unconventional spaces, for others it’s a bit of magic. Like the solo show SHREW that I saw yesterday. Armed with a trunk full of props and a muslin banner with the show name, this show needed little else, as the space at C Cubed felt like we were in her new married home where Petruchio was keeping his new wife Kate prisoner. And even when the house isn’t packed magic can happen. Like the ensemble show NO BELLES that had me laughing and crying (and I’m generally not one who cries in a theatre) when there were only 3 people in the audience. We got to know all the performers by name. The fourth wall melted away.

 

As an audience member, something shifts. There are so many shows that it no longer becomes about mulling over whether you think the show is good enough to be worth the ticket price. I’ve heard more than once that “You’ve haven’t been to Edinburgh until you’ve seen at least one truly terrible show” Audiences are more willing to take risks on what they see, so the artists are allowed to take risks on stage. Like the absolutely splendid and insanely strange show BIRDWATCHERS’ WIVES that I saw today.

 

At the end of the day, being a festival show means something different here. The bulk of these shows have 6 performances a week for a month, more than they would get in most American festivals. Your show can breathe here, and because Edinburgh has become a theatrical mecca, success here means something big for the future of your show back home. Perhaps it’s because it is still early on in the festival, but everyone I talk to is still very happy they came, even if their houses haven’t been packed and their reviews haven’t been glowing.

 

 

 

Edinburgh Diary: Making The Most Of Space

 

This blog post is from All For One general manager Corinne Woods:

 

Hello from lovely Edinburgh!

 

Edinburgh Fringe is such an interesting place. It’s exciting to be in a city at a time where (it seems) everyone is enthusiastic about the arts and excited to support it. And being enthusiastic about the arts ourselves, we’ve jumped in with both feet. Our staff has seen over 25 shows so far, with more to come.

 

Now, I’ve been here a week so far, and I’ve seen shows in theaters, but I’ve also seen shows in hotel meeting rooms, an old historic residential building currently fundraising for renovations, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the surrounding riverwalk, a box similar to a shipping container, and an old cask storage room. Some shows and venues have fought against their surroundings. They’ve created theaters where there was no theater before by hanging black curtains on the wall, tying up stage lights, and setting up the seating in as close to a proscenium style as possible. Others have embraced the limitations and eccentricities of their performance spaces, and their pieces are stronger because of it. Alternative spaces can be an opportunity to explore new possibilities in your work. At the very least, you should find ways to work with your space, not against it, just as you work with your lights and sound and budget.

 

While we are on the subject of space, I also wanted to highlight the communal spaces that make Edinburgh Fringe such an exciting place. If you’ve never been to Edinburgh Fringe, each venue runs its own theaters, box office, concessions, etc. Many venues have multiple theaters in a single building, or in a group of buildings usually centered around a courtyard or square. These squares are places for people to hang out and talk before or after the show, or anytime. They have bars (excellent), food trucks and stands (even better), and lots of seating. There are artists and marketing teams wandering around handing out postcards, and people just excited to talk about what they’ve seen, ready to strike up conversations with strangers.

 

By creating welcoming areas at their venues for people to sit, eat, drink, and talk, these spaces are supporting theater as a community event. They create space not only for people to sit in the dark and enjoy a performance together, but for people to talk about that performance, draw connections, meet the artists, and find out about new work. Community cannot be created, but it can be facilitated, and spaces like these are a great for that purpose.

 

That’s all from me. All For One will keep bringing you updates from Edinburgh Fringe, and we’ll be back in New York soon! In the meantime, you can follow our adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Edinburgh Bound!

 

This post is from All For One’s Literary and Communications Director, Kati Frazier.

 

In the month of August, the entire staff of All For One is heading to Edinburgh. For our Executive director, it’s a month long adventure as Naked In Alaska by Valerie Hager (which he directed) will be in the prestigious festival. For myself and our General Manager Corinne Woods, it’s a two-week excursion full of days jam-packed with solo shows. Our Artistic Director Michael Wolk is heading out as well, leading the charge as we see both American and international shows in the Edinburgh Fringe.

 

For me, this trip is something special. When I first graduated college I started building my resume self-producing in my local fringe festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. I learned a lot of what I know about marketing and producing from trial and error in those days. Now, I’m taking a theatrical career that started with that small fringe consisting of about 8 shows in the same venue, to scouting and networking at the Edinburgh Fringe with a show catalog the size of a phonebook.

 

On top of what this means for me professionally, this trip is a big milestone for me personally. I grew up in North Carolina. My mother was a teacher’s assistant. My father worked for the city. We never had much money, and our biggest vacation was a three day trip to Disney; we drove the whole way and brought our own microwave so we could make our own meals in our budget hotel. My parents had never been to New York until they visited me here last year, and my mother has still never been on an airplane. With all that in mind, it’s likely no surprise that I’ve never left the country.

 

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this trip to Edinburgh most of the year. The smile on my face in my brand new passport photo is completely sincere and uncontrollable. It’s absolutely perfect that my first trip out of the country is to the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s a theatrical pilgrimage of sorts, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful to be representing All For One when I go abroad.

 

Keep your eyes on our blog in the month of August. We’ll all be sharing our experiences as we explore and experience the Edinburgh Fringe, and meet a wealth of solo performers from all corners of the world.

 

 

 

 

Take Your Solo Show To The Next Level

 

This blog post is by All For One’s Executive Director Scott Wesley Slavin.

 

Creating solo theater began as a hobby. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) Valerie Hager had just moved into my apartment in L.A. and had been invited to perform for the second year in a row in The Why Factor, an annual showcase of Los Angeles women’s voices.

 

The year before she had performed Autumn Leaves, a piece whose one character was a composite of many of the women Valerie had worked with in strip clubs during the previous ten years. For her new show, she wanted to tell a different story: about losing her stepfather Karl to an unexpected, early death from a drug-induced heart attack.

 

Valerie Hager

 

Sunshiny Days premiered at The Why Factor in 2007 and took a sweeping look at the impact Karl had on Valerie’s life—much of it magical—without turning away from the addictions that lead to his early death and the ruins it left his family in. At the opening performance, Valerie’s mother sat in the first row.

 

This was my first experience of the power of theater to transform lives. I had known it up to that point as entertainment—or worse, as “culture.” I had my fill of snooze-worthy experiences watching Marcel Marceau, Wagner, and safe, interminably boring productions of Shakesepeare—theater that my family would have nothing to say about afterward except, “Where are we going for dinner?” I hadn’t known theater where real families actually cried and healed.

 

Valerie and I began working on more solo shows and solo theater passed from being a hobby into a vocation. We began submitting to festivals, implementing marketing strategies, hiring partners, creating budgets, crowdfunding, touring—in short, we started professionally producing.

 

We learned very quickly that, if we consider ourselves hobbyists, New York City offers an abundance of opportunities to perform our work for little or no cost. Virtually every neighborhood has a monthly variety-style show perpetually on the hunt for new, free, and reliable talent.

 

However, if we consider ourselves professionals—independent theater makers—the city’s landscape rapidly changes. Those many opportunities to perform for 10 minutes are rarely more than a starting point. To move forward in our work, then, we must produce. We must understand what our goals are, what our show needs next, create a business plan, and find the funding to make this all happen.

 

produce to win-2This month we have created two exceptional workshops for our community on producing solo theater professionally and successfully: Produce to Win and Think Bigger Than Press. I encourage everyone involved in theater to enroll in these workshops. And here’s why:

 

In Produce to Win, Tony-award winning producer Jane Dubin will lead you step-by-step through her time-tested “Principles of Producing” that she’s used to award-winning effect both on Broadway and with independent solo theater. Then, All For One’s Corinne Woods will lead you through key concepts and approaches for effective production budgeting and understanding production contracts—whether you’re in a festival or other run. Finally, All For One Board Member Peter Breger, Esq., will moderate a Q&A for all students to get their producing questions answered—including how to legally protect yourself and your work.

 

There is not another workshop that brings this kind of talent and experience together anywhere in the city—I’ve looked. If you are heading into a festival or run this summer or fall, I’d consider it essential.

 

Untitled-1Next, Aizzah Fatima and Valerie Hager’s Think Bigger Than Press will give you festival-tested audience-building strategies they’ve developed over a half-dozen years self-producing here and abroad. One of the most common mistakes artists make is placing much of their effort in getting traditional publicity. In reality some of the biggest gains come from grassroots efforts and employing smart strategies for creating passionate advocates on the staff of festivals, venues, and nonprofit organizations who already work with your show’s target audience. Aizzah and Valerie have gathered a goldmine of templates, approaches, and contact information to share with you so that you can give your next production a sold-out house and powerful word-of-mouth.

 

In the end, I can’t answer why you are investing your life into solo theater, but I can answer why I am: because solo theater heals—it heals us as creators and heals others as they get the privilege of watching their own dramas unfold through the courageous stories we tell. I believe it’s important for the work we create to reach as large an audience as possible; as professionals, we create work to share it. As we embrace our roles as professional self-producers, we empower ourselves and our stories to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. We repair the torn fabric of our world.

 

 

 

 

Thank You All For One!

 

After six amazing months it is time to say goodbye to All For One, the office that became a second home, and the people who became great co-workers and friends. This was an internship I will never forget and with people who made working and returning each day a complete pleasure.

 

It has been an incredible journey as I read countless plays and had the opportunity to meet and integrate with the wonderful solo community! Having the chance to see each WIP move from submission to the stage, and each salon showcase the many other solo performers putting their work to new audiences.

 

AFO is unlike many other offices as it teaches, nurtures, and allows for you to be as nerdy, and out there while working. I have gained so much from learning about the literary side of submissions, keeping a theatrical community connected through salons and our website, and about myself as a co-worker. The AFO team always pushed this growth and allowed for me to be involved in every aspect of it’s work.

 

Thank you so much AFO, I’ll miss you guys!

 

Ariana Sholette, Literary Intern

 

 

 

Meet Billy Scaltsas!

He’s the new development intern here at All For One. So you could get to know Billy, we asked him a few questions. . .

 

What’s your name?

 

Billy Scaltsas

 

What did you study in college?

 

Public Relations, Sociology

 

Why did you want to go into theatre?

 

It’s one of the things I’ve always loved most, and playing a small part in it each day is exciting.

 

Do you have a favorite solo show?

 

Whoopi Goldberg: Back to Broadway

 

If you could travel back in time to see any show, ever, in all of history, what would it be?

 

Cher in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

 

If traveling back in time to see that show irreparably altered history, would it be worth it?

 

Absolutely

 

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Actor

 

What about now?

 

Anything that makes me happy at that given moment

 

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

 

Weeping Willow

 

Tell us a joke:

 

“I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away” – Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy

 

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what 3 items in the AFO office do you think would be most important for your survival?

 

I’ll get back to you on that one :)

 

If you were to write a solo show about your life, what would be the title?

 

“Can I Have a Mimosa While I Wait?”

 

What are you looking forward to the most in your time with AFO?

 

The people.

 

Well! That’s everything you could possibly need to know about Billy! Make sure you say hello to him next time you’re at a salon or other AFO event. We promise he doesn’t bite.

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Our Collaborators Panel Series

 

This blog post is from All For One Executive Director, Scott Slavin

 

 “From my first day on the job in theater, I understood in a visceral way that no man is an island in this business. A successful show effectively fuses the talents of a vast cast of characters, onstage and behind the scenes. And yet the writers, actors, musicians, designers, crew members and managers involved in a show often have competing interests, needs and opinions about how a production should come together. To add further complication, all of these parties have their creative reputations riding on the outcome of the final product. This means [in solo theater] that the leadership of the [writer/performer] is critical to unite [collaborators] behind a single set of artistic decisions. Everything rides on this person’s ability to transform a group of artists with strong opinions into a tight-knit community dedicated to one another and to the work. It is a Herculean task — and one that [you can] handle with tremendous grace and savvy.”

 

– Playwright Christa Avampato

 

“The truth is, in collaboration you’re only as good as the people you’re working with.”

 

– Theater Director and Choreographer Martha Clarke

 

director panel-slideshowIn the world of theater, collaboration is essential to success. Yet how do solo theater artists identify what collaborators their show needs, connect with these professionals at the most appropriate stages of their show’s development, and properly evaluate who might be the best fit for their production’s highest success?

 

We receive inquiries from our community regularly on all these fronts. So, we have gone a step further and created a brand new series of free panels for our solo theater community: The Collaborators Panel Series.

 

These panels will roll-out over the remainder of the year and will introduce you to mid-career professionals who can speak from experience on what truly works in terms of collaborations and why, as well as trends they’re observing in the field.

 

A few specific topics that each panel will cover:

 

The functions of the collaborator and their key contributions to your show

Insight into their perspectives, approaches, and artistic goals

Ideal timelines for when the collaboration is most appropriate

Essential research, interviewing, and contracting procedures for a successful and mutually rewarding collaboration

Criteria for evaluating which candidate is actually most likely to help you achieve the show you truly want to deliver

Expectations that are appropriate and inappropriate to have of the collaboration—and the best ways to put these on the table and discuss early on in the process

At the end of each panel there will be ample opportunity for a public Q&A (so all your burning questions get answered), followed by free time for casual one-on-one introductions, discussions, and enjoying fellowship with other artists.

 

The Series is kicking off on June 30th with a focus on Solo Theater Directors. We’ve assembled an astounding panel of award-winning talent covering the gamut of solo theater styles, and I’m incredibly proud to be bringing them to you. Though it’s a free event, space is limited, so please RSVP here.

 

Following our Solo Theater Directors panel, we will be presenting panels to cover five other key collaborators in solo theater:

 

Lighting, Sound, and Projection Designers (July)

Writing Coaches & Dramaturgs (September)

Acting, Movement, & Voice Coaches (October)

Producers (November)

Marketers, Advertisers, and Publicists (December)

By providing these free panels, All For One is stepping up in our mission to support solo theater artists in continuing with and further enriching their work, mastering the skills to tell their most meaningful stories, and forging healthy, collaborative partnerships that draw out each person’s greatest power and potential.

 

Together we can break into new frontiers. We can build exponentially more fellowship in a business that thrives on and longs for it. We can succeed in our work at levels we may not have envisioned possible—before our lives were graced by such talented and visionary collaborators.

 

I’m looking forward to sharing these panels with you, learning alongside you, and celebrating the incredible resources we have in this community to help solo theater work soar. Come participate in our Series. Ignite your show.

 

NOTE TO ALL: If you have solo theater educational needs and questions that you’d like us to answer—in this Collaborators Series or through our ongoing workshops and classes—please contact us! We want to hear from you and address the community’s needs as they arise, so you can continue moving forward.

 

 

 

 

Next In Our Works-In-Progress Series

 

BURNING

Written and Performed by Heather Harpham

Directed by Cassie Tunick

 

Monday June 9th at 7:00pm

 

At Theatrelab

357 W 36th St, 3rd floor (between 8th and 9th ave)

 

BURNING is a highly kinetic, semi-comic romp through the absurd landscapes of climate change where comedy, tragedy, activism and cautious optimism collide.

 

Heather_Harpham_Burning_1Using movement, song, monologue and otherworldly images — this solo play pings between Hurricane Sandy, our obsession with apocalyptic movies, NPR’s narcoleptic effect, and the million trivial tasks that preoccupy us while Rome burns. Faced with a winnowing polar ice cap and obdurate political leaders, BURNING asks the uncomfortable question: If we can’t Google, Tweet, Skype or buy our way out of this particular fix, what happens next?

 

Ultimately, BURNING invites audiences to climb into fraying hammock and drift down into a dream deep enough, perhaps, to re-envision the way people inhabit the planet.

 

A reception will follow the performance with wine available for a small donation.

 

 About The Writer/Performer

 

Heather Harpham is a writer and performer of physical theater, originally from northern California. Her solo plays and theatrical collaborations have been presented nationally and internationally, including in Nepal at the Kathmandu International Theater Festival and in Estonia at the Notafe Festival. Her previous solo work, Happiness, was presented by the inaugural All For One Festival in 2011. She has performed at DTW, Joyce SoHo, Dixon Place, 3LD Art & Technology Center, and many other NYC venues. Together with Cassie Tunick and Danny Tunick, Harpham is part of the physical theater ensemble Second Nature, whose work is regularly produced in NYC by Triskelion Arts Center and Roulette, both in Brooklyn.

 

Harpham has published in MORE Magazine, received the Brenda Ueland Prose prize for her fiction writing, a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and was a 2009 nominee for a New York Innovative Theater Award for her ensemble work with Company SoGoNo. She has taught master classes in physical theater and improvisation at colleges, universities and conservatory programs throughout the US, including The Neighborhood Playhouse, Muhlenberg College, The Pratt Institute and Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently adjunct faculty at Manhattanville College and at SUNY Purchase.

 

www.heatherharpham.com

 

About The Director

 

Cassie Tunick is a performer, writer, director, and teacher. Her physical improvisations have been seen on stages across the US and in Germany, France, Holland, and Estonia. Theatrical collaborators include the Butoh troupe inkBoat, experimental music-theater group Reflex Ensemble, video artist David Finkelstein, poet Katie Yates, and most recently Abby Bender. She is a founding member of the company Second Nature, performing regularly with Danny Tunick and Heather Harpham (Cassie and Heather’s long-standing collaborative relationship spans 37 years). In New York her work has been presented at Triskelion Arts, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, Ontological Theater, Brooklyn Museum, Irondale Center, Dixon Place, Movement Research, and Roulette. She is a Senior Teacher of Ruth Zaporah’s Action Theater, devoting herself to the study and development of Action Theater for the last 25 years. She holds an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa Institute and recently finished editing a book on improvisation by Ruth Zaporah due out in September from Random House. She is thrilled to be involved with Burning in a directorial capacity. www.cassietunick.com

 

 

 

New work at our May salon!

 

We’ve been pumping up our salons this year, and in April it’s getting even better!

 

Get Your Tickets now!

 

The Performers

 

AFO Alum Heather Harpham is back! She’ll be performing her new show BURNING in our Works-In-Progress series next month, and she’s giving a sneak peek of this new show at our salon! Also, Antonia Lassar just returned from her West Coast living room tour of GOD BOX, she’ll be performing an excerpt from a new work about the healing power of comedy. We’ve also got Joseph Gallo testing out his new show on fatherhood. And we’re rounding it out with Siobhan O’Loughlin, whose show NATURAL NOVICE will be in Planet Connections!

 

The Prizes

 

Our first raffle was a huge hit, and we’re keeping it going with even more prizes! On the docket we’ve got Two Tickets to MTC’s new solo show THE LION, and we’ve got Two Tickets to the New York Neo-Futurists TOO MUCHLIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND.  Or if you’re looking to win something a little more practical how free registration to any of our one-day classes

 

And the night goes on…

 

After the performances and raffle and networking, the doors of The COW will eventually close. But the party doesn’t have to stop there! We’ll be heading to Donnybrook after the salon for drinks and to keep the conversation going.

 

Tickets?

 

Some of you might be surprised to see a ticket price on the salon. Opening up our salons to a bigger audience, and our full community means additional costs. The modest ticket price makes it possible for us to keep the salon going and to keep bringing you the best performers, prizes, and an evening of networking, fun (and did we mention cheap drinks?)

 

We can’t wait to see you all at the salon! If you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $8!

 

 

 

 

 

Gioia De Cari talks about touring

 

All For One Executive Director Scott Wesley Slavin sat down with Gioia De Cari to talk about solo show marketing, touring and her upcoming course with All For One.

 

Scott Wesley Slavin: You’ve said you come to solo show touring from a different point of view. What do you mean by that?

 

Gioia De Cari: When I started touring, it helped me to look at the big picture: performing arts touring. I saw there were all these small arts organizations—theaters, dance companies, musical ensembles—out there touring, and I thought, “How am I different from that? How is what I’m doing the same? How can I go in that direction and have a show that’s as professional and tours like any of these other sorts of performances?” Because being a solo show doesn’t mean it’s completely different. And this was a very fruitful point of view for me.

 

SS: You won Best Solo Show at FringeNYC 2009. What was the process for deciding to tour Truth Values and package it for a touring market?

 

GDC: It happened faster than I had expected! I was already booked to do a regional premiere of Truth Values when I was at FringeNYC. So it was like, “Hello, let’s tour!” I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time. Before the Fringe, I had reached out to the M.I.T. Alumni Club to see if they’d be interested in my show. Sure enough, they came as a group and packed the place—and were the greatest audience. That really told me something about what kind of community would be especially interested in my work, and I thought, “How do I put it in front of more of them?” So I looked for opportunities in theaters to do that, and particularly those near M.I.T. I found what I thought was an especially good opportunity, tried to learn all about that theater—who worked there, what kind of work they did. I went to Boston to see their work and meet their staff. I talked to the Artistic Director. One thing led to another, and they booked the show for a regional premiere right after FringeNYC.

 

SS: So on the heels of your FringeNYC success you had a regional run in Boston. What was the takeaway from that production?

 

GDC: That was absolutely amazing, because the whole thing sold-out. Just [snaps fingers] sold-out! They added a week—it was all they had left in their schedule to add—and that sold-out too. When I had approached the theater, I had thought, “This is a good one because that community is going to really like this and tell their friends to come.” And they sure did. It’s as simple as that. I thought, “Where will tickets sell? They’ll sell in this town.” That was a big takeaway. Also the theater had really good PR. They had a great publicist. It was a great help to what I was doing.

 

SS: When you were writing your show, how much were you visualizing or intending it to be a vehicle that would have now a 5-year life of successful touring?

 

GDC: I didn’t have any idea at all that it would get past Off-Off Broadway. I really was all about the art. I’d read about the kind of enterprise where you’re trying to create for the sake of selling it to someone. I know there are people who do that brilliantly. But that’s not the way I was drawn to the work. I was just, “How can I create the very best show I can?

 

SS: After FringeNYC and these two successful regional bookings, what was the process for identifying the next steps for the show?

 

GDC: The first bookings led to other bookings. So people who came to see it would talk to me after and say, “I would love to have this at my university because it could be a great conversation starter for us. We’re having all these issues with women and men in science and math fields.” And I’d say, “OK! Sounds great!

 

SS: And how did you go from that to actually making it happen?

 

GDC: There was already a lot of good word of mouth. People would talk to me after the show, give me their card and say, “Gioia, could I talk to you about this?” And I would follow up. I would keep track and follow up on every single thing. It was a lot of follow up.

 

SS: In the beginning, were producers reaching out to you or were you reaching out to them for more opportunities?

 

GDC: Both. I always tried to arrange it so I wouldn’t leave it to chance. So if I was going to be performing—and this is a good recommendation for anyone already touring—I would make sure to reach out and at least try to get certain key people in the room. I always do that. I send them an invitation and follow up, whether or not they come.

 

SS: At what point did you have a clear idea of whom your target market is so that you knew who to get into the room?

 

GDC: I have to confess: for a long time—because I was first at MIT and then at FIT—I was really into image and branding. I was fascinated, even obsessed, by branding. I read and read about it. Listened to podcasts about it. I was crazy about it. And I started thinking, “You know my show could be branded. How would that work?” And I started doing branding exercises with it and discovering, “Oh, I think this marketing may be good.” It was just fun for me. It helped me to put my finger on the target market before I had even put Truth Values in front of them. Now I understand my target market better. Now I know who my community is, and who makes the most sense as far as my marketing time.

 

SS: How have you learned to nurture relationships throughout the journey of your show, so your following is loyal and continues to increase?

 

GDC: I think one old-school thing that’s helpful is e-blasts. E-blasts are still more effective than even Facebook. Keep adding people to that list, keeping in touch, making sure everything you mail is interesting, captivating, has good content that people are going be interested in and click on and read and watch. And do that on a regular basis. That’s the very best thing of all, I think, to grow a following.

 

SS: As more people are becoming savvy about technology, do you see it becoming increasingly saturated or competitive to differentiate yourself in the marketplace?

 

GDC: I’ve seen technology change, but I also do a lot of sales of tours on the old-fashioned telephone. You nurture a thing, you’ll have a nibble from someone—it’ll probably take more than one nibble. You say, “Hey, you are interested. Would you like to talk further about that?” You say, “We’re going to be in your area at such and such a time.” And the best way to do it is on a call. It’s sales, right? It’s the relationship. It’s better on the phone. Or Skype. Or in person, over a drink, is even better—because it’s about building a relationship. But I’m not all about old-school style only. Social media is a great help for building relationships, too, especially if you use it in certain non-standard ways with your booking goals in mind.

 

SS: What excites you most about teaching this workshop?

 

GDC: When I started out, I didn’t really know where to turn. There weren’t a whole lot of options for places to get help every step of the way. But now I’ve done it, and I can be there for my students, support them. I think back to what it was like in the beginning for me. I’d think, “Well, I guess I better talk to so-and-so about this, I think they might know… And then I’ll talk to so-and-so about that…” Now I have the whole picture. I can truly inform in many ways about touring, booking, selling, building a following, branding, and marketing—all of it. I’ve been there, done that. I want to be of service in this way.

 

 

 

 

Take Your Story To The World

 

 From AFO Managing Director, Scott Slavin

 

Recently I watched Half the Sky, a documentary that looks at the oppression of women worldwide and profiles individuals dedicating their lives to helping women heal from the brutal experiences they’ve had and re-write the limiting stories their cultures have told them about a woman’s value.

 

Half the Sky cuts straight to the heart and inspires action. The individuals it profiles demonstrate incredible heroism in the face of violence and death so they can empower others. In doing so, they are awakening communities and shaking the status quo to its core.

 

I couldn’t stop feeling outraged, humbled, and inspired while watching Half the Sky. Everywhere, these women are using individual stories as catalysts to help others feel seen and encourage them to speak out and act.

 

I couldn’t help connecting the dots to our community of solo theater artists and storytellers. And the dots ended at this: you need to get your show out there! Get it seen and heard by those who need to experience it. It’s not about you anymore; it’s about creating a more just and open society. It’s about using what time you have to be an agent of change–one audience member at a time.

 

One particular scene in Half the Sky brought this home for me like no other. Somaly Mam–founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation through which she rescues and provides safety and opportunities to girls in Cambodia who have been sex trafficked, as she herself was–sits on the floor among her girls. “It’s often hard,” Nic Kristof tells us in voiceover, “for these girls to put their pasts into words–”

 

“Who’s brave enough to come up and sing their song?” Somaly Mam asks them. “–but somehow in a song,” Nic continues, “it’s a little bit easier. And most of the girls have their own song they’ve written to express their story. Other girls know them by heart and they sing together.”

 

Suddenly, a girl of no more than seven or eight stands before the group. It’s difficult to breathe, she begins to sing, Life is unfortunate. My heart is breaking. I’m just four years old, They sold me to the brothel. I don’t know know anything about the life here, They destroyed my life. They’re beating me, beating me all the time, They force me to have sex like I’m an adult. I want my mother to come and help me, Where is she, why did she leave me alone?

And now it’s–

 

Somaly Mam breaks into tears. She can no longer translate.

“Does it remind you of yourself as a kid?” Nic asks.

 

“All of them,” Somaly Mam says, pulling the girl in her lap closer to her chest, “We have the same lives.”

 

Like Somaly’s girls, communities exist whose experiences are so similar to those in your show that you could all say, “We have the same lives.” Do whatever you can to get your show before them. Use your work to empower others to sing their own songs. Let your legacy be art *and* change.

 

And here’s the second point, equally important: they won’t come banging on your door; you must go bang on their’s. But so what? If making an impact requires it, do it.

 

And we’ve got help: Gioia de Cari. She’s toured Truth Values for five years–50 universities, 100 venues, 17,000 audience members. It’s picked up awards; she’s spoken on panels with Pultizer Prize winners. She’s built Truth Values into more than a show; it’s a program inspired by a greater mission: to empower women to fight sexism and discrimination in the workplace. That’s the essence of her work and *Truth Values* is packaged to serve that mission and has been successfully booked around the country.

 

If you’re even considering touring your show, enroll in Gioia’s four-week workshop Successfully Package & Tour Your Solo Show before it begins May 28th. She’s spent five years learning how to package and book solo shows; take her class so you don’t have to.

 

“It’s easy to see the pain here,” Meg Ryan says of Somaly Mam’s work after the songs have been sung and the girls have gone to sleep, “but what’s beautiful to me is the love here. The health here. The community–even if it’s a community of pain at first–is so healing. That’s a very simple yet powerful idea. It’s in action here.” Our world’s outdated, repressive stories can–and must–change. Take your show to the world. Be that change.

 

 

 

 

 

David Crabb talks storytelling with AFO

 

AFO Managing Director Scott Slavin sat down with writer/performer/educator David Crabb to talk about solo theater, story structure, and his solo show Bad Kid. Click the images or read on below to see their interview.

 

David Crabb’s class on the fundamentals of story structure is this weekend! You don’t want to miss this one!

 

Scott Wesley Slavin: How did you become a solo theater artist?

 

David Crabb: I came at it from the theater—from a performance background. I was an actor before I was a writer. Three to four years I ago, I went to The Moth for the first time and sort of became obsessed. I didn’t know there was a place where people could do this sort of thing—this thing I had been told my whole life that I did—on stage for an audience of 300. And then—very quickly—I just got involved. I started performing, co-producing, and teaching, and later hosting The Moth StorySLAMS. I’ve been told by people I’m a different kind of storyteller—that I’m a little more theatrical. I do different voices, but organically work them into my stories so it doesn’t feel like you’re seeing a monologue. Over a two-year period of telling stories, I realized most of them were from my youth as a goth kid in Texas. So I joined with my director and co-creator Josh Matthews and said, “I wanna tell this story. I wanna smash all these stories together and make one big experience out of it.”

 

SS: When you moved to New York, you began by enrolling at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. How did ensemble improv lead to solo theater?

 

DC: I enjoyed improv, but I felt like improv was giving me a toolbox and I wasn’t getting to use the tools. So I would sign up for another improv class, and feel like it threw a few more tools in there. But at a certain point, I felt I was really happy with my toolbox and wasn’t building anything. So I started acting in “legitimate” theater— namely plays at Axis Company, which I really enjoyed because it was a huge gap in my proper theater career. The great thing about working at Axis was I got to play this absurdist fever-dream character called the Research Physician [in their series Hospital]. And the Research Physician had inexplicably this black mouth—like a cigar just blew up—and a shock of white insane hair. Basically I just morphed into a Bobcat Goldthwait-Jerry Lewis nightmare creation. And I’m so grateful to that because Randy Sharp [Artistic Director of Axis] let me have so much fun with that character. And even though that character was part of an ensemble, it was this great experience for me because it was so freeing. It felt very connected to improv and comedy and a bunch of other stuff I had interest in, like stand-up. Playing the Research Physician really made me think about what I could start bringing to my own narratives especially from a character point of view. I’ve always loved doing impersonations of people—my mother, my father, my friends—and that time in my life, when I was a goth kid, is just rife for stand-up and parody… because it kind of is a parody. When you’re a 16-year-old goth kid, you’re kind of the walking parody of the real thing. So when I got into storytelling, those were just the stories that I naturally wanted to tell. The first time I went to The Moth, I told a story about this goth girl I know named Silvia who wore a bunch of ankhs and had purple hair and tortured everyone she knew. And that lent itself to more storytelling. I didn’t even realize I was building a sort of cabinet of stories about that time in my life.

 

SS: What’s been the process for figuring out how all these individual storytelling moments could add up to your solo theater show Bad Kid?

 

DC: I feel like so much of making sense of these narratives had to do with having a co-creator. It had to do with working with Josh Matthews, who directed the show. Because when I teach storytellers, I feel like so much of the challenge is having them make sense of their own lives. Because it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. You look back on your own history, and you can think that the totally wrong things are of significance, and be totally burying the lead over and over again, because you don’t realize these things you take for granted about your family or where you were born or who your friends were in high school or your first job—you forget that they’re special and they’re different. And you’ll mention it to someone when you’re in a workshop environment and it can take them looking at you and saying, “That’s incredible! You need to talk about that!” And for me, working with Josh really helped me break through, because together we devised the order. On one level Bad Kid’s a chronological show; it’s not a conceptual show. The chronology of it made sense. That being said, there were still so many details and characters and moments and events that he was instrumental in making me realize either needed to stay or go or I needed to mine further for more information and details. That was really great for me. I feel like telling a self-contained 5-6 minute story is something that a lot of storytellers need direction on, but it’s manageable. I feel like when you get into telling a 60-minute, 75-minute piece—whether memoir-based or fictional—I admire anyone who can just do that sealed in a vacuum. I don’t know how you do that. I’ve met a few writer-performers that do that, and that’s crazy. I don’t believe them.

 

SS: How does understanding story structure help someone when they’re looking at their stories or thinking about writing a story?

 

DC: I feel like what’s important about understanding basic story structure, especially if you’re creating a long-form piece, is understanding the way that you make that natural rhythm replicate itself. You know, in a 6-minute story, your job is to create a story that asks an enticing question. And in 6 minutes, you’re gonna give the audience that answer. When you have someone for a much longer period of time, your job in a way is to do that and extend that whole process. That’s a part of it, but naturally, what you’re doing is you’re building a lot of those little 6 minute arcs within that. Because you’re answering many questions in a row when you have 70, 80, 90 minutes with an audience. So, housing little replicas of that structure that build and in the end sort of create one arc that makes sense and delivers an answer that the audience wants can be really, really helpful. You have to understand: What do you want the audience to want to know the answer to? You’ve got to create desire in me as an audience member by pretty quickly getting me to want to know the answer. Then you have all this time over this arc to give me all the details. But you’ve gotta create hunger in me as the listener from the very start. It’s really important.

 

SS: What’s one of the biggest struggles that you help students overcome?

 

DC: Oftentimes I’ll see habits in students. I’ve had many students who do great right out of the gate. Maybe they come in and they’re a natural. And then they tell 2-3 stories, and they start to feel like there’s something missing. Like, “What was it that I had?” Oftentimes what we’ll find is that they’re getting into habits. When we identify these, we can remove them and their stories immediately become more awesome and wonderful.

 

SS: What’s the most important takeaway that you want students to get from your workshop?

 

DC: The thing that would make me saddest is if someone left any workshop with me and thought, “Wow, I was right, I really don’t have a story to tell.” Format, nuance, structure—all of those things are very, very important, but the driving force behind all of that technical knowledge is the ability to understand that you are full of engaging history and narrative. Whether these are fictional ideas in your mind that you trained yourself to think aren’t important and no one will care about, or whether it’s your real life growing up in Savannah, GA with a stepdad. It’s so interesting! Ultimately, it’s not the story that’s so important—it’s the way you tell it. I help students understand the nuances of the writing and the structure and the journey.

 

 

 

 

AFO at Actors Pro Expo

 

We had a great time at Actors Pro Expo this weekend with our panel on solo theater!

 

A big thank you and a welcome is in order to all the delightful attendees! Welcome to the AFO community. We hope to see you at our salon, or maybe one of our upcoming courses.

 

Here’s a little more information on our panelists for those of you who asked:

 

Bill Bowers

 

http://www.bill-bowers.com/ https://www.facebook.com/BillBowersMime

 

As an actor, mime and educator, Bill has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Bill’s extensive training and heartfelt personal style of acting and pantomime have led him on a incredible journey from regional stage to tours, television, film, and even Broadway.

 

 

Mark Gindick

 

Wingmantheshow.com

Markgindick.com

 

Mark Gindick is a professional actor, clown, physical comedian, director, teacher and writer/creator of his own theatrical shows. Wing-Man, his original theatrical piece without one spoken word, won BEST ONE-MAN SHOW in United Solo Theatre Festival. Mark has appeared in major feature films, including the Nora Ephron comedy Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep; on televison, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and was featured in The PBS mini series CIRCUS, and more.

 

 

David Harrell

 

http://www.davidharrellonline.com/

 

David Harrell is an actor, speaker, and writer residing in New York City. His solo shows A Little Potato And Hard To Peel and The Boy Who Would Be Captain Hook have toured across the country, in addition to productions in and around NYC.

 

 

Aaron Mark

 

http://aaronmark.net/

 

Aaron Mark most recently wrote and directed Another Medea, starring Tom Hewitt, which premiered at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre and was subsequently presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the All For One Theatre Festival after a residency for New York Theatre Workshop at Dartmouth College. Other plays in development include Deer (NYTW reading), Cirque du Mental (Eight Plays in Eight Days/American Theater Group), Failed Suicide Attempts (Living Room Series/Blank Theatre), Subject, Bait, Fucking Wagner, and Plays With Landline Phones.

 

 

Aizzah Fatima

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dirty-Paki-Lingerie/206581909362954

 

Aizzah Fatima is an actor and playwright responsible for the one-woman show, Dirty Paki Lingerie, where she plays 20 characters. Dirty Paki Lingerie has toured both national and internationally with resounding success.

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss our next salon!

 

We’ve been pumping up our salons this year, and in April it’s getting even better!

 

Get Your Tickets now!

 

The Performers

 

We’ve got salon favorite Katie Northlich she hosted the One For All open mic, appeared at several salons, and now she’ll be testing out some new work for us! We’ve got Moth and UCB veteran David Crabb bringing in some of his hilarious and heartfelt work. Plus a performance from Mabou Mines resident Gardiner Comfort! On Top of those exciting performers Jeff Wirth, artistic director of Playing With Reality, will be showing off his brand of interactive theater!

 

The Prizes

 

Our first raffle in the March Salon was a huge hit, and we’re keeping it going with even better prizes! On the docket we’ve got NYTW Date Night, that’s two tickets to Red-Eye To Havre De Grace and dinner for two at Phebe’s Tavern and Grill. Or if you’re looking to win something a little more practical how about a free day of rehearsal space! On top of that, we’re also raffling off free registration to any of our one-day classes (maybe you’ll want to use it on our upcoming Story Structure Workshop with David Crabb?)

 

And the night goes on…

 

After the performances and raffle and networking, the doors of The COW will eventually close. But the party doesn’t have to stop there! We’ll be heading to Donnybrook after the salon for drinks and to keep the conversation going.

 

Tickets?

 

Some of you might be surprised to see a ticket price on the salon. Opening up our salons to a bigger audience, and our full community means additional costs. The modest ticket price makes it possible for us to keep the salon going and to keep bringing you the best performers, prizes, and an evening of networking, fun (and did we mention cheap drinks?)

 

We can’t wait to see you all at the salon! If you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $8!

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From Solo Theater in the UK: Part 3

 

This is the final part of a three-part blog series by All for One’s Managing Director Scott Wesley Slavin

 

I’m sitting in the dark in an upstairs studio at Contact Theatre in Manchester watching Rachel Mars’ The Way You Tell Them, a solo show about growing up a comedienne in a family that perpetually tells jokes to escape from true vulnerability with one another–and I’m riveted.

 

Dramatically, Rachel already gave me at the top of the show the story information I need: Her Jewish grandparents emigrated in 1937 to the UK from Germany–months before the outbreak of World War II. Over the next five years they received over two dozen death notices for their parents, every sibling, and their extended family. One day, unable to carry the guilt of being a survivor, her grandfather tried to kill himself. Finally, her grandparents made an executive decision to stop moping, cleave the experience of World War II from their lives, and move forward in joy–never to speak of the Holocaust again.

 

Years later–and just months before Rachel’s birth–her grandfather died from a pulmonary embolism: a blood clot that traveled along an artery to his lungs from a recent hip operation. His shadow over the family remains significant.

 

Then, suddenly, Rachel surprises me: she moves beyond the dramatic and into the theatrical:

 

Rachel walks upstage, steps onto a raised platform, turns to the audience. Music rises. Lights fade. A single spot focuses on her. We see that on her white t-shirt is an outline of the human repertory system. Over the speakers, Robert Oppenheimer’s famous words following the first test explosion of the atomic bomb begin to play on repeat, “A few laughed, a few cried, most were silent”… followed by a laugh track. Rachel takes her forefinger and begins to trace the fatal blood clot’s trip from her hip, along the artery drawn on her t-shirt, to the left lung. We know it’s her grandfather’s body–and that metaphorically this struggle is in her, too. Right before that final moment, she breaks from the scene and reenters the literal story.

In these repeating scenes she’s using theatricality to go beyond simply narrating the drama itself. Whenever the tension is highest between Rachel’s longing for connection and her conditioning to use a joke to negate it, she returns imaginatively to the source of this conflict: her grandfather. She shows us not only what killed him literally but what killed him spiritually–the clot as metaphor for the refusal to heal the wound of the Holocaust itself. She layers in Oppenheimer and, in concert with a poignant instrumental track, weaves these complex, layered experiences into a devastating emotional tapestry.

 

Final lesson: Get Theatrical

 

From The Way You Tell Them to riverrun at The National Theatre, the productions I saw in the UK actively–and boldly–experimented with the theatrical possibilities of the work even more than the dramatic possibilities.

 

Here’s the difference: dramatic possibilities are what’s possible with the written text; the process is script-focused. Theatrical possibilities are what’s possible on the stage; the process is visually-focused. The question becomes: How can we use the physical space, available technology, and the actor’s doings to communicate the story visually rather than rely so much on the text?

 

I remember Deb Margolin asking the class at the start of her All for One workshop last November, “Why do we go to the theater? We go to stare at people.” True enough, the English word theater comes from the Ancient Greek word théatron–a place for viewing. A theater is a place where we go to see.

 

I love the double entendre: yes, we go to see people do stuff, and we also go to see through these doings into the imaginative and empathic capacities of us all. When we deeply explore the theatrical possibilities of our own solo shows during our development process, we can launch our show from “storytelling plus” (a work of storytelling with a veneer of theater applied) into a fully-realized monodrama innovatively using the tools of theater to drive and deepen the story.

 

The ultimate achievement may be balance. As we develop our artistic range, we empower ourselves to make more informed decisions for specific story problems. This serves not only us and our audiences, but also the form. Through discovering our shows’ theatrical possibilities, we more fully contribute to and even reframe the rapidly-evolving, international language of solo theater.

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Solo Theater in the UK, Part 2

 

This is the second part of a three-part blog series by All for One’s Managing Director Scott Wesley Slavin

 

“That’s a really good question,” Sophie says as we walk down a long hallway that connects the west and east wings of Battersea Arts Centre in London. Sophie’s a producer at BAC and has played a key role in the international success of Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients. After nearly 35 years, BAC has become a leader in the development of new work and in what they call “inventing the future of theatre.” I love those words together, but I have no picture of what that looks like in practice. “By ‘devised theater,’” Sophie suddenly responds, “we mean ‘theater that does not come from a text.’ We’re interested in how artists who have no background in theater will explore their questions in a theatrical context.”

 

Lesson 2: Forget the Text

 

During my trip to Manchester and London, theater producers across the board expressed interest in devised theater and theater created and performed by non-theater artists.

 

What is devised theater more specifically? Devised theater is an approach to show development that builds the show by playing in space rather than writing a dramatic script. In its simplest form, the performer just stands up and begins to improvise, play theater games, and experiment with physicality, voices, costumes, and props. Any assumptions that the developing narrative present a clear storyline or plot points are temporarily picked up and set aside. The artist holds the space for the most appropriate storyline and structure to be birthed over time and through focused play. The motto is trust: Trust that the work, given this type of active gestation, will become Great Work.

 

Taking a devised theater approach to crafting solo performance is not new (Eric Bogosian is one of its most prominent practitioners)–yet it remains revolutionary. In New York City, survey classes offered by solo show and storytelling teachers and you’ll find little to disprove this. The approach strongly emphasizes writing your solo show–then performing it. “I’m still writing it!” is a refrain I often hear when checking in with solo theater friends. But other approaches, like devised theater, exist and can provide radical insights and story solutions.

 

By understanding how to create through devised theater, we also open up new creative opportunities. Many executive producers and artistic directors in the UK right now are very attracted to devised theater because it’s an investment in the potential of an artist rather than in his or her already realized work. It’s process over product, discovering what “the future of theatre” could be rather than knowing it.

 

I found myself deeply invigorated by these discussions and their passion. Back in New York, I wondered what I could draw from the devised theater approach so popular in the UK to share with my own community. Here’s one learning framed as a challenge:

 

Create some distance between yourself and whatever text you’re working on. Temporarily, forget it. Forget the story and the outcomes you want. Give yourself the opportunity to be surprised and uncomfortable by your inner life.

 

Find a safe space where you can play. Instead of writing Morning Pages, play with Morning Scenes. If you want to pause, don’t. If your inner critic perks up, so what. Welcome him or her into the room. Keep playing. Start with as little as 1 min. The goal is consistency over time far more than individual duration. Just show up.

 

Develop a practice of letting your many voices emerge organically. Play with and trust your creative intuition in space and out loud. For some of you, this may be quite a slog. Self-consciousness, emotional paralysis, shame: all of it may come up. Awesome. Stay at it. You are bigger and more important than all of it.

 

A week later, reflect. What’s been coming up? What questions or scenarios consistently appear through monologues, characters, and scenes? Who’s actually speaking in those moments?

Keep going back to your Morning Scenes. Keep those moments safe and sacred. Let the Muse begin to trust you. Like any important relationship, make nurturing her your daily practice.

 

As you develop your skills in devised theater, it might become the shovel that gets you to theatrical pay dirt. At minimum, you will empower yourself with a new skill and make yourself able to capitalize on the opportunities for devised theater on an international scale.

A 4-week course on touring your show

 

With our new year-round programing we’re expanding our educational offerings. We’re very excited to now be able to offer multi-week courses. The first comes from popular demand:

 

Successfully Package & Tour Your Solo Show:

 

A Four-Week Program

 

Taught by Gioia De Cari

 

Includes 4 sessions:

 

5/28 @ 7pm     6/4 @ 7pm

 

6/11 @ 7pm     6/18 @7pm

 

Use the discount code: BIRDIE

 

before 5/7 for an early bird discount of 15% off!

 

After honing your show through performances in New York City and on the festival circuit, how do you take your work to the next level and tour your show in theaters and performance spaces nationwide? While local performances and festivals can be essential for refining your show and gathering awards and reviews, touring is often the best way to extend the life of your show and actually earn a profit for your work. In this four-week program, students will learn the key, road-tested approaches for creating a compelling marketing package and booking paid opportunities for performing their show.

 

Upon completion of this program, you will have:

 

An overview of options for touring

A branded package prepared for your show to be promoted to a target market, including budgeting and pricing

Familiarity with the types of contracts you’ll need

Knowledge of effective methods for obtaining bookings and creating other performance opportunities

A foundation for building a targeted list to reach out to for bookings and partnerships

An overview of further development options for your show, such as grants, prizes, ancillary products and services

Each student will have the opportunity to present their tour package to the class and receive instructor feedback and next steps.

 

Prerequisite: a current show with prior public performances.

 

Experience: Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Solo Theater in the UK

 

This is part one of a multi-part blog series by All for One’s Managing Director Scott Wesley Slavin

 

At 5:30 a.m. GMT our plane cuts through the clouds and I get my first glimpse of the British countryside stretching out beneath us. What hits me strongest are the fences: curving like waves across the landscape, they elegantly refute the angular property lines I’ve so often seen during descents in the States. No, I’m not in Kansas anymore.

 

Lesson 1: Get out of Kansas.

 

Kansas is your familiar ground: your apartment, your crappy landlord, New York City, the United States, wherever you regularly vamoose. It’s your friends, your preferred family members, your solo theater community. Ditch ’em; ditch everything. Strike out on your own–regularly. Leap into the unfamiliar. Every sensation in your body will shoot awake when you realize, lost among winding streets or fumbling in utter confusion at the coins in your hand, you’re an *outsider.* Dislocation is a wise teacher.

 

From an artist’s perspective, the primary challenge in front of each of us is an inner, not an outer, one: how do we continue to wake up? How do we nurture deeper awareness of what we’re actually experiencing and the world around us?

 

Time and again I’ve watched theater audiences forgive just about every mishap and clumsy execution they’re forced to endure in a live performance–except one: a lack of insight into the human condition. Our hunger for theater comes from our ever-present hunger to be pulled from the shell of our habitual defenses and raised up into the world again, alive and feeling. Travel wakes us, restores us. We see the world–and ourselves, warts and all–with fresh eyes. It offers its own Hero’s Journey, from which we can return with barrels of new elixir.

 

In Manchester and London, I saw 10 shows over seven days. The range of quality and sophistication was staggering. In Contact Theatre’s Flying Solo Festival, two shows (*The Ted Bundy Project* and *Ego 1.04*) were still actively in development and their performances were planned as the culmination of year-long artist commissions. The show at the Lowry Centre (*Silent*), on the other hand, has been on tour since it walked away with top honors at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011 (and even ran at the Irish Arts Center in New York City in 2012).

 

Of these shows, only one (*Chewing Gum Dreams* at The Shed) was similar in its approach to the solo theater I’ve been seeing in the U.S. The others did things with and on the stage that took me totally by surprise. *A Journey Round My Skull*’s set decoration could stand alone as a sculptural installation in any museum, conveying its own eerie stories. *riverrun*, whose text comes entirely from Joyce’s *Finnegan’s Wake*, transforms the famously inaccessible novel into a living, haunting theatrical interpretation of the afterlife. *If You Decide to Stay* combines live audience polling and interaction, documentary footage, scientific research, voiceover, personal narrative, costumes, and performance art into a searingly personal investigation into how formative experiences continue to influence decision making long into adulthood.

 

I walked out of these shows stunned by the diversity of tools these artists were using to tell their stories theatrically. I cannot return to the person I was before I left. I grew simply by getting out of New York, and showing up.

 

And I get it: not all of us have life circumstances that allow us to travel far away from our homes; but all of us have access to the Internet. Tonight you could see on your laptop photos and trailers, if not excerpts, of the work that I saw and immerse yourself in the ideas and approaches solo theater is taking abroad. In fact, here are a some of the websites for shows that I particularly liked:

 

http://www.sylviarimat.com/performances/if-you-decide-to-stay/

http://www.rachelmars.org/the-way-you-tell-them.html

http://fishamble.com/silent-and-forgotten-by-pat-kinevane/

http://theshed.nationaltheatre.org.uk/events/riverrun#.Uz7Zhq1dXUs

 

Going forward, keep abreast of the solo theater festivals and productions we’re now publishing weekly on our website. Many of these artists will have websites with show photographs and video. Watch, question, reflect, share with others, and get inspired by the radically different ways artists are approaching the solo show.

 

Over time, your work and your passion for solo theater will deepen, your own insights and creativity will become more surprising and liberating to you and others, and your life will change as a result.

 

 

 

 

 

New class taught by David Crabb

 

With our new year-round programming, we’re especially excited about offering courses year-round! The very first in course we’re offering is:

 

Fundamentals of Story Structure

For Storytellers and Solo Show Writers

 

Taught by David Crabb

May 10th from 10am-5pm

 

Use discount code: BIRDIE before 4/19

for an early bird discount of 15% off

 

This one-day intensive teaches the principles of storytelling for writers, performers, and storytellers looking to create compelling long-form solo theater pieces. Students will learn ways to mine their experiences to uncover stories they’ve always wanted to tell, and craft these stories into engaging narratives with powerful character arcs.

 

Drawing from principles established by Aristotle and refined by story analysts such as Robert McKee, and successfully applied by solo theater artists from Spalding Grey to Mike Daisey, and Whoopi Goldberg to John Leguizamo, students will learn through lecture and exercises the fundamental story elements such as premise, controlling idea, theme, the five story beats, scenes, sequences, acts, and the Hero’s Journey. Of particular interest to solo theater artists and storytellers, this workshop will present methods for balancing audience address and narration with dialogue and action.

 

Upon completion of this workshop, students will be able to:

 

– Dive into your experiences and uncover resonate, meaningful stories

 

– Identify in your stories the fundamental elements of dramatic narrative

 

– Eliminate insignificant details while heightening significant ones

 

– Ensure major themes and conflicts remain present through every scene

 

– Deliver a compelling, believable climax and resolution

 

Each student will have the opportunity to present a five-minute story to the class and receive instructor feedback and next steps.

 

Experience: All Levels

 

 

 

 

 

Works-In-Progress Series – Underwater: The 100-Year Flood

 

We’re thrilled to announce our first reading in All For One’s Works-In Progress Series:

 

Underwater: The 100-Year Flood

 

Written and Performed by David Watts Barton

Directed by Kel Haney

 

Monday April 7th at 7:00pm

at Access Theatre – Black Box

380 Broadway (at White St.)

N/Q/R/6/J/A/C/E

 

Click here to RSVP

 

When your friends, your banker, even your doctor are telling you it’s time to invest in real estate it must be a good idea, right? Right? When chandeliers turn into crippling debts, David learns that money can disappear without a trace, but people can’t.

 

A reception will follow with wine and beer available for a small donation.

 

David Watts Barton (Writer & Performer)

 

David Watts Barton is a writer who made the leap to New York in 2012 after a long career in Sacramento’s arts and media scene, where he wrote for The Sacramento Bee, was editor-in-chief of Sacramento Press.com, and hosted the live talk show, Insight on Capital Public Radio. Barton won the first Sacramento Arts and Business Council’s Arts Journalist of the Year Award in 2011. Since moving to New York, he has written and begun performing his one-hour, semi-autobiographical monologue, Underwater: The 100-Year Flood, about his adventures in Sacramento’s housing collapse. He is writing a book on the history of sexuality and social media, Personal Electronics, and hopes to have a publisher soon. Barton is also a singer/songwriter, and is writing and recording the follow-up to his debut album, Straight.

 

Kel Haney (Director)

 

Kel is a freelance director, who focuses on developing new plays, musicals, & solo work. Current/recent solo-work collaborators include: David Watts Barton (UNDERWATER: THE 100 YEAR FLOOD, All For One), Gardiner Comfort (YOU’RE NOT TOUGH, Dixon Place; CURRENTLY UNTITLED, Mabou Mines), Adam Lerman (POD CORKIN: PROFESSIONAL MOTIVATOR AND FEAR SPECIALIST, Ars Nova – ANT FEST ‘13), Ronna Levy (IS THIS GONNA BE ON THE TEST, MISS?, Capital Fringe ’14), Gloria Rosen (LISTEN…CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?, Stage Left – May ‘14), Ann Talman (WOODY’S ORDER, United Solo Encore Series ‘14). Other recent directing credits include: Jonathan Caren’s THE RECOMMENDATION (The Flea), Jessica Dickey’s ROW AFTER ROW, Rachel Bonds’ LITTLE ROCK (both at Williamstown Theatre Festival), Nathan Leigh (music & lyrics) & Kyle Jarrow’s (book, music & lyrics) THE CONSEQUENCES (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre) & Edith Freni’s EL FUEGO (Partial Comfort Productions). Upcoming world premieres: Zack Calhoon’s FRIDAY NIGHT AT JIMMY’S (Rising Phoenix Rep) & James Christy’s LIBERTY LIVE (Premiere Stages). She has also directed and developed new work at Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, The Directors Company, Cherry Lane Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Youngblood, The Flea, Keen Company, The Lark, Ma-Yi, Missing Bolts Productions, Naked Angels, New Dramatists, New Georges, NY Fringe Festival, Partial Comfort Productions, Premiere Stages, Primary Stages, Rattlestick, Rising Phoenix, Studio 42, Vampire Cowboys, Westport Country Playhouse, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, & the 52nd Street Project.

 

Additional artistic affiliations: Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Old Vic/New Voices Exchange Program, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. www.kelhaney.com

 

 

 

 

 

AIR on Tour: Showtime In Seattle

 

Judd Press 4 (1)There was a good chance my one-man show might have to go on without me.            When I booked my flight from JFK to Seattle months ago I couldn’t possibly have predicted how the relentless polar vortex might derail my moment in the footlights. I was trying to keep my costs to a minimum by choosing the least popular flights – a night flight to Seattle arriving Friday morning the day of my first show and the earliest flight out on Sunday morning following the second show. But that damn purple bruise on weather.com that kept shifting around the east coast was threatening to wreck everything.

 

I made it to Seattle but hour and hours late, caught a few more of something resembling sleep, and then headed to the Theater Off Jackson for an early morning tech. This was my fourth appearance at the Seattle Solo Performance Festival so arriving at this awesome venue on the edge of Seattle’s International District feels like coming home. The broad stage is on the floor with the audience going up in a sort of mini-amphitheater setting. The crews at TOJ are simply the best – quick, prepared, and enthusiastic. I, however, was beginning to feel the effects of my restless traveling. “Line?” I asked about a dozen times as we slogged through the sound and light cues, all of which depend on my knowing the line of dialogue I was asking for. At one point, Tim, the stage manager showed me a chair and said something that sounded like, “Gerb schnicken zee dogle?” Huh? What? Say again?

 

 “Just put it anywhere,” I said, trying to bluff my way out of my brain freeze. I didn’t want to alarm anyone but the room was beginning to tilt in kind of a “did we just hit an iceberg?” kind of way. Tim blinked at me a few time, still holding the chair.

 

“Leave it wherever it was before,” I went on. If I saw him put it down somewhere it might jog my foggy memory into remembering why I had put it on the stage to begin with. Tim put the chair down in the center of the stage. I still had no clue but said, “Great. That’s perfect.”

 

The room titled in the other direction.

 

“Should I put tape down?” Tim asked.

 

“Sure, why not?” I said, thinking, “What’s tape?” I really needed some sleep.

 

Yeah, I could have had a cup of coffee or ten but I rationed that if I had a caffeine boost now it would wear off by the end of dress rehearsal which would then send me into a spiral that would leave me needing oxygen just to stand up by show time. After a brief break, we readied ourselves for a run through. A photographer I hired on Craigslist arrived. I needed production stills, something I’d forgotten to do during my previous run at the All For One Theater Festival. I handed him a self-address stamped envelope, some cash, and a thumb drive.

 

“So, here’s the deal,” I explained to the tall, slightly befuddled looking young Russian guy. “It’s a one-person show. There’s really no set. I don’t change my costume. Most of the time I stand center stage. There are really no props. The set is just these six, black chairs and that black table. Occasionally I wave my arms about but other than that there’s not really very much else visual that happens here. Your job is to get pictures with enough variation that I can assemble them in a way that looks like I’m telling an interesting story, which I am, just without a lot of stuff.”

 

He looked confused but there wasn’t any more time to go into detail and anyway what else would I have said?

 

“Just do the best you can and hopefully we’ll get something good.”

 

The tech didn’t go off completely without a hitch but honestly, I don’t really remember it. I made my way back to my friend Keira’s apartment but decided against trying to sleep for fear that I’d sleep too deeply and not be able to recover. Instead, I binge watched House of Cards for several hours, showered, drank a bottle of Diet Coke then went to Starbucks, and then I went back to the theater.

 

The audience was small but I didn’t care. Any person who plunks down their hard-earned cash deserves the best possible performance I can muster. In the interim of my workshop shows at AFO I’d added about fifteen minutes of material to the play. Some of it was new and some of it is stuff I’d cut out earlier and had added back. Whatever. I did it all and the performance went off without a hitch but left me feeling unsatisfied. The audience feedback from the people I spoke with and the comments made to the staff were all very positive but it still felt off to me. You would think that after so many hours of consciousness that sleep would have come easily but I lay awake on Keira’s couch for half the night dissecting my performance and wondering what’s still keeping me from making that really deep connection to the audience that I’m after. Also, Keira has a very loud heater that sounds like what it must feel like to press your up against space shuttle as it lifts off. It’s remarkably effective at warding off sleep.

 

The next day we made a half dozen plans including one to test Seattle’s new lax drug laws by seeing if we could have a pizza, a bag of weed, some wine, and a bottle of Visine delivered to the apartment but vetoed it partly out of fear that if we succeeded we’d never make the second show. Instead, we talked and talked and talked through the play. Keira McDonald is a renowned and deeply-respected acting teacher and director at Cornish School for the Arts, and a highly-praised solo artist in her own right, and she pushed me to answer uncomfortable questions about my character’s inner issues versus his outward goals and whether what is at stake for him is articulated clearly enough for the audience to be as deeply engaged as I want them to be. I had a little internal debate about whether I should be contemplating a making a lot of changes to the show just hours before a performance but then ironically my development fundraising campaign on Indiegogo launched that very hour (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/killer-quack/x/3738747) and I was reminded that this sort of development in this kind of arena is exactly what this development tour is about. We came up with a laundry list of possible changes and then I whittled the list down to a few I felt I could make without risking throwing the whole thing off balance.

 

Backstage before the second show I made a last minute decision to change out of my costume and put back on my street clothes, even though they looked like I had slept in them (which I had) and sent two notes to the tech booth telling them that I was going to improvise the first few minutes of the play and then cut the last few lines and blackout about a minute earlier. Fortunately, a plug in the popular local newspaper The Stranger filled the house and the energy in the room was high. I felt relaxed and conscious and the audience was right there with me. The subtle changes I added definitely shifted the audience’s perception of the play and me.

 

“Like night and day,” Keira said on the drive home.

 

I was awake and back in a taxi to SEA-TAC well before sunrise. Even before boarding the plane I’d filled the margins and the blank pages on the back of my script with new ideas. I definitely loved leaving Seattle on a high note but if I came away with one big thing for the experience it was a reinforcement of my theory that nothing works better in the development of a play more than getting it up on its feet in front of a live audience. I can’t wait to do it again.

 

James Judd is All For One’s Artist-In-Residence. He’ll be sharing his experiences on our blog as he tours Killer Quack in festivals across the country in preparation for the NYC premiere with All For One!

 

 

 

 

 

A Special discount for the AFO community

 

AFO Alum Carlo D’Amore is bringing NO PAROLE back!

 

Produced by Live In Theater

Performances  Feb 21st through March 29th

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

HARTLEY HOUSE

413 W 46th St

 

Below is a message from Live In Theater’s creative director and solo performer Carlo D’Amore.

 

As an actor and solo performer trying to establish a name for oneself in New York City the obstacles run the gamut from enormous to insignificant. The one thing about them (the obstacles) is that they are ever present. So you do the best you can, you keep on keeping on, in the face of rejection and solitude, and severe poverty. And sometimes you search for the right vehicle. The right vehicle that might bring success recognition or maybe just make life a little easier. In my case the vehicle presented itself. The “vehicle” was my life, and most notably the relationship with my con artist mother-the best mother in the world.

 

No Parole came out of real traumatic moments in my relationship with my mother, and it has been a true cathartic experience for me. This show has made me grow up; it has taught me that people can change when and if they want to. It has given me a greater sense of compassion for the human condition. I hope you will make the time to come and see this extraordinary woman (my mother) and experience through me, our story. This piece spans 40 years and three continents. It’s funny, moving and quite honestly a party. In the words of Tony nominated Colman Domingo my sweet dear friend and director “it’s just wonderful”. So I hope you will come and experience No Parole, cause everyone with a mother should!

 

Get your tickets here!

 

Carlo is offering a special discount for members of the AFO community!

 

Use the discount code AFO fan for $20 tickets!

 

Congrats to Carlo! We can’t wait to see you all there . . .

 

 

 

 


All are welcome at our February Salon!

 

Have you ever been to an AFO salon?

 

Chances are most of you haven’t! Our salons are monthly events that occur year-round.  Members of our community meet and mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Solo performers test out small excerpts from new work. Members of our community have met new directors, designers, writers, and collaborators at our salons. It’s a great way to keep the conversation going about AFO, your show, and our art form!

 

In the past our salons have been intimate events in our Executive Director Michael Wolk’s apartment. It’s been a blast getting our community together in such a homey environment. But, there’s only so much space! What was intimate became exclusive, and what we learned in 2013 is that our community is big, and growing all the time! We want to make our salons open to all. That’s why we’re moving out of the apartment.

 

Our first salon in 2014 will be at Tir Na Nog, a warm, inviting (and spacious!) pub on 39th street! We’re welcoming all of our community to meet and mingle. We want to make this salon all about networking and really getting to know our community, so we’re keeping this one  a networking event with no performance.

 

We’ll also be talking about all our expanded programming for 2014. Got a question about how submissions will work now that we’re year-round? Wondering what kinds of classes we’ll be offering? Now’s the time to ask us in person!

 

Join us at our February Salon:

 

Monday, February 10th

 

6pm-9pm

 

Tir Na Nog

 

315 w 39th Street

 

(between 8th and 9th ave)

 

Tir Na Nog’s happy hour ends at 7pm, but they are generously offering $5 drink specials to our guests! Plus, we’ll be providing hors d’oeuvres!

 

We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

Submissions for 2014

 

So our transition to producing year-round is affecting everything. Including our submissions!

 

Submissions for production open February 1st

 

and the trick is, they don’t close! Now that we’re producing year-round we’ll be taking submissions year-round. Looking at new shows on a rolling basis means that we’ll always be on the look out for new solo theater. It also means that if you submit and we don’t accept your show for the 2014/2015 season it’s possible for us to consider it for the next season.

 

Submissions open this Saturday! We can’t wait to learn more about your show.

 

Before you submit, take a look at our Information Sheet and our submissions FAQ. They will tell you everything you need to know about how to submit your show for production with AFO.

 

 

 

 

 

Know Your Interns! – Ariana Sholette

 

New Year, new interns. We can’t wait to introduce you to Ariana Sholette our new Literary Intern! She’ll be working closely with our Literary/Communications Director Kati Frazier to handle your submissions, support our Artist in Residence, and more.

 

We wanted to get to know the real Ariana, so we asked her a few relevant and professional questions:

 

What’s your name?

 

My name is Ariana Koenig Sholette

 

What did you study in college?

 

I studied Drama Studies at SUNY Purchase

 

Why did you want to go into theatre?

 

As I kid I wanted to be an actress, but this graduated into a strong love for writing plays and being behind the scenes int heater.

 

Do you have a favorite solo show?

 

My favorite solo play is “I Am My Own Wife”

 

Did You make any new years resolutions?

 

My new years resolution includes completing a full length play

 

If you could travel back in time to see any show, ever, in all of history, what would it be?

 

If I could travel back in time I would really like to see “Twelve Angry Men”

 

If traveling back in time to see that show irreparably altered history, would it be worth it?

 

Would it be worth it? Absolutely!

 

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

At five I think I wanted to be a film actress.

 

What about now?

 

Now I would love to be involved in theater and film as a writer and potentially director.

 

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

 

If I were a tree I would hope to be a redwood so I could watch generations pass.

 

Tell us a joke:

 

What does a lawyer bring to a court room? A law suit.

 

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what 3 items in the AFO office do you think would be most important for your survival?

 

Coffee/tea maker to boil water for consumption, the first aid kist, and one of the larger knives from the kitchen area

 

If you were to write a solo show about your life, what would be the title?

 

A solo performance about my life would be best titled as “Fork In The Road”

 

What are you looking forward to the most in your next 6 months with AFO?

 

Working with AFO I am looking forward to reading strong solo performances that I can be a part of in being brought to an audience.

 

 

 

 

 

More of AFO in 2014

 

We’re so excited about this year. We’ve been itching to talk to you about it!

 

You’re going to see us dropping “Theater Festival” from our logo. Why? We’re opening up to give you more! More performances. More classes. More opportunities. But what we’re most excited about is sharing with you a full season of solo performance. Opening in the fall and closing in the spring. We’ll be able to offer you more performances across the whole year. That means you’ll have more chances to see every show, and we’ll be able to better support the solo artists on stage.

 

If you’re interested in your solo show being in AFO’s 2014/2015 season submissions open February 1st.

 

More Courses

 

We’ve been proud to offer you workshops from acclaimed theater professionals during the festival and year round. Now we’re taking it further. We will be offering multi-week courses year-round in addition to individual workshops. We’ll have classes that meet your artistic needs and really take the time to help you and your show grow.

 

More Events

 

We’ve got lots of plans in store for you this summer too! We’ve got educational and professional development events and a few things that are going to be just plain fun! You’ll be hearing more from us in the coming weeks about all the great events AFO will be offering as the weather heats up.

 

Plus, we’re opening up our monthly salons to get more of you in the doors. We’re taking the accessibility of the Open Mic and applying it to our Salons. We’re moving our salons to a bigger venue to make room for our growing community.

 

More Opportunities

 

We’re offering more opportunities to share and develop your solo show through our new Works In Progress Series. 4 slots are available for solo shows in the early phases of development to have a staged reading in front of the AFO community and theatre professionals.

 

And so much more…

 

We’ve got more to tell you about all the ways we’re opening up this year. Keep your eyes on our blog and social media in the coming weeks for more details

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you AFO!

 

Looking back on 2013, AFO is at the top of my list of the best parts of my year. I can’t believe my time as an AFO intern has come to a close. It has been a wonderful five months and I will always look back at this internship with love.

 

The highlight of my experience at AFO was, without a doubt, the Festival. I was so proud to bring my best friends and family to see what I had been working on since August. It was my honor to work our talented, tenacious, beautiful performers in the incredible and historic Cherry Lane Theater. Getting to stage manage both The Mentor Project and Killer Quack was extremely exciting and fulfilling for me. I just hope I made Edna St. Vincent Millay proud.

 

Though the Festival was a huge part of my time at AFO, I will always cherish times in the office as well. The AFO office is a loving, quirky, small but tight-knit, supportive, safe space that brought out the best intern in me. I have learned so much in the past five months, not just in terms of theater administration and production, but who I am as a co-worker, and artist, a person. Also, there aren’t many offices out there that indulge one’s breaking out song (Les Misérables, anyone?). I am a very lucky girl.

 

Thank you AFO. For everything. I’ll see you soon.

 

Angela Dumlao, Production Intern

 

 

 

 

 

Know your interns! – Joanne Schwartzberg

 

It’s a new year, and that means new interns! We’re excited to introduce you to Joanne Schwartzberg our new Management/Development intern. She’ll be working closely with our associate producer Corinne Woods to keep the business of AFO running and to raise the funds to keep our non-profit engine chugging along.So you could get to know the real Joanne, we asked her some tough questions:

What’s your name?

 

Joanne Schwartzberg

 

What did you study in college?

 

Government and Theatre

 

 

 

Why did you want to go into theatre?

 

I started acting when I was in middle school and got bit by the bug

 

 

Do you have a favorite solo show?

 

2.5 Minute Ride by Lisa Kron

 

 

 

If you could travel back in time to see any show, ever, in all of history, what would it be?

 

The Glass Menagerie from 1944 (because the production thats currently running is so brilliant)

 

 

 

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

An actress

 

 

 

What about now?

 

When I grow up, I would like to be running my own theatre company

 

 

 

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

 

A pine tree

 

 

 

Tell us a joke:

 

I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.

 

 

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what 3 items in the AFO office do you think would be most important for your survival?

 

Cold 911 Tea, A notebook, and the Development binder, so I can teach the zombies how to raise money for their solo shows.

 

 

If you were to write a solo show about your life, what would be the title?

 

Small but Mighty

 

 

 

What are you looking forward to the most in your next 6 months with AFO?

 

Getting to know the amazing AFO staff and getting to see more solo theatre!

 

 

 

 

 

The Festival is over, and it was a success because of you!

 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we can’t stop thinking about how thankful we are for you. You asked the questions, bought the tickets, learned in our workshops, joined us for a few post-show drinks, and sold out the house on quite a few occasions.  Your support made it possible for us to share:

8 mainstage shows

2 world premieres

1 U.S. premiere

2 NY premieres

6 thought-provoking panels

6 stimulating workshops

Our first ever show for young audiences

A workshop performance from our Artist In Residence James Judd

If you joined us for any part of the festival, please click here to take our audience survey. We’d love to know more about you and to hear about your experience at AFOFest

 

If you fill out the survey we’ll give you a free AFO T-Shirt!

 

If you aren’t already familiar with our year-round programming, I urge you to take a look around this site. We can do so much more for you than you can imagine. We offer opportunities for anyone to learn how to share their story through our classes, salons, and play development programs.

 

We’d like to wish you all a warm and happy Thanksgiving, and a happy Thursday to all of you outside of the States. We’ll be thinking of you, and the support you’ve so graciously given. We hope to see you again soon at a salon or AFO event so we can thank you in person.

 

Many thanks,

 

AFO staff

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks All For One!

 

This internship opportunity with All For One Theater Festival fell into my lap and I was thrown right into the role as a Communications and Public Relations Intern. Yet I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first day, the 2013 Benefit, nor will I forget my first salon, or my first open mic. But it was the long awaited Festival that really made my internship memorable. All of the work we had been doing, the meetings we were sitting-in on, and the re-labeling that had to be done was for this five week festival at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre.

 

I honestly don’t know how we would have done it if it weren’t for David’s Tea and the amazing staff at CLT. But what I was excited about were the shows, meeting with all of the performers beforehand made me excited about seeing the shows all in their entirety. I was itching to find out about where the body went in Killer Quack, scared to see what exactly Marcus Sharp did, and was so honored to have witnessed U’deen Morgan make it to the Grand Canyon.

 

Doing something that I have a passion for right out of college is rare and I genuinely thank everyone at AFO for this opportunity.

 

See you soon,

Maya

#iheartafo

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks and Farewell To AFO

 

It’s my last day at All For One Theater Festival, and while I am so sad to say goodbye to all of my wonderful coworkers, I am happy to look back on this experience  and be grateful for all I’ve learned, all of the people I have met, and the memories I have made.

 

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: the AFO office was the coolest place to work. From day 1, Michael was a fearless leader, always available to listen and offer advice. The ladies of the office made coming to work fun every day. I feel so lucky to have had Corinne as a boss: passionate, patient, and one of the hardest workers I know. And Kati: supportive, hilarious, and a person that can always see the positivity in a situation. Finally, my fellow interns: Angela and Maya. What can I possibly say? I couldn’t imagine the experience without them. We stuck together, every step of the way.

 

As a passionate artist and educator, I am constantly seeking opportunities to work with youth and to help enrich their lives through artistic expression. The Mentor Project gave me the opportunity to do that. Watching these students grow as artists and human beings was unbelievably rewarding. Starting with seedlings of ideas, these students dug deep into their hearts, bravely shared their stories, and wrote solo pieces with structure and voice far beyond their years. In truth, I think that these students taught me more than I taught them; they showed me just how capable they are, and just how important their voices can be in a city, and world at large, that is in desperate need of understanding and empathy.  So with that I say—Thank you Julissa. Thank you Steven. Thank you Lydia. Thank you LeVar. Thank you Cheyenne. Thank you. Keep shining, keep dreaming, keep creating, and keep smiling. You are wonderful.

 

With love and fond farewells,

 

Jenna

 

 

 

 

 

On “Those Who Can’t Do…”

 

When I sit in the booth at the Cherry Lane Studio booth as sound board operator, it would be easy for me to zone out and only focus on the GO button I have to press. Luckily at AFO, all of our shows have commanded my attention, and the U.S. premiere of Erin Fleck’s THOSE WHO CAN’T DO is at the top of that pack.

 

The subject matter of the show itself is fascinating: teen sexuality, sexual education, the role of authority, how a scandal gets “handled.” But what makes THOSE WHO CAN’T DO so enthralling is Fleck’s masterful characterization of both in the writing and  performance of her characters. It is no easy task to both write and perform in a show (much less a one-person piece!) but Fleck rises to the occasion and is mesmerizing to watch. From the young wallflower of Nora to crass Coach Lee to the opinionated Taylor, Fleck has created compelling and complex characters. I am so happy that Fleck has brought this show to American audiences.

 

The final performance of THOSE WHO CAN’T DO is this Saturday, November 9th at 4 pm. I hope to see you there!

 

-Angela Dumlao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On “A Little Potato and Hard to Peel”

 

A Little Potato and Hard to Peel

 

My first experience with A Little Potato and Hard to Peel was at my desk, as I was prepping myself for the festival and educating myself on each of the shows. Immediately, I was hooked. I rippled with laughter as I watched the promo clip, and as David impersonated Mr. T, a recurring character in his play. I had a feeling that his show would serve as a comic upswing to the festival.

 

Turns out I was right—when I finally got to see the show start to finish, all of my expectations were met. David’s show is filled with personal anecdotes about his unconventional experience growing up with only one hand.  His run ins as a young boy, all up until his relationships as an adult, are told with honesty, heart, and humor.

 

This humor helps drive the underlying message in the piece. As the late director Harold Clurman noted, “The truth is like castor oil. It’s difficult to take and hard to swallow, so we get them to laugh and while their mouths are open, we pour a little in.”  Harrell achieves this delicate balance; his show hooks the audience with humor, and then presents the truths about life with a disability.

 

As a person with fibromyalgia and other physical challenges, I could relate to his message, and was appreciative of his honesty. But this show is for everyone—not just those with disabilities. Harrell’s play shows us that we all deal with our own challenges, but they don’t define us. We are strong enough to push through and live our dreams.

 

Come out for David’s last show to see what it’s all about! The last show is November 9th, at 7 PM at The Cherry Lane Theatre!

 

Jenna, Mentor Project Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last week of the Festival!

 

The last week of the festival starts Thursday, and if you have not seen a show yet, we’d love to see you at the Cherry Lane Theatre!

 

This Thursday we will be hosting our Festival Salon! The AFO festival salon celebrates the vibrant and thriving solo theater community with an evening of 10-minute excerpts from new works by up-and-coming solo performers, including: David Crabb, Kambri Crews, Gabrielle Maisels, Katie Northlich, Jennifer Rawlings, Matthew Trumbull, and Damaris Webb. This performance is open to all for a suggested donation of $10 at the door!

 

Friday at 2:30, we will have the amazing Deb Margolin facilitate Acting on Impulse a workshop where actors will explore the joy and discipline of being fully present in comical and rich conversations with ourselves and those around us. Closing his show Friday at 7pm will be Vichet Chum’s KNYUM.

 

Our last day at the Cherry Lane will have the workshop performance of Killer Quack at 1pm, Those Who Can’t Do… at 4pm, and A Little Potato and Hard to Peel at 7pm accompanied with an ASL interpreter!

 

All of our events will be at the Cherry Lane Theatre on 38 Commerce Street! Use discount code FAMILYFEST for all of our shows too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

KNYUM

 

VICHET CHUM: WANDERING DURING THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT

While working during his graveyard shift, Guy invites the audience into his dreams and nightmares as he prepares for his first trip to Cambodia in the world premiere of KNYUM.

 

Encountering his parents’ stories of sacrifice as survivors of the genocide in Cambodia, Guy attempts to learn Khmer in order to document his parents stories all while working at the Hotel East Houston in New York City.

 

“KNYUM matters,” Chum says, “it is about us all. Guy asks the following questions the audiences: Where are you from? Where are you going? We fight through life trying to connect these dots-learning how our familial inheritances inform who we’ve become and ultimately, how to use them to forge our own lives.”

 

KNYUM is a story about connectivity, trust, love, and ultimately, pardon.

 

KNYUM

Written & Performed by Vichet Chum

 

Directed by Kyle Schaefer & Emily Ritger

 

Sunday, October 27th at 7pm, Saturday, November 2nd at 1pm,

 

Sunday, November 3rd at 4pm, and Friday, November 8th at 7pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week in the festival!

 

Happy Halloween!

 

This Wednesday we will have one of our scariest thrillers yet – Another Medea will be at 7pm! and Friday (11/1) we will have the US premiere of Those Who Can’t Do at 7pm!

 

Saturday will be jammed packed with The Boy Who Would Be Captain Hook at 11am, KNYUM at 1pm, Those Who Can’t Do at 4pm, and the last run of Beyond Words at 7pm!

 

Sunday we’ll be at it again with the Producing and Contracting panel at 11am followed by our artist in residence workshop performance of Killer Quack at 1pm, KNYUM at 4, and Those Who Can’t Do at 7pm!

 

Tickets for the entire weekend are still available! Get yours today!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Wolk on Beyond Words

 

BEYOND WORDS is captivatingly as advertised:  Bill Bowers, with his physical eloquence, sculpts so much out of thin air – and our imaginations – with his physical eloquence, it defies description.

 

I also can’t describe how it feels to be part of an audience galvanized to leap to its feet by Bill’s riveting, rending, and belly-laugh funny tale of growing up gay in small town Montana in the 60’s to become a master mime.

 

Bill says humbly that he has simply “collected stories from my life and from other lives about what boys learn on their way to becoming men,” to demonstrate how our attitudes have – and haven’t – changed about gender roles in society. But Bill has done so much more than collect these stories: he tells them physically and verbally with such dazzling richness and poetry, I left the theater feeling I had experienced what it would be like if Marcel Marceau (with whom Bill studied for years) had also been a master of the monologue.

 

Bill has just 2 more performances of BEYOND WORDS at AFO: October 26, at 1pm and November 2 at 7pm. See this show and be moved to tears, guffaws, and leaping to your feet to salute this once-in-generation master of the stage

Week Three of the Festival!

 

Can you believe it? We’re almost half-way there!

 

This weekend we have got you covered with workshops, panels, and performances!

 

Hailed as a “great American mime” Bill Bowers will offer his workshop “The Voice of the Body” on Friday at 11am. Right after, fellow solo performer Josh Rivedal will offer his workshop “Soaring to Solo Super Stardom!: A How-To On Booking More Paying Solo-Show Gigs” at 2:30!

 

Finishing Friday off will be another heart-warming performance of A Little Potato and Hard to Peel by David Harrell. The house will open 7pm!

 

Saturday kicks off with the Something Wicked Panel featuring Tom Hewitt, Aaron Mark, and James Judd, which will be moderated by Michael Wolk starting at 11AM. Following this incredible panel will be Beyond Words by Bill Bowers at 1pm, Another Medea at 4pm, and The Other Mozart at 7pm.

 

Our Panel “Mind Your Ps and Cues: How to Speck Tech” will start our Sunday off and will be followed by The Other Mozart at 1pm, A Little Potato and Hard to Peel at 4pm, and the world-premiere of KNYUM at 7pm!

 

Our third week of the festival will close on Monday with our Mentor Project Showcase at 7pm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Wolk on Another Medea

 

It is one of the most mesmerizing solo performances I’ve ever seen, and Broadway’s leading villain, Tom Hewitt, does it all seated at a simple table,  rarely raising his voice above a conspiratorial hush. You’ll be charmed, and if you’re a NYC theater aficionado, you’ll guffaw with recognition – but soon you’ll begin feel the slow chill of  inexorable horror as you realize where this enthralling journey is headed.

 

The first time I saw ANOTHER MEDEA, written and directed by Aaron Mark, it was at the Duplex, the legendary Village cabaret, at4pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon.   I don’t know about you, but for me, cabaret rooms don’t exist until the sun goes down. So the room at 4pm on that sunny Sunday felt like a weird sort of purgatory as I ordered my compulsory 2 chardonnays and some discretionary bar nuts.

 

Turns out purgatory is the perfect place to meet Marcus Sharpe, the dashing and dangerous “hero” of ANOTHER MEDEA, because that’s where Marcus lives. More literally, he dwells in a maximum security prison, where he has been sentenced for his nearly unspeakable crime – but as you learn his story, you’ll realize he is dangling by a tenuous thread, batted like a tether ball by his demons, above the pits of hell.

 

Marcus’ tale unfolds through brilliant and breathtaking turns in Aaron Mark’s juggernaut of a script – and at the end you will be haunted by Marcus, because you’ve gained this chilling insight: we all KNOW a Marcus…and there is a bit Marcus in ALL of us.

 

See ANOTHER MEDEA and be afraid. Be very afraid.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to AFO 2013

 

HELLO AND WELCOME TO AFO 2013!

 

Welcome to the All For One Theater Festival 2013! Tonight begins our 3rd season of giving vibrant voice to the human spirit and experience through extraordinary solo performance.

 

We feel you really must hear the enthralling voices in this year’s Festival. You’ll hear from “The Other Mozart” — Amadeus’ sister, Nannerl (Sylvia Milo) – who, till now, was a silent victim of history. You’ll hear Vichet Chum recount in “Kynum” how his family’s voice was nearly silenced forever. And you’ll hear from Kelly Carlin in “A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George” how to find your own voice even in circus-like circumstances.

 

AFO 2013 also spotlights the brilliant storytelling talents of Tom Hewitt, Bill Bowers, Rene Marie, David Harrell, Erin Fleck and James Judd, and we proudly say, “Hear their voices!”

 

But we also say, “Hear your voice!” Because along with presenting exceptional solo shows, AFO 2013 offers 6 workshops and 6 panels to empower the artist within you. Whether you seek to perform or not, AFO believes we are all the richer when we explore, honor and learn to communicate our deepest, dearest, and most daring truths.

 

All For One was born on 11/11/11 – November 11th, 2011—with a 10-day Festival. This year, AFO will be at the delightful Cherry Lane Theatre October 11th through November 9th – 5 full weekends packed with superb shows, workshops and panels, plus the bright teen talents of the AFO Mentor Project Showcase

 

So please come join us at the Cherry Lane and hear the extraordinary voices of AFO 2013 – and…hear your own.

 

Michael Wolk

 

Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Days until the All For One Theater Festival!

 

There is only two days until the festival! It all starts this weekend with our SOLD OUT performance of A Carlin Home Companion!

 

Saturday will feature the amazing work of Sylvia Milo in the ♀ther Mozart, Rene Marie in Slut Energy Theory, and Bill Bowers in Beyond Words with a special talk back after the show not to mention the Panel: Know Thyself kicking the day off!

 

Her (untold) Story will kick off the first Sunday of the festival. Continuing on in the day will be another SOLD OUT show of A Carlin Home Companion, Bill Bowers Beyond Words, and Rene Marie’s Slut Energy Theory finishing off the weekend with a special talk back!

 

Get Excited Folks and be sure to buy your tickets now!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Killer Quack

 

We are thrilled to have our Artist in Residence, James Judd performing Killer Quack as a workshop performance during our festival!

 

This true crime story follows the 2004 case of Dean Faiello who posed as an Upper East Side doctor until one of his patients was discovered buried in his garage. The New York Post call Faiello The Killer Quack, and this is the story of how James Judd was just another one of his victims until he began receiving letters from him in Attica.

 

Killer Quack

Written and Performed by James Judd, Directed by Kevin Kennison

Sunday 11/3 at 1pm & Saturday 11/9 at 1pm

 

 

 

This Month’s Open Mic will Feature Nat Cassidy!

 

As part of our Open Mic Series, One for All, this month we will be featuring headliner, Nat Cassidy who has been in over 50 productions, and is also one of New York City’s most exciting new playwrights!

 

Hosted by Katie Northlich, One For All will be this Monday, September 16 at Under St. marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A), doors open and sign up will open at 8:45PM. Tickets ($10, including one free beer) may be purchased at the door, online at www.horseTRADE.info, or by calling 212-868-4444

 

We Can’t Wait To See You There!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boy Who Would Be Captain Hook

 

David Harrell: Teaching Kids to be Heroes

This year, the All For One Theater Festival is so proud to announce the first we will be offering performances specifically for the younger audiences in The Boy Who Would Be Captain Hook!

 

Born without his right hand, David has spent a majority of his life trying to complete checkpoints on his journey to be “normal.” On this journey to get there, David dealt with bullying, exclusion, and loneliness. In turn he used his creativity to eventually become the unlikely hero at recess. The Boy Who Would be Captain Hook is a smart and important story for children and parents alike about acceptance and inclusion and how to not let circumstances peel away who we really are as human beings.

 

The Boy Who Would be Captain Hook

 

Saturday October 19 at 11am & Saturday November 2 at 11 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acting on Impluse

 

Taught by Deb Margolin

 

Friday November 8, at 2:30pm

 

Solo performance calls on the artist for a kind of immediacy and presentness common to all acting, but extraordinarily demanding on the solo stage. ACTING ON IMPULSE workshop will explore the joy and discipline of being fully present, in comical and rich conversation with ourselves and those around us. Impulsivity; the availability and receptivity of the mind and body to the exact moment they’re in, is the key to truthfulness and aliveness, in solo performance, any kind of performance, and life itself! Methods for evoking sensitivity and presentness in the moment, through extended study of behaving on impulse, will make us all silly, breathless and in love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soaring to Solo Superstardom

 

Taught by Josh Rivedal

 

In this seminar, you’ll discover how solo-show performer, Josh Rivedal, went from being thousands of dollars in debt on his one-man show The Gospel According to Josh, to a full time international career that’s grossed more than $75,000 in only two years.

 

You’ll learn how to: create a niche or specialized market for your solo-show, establish yourself as king or queen of that niche, get your solo-show booked within that niche market, network inside and outside the arts, manage the “brand” of your solo-show, market your solo-show using social media and other innovative tools, and how to set a price for your solo-show.

 

There will be also be a question and answer period to discuss in further depth the concepts taught in the seminar.

 

Date: Friday, October 25 2:30PM-5:45PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voice of the Body

 

Taught by Bill Bowers

 

Actor and mime Bill Bowers has written 5 plays, and very little of his “writing process” involves a pen and paper.  Join Bill for a fun filled workshop that incorporates Creative Movement and Mime as a means of supporting and augmenting the writer’s process.  Explore how to be led by one’s “physical imagination” to surprising new places.  Thinking with the body, following impulses, and simply playing can turn the keys within us all toward more honest, creative work.

 

Date: Friday October 25, 11:00AM-2:15PM

 

 

 

 

 

Those Who Can’t Do

 

Erin Fleck: Learning to Move Past The Shame

Teacher, Lillian Campbell finds herself in the middle of a sex scandal involving her grade nine girls and the majority of the senior hockey team, but in order to battle the humiliation and shame forced upon the girls, she must first battle her own in the U.S. Premiere of THOSE WHO CAN’T DO!

 

“The subject matter is very close to my heart,” Fleck says, “it deals with the issues of female sexual repression and the lingering damage that shame can cause in the lives of women at any age.”

 

THOSE WHO CAN’T DO

 

Friday, November 1 at 7pm, Saturday, November 2 at 4pm

 

Sunday, November 3 at 7pm, and Sunday, November 9 at 4pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, The Voices in My Head!

 

Taught by Kelly Carlin

Friday, October 18 at 2:30pm

 

Using her ten years of experience as a creative life coach, Kelly Carlin guides you through exercises that help you to embrace the voices in your head to overcome resistance, procrastination and fear, and connect you to a sense of possibility, empowerment and freedom.  Whether you’re dealing with writer’s block, stage fright, or just a general sense of “What is next?”, you will walk away with a fresh perspective and a few new tools in your creative tool belt.

 

 

 

 

Slut Energy Theory

 

René Marie: Introducing You to a Woman You’ll Never Forget!

SLUT ENERGY THEORY is one woman’s story about abuse, laughter, life, & pushin’ on through to the other side.

 

 

Told through music, spoken word, and monologue, U’Dean Morgan speaks her mind as an elderly, yet ageless woman whose harrowing life experiences have left her anything but speechless. From the opening song, she tells you exactly what she thinks about sex, heaven, lies, truth, you, herself, and whatever else you might ask her.

 

“What I hope for those who experience this show is what I hope for whenever I sing” Rene Marie says as U’Dean. “I hope that they be moved, touched, and stimulated beyond what they may typically experience at any given performance.”

 

SLUT ENERGY THEORY

Written, Performed, & Produced by: René Marie

Directed by: donnie l. betts

Saturday, October 12 at 4pm, Sunday, October 13 ay 7pm

Friday October 18 at 7pm, and Sunday October 20 at 1pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUGUST’S OPEN MIC NIGHT IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

 

Every third Monday of the month AFO collaborates with Horse Trade Theater Group to present the One-For-All Open Mic!

 

Hosted by all-star Katie Northlich, our headliner this month will be Alex Thomason!!!

 

The One-for-All Open Mic will be Monday, August 19th at UNDER St Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A). Doors and sign up open at 9pm. Tickets ($10, including one free beer) may be purchased online at www.horseTRADE.info or by calling 212-868-4444. For news on headliners, the festival and more, check out www.afofest.org

 

 

 

 

 

SLAM! (Sing Like a Motherf#$*@^%!) for Solo

 

With René Marie

Thursday, October 17th at 11am

 

SLAM-slideshow

 

Award winning singer and AFO performer René Marie presents SLAM!. SLAM! is a vocal therapy workshop designed to tackle the most troubling issues you may have about your voice / acting / singing. The goal of SLAM! is to reconnect you with your voice and learn how to listen to what your voice is telling you, listen to where it wants to go and what it wants to do. And then finding the courage to do it. Together we will open some doors, let the fresh air in and shine some light on the negative messages you may have received about your voice in the past – and the ones you continue to give yourself today. As we work through this process, you can use your fears and so-called flaws to sing / speak / act like a motherf*cker!

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Potato and Hard to Peel

 

DAVID HARRELL: A JOURNEY TO DEFINE NORMAL

In A LITTLE POTATO AND HARD TO PEEL, David Harrell takes the audience on a  journey that begins with the day he was born without his right hand. What starts out as one man’s challenge to accept his own strengths and limitations becomes a compelling charge for us all.

 

A LITTLE POTATO AND HARD TO PEEL is a universal story…that is, a universal story about a not so ordinary life. In his warm, smart, and engaging autobiographical solo show, David Harrell delivers a hilarious and insightful look at living with a disability.

 

“The nub…has always been a part of my life.” Starts David’s play, “So how did I end up here? How did a kid from a small town in South Georgia end up an actor and speaker living in New York City? Maybe its best if we go back to the beginning.”

 

A Little Potato and Hard to Peel

 

Written & Performed by: David Harrell

 

Directed by: Kirk White

 

Sunday, October 20 at 7pm, Friday, October 25 at 7pm

 

Sunday, October 27 at 4pm, and Saturday November 9 at 7pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ♀THER Mozart

 

SYLVIA MILO: PUTTING THE SPOTLIGHT ON THE SIBILING

THE ♀THER MOZART is a play about Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus. It tells the true story of this prodigy, a keyboard virtuoso and composer, who as a child toured through all of Europe performing with her brother, to equal acclaim, but who faded away and left behind nothing of her own.

 

“The history of women is still a secondary history, and most female composers from the past have been forgotten, their music lost, or gathering dust in libraries.” Writer and performer Sylvia Milo says, “Little girls rarely rarely see female composers listed in concert programs. With the name of Mozart, the story carries an added importance – Amadeus is arguably the most famous composer in history. To bring this other Mozart, his sister, to people’s minds is to inspire them, and to bring women into the history of the great.

 

THE ♀THER MOZART

 

Saturday, October 12 at 1pm, Saturday October 19 at 4pm,

 

Saturday, October 26 at 7pm, and Sunday, October 27 at 1pm

 

 

 

 

 

WORKSHOP: Writing for Solo Performance

 

TAUGHT BY GRETCHEN CRYER

Thursday, October 17, 11AM

One of our most popular workshops returns! Whether your intent is stage performance, a short story, a memoir, or a novel, this workshop will help you access intense memories and write without censoring yourself. It will allow you to explore and enjoy the satisfaction of writing a first person narrative in the present tense, drawing from your own worlds of experience. The workshop will help you find your voice as both writer and performer, concluding with a reading of your material with full energy and a fully expressive body.

 

 

 

 

 

A Carlin Home Companion

 

KELLY CARLIN: INVITING US INTO HER CHILDHOOD HOME AND LIFE OFF STAGE

For the first time in New York, All For One Theater Festival is pleased to announce A CARLIN HOME COMPANION: GROWING UP WITH GEORGE written and performed by Kelly Carlin.

 

Chronicling over forty years of her life with her father, Kelly warmly yet honestly reveals not only what it was like to be swept up by his life and career, but the struggles of their father/daughter relationship and ultimately what it took for Kelly to find her own place in the world.

 

“Equal parts heartbreaking and humorous, Carlin interjected family photos and video clips of her father’s most iconic stand-up sets brilliantly woven monologue about the complex tapestry associated with growing up as a Carlin.” – LAUGHSPIN

 

Join us for this unexpected, loving and revealing look at the man who constantly redefined himself in order to redefine 20th century comedy.

 

A Carlin Home Companion

 

Written & Performed by Kelly Carlin; Directed by Paul Provenza

 

Friday, October 11 at 7pm, Sunday, October 13 at 1pm,

 

Thursday, October 17 at 7pm, and Saturday, October 19 at 1pm

 

 

 

 

 

KNYUM

 

Vichet Chum’s KNYUM exceeded all of my expectations. Working at AFO I was privy to the script and sneak-peaks of the performance from it’s previous workshop which all  hinted at a great piece of theater. But seeing it live, with the lights, set, and acting, was a whole other story.

 

KNYUM (meaning “I” in Khmer) is relatable both as a first generation American and as someone who is still “figuring her life out.” During the play, Vichet’s character asks the audience the proverbial questions of “Where did we come from? Where are we going?” and to take us through generations of layers in order to answer these questions.

 

Starting as a grad school thesis project with his friends, KNYUM is humorous, beautiful, and messy. It’s about figuring out one’s identity, particularly as an artist, and particularly in NYC. It’s about hope, struggle, heritage, family, love, and pardon. The last performance is this Friday, November 8th at 7pm and I hope you will make time to see this remarkable piece of theater.

 

-Maya Shah

 

 

 

 

 

Another Medea

 

TOM HEWITT: TRAVELING INTO THE DEEP PSYCHE OF AN OBSESSION

Tony Award-nominated actor Tom Hewitt, joins the All For One Theater Festival this year to bring the World Premiere of ANOTHER MEDEA!

 

TomHewittAnotherMedea3

 

Director Aaron Mark warns the audience will be in “Shock. I don’t think they know what they’re in for. We’ve had to pull back. But I think it’s important to really look at what he does and get us thinking about it.”

 

Adapting from the original Euripides’ Medea and incorporating elements from other adaptations and current events, we are introduced to Marcus Sharp. A onetime New York actor who recounts in gruesome detail how his obsessions with a man named Jason and the myth of Medea lead to horrific unspeakable events and who invites us into this frighteningly provocative minimalist monodrama.

 

Another Medea

 

Performed by Tom Hewitt; Written and Directed by Aaron Mark

 

Saturday, October, 19 at 7pm, Sunday, October 20 at 4pm,

 

Saturday, October 26 at 4pm, and Wednesday, October 30 at 7pm

 

Tickets Go On Sale August 1st

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Words

 

BILL BOWERS: STORYTELLING WITH AND WITHOUT SOUND

Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival, Bill Bowers has come back to New York to act, mime, and educate his audiences in BEYOND WORDS, an exploration of silence focusing on the journey from Boyhood to Manhood.

 

Bowers says that BEYOND WORDS is about “the messages we get along the way about masculinity. The inspiration for the show comes from a poem that was pinned to my baby blanket when I was brought home from the hospital in 1959. The poem was titled What Is A Boy.”

 

And thus begins this transformational journey told through a combination of autobiographical stories, an adaptation of a novel written by Sherwood Anderson, and a piece inspired by the murder of Matthew Shepard. Told lyrically and mimetically, Bill Bowers creates a tapestry of messages targeted for boys and men.

 

“I bring disparate groups of people into one room, and allow them to open their hearts and minds, and feel.” Bowers says about his work. “Live Theatre can open us up in ways that other art forms might not. Theatre is immediate and temporal and asks the audience to be a part of the moment. It can bring us together, and it can humanize.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFO 2013 Garden Party

 

Our first benefit was a major success! It was raining outside, but we kept the party going with Hartley House packed full of performers, artists, and supporters.

 

2013 Festival w MW

 

We announced the stellar line-up for the 2013 festival, and artists Tom Hewitt, Aaron Mark, James Judd, David Harrell, Sylvia Milo, and Vichet Chum were in attendance.

 

BD WongAlong with the stars of the festival, our advisory board made the night twinkle! BD Wong kept the night rolling as emcee, and had us all in stitches. Nilaja Sun spoke about her work with AFO’s Mentor Project. Eva Price received AFO’s Pioneer Award for her work in Solo Theatre. Colman Domingo graced us all with a performance from A Boy And His Soul, and Mike Daisey ended the night with stirring words about what it means to be a solo performer.

 

We were also pleased to see so many members of our AFO community at our benefit. Joanna Rush, Aizzah Fatima, Elizabeth Van Meter, Mary Lou Shriber, Jenni Wolfson, and Carlo D’Amore from AFO 2012 and 2011 showed their support, as well as AFO’s Board and Junior Board, the regulars we are used to seeing at our Salon and Open Mic, and countless supporters.

 

It was a grand night, and a fantastic way to reveal our 2013 festival. Take a look at the shows, panels, workshops, and special events we have coming up. This is a special and exciting year for All For One, and we are so happy to have you as a part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

A MAGNIFICENT OUTPOURING OF SOLO TALENT FOR AFO 2013

 

WOW. That’s the universally awed response of the members of the AFO Selection Committee to the tremendous tide of remarkable submissions we received for the 2013 All For One Theater Festival.

 

Submissions closed on March 31st, and since then the dozen  members of the AFO Selection Committee and the AFO staff have been faced with the wrenching task of picking a mere handful of shows from the wealth of wonderful work.

 

We will be officially announcing the 2013 AFO Festival Selections on July 22nd, but meanwhile we must say a fervent thank you to those who submitted for pouring your heart and soul into your solo show, and for sharing your work with us.

 

And thank you to the daring dozen of the AFO Selection Committee – those AFO performers, educators, and other esteemed members of our community who gave so generously of their thought, time and caring in considering the submissions.

 

As tough as the selection process has been, it has been an invaluable opportunity to define what makes a piece of solo work an AFO show.  We used our motto as a matrix, asking of each show, does it Inform/Inspire/Move/Matter? When the answer is an adamant yes! we have an AFO show – a piece of truly transformational theater that is powerful enough to change our hearts, minds and actions.

 

And indeed, the AFO Selection Committee and AFO staff have been forever transformed and humbled by our immersion in the magnificent outpouring of talent that has so blessedly come our way.  And in return we hope the 2013 AFO Festival will provide not just the selected artists, but all who submitted, the opportunity to strengthen and find new support for their work.

 

All For One & One for All

 

Michael Wolk

Executive Director

All For One Theater Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tapping the Source with Deb Margolin

 

The second in our series of year-round workshops: Transcribing The Bones with Heather Harpham, was a great success. Fun and informative, with some great work produced.

 

Next up is a workshop with AFO Advisory Board Member Deb Margolin, whose solo show Good Morning Anita Hill… was featured in our 2011 Festival.

 

Her workshop is entitled: Tapping the Source: Creative Writing For Any Reason at All

 

Margolin

 

Using innovative techniques to spark the evocation of imagery and spur automatic writing, Deb will help students tap the pure inner source from which rich, resonant material comes. Theater is all about the revelation of humanity, and by showing students how to silence their inner critic, Deb will lead students to the revelation of their own uniquely human creativity.  This course is available for students of all levels.

 

By allowing students to reach and write from that place in which we dream, the workshop may also help you achieve your performing dreams.  Each student will receive one-on-  one coaching with Deb and will create material in class.

 

Date: Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Time: 2:00 – 5:00pm

Place: Ripley Grier Studios – Studio T

520 8th Ave, 16th Floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Lou

 

So, you know by now that AFO is more than just a festival. We’re a year-round non-profit that is building a community for solo performance. That’s a big part of why Mary Lou Shriber loves us! But we’ll let her tell you more about that:

 

“It’s a community and you support each other. . . We all have radically different stories to tell but they are all very important stories to our time.”

 

Help us help artists. Become a donor today. Our goal is 15 new donors in February. Support AFO to become one of the February Fifteen.

 

Want another way to show your love? Head over to twitter and tell us why you <3 AFO. Use the hashtag #IheartAFO and we’ll give you a free t-shirt and discount code for $10 off one of our year-round workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero Boy

 

Some think that Valentine’s Day only lasts 24 hours. But, here at AFO, we know it is a state of mind.

 

All February long, we are encouraging each and every one of you to talk about why you <3 AFO, and you haven’t disappointed us! With videos, tweets, hugs, and donations we’re feeling the love. Don’t think it has to stop now that February 14th has passed.

 

This is our Communications Intern, Kati.  She is smothered by AFO t-shirts, and only you can save her!!

 

Tweet why you love All For One with the hasthag #IheartAFO. We’ll give you a free T-shirt and a discount code for $10 off one of our year-round workshops.

 

Take an AFO T-shirt, and maybe she’ll see the light of day once again.

 

Meanwhile, here is Zero Boy (Death and Taxes, Mourning America) talking about why he <3 AFO and why your donation is so important:

 

“These stories are crucial to human development.”

 

 

 

Share the love! Donate now to become one of the February Fifteen. That’s fifteen new donors in February. That’s fifteen phenomenal people who are helping AFO live, breathe, and build a community for solo performance through our year-round programming and annual festival.

 

Help a non-profit out. Donate Now.

 

 

 

 

 

#IheartAFO on Valentine’s Day!

 

You’ve seen us talking about all the artists in our community, and how much they love AFO. Today is Valentine’s Day, so we want to remind you all that love is a two-way street.

 

So first, we have Joanna Rush (Asking For It) talking about why she loves AFO.

 

 

We’re blushing!

These artists and AFO have been in love for a long time. It’s a beautiful romance. But, we must confess. We have a crush on donors.

 

Here is Development Director, Patrice Miller, expressing her undying affection for that exquisite creature, the donor.

 

 

 

And Associate Producer, Corinne Woods, wants the world to know that donors make her heart go pitter-patter.

 

 

 

And last, our communications intern, Kati Frazier, adapts some Shakespeare for the ocassion.

 

 

 

Is this love unrequited? Say it isn’t so!

 

Our goal is fifteen new donors in February, show your love and be one of them. Donate now to become one of the February Fifteen. Your love and support helps us maintain our year-round programming and our festival, so that we can continue to create a community for solo theater.

 

Want another way to show your love? Tweet why you <3 AFO and use the hasthtag #Iheartafo. We’ll give some love back (in t-shirt and discount form).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Jones

 

Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and we’ve got loads of artists vying to be our valentine this year.

 

We’ve already heard from Joe Ricci, Carlo D’Amore, and Katie Northlich. Now we have Jennifer Jones (Appearance of Life) telling us why she loves AFO.

 

“AFO fest is very rapidly becoming the face of the solo community”

 

We’re blushing from all these compliments!

 

Do you <3 AFO, too? There are so many ways you can let us know! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. All February long if you tweet #IheartAFO we’ll send the love back (in the form of a T-shirt and a discount code for one of our year-round workshops)

 

Got some serious love for All For One? We need donors! Our goal is fifteen new donors in February. You could be one of the February Fifteen! Donate now. Whether it is 5 dollars or 5,000, your donation is crucial in helping AFO continue our festival and year-round programming.

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Northlich

 

There is a ton of love heading our way this month!

 

To help us reach our goal of fifteen new donors in February, Katie Northlich (Panic Diaries) tells us why she hearts AFO.

 

“I’ve completely gained a community, that is one thing I did not have before. Absolutely”

 

Help us continue to give to these amazing solo artists. Donate now to become one of the February Fifteen! We need your help to continue to support solo theater.

 

Follow us on Twitter and check out #IheartAFO to hear from our whole community about why AFO is so vital.

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Ricci

 

February is a month full of love here at All For One. We already told you about our goal: fifteen new donors in February. Well, to help us achieve that goal our artists are telling the world why they love All For One and why your contribution to keep us going is so important!

 

Next up, Joe Ricci (Director: You Want Me To Do WHAT?!?, The Purpose Project: Thao’s Library, and The Panic Diaries) tells us why he loves AFO and why your contribution is so important:

 

Help change the face of art in New York, become one of the February Fifteen. Donate now to help us continue to put on the festival and year-round programming that is creating a community for solo performers.

 

Do you want to show your love, too? Head over to twitter and tell us why you <3 AFO. Use the hashtag #IheartAFO and we’ll send some love back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing for Performance from Body to Page

 

The first in our series of year-round workshops: Tell Your Story with Matt Hoverman, was a great success. Fun, informative, and innovative, a small group of students did some great work and had a great time.

 

Next up is a workshop with Heather Harpham, whose solo show Happiness was in our 2011 Festival.

 

Transcribing The Bones: Writing for Performance from Body to Page

 

This highly active workshop will cast the body itself as storyteller, gaining access to the material embedded in visceral memory and imagination. Using the tools of improvisation, physical theater, and performance art, we will begin to unearth and craft individual stories into vibrant solo theater, expressed in the teller’s unique voice and physicality. Exploratory exercises may include such prompts as writing about a photo never taken but longed for; mapping a memory through space using gestural language, and capturing text from improvised, fully-embodied monologues.

REGISTER NOW

 

Sunday, March 24th, 2013  2 PM – 5 PM

Center for Remembrance and Sharing

123 4th Ave bet. 12th and 13th, 2nd Floor

 

REGISTER NOW

 

Don’t forget #IheartAFO is still going on! If you follow us on Twitter, all you have to do is tweet why you <3 All For One and use the hashtag #IheartAFO to get a discount code for $10 off our workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

I Heart AFO

 

February is a exciting month here at All For One Theater Festival. Director of Development, Patrice Miller, has some big plans.

 

#iheartafo

 

We’ve got a lot of love for solo theater at AFO. It turns out, a lot of people love us back. Are you one of them?

 

Tweet #IheartAFO in the month of February and we’ll hook you up with an AFO T-shirt and a discount code for one of our year-round workshops.

 

Our goal is to get 15 new donors in the month of February. You could be one of the February Fifteen! Donors get all kinds of perks: T-shirts, free tickets, free workshops and panels, your name in our program and website, and most importantly you’ll be a part of the AFO community.

 

Here is Carlo D’Amore (NO PAROLE in the 2012 AFOfest) talking about why he loves All For One.

 

Make AFO your valentine. Tweet #Iheartafo or join the February Fifteen! DONATE NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Your Story: new year-round workshops

 

All For One Theater Festival is thrilled to announce our new year-round series of workshops, because working with solo artists is what we do 365 days a year, not just during the festival.

 

First up is Tell Your Story: The Art of the Autobiographical Solo Show, taught by AFO advisory board member, Matt Hoverman. Sunday February 3rd at 2pm.

 

Like us on Facebook to get a discount code, good for $10 off any workshop in the year-round series. Already a fan? Send us a message on Facebook and we’ll send you the code. We’ll be giving the code out until Feb. 3rd.

 

Tell Your Story: The Art of the Autobiographical Solo Show

 

In Matt’s fun and interactive workshop, participants will become acquainted with the fundamentals of turning the raw details of their lives into compelling, funny, and theatrical stories for the stage. Non-threatening improv and storytelling exercises will culminate in each participant creating, rehearsing and performing a 90-second autobiographical solo show. This course is available for students of all levels, whether you are just starting out or already working on a piece. Matt will discuss in-depth the three essential ingredients of a great autobiographical solo show. Each student will receive a chance to create and present material in class, followed by a wrap-up of lessons learned.

 

Sunday, February 3rd 2pm-5pm

at the Center for Remembrance and Sharing

123 4th Ave, 2nd Floor

(venue not ADA accessible)

$85

Register now!

Now accepting submissions for the 2013 festival!

 

It’s official! Submissions are now open for the 2013 All For One Theater Festival.

 

Take a look at our guidelines. Our information packet will tell you everything you need to know about what information to submit, and the needs of the festival.

 

If you have more questions about submissions you can contact us at submissions@afofest.org. To be notified of upcoming deadlines and any updates about submissions for the 2013 festival, please sign up for our submissions newsletter.

 

The deadline to submit  is March 29, 2013; 11:59pm EST.

 

So get started! We look forward to learning more about your solo show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Now: The 2012 AFO Mentor Project

 

One of our proudest moments of 2012 was presenting six of the most talented high school students in New York in the AFO Mentor Project Student Showcase.  After spending weeks with AFO Advisory Board member Nilaja Sun crafting their writing and performance, our solo stars took the stage at Theater 511 to show the world their solo masterpieces.  Watch this video recap of the Mentor Project now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for a wonderful year.

 

Dear Friends of AFO,

 

Amid this Holiday Season with so many stories swirling around us, from the devastating to the inspirational, it’s always the stories told first person that truly grab us, hold us, and help us see our world with new and deeper meaning.

 

The All For One Theater Festival is dedicated to presenting and nurturing the stories that burn to be told, that illuminate our world and ourselves.  By offering extraordinary solo work and educational programming, we work to be a vital resource for our audiences and artists as they strive to make sense of our awesome and mystifying world.  As the end of the year draws near, we are sharply aware that it is only with the support of friends like you that we’ve been able to create a Festival and a Community that raises the bar for solo performance, and raises awareness of its importance as art form.  We hope this little nudge will remind you that you remain a valued member of the AFO community, and we count on your support to continue offering the opportunities and epiphanies afforded by our shows, workshops, panels, Mentor Project and Salons.

 

As a non-profit organization dedicated to solo artist empowerment, we rely on the members of our community not only to donate, but to evangelize on our behalf.  Simply by sharing our site, forwarding a newsletter, or telling a story, you can help us increase our donation base and give us the opportunity to end 2012 knowing that we can face whatever the climate will be next year.

 

Thanks to your support, this year, Festival attendance increased by an astounding 33%.  And with ten “perfect ten” productions, which all received rave reviews from audience members and press a like, we were able to further establish ourselves as the destination for the best in solo performance.  Contributions to this year’s festival line up from Advisory Board members Colman Domingo, Leslie Jordan, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and BD Wong showed just how strong our community has grown, as did workshops taught by Gretchen Cryer, Matt Hoverman, Deb Margolin, and Nilaja Sun.  We ended the year on a rousingly hopeful note with the Mentor Project Showcase, which gave six promising teen performers the opportunity to write and perform their own solo work to a sold out house in December at Theater 511.

 

 

None of this is possible without your support.  And, All For One is now a registered 501(c)3!  So, if you donate by December 31, 2012, you will be able to deduct your donation from your taxes in accordance with IRS standards.

 

Still not sold? Check out the perks. It’s okay, we love the t-shirts too.

 

Donation information is available on our website: www.afofest.org/donate

 

We remain ever grateful for all you do for us – it has been a wonderful year and we anticipate a new year full of exciting opportunities and excellent theater.

 

Sincerely,

The AFO Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFO’s MENTOR PROJECT: THE INSIDE SCOOP

 

This year, we wanted to find a way to engage young artists in solo theater and cultivate a community of students and teachers of new work.  The AFO Mentor Project was born with the help of AFO Advisory Board member Nilaja Sun, who found six remarkable high school students with a passion for performance.  They are poets, dancers, actors, singers, and writers, all with stories that need to be told.  With the help of solo expert Nilaja and director Steve DiMenna, they are now solo artists.

 

The students attended the 2012 All For One Theater Festival and have been working on their own material for several weeks.  On Saturday, December 1st, they will premiere their work hat Theater 511.  We warmly invite you to join us for:

 

THE 2012 MENTOR PROJECT STUDENT SHOWCASE!

 

featuring:

Cheyenne Deago

Levar Francis

Julissa Loaiza

Xavier Pacheco

Junior Rodriguez

Lydia Villa

 

In an evening of their own solo work

created under the mentorship of

AFO Advisory Board Member Nilaja Sun

Directed by Steve DiMenna

 

Saturday, December 1st, 7:00 PM

THEATER 511 – 511 W 54th St (bet. 10th and 11th)

New York, NY 10019

Admission: Free

We will be accepting donations for AFO at the performance.

 

Please reserve your tickets by emailing boxoffice@afofest.org or calling 212-398-7180 with your name and number of seats.  You will receive a confirmation of your reservation.

Hurry, space is limited!

 

In its inaugural year, the AFO Mentor Project has proved to be a wonderful success.  We thank Nilaja from the bottom of our hearts for helping us to bring the magic of solo theater to aspiring artists, and we hope you can make it to the show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THEY DID IT!

 

Wow.  AFO’s inaugural Mentor Project led by Nilaja Sun rocked the house and rocked our souls.

 

Last Saturday night, six outstanding teens offered up some of the most riveting solo work we have ever seen.  With the divine guidance of Nilaja during several weeks of workshops, and the fine tuning of director Stephen DiMenna, the students took to the stage at Theater 511 and introduced a sold-out house to the future of solo theater.  Ranging from ages 15 to 19, our students showed us, their loved ones, and New York City that vital, life-changing stories can come from each of us, and age is no barrier.

 

AFO and the Mentor Project are made possible by donations from people like you. Exactly like you. Please support this work that changes the lives — the lives of those who create it, and those who experience it.  Please donate to All For One.

 

 And if YOU are creating rocking solo work, please sign up for our submissions newsletter to learn how you can be part of AFO 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFO Festival 2012: Over? Not Really!

 

Thank you EVERYONE who turned out for the AFO Theater Festival 2012 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, making it such a warm success! We are pleased to announce that we grew our audience and ticket sales by 33% this year, and we couldn’t have done it without you!

 

Now people are asking us, “So, are you relaxing, now that the Festival is over?” NOT! For one thing, we are presenting Debra Barsha’s Workshop, USING MUSIC IN YOUR SOLO SHOW Thursday, October 25th at 2:30 PM at Cap21 Studios. If you saw her rocking performance in A WOMB WITH A VIEW at AFO, you know you’ll be getting vital insights from an impeccable (and funny) source. Debra’s director Frank Ventura will be there to guide you as well. Best hurry and register here.

 

We are also in motion planning our December 1st AFO Holiday Bash, where the young solo stars of our AFO Mentor Project will present their ten minute masterpieces, MC-ed by Mentor Project leader Nilaja Sun.  Then we’ll be gearing up for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference (APAP|NYC) January 11-14, where we will be working to book our AFO shows at theaters around the country. Including the shows we are repping from both our 2011 and 2012 Festivals, our AFO Catalog is now 20 brilliant shows strong!

 

There were so many extraordinary things we witnessed and learned at this year’s Festival, that actually we’re still processing them. In coming posts, we’ll give you a behind the scenes look at some of the awesome highlights of AFO Theater Festival 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: You Want Me to Do WHAT?!? Review

 

Mary Lou Shriber’s one-woman musical You Want Me to Do WHAT?!? was reviewed in Theatre Reviews Limited. Check it out below:

 

An amazing opportunity presents itself to experience the wonderfully uplifting performance by Mary Lou Shriber in her new musical “You Want Me To Do What?!?” now playing at the Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the All For One Festival. There are quite a number of accomplishments to admire as you listen to Ms. Shriber reveal her past and celebrate her present through informative dialogue and heartfelt song.

– Theatre Reviews Limited; by Joseph Verlezza

 

If you haven’t seen Mary Lou’s “wonderfully uplifting performance”, you have one more chance. You Want Me to Do WHAT?!? will perform Saturday, Sept 29 at 2pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Fruit Fly in Theatre Reviews Unlimited

 

Check out David Roberts’ review of Leslie Jordan’s Fruit Fly at Theatre Reviews Limited:

 

Leslie Jordan’s authenticity and generosity of spirit make it impossible for anyone to be offended by any of the humor used as he tells story after story from his rich and varied life. It would be unfair to reveal the content of the solo performance. However, be prepared to hear true tales of growth hormones, teenage adventures at drag clubs and “off limits” clubs, younger twin sisters (Jordan only remembers one of their names), a beloved father who died at an age far too young, a mother with hysterical blindness, and escapades in Atlanta that would make the most seasoned LGBT ticketholder blush.

– Theatre Reviews Limited; by David Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Asking For It in Theatre Reviews Limited

 

Asking For It, written and performed by Joanna Rush and directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, received a glowing review in Theatre Reviews Limited. Check it out:

 

What is remarkable is Ms. Rush’s ability to inspire the audience with an invigorating performance. She relies on her talent as a dancer, singer and actor to bring humor and drama to her well written script. With no props or costume changes, Rush is able to deftly transform into multiple characters with speed and agility. Her interpretations are detailed and personal, affording the audience the opportunity to become acquainted with and know the character rather than merely providing visual content.

– Theatre Reviews Limited; by Joeseph Verlezza

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mariska Hargitay visits Asking For it at the All For One Theater Festival

 

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay attended a performance of Joanna Rush’s “ASKING FOR IT” on Sept 22, 2012 at The Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL.  The Festival of 10 solo plays and musicals written and performed by 10 extraordinary artists, continues through September 30.   Mariska heads The Joyful Heart Foundation which works to foster a community that turns toward the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.  “Asking for It” is a fiercely funny tale about a spirited dancer who kicks her way from oblivion to enlightenment.  For more info go to www.afofest.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Aizzah Fatima in The HuffingtonPost

 

Check out this glowing review of Aizzah Fatima’s Dirty Paki Lingerie on HuffingtonPost.com:

 

When we see something in the theater that takes us to another culture, we can only appreciate that work if somehow we find echoes of our own lives there. Otherwise, it is not theater, it is anthropology. Aizzah Fatima and her equally talented director Erica Gould are most definitely offering us a theatrical experience. Here’s hoping Dirty Paki Lingerie will be coming soon to a theater near you.

– Veiled and Unveiled Women: Finding my Inner Pakistani by Monica Bauer

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Alice Eve Cohen and What I Thought I Knew in The Jewish Week

 

Check out Alice Eve Cohen and What I Thought I Knew in The Jewish Week:

 

In an interview, Cohen told The Jewish Week that the play deals with her own period of “upheaval, confusion and introspection” as she wrestled with her capacity both to create life and to end it. Throughout the play, Cohen said, the Jewish holidays are “crucial touchstones; they inform the action, offer potent metaphors, and serve as springboards for an exploration of questions and paradoxes.” While Cohen calls herself an agnostic, she found that her experience with the unborn baby, whom she prospectively named Eliana (meaning “My God has answered me” in Hebrew), drew her to ponder the place of God in her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Appearance of Life Review in NYC Stage Review

 

Check out the NYC Stage Review of Appearance of Life:

 

“This deeply moving piece in which Jennifer S. Jones plays the mother and all the characters with whom the mother interacts—the daughter, the father/husband, other mothers, the police—are effectively portrayed. Anyone who picked up a US newspaper during this time period (1975-1983) read about the “mothers of the disappeared” who ceaselessly marched at the Plaza de Mayo seeking to find their children. La Pasionaria, the Republican heroine of the Spanish Civil War, might well have been the role model for the founders of Las Madres de los Desaparecidos a la Plaza de Mayo, three of whom were thrown into the ranks of “disappeared” and whose remains were only uncovered in 2005.”

 

 

 

 

 

One Week Down!!

 

We’ve just begun the second week of the second annual All For One Theater Festival! Have you been down to visit us at the Cherry Lane Theatre yet? If not, what are you waiting for? We’ve got a fantastic second week in store, including:

 

The NY premiere of Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan’s newest solo show Fruit Fly

A masterclass with Leslie Jordan and his long-time director David Galligan

Workshops on creative writing with AFOFest Advisory Board Member Deb Margolin, using music in your solo show with 2012 performer Debra Barsha, and Matt Hoverman’s much-beloved workshop on the Art of the Autobiographic Solo Show.

The return of AFOFest’s panel series. This week: Behind the Scenes of a Solo Show and Marketing Your Solo Show

And solo shows that inform, inspire, move, and matter. We close four of our shows this week (A Womb With a View, Asking For It, Appearance of Life, and SPEAK UP CONNIE) and open three more (You Want Me to Do WHAT?!?, Dirty Paki Lingerie, and The Purpose Project: Thao’s Library).

We’ve got something for everyone! So stop by and say hello, we’ll see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRETCHEN CRYER: SOLO PERFORMER, YOU ARE NOT ALONE

 

People who like great solo shows and sometimes think maybe I could write one – have I got a workshop for you!!

 

Gretchen Cryer is a legend, and a lovely one. Her landmark show, I’M GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER AND PUTTING IT ON THE ROAD, has inspired legions of performers to suddenly think: “Gee…maybe I have an act…and I could put it together…and I could put it on the road!”

 

Now, because Gretchen is on our Board of Advisors, and because she is one of the most gracious beings on this earth, she will be teaching an AFO workshop, WRITING FOR SOLO PERFORMANCE, Thursday, September 27th,  2:30 – 5:45.

 

Gretchen’s nurturing approach has spawned the creation of so many wonderful solo shows. In our festival, Mary Lou Shriber (YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT!?!) and Miriam Kublick (at our AFO Salon Night, doing a piece from her OPEN HEARTS) will testify that their shows originated in the caring crucible of Gretchen’s studio.

 

This workshop is perfect for ANYONE with ANY idea they may EVER write a solo show! You don’t need to bring anything, just yourself.  And you will not be called upon to do/share anything, unless you totally want to. And if you want to, Gretchen says, you’ll finish the workshop “with a reading of your material with full energy, and a fully expressive body.”

 

The workshop is the perfect starting place – and launching pad – for your solo performance dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS: Solo Performers get a starry assist in the All For One Theater Festival – NY Post

 

Check out Frank Scheck’s feature on All For One in the New York Post!

 

Speaking of “we,” this is another important element of the festival — community. By its very nature, solo theater can be a lonely experience. This solo festival features workshops, panels and audience talk-backs.

 

“We’re trying to grow the solo world and keep it in touch with itself,” says Wolk, who’s worked as a writer, director and producer. “Solo performers are not really known for being that sociable. But it turns out that once they get together, they really enjoy it.”

 

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/one_isn_the_loneliest_number_at_HH8cLmTDCtBnsAceyEgYwI#ixzz26SXGu0IO

 

 

 

 

 

NILAJA SUN: GOD IS IN THE DETAILS

 

When I see a phenomenal solo show in which a performer devotes every fiber of their being to delivering the greatest truths they’ve learned in this life, I sense something sacred, as if the person before me has achieved their “perfect purpose,” melding form and function seamlessly.

 

I’ve never felt this more strongly than when watching Nilaja Sun perform. They say, “God is in the details,” and Nilaja feels the same way.

 

“I think solo theater is important because the audience is reminded…they can be completely transformed…in just one moment, in just maybe one hour, witnessing one person, in a way that feels like God’s work.”

 

Nilaja’s AFO Workshop, MOMENT BY MOMENT: PERFECTING YOUR SOLO SHOW offers wonderfully practical tools for honing your work – but it goes beyond that, giving you a spiritual sense of how you can achieve the transcendent and transformative in your show.  She will help you “find the breath, the life and the truth” in your work and “where and how it needs to live within you.”

 

If you are solo artist trying to make your piece soar, this is an offer you should not refuse!

 

 

 

 

 

THE MATT HOVERMAN MYSTERY

 

When the performer is animated purely by the desire to share the most important thing they know, and they share it with the full force of their talent and humanity, that’s a great solo show. I’m always dazzled when this happens – but after meeting Matt Hoverman, I no longer consider it magic.  Matt has demonstrated time and time again that great storytelling can be taught, and that avid students can discover their stories and bring them to spectacular life.

 

An astounding four shows in AFO’s previous season and two shows this season – Cindy Cheung’s SPEAK UP CONNIE and Aizzah Fatima’s DIRTY PAKI LINGERIE – have their origins in Matt’s class.

 

AFO is delighted that for the second year now, Matt is offering a concentrated, one-day version of his multi-week workshop especially for us! TELL YOUR STORY: THE ART OF THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SOLO SHOW is a very rare opportunity to experience for yourself  Matt’s method, which has led to the creation of a frankly embarrassing number of prize-winning, audience-pleasing stellar shows.

 

How does Matt do this? I have been mystified for years — but no longer! I simply must know! Come Thursday, September 20th at 11am, I’m taking the class!

 

Tell Your Story: The Art of the Autobiographical Solo Show

Thursday, September 20: 11:00AM-2:15PM

Workshop Price: $85

Click here to register for the workshop!

 

And check out Behind the Scenes of a Solo Show on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 12pm, a panel featuring Matt Hoverman, Cindy Cheung, and Shannon Romines – a documentary filmmaker who followed students from Matt’s class for a year. We will be screening a short section of the film and speaking with Matt, Cindy, and Shannon about the film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Womb With a View

 

DEBRA BARSHA: TALENTED AS HELL (BUT FUNNIER)

 

Why try to say it better, when Stephen Holden of the New York Times, says it best: “Whether writing, composing, singing, or telling stories, DEBRA BARSHA is out there: fearless, funny, ruthlessly honest, and above all, talented as hell.”

 

One listen to a demo CD of Debra’s solo musical A WOMB WITH A VIEW and we were hooked. The tunes were terrific, the lyrics brash and brilliant; and when we read the script, we were wowed by the fierce frankness and humor Debra brings to this story of a lesbian couple’s adventures in baby-making. I can guarantee A WOMB WITH A VIEW will have you re-thinking the way you view partnership and parenthood.

 

With a background that ranges from teaching music in grade schools to conducting the orchestra for Broadway’s JERSEY BOYS, Debra brings a unique, blissful balance of innocence and authority to the stage and the classroom.

 

Debra’s perspective is wickedly fresh, often outrageous, but always big-hearted, which makes not only her show, but also her AFO workshop, USING MUSIC IN YOUR SOLO SHOW, truly joyous experiences.

 

A Womb with a View

written and performed by Debra Barsha; directed by Frank Ventura

Sunday, September 16 @ 2PM and Friday, September 21 @ 7PM

Buy Tickets

 

Using Music in Your Solo Show

Thursday, September 20: 2:30PM-5:45PM

This workshop will explore the use of music in any form in your solo show.  Music can be a really important component for any solo show, and in many ways can determine the tone of a piece. There is a difference between cabaret and theater!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Thought I Knew

 

ALICE EVE COHEN: FROM NIGHTMARE TO DREAM COME TRUE

 

An absolutely astonishing thing happened to Alice Eve Cohen. How lucky we are that when it happened, Alice was already an acclaimed writer, performer and teacher of solo theater, so she can bring this astounding, transformative event to life for us with all its suspense, humor and triumph.

 

Doctors told Alice she was infertile and menopausal, and that she had a large tumor growing in her abdomen – but surprise: a CAT scan revealed she was six months pregnant. “This rocked me to my very foundation,” says Alice, and this development sends her – and the audience – on a mesmerizing journey that is equal parts nightmare and dream come true.

 

Her story, WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW is already a prize-winning, praise-winning memoir, but the show grabs you in a way the printed page cannot. “The audience is kind of like my scene partner,” says Alice. “I really turn to them, and bring them on the journey with me.”

 

I urge you to take the journey – you’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, you’ll cry – and there’s a good chance you’ll feel compelled to take the workshop Alice is teaching at AFO, CREATING CHARACTERS FROM YOUR LIFE STORIES, to discover just how she is able to cast her warmly inviting, inspiring spell.

 

Workshop:

Creating Characters from Your Life Stories

Taught by Alice Eve Cohen

Thursday, September 27: 11:00AM-2:15PM

 

Alice plays forty different characters in her current solo show. In this workshop, she shares her process for creating identifiable and vivid characters. Students will use their life experiences as a springboard for generating original characters, by telling stories from different points of view, and by fictionalizing and transforming those stories for the stage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Want Me to Do WHAT?!?

 

 MARY LOU SCHRIBER: ANGEL AT YOUR BEDSIDE

 

MARY LOU SCHRIBER modestly describes herself as a former “drama queen” who “took a left turn into nursing,” but witness her soaring and stirring musical, YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT!?! and you’ll be wowed by her prodigious talents as actress, chanteuse and, yes, nurse.

 

Mary Lou’s life journey of discovery is echoed in her process of creating YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT!?! As startled as Mary Lou was to learn the rewards of nursing, she was equally surprised to learn, while developing her show, that she is also a passionate songwriter. Originally, the show included show biz standards to underscore the stories she had to tell — but as her work progressed, she began to write the songs that were welling up in her soul. ”I put in original music,” she notes, “and I found I could put in much deeper emotions.”

 

As both actress and nurse, Mary Lou steams at the wildly innaccurate portrayal of hospital staffs on TV, and that sets her on a mission. “I thought somebody should set the record straight,” she says.

 

YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT!?! is set amidst the life and death of a leukemia ward. Mary Lou, and the show, find grace in in this recreating this sacred battleground. “As I the tell stories,” she says, “I get to bring my patients back to life again.”

 

YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT!?

written and performed by Mary Lou Shriber; directed by Joe Ricci

Wednesday, September 19 @ 7PM and Saturday, September 29 @ 2PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Purpose Project: Thao’s Library

 

ELIZABETH VAN METER: THE POWER OF PURPOSE

 

When Elizabeth Van Meter presented just 20 minutes of her show THE PURPOSE PROJECT: THAO’S LIBRARY at the AFO Festival last year, it was so moving that even the theater ushers were crying when it was over – and even more amazing, the tears were tears of triumph.

 

THE PURPOSE PROJECT: THAO’S LIBRARY is like no other show in our Festival. Combining live performance and documentary film footage in an enthralling and lyrical way, it tells the story of a sophisticated New Yorker (Elizabeth) who, stunned by a family tragedy, begins a desperate search for meaning in her life. A fateful encounter with a photograph leads Elizabeth to find her purpose a world away, building a library in rural Vietnam, in partnership with a young, irrepressible woman who won’t let her crippling deformities from Agent Orange prevent her from realizing her valiant dreams.

 

“I did not decide to tell this story, it decided for me,” says Elizabeth. “And in coming to tell that story, I was able to get control of my own life.” And she has crafted an remarkable, exhilarating piece that makes us aware of the healing power of purpose, love, and friendship in our own lives.

 

Please join us for THE PURPOSE PROJECT: THAO’S LIBRARY Sunday, September 23 @ 2PM or Saturday, September 29 @ 7PM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asking For It

 

JOANNA RUSH: RAPE, ROCKETTES AND REDEMPTION

 

Joanna Rush, with potent pith, describes ASKING FOR IT as a tale of “rape, Rockettes and redemption.”

 

“Years ago, an astrologer told me I was all about sex and religion,” says Joanna, and that prescient astrologer could have been writing a plot summary of ASKING FOR IT.

 

Joanna was, from a very early age, set on dance stardom, and she takes us from the beginning of her NYC odyssey at “the Port of Authority” to the stage of Radio City Musical Hall, to her ascension of the pulpit as an interfaith minister.

 

Blessedly, Joanna connected with legendary director/choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett,  who gave us SWING on Broadway, and the dazzling dancing in the original film of FOOTLOOSE, and together they spent years honing ASKING FOR IT and making it the wickedly funny, moving, must-see show it is today. And we’re delighted that they will also be teaching a workshop together at our Festival, MAKING IT MOVE: USING MOVEMENT IN YOUR SOLO PIECE.

 

Asking For It

written by Joanna Rush; directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett

Friday, September 14 @ 7PM and Saturday, September 22 @ 2PM

Buy Tickets

 

Making It Move: Using Movement in Your Solo Piece

 

Joanna Rush, writer-performer, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett, director share their insights into how they used movement and elements of mime and dance to develop Asking For It.  They will explore how movement arises from character, how movement can help delve into a character, how both movement and stillness can help tell a story…

Friday, September 28: 11:00AM-2:15PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Fly

 

LESLIE JORDAN: PATRON SAINT

 

In addition to being a beloved Emmy-winner, solo star and author, it is a little known fact that LESLIE JORDAN is the Patron Saint of the All For One Theater Festival Advisory Board.

 

Leslie was the first celebrity to sign on to the AFOFest Advisory Board back in January 2011, when AFOFest existed only on paper, and in a few minds and hearts. We met Leslie when he was doing a promotional appearance for his book and show, MY TRIP DOWN THE PINK CARPET. We told him our plans for AFOFest, and he shook our hands, told us he was with us, and gave us his personal email address.

 

Once Leslie joined our Advisory Board, it became MUCH easier convince other solo stars to sign on. He took a leap of faith with us, and we remain forever grateful for his early and crucial support.

 

This year we are further blessed and proud to present the New York premiere of Leslie’s new show, FRUIT FLY, which whispers from the West Coast hint is his best, most raucous and touching show yet.

 

And everyone is warmly invited to attend THE PERFORMER/DIRECTOR COLLABORATION, a scintillating and illuminating Master Class with Leslie and his director of many years and shows, David Galligan, on Friday, September 21, 2:30PM-5:45PM; all seats are $35.

 

Fruit Fly

written and performed by Leslie Jordan, directed by David Galligan

Thursday, September 20 @ 7PM and Saturday, September 22 @ 7PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Parole

 

 CARLO D’AMORE: LOVE IS NO LIE

 

You probably can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up with an international con artist as a mother, and even if you could, it wouldn’t be as vivid, heartbreaking and hilarious as Carlo D’Amore’s NO PAROLE.

 

All true and all terrific, Carlo’s story traces a path from Peru to NYC, following his mother’s rise to something of a goddess in the pantheon of dexterous deceit. Posing as a lawyer, she won legions of immigrants their green cards – and that is just one episode in her storied and startling career.

 

“I was blessed because I didn’t have to make anything up,” says Carlo.  The blessing, I think it’s safe to say, was mixed, in that Carlo, as an adult, has had to take responsibility for bailing his mother out of terrible trouble and seeing to her care as she slipped through the social safety net. “The conversation I’d love this show to start is: how do we love those that hurt us? [And beyond that] how do you deal with family that hurt themselves, and how do you help them?”

 

Carlo, playing an animated army of characters, makes NO PAROLE a sweeping, cinematic adventure that tugs your heartstrings…when it’s not picking your pocket.

 

No Parole

Written and performed by Carlo D’Amore; Directed by Colman Domingo

Sunday, September 16 @ 7PM and Saturday, September 29 @ 4:30PM

Buy Tickets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirty Paki Lingerie

 

AIZZAH FATIMA: AMERICAN AND MUSLIM

 

AIZZAH FATIMA is a voice you should hear. In fact, she is SIX voices you should hear in DIRTY PAKI LINGERIE; she plays six Pakistani American women from different generations.

 

“I really felt in the arts for a long time there was a lack of a voice for Muslim American females,” says Aizzah. As she worked on DIRTY PAKI LINGERIE, she realized, “It was not going to be my story, but the stories of these remarkable women that I knew.”

 

I saw Aizzah’s show first at Fordham’s Kehoe Theater, and it was followed by a panel discussion, vibrant and raucous, featuring Aizzah , director Erica Gold and several Fordham professors. The talkback made it clear that the Muslim American women eagerly embrace the opportunity to have their voices heard, and deeply appreciate Aizzah giving voice to their perspectives and experiences.

 

DIRTY PAKI LINGERIE is remarkably gracious and funny in its observations, with a message as simple as it is eloquent. “I think the important thing for me,” says Aizzah, “is for people to realize that yes, you can be American and you can be Muslim at the same time.”

 

Dirty Paki Lingerie

Written and performed by Aizzah Fatima; Directed by Erica Gould

Saturday, September 22 @ 4:30PM and Thursday, September 27 @ 7PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPEAK UP CONNIE

 

CINDY CHEUNG SPEAKS UP

 

Cindy Cheung calls her show, SPEAK UP CONNIE, a “finding your voice extravaganza,” and it is – a hilarious and moving examination of why it’s so often hard for all of us to say the things that we most desperately long to express.

 

In this charming interview and snippet from her show, Cindy reveals how taking Matt Hoverman’s Create Your Own Solo Show workshop revealed to her the surprising depth of her feelings around race, family, and self-esteem.

 

Never before has a ukulele been employed so winningly as an instrument of rage!

 

SPEAK UP CONNIE

written and performed by Cindy Cheung; directed by BD Wong

Saturday, September 15 @ 2PM and Sunday, September 23 @ 7PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

NILAJA SUN: THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF SOLO PERFORMANCE

 

NILAJA SUN, AFO Advisory Board member, educator, and leader of the AFO Mentor Project, is a master performing and teaching artist, and in this interview, you can see and hear how her ebullient eloquence inspires.

 

Nilaja’s passion for, and commitment to, solo performance is nothing less than sacred. As she says, “I think solo theater is important because what happens is the audience is reminded that with just one person, they can be completely transformed. Their souls can be transformed, their hearts can be transformed…. In just one moment, in just maybe one hour, witnessing one person, in a way that feels like God’s work.”

 

You can personally experience Nilaja’s thrilling, unique approach to solo work in her two- part AFO Workshop, MOMENT BY MOMENT: PERFECTING YOUR SOLO SHOW, at the 2012 AFO Festival, 11:30am-1pm on Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th.

 

Meanwhile, bask a few moments with the radiant Nilaja Sun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AFOFEST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MICHAEL WOLK’S INTERVIEW WITH ALL ABOUT JEWISH THEATRE

 

AFOFest’s Executive Director Michael Wolk was recently interviewed by All About Jewish Theatre.

 

“Behind the scenes story: THE FESTIVAL WAS FIRST CONCEIVED BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MICHAEL WOLK WHEN HE REALIZED SOLO PERFORMANCE WAS BECOMING A BURGEONING DISCIPLINE, WITH EXEMPLARS OF THE FORM CREATING WORK OF STUNNING IMPACT AND COMPLEXITY. “OUTSTANDING SOLO ARTISTS ARE COMPLETELY CENTERED OVER THEIR LIFE NARRATIVE,” HE SAYS, “AND THEY BRING AN ASTONISHING ENERGY TO SHARING WITH US THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THEY HAVE LEARNED FROM LIFE. THEY TRULY INFORM AND INSPIRE US, AND CAN CHANGE HOW WE LOOK AT OURSELVES AND OUR WORLD.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appearance of Life

 

JENNIFER JONES: A STORY THAT MUST BE TOLD

 

JENNIFER JONES’ APPEARANCE OF LIFE is a taut thriller about a woman from Argentina’s comfortable class who becomes a passionate fighter for truth in the face of her daughter’s sudden, suspicious disappearance.

 

“Argentina was a country very much like our own,” Jennifer observes, until, in 1976, when “a military coup overthrew the existing government. And if that could happen there, then my gosh – it could happen anywhere.”

 

Jennifer brings this story to vivid life with a storytelling prowess that seems etched in her DNA. “I grew up in the Appalachian mountains… and there’s nothing better than sitting around a fire with a really gifted storyteller…. If you can create a world for the audience’s imagination with just yourself and a few props, there’s nothing better in the world.” APPEARANCE OF LIFE pairs Jennifer’s talent with a story she passionately believes, “needs to be told,” and the show and performance is spellbinding.

 

Jennifer also brings her entrancing storytelling to technique to the workshop she leads at AFO, JUMP STARTING YOUR PERSONAL NARRATIVE, which uses the technique of the Story Circle to get your creativity, and your story, flowing.

 

Appearance of Life

written and performed by Jennifer S. Jones; directed by Jessica Lefkow

Saturday, September 15 @ 7PM and Sunday, September 23 @ 4:30PM

 

Jump Starting Your Personal Narrative

Wednesday, September 19: 2:30PM-5:45PM

Stories express how and why life changes. Everyone, yes everyone, has a story to tell.  In this workshop, artists and novices alike will journey through the chapters of your life to find those moments where rich stories emerge. Using the simple but effective technique of Story Circle, developed by Junebug Productions, Jennifer will guide participants through a sea of memories to the formation of your very own, five minute personal story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT THE ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL

 

July has been a very exciting month at AFO headquarters.

 

On the 10th, we launched our 2012 Festival, announcing our ten shows, nine workshops, and new advisory board members.  We also launched our ticket sales, had a photo shoot, created video trailers, and began outreaching to local artists and communities.

 

But that’s not all!  We are also in the midst of a fundraising campaign intended to help us fuel this Festival as well as the year to come.  We have already begun to foster a rich community of solo artists, diverse in background, talent, technique, and wisdom.  With the money raised in this campaign, we will be able to continue to provide these artists with career-sustaining opportunities and forums for exploration and growth as storytellers.  We also believe that the All For One Theater Festival contributes to the excitement and risk of Off-Broadway theater, and we are committed to bring it back to you year after year.

 

We have already raised 17% of our $10,000 goal!  Our heartfelt thanks goes out to those who have already donated.  YOU have helped give these incredible stories a voice, and we can’t wait to see you at the Cherry Lane Theatre this September!

 

But we still have a long way to go, and only 32 days left.  Please, watch the video, check out our rewards, and make a donation.  Any amount counts!  All donations are tax-deductible, and could earn you a t-shirt, show tickets, or more.

 

Thanks for your support, and we do hope to see you in September.

 

All For One, and One For All!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFO ’12 WORKSHOPS AND PANELS ARE HERE!

 

All For One is more than just a festival – we work all year around to create a supportive community for solo artists.  We are excited to announce our educational programming for this year’s festival, includes many solo luminaries as teachers and panelists!

 

This year at the Cherry Lane we are hosting 8 solo workshops with Advisory Board members Nilaja Sun, Gretchen Cryer, Matt Hoverman, Deb Margolin, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.  We are also hosting a special master class with Leslie Jordan, AFO Advisor and 2012 Performer!

 

Our panels have also been set, and include topics such as entering festivals, marketing, producing, and contracting for solo shows.  Our panelists range from artists to legal experts, and will give you a well-rounded inside look at the world of solo theater.

 

Please check out our full line up of ten shows, eight workshops, four panels and master class, and we believe you’ll share our excitement!

 

All For One has big dreams for the future of solo art, and we hope that you will help to make our dreams come true by donating to our Rockethub campaign.  As of right now, we have 22 days left to raise 80% of our goal.  All For One needs your help to carry on into the future, and to insure that vital solo voices have a home in New York theater and throughout the country. Please, visit our Rockethub page, check out our donor rewards, and contribute!  Every little bit helps.

 

All For One & One For All!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BD WONG ON AFO

 

This is a teaser from our interview with BD Wong, actor, solo performer (watch him astound in HERRINGBONE), AFO Advisory Board Member, and director of SPEAK UP CONNIE, written and performed by Cindy Cheung in our Festival.

 

It made us feel good to hear these words about AFO from BD, and we wanted to share them.  Tomorrow we’ll show you BD’s complete interview, in which he has much to say about what makes solo performance unique, and what elements can make it extraordinary.

 

All this week, we’ll share video insights from our 2012 Advisory Board members – we are proud to be collecting and sharing their remarkable wisdom and wit!

The One-Man Show: 8 Solo Performers to Watch (VIDEO) – Huffington Post

 

“Solo performance is a genre that encompasses a wide array of performances — from stand-up comedy to campy magic shows, the only guideline is one performer. But here at HuffPost Culture we want to turn our attention to solo performers that attempt to craft a plot with a full arc of a story. These performances are theatrical by nature and expand just what exactly one person is capable of.

 

Solo shows may be illuminating or they may cover a lot of sins — for instance, the idea that any life experience (especially yours) is worth telling on a stage. However, if the production reaches beyond navel gazing and links the story or personal tale to a wider theme, then the resonances of a singular performance may be particularly powerful and transformative.

 

In anticipation of the recently announced, 2012 “All For One Theater Festival” in New York City September 14-30, we bring you a few of our favorite solo performers around…”

 

– by Hallie Sekoff; Huffington Post; 21 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO FLASH Colman Domingo, Nilaja Sun, BD Wong at All For One Festival Preview – TheaterMania

 

“On Tuesday, July 10, the All For One Theater Festival held a press conference at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to celebrate their upcoming productions, which are slated to run September 14-30 at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

 

Colman Domingo hosted the event, which featured performances by participants Cindy Cheung (Speak Up Connie), Alice Eve Cohen (What I Thought I Knew) and Joanna Rush (Asking for It). Also in attendance were festival advisory board members Deb Margolin, Nilaja Sun, and BD Wong…”

 

– by Tristan Fuge; TheaterMania; 11 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 All For One Press Launch on Getty Images

 

Photos from the All For One Press Launch on Getty Images:

 

http://www.gettyimages.com/search/events/148182533?sort=best&excludenudity=true&phrase=&family=editorial

 

 

B. D. Wong, Colman Domingo, Leslie Jordan and More Will Take Part in 2012 All For One Theatre Festival – Playbill

 

“The 2012 All For One Theatre Festival, featuring ten solo performers presenting their original works, will be held Sept. 14-30 in New York City. The NY premiere of Leslie Jordan’s Fruit Fly and the world premiere of Alice Eve Cohen’s What I Thought I Knew are among the offerings.

 

The second annual festival, which will take place at the Cherry Lane Theatre Mainstage, will offer two performances of each play as well as panels, workshops, talkback sessions and works in development…”

 

– by Michael Gioia; Playbill.com; 10 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY WE’RE IN THIS BUSINESS: LYNNE TAYLOR-CORBETT

 

Last week we shared the video wit and wisdom of our advisory Board – but one video interview we failed to nab was with Broadway director/choreographer and AFO Advisory Board member Lynne Taylor-Corbett (SWING, FOOTLOOSE original film). Fortunately, we DID sit down with Lynne and collect her razor-sharp reaction to the question: “Why do you love solo performance?”

 

Lynne became passionate about solo performance through her work with Joanna Rush, directing several incarnations of Joanna’s stunning solo turn, ASKING FOR IT (see it at AFO Friday September 14 @ 7pm or Saturday September 22 @ 2pm). Lynne’s words are pure poetry — a manifesto, really, that speaks for solo performers everywhere, and for AFO:

 

I love solo performance because it is a forum for naked truth.

 

Solo performances are not diffused by other actors. They are unfiltered by teams of producers and dramaturgs. Usually the performers are not supported by a fancy set. The NEED for them to do it borders on insanity.

 

Solo shows rarely earn the commercial success of larger shows. The compelling thing about them is that the performer would rather risk poverty and subsequent obscurity rather than to remain silent. The NEED to tell that particular story is the driving force.

 

If I, as an audience member, remain engaged, the success belongs to that sole individual. The wow is what it must have been watching the last gladiator still standing at the end of a great battle. In our over-saturated society of Facebook, Twitter, reality shows and zillion-dollar Broadway musicals, being engaged by a solo artist is, for me, a miracle.

 

– Lynne Taylor-Corbett

 

It is people like Lynne, with her passion and generous spirit, that inspire AFO’s devotion to the art and business of solo theater. And you can have the pleasure of experiencing her magnetic approach by attending her workshop with Joanna Rush, MAKING IT MOVE: USING MOVEMENT IN YOUR SOLO SHOW, Friday, September 28th @ 11am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL Announces Lineup of 10 Solo Plays – BroadwayWorld.com

 

“THE 2012 ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL, which begins September 14th at the 179 seat Cherry Lane Theatre/Mainstage, 38 Commerce Street, NYC, will feature 10 extraordinary solo performers presenting their own works. This 2nd AFO Theater Festival, which continues through September 30th, will offer two performances of each play plus panels, workshops, works in development, talk-back audience sessions after every performance and a special solo performance Mentoring Program with Nilaja Sun for high school students…” – BroadwayWorld.com; 10 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colman Domingo, Leslie Jordan, BD Wong set for 2012 All For One Theater Festival – TheaterMania

 

“Selections have been announced for the 2012 All For One Theater Festival, to run September 14-30 at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

 

The festival’s highlight will be public presentations of 10 solo shows, performed by their authors: Jennifer S. Jones’ Appearance of Life, directed by Jessica Lefkow; Joanna Rush’s Asking for It, directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett…”

 

– by Brian Scott Lipton, TheatreMania; 10 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret Revealed: How To Best Enter and Utilize the Festival Circuit

 

The dirty secret disclosed in this video from AFO 2011 is that once you have the good fortune to get IN to a Festival, your work has just begun! With blunt but encouraging words, Festival mavens Elena Holy (FringeNYC), Issac Hurwitz (NYMF), Amy Rose Marsh (Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Contest), and solo show guru Matt Hoverman tell you what to expect from the Festival — and from yourself — as you work to reach the broadest possible audience with your show.

 

With this great clip, we are freshly out of content from our 2011 Festival — which means it’s time to ring in the 2012 AFO Festival! ….Almost. We have been working into the wee hours to create a stunning 2012 Festival line up — and we can’t wait to share details with you. But…we must, or our press agent will give us an earful…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNOUNCING ALL FOR ONE 2012!!

 

 

 

Welcome to the launch of the 2012 All For One Theater Festival, and do we have news for you!

 

AFO 2012 will be at the Cherry Lane Theatre this September 14th – 30th and will present 10 must-see, must-hear solo performers – along with 9 can’t-miss solo workshops.

 

We are awed and honored to announce that solo icons Lily Tomlin, John Leguizamo, Whoopi Goldberg, and Carrie Fisher have joined the 2012 AFO Advisory Board, along with BD Wong, Colman Domingo, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Jackie Hoffman. You’ll see several of them featured in our new ad campaign coming soon!

 

And we are thrilled to announce AFO 2012 will present the New York Premiere of Emmy-winner (and Advisory Board Member) Leslie Jordan’s new solo show, Fruit Fly!

 

And we are proud to say solo legend Nilaja Sun (No Child…) will lead the new AFO Mentor Project for super-talented teens.

 

Joining Leslie Jordan in the AFO 2012 lineup are:

 

Cindy Cheung — SPEAK UP CONNIE. A finding-your-voice extravaganza! Featuring original songs accompanied by the ukelele, “nice Chinese girl” Cindy (not Connie) Cheung learns to speak up – as an Asian American, an actor and a daughter. Directed by Advisory Board Member BD Wong.

Joanna Rush — Asking for It. If you had a strict Catholic upbringing, ran off to pursue a dancing career in NYC, and were sexually assaulted by a helpful stranger you met at Port Authority Bus Terminal…were you just ‘asking for it’? Directed by Advisory Board Member Lynne Taylor-Corbett.

Carlo D’Amore – No Parole. A true globetrotting adventure in which a devoted son tries to save his con artist mother from herself. Directed by Advisory Board Member Colman Domingo.

Alice Eve Cohen — What I Thought I Knew. Alice Eve Cohen is raced to an emergency CAT scan for an abdominal tumor, but is stunned to learn the bulge in her belly is not a tumor at all – she is six months pregnant! Adapted from her acclaimed and award-winning memoir.

Elizabeth Van Meter — The Purpose Project: Thao’s Library. World Premiere. Developed for AFO 2011’s New Works Series, video and live performance combine to tell the story of a woman who, dealing with a family tragedy, finds meaning building a library in rural Vietnam.

Debra Barsha — A Womb with a View. A raucous musical about lesbian couple’s adventures trying to have a baby.

Jennifer S. Jones — Appearance of Life. A thriller about a well-off Argentine woman who becomes radicalized when her daughter is “disappeared” by the junta.

Mary Lou Shriber — You Want Me to Do WHAT?!? An original musical about an actress who thinks nursing is just something to “fall back on” but learns it’s something far more.

Aizzah Fatima — Dirty Paki Lingerie. A winning and wickedly funny look at the secret dreams and desires of 6 Pakistani women across generations and social divides.

The Workshop lineup for AFO 2012 includes 6 workshops taught by members of the AFO Advisory Board:

 

Leslie Jordan teams with his director David Galligan to lead a session titled The Director/Performer Collaboration

Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Joanna Rush team up to present Making It Move: Using Movement in Your Solo Piece.

Nilaja Sun will teach Moment by Moment: Perfecting Your Solo Show.

Gretchen Cryer leads Writing for Solo Performance.

And for their second year at AFO:

 

Deb Margolin will teach Tapping the Source: Creative Writing For Any Reason At All

Matt Hoverman offers Tell Your Story: The Art of the Autobiographical Solo Show.

Three Festival writer/performers will also lead Workshops:

 

Debra Barsha will teach Using Music In Your Solo Show.

Alice Eve Cohen will teach Creating Characters from Your Life Stories.

Jennifer S. Jones will teach Jumpstarting Your Personal Narrative.

We are delighted to bring you these exceptional shows and workshops — but it only happens with your help! Please join the All for One Community by fueling our RocketHub Campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET THE AFO STAFF: EPISODE 3

 

Corinne Woods is AFO’s Production Manager, an island of calm and sanity in the frenzy of the Festival, and maven of all technical issues in the lead up to the Festival.  But, like all the AFO staff, she wears a lot of additional hats.

 

She is in charge of keeping this website up and current (as well as serving as our resident IT consultant). And she has taken in the lead in our fundraising efforts, leading our frequent in-house meetings on how to build AFO into a sustainable (read: strong and solvent) nonprofit organization.

 

Corinne is passionately and completely committed to theater, often using her nonexistent spare time to stage manage non-Festival shows. And with her sharp eye on all things solo, she often brings shows and events to our attention we might have otherwise missed.

 

Corinne is currently the “Final Chapter” of our Meet the Staff series (myself, Megan Kolb and Kate Hare complete the present AFO staff) – and I can’t think of a more splendid conclusion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011 Festival Video: WHY SOLO PERFORMANCE MATTERS

 

Reaching into the vault for more gold from our 2011 AFO Festival, we found this sublime excerpt from our inaugural panel, WHY SOLO PERFORMANCE MATTERS.

 

Watch Deb Margolin (GOOD MORNING ANITA HILL…), Gioia De Cari (TRUTH VALUES) and Broadway/off-Broadway producer Eva Price express themselves with passion and pure poetry — as when Deb observes, “The empowered performer is a writer. If you can take a look at those aspects of your humanity which when focused on ramify outward and shed light on the whole human condition, then you don’t need money, you don’t need a fancy situation, you can create spectacle that’s deep and resonant and not self-indulgent.”

 

And watch for the moment of pure hilarity that seizes Gioia with incapacitating laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE 2012 ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL – Times Square Gossip

 

“THE 2012 ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL, which begins September 14th at the 179 seat Cherry Lane Theatre/Mainstage, 38 Commerce Street, NYC, will feature 10 extraordinary solo performers presenting their own works. This 2nd AFO Theater Festival, which continues through September 30th, will offer two performances of each play plus panels, workshops, works in development, talk-back audience sessions after every performance and a special solo performance Mentoring Program with Nilaja Sun for high school students.” – Times Square Gossip; 11 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MARGOLIN MIRACLE

 

Miraculously, Deb Margolin positively hums with humor and humanism 24/7. In addition to being an author, performer, Yale Professor and a founder of the NYC solo scene, she’s been an integral part of AFO since its inception in conversation at the Edison Cafe in 2010 (Deb will have the French fries).

 

Deb champions solo performance as “a cheap fast way to talk about those things that you just cannot, and must not, die without out having talked about.” She is an electrifying teacher, as you’ll sense from this interview.

 

[vimeo video_id=”46851700″ width=”400″ height=”300″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”00adef”]

Deb knows she’s seen a great solo performer “when someone has offered themselves to me fully, in a conscious way, and engaged me deeply with what engages them deeply.” Deb is a great solo performer, and remarkable educator. There are just 20 places in Deb’s workshop TAPPING THE SOURCE: CREATIVE WRITING FOR ANY REASON AT ALL, Friday, September 21 : 11:00AM-2:15PM. The workshop was radically popular last year, so please register early to avoid disappointment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BD WONG GOES SOLO

 

BD WONG is well known for his roles in television and film; I also know him as an awesome stage performer from his starring in role in Pacific Overtures on Broadway, of which I was a producer in a prior life. But only a lucky few — those of us who have experienced him raising pulses and chills in HERRINGBONE — know him as a fiercely compelling solo performer.

 

In this three minute interview, BD, who is on AFO’s Advisory Board and who directs Cindy Cheung in SPEAK UP CONNIE in our Festival,  demonstrates his passion for solo performance, and explains what so powerfully distinguishes theater – particularly solo theater – from both television and film.

 

BD speaks poetically of solo work as a means of communicating “human to human” the “distilled essence” of a story and point of view, by having “one person be the sole messenger” of the material. He salutes the unique opportunity solo performance offers to form a “pure bridge” with the audience, creating an environment in which “it’s all coming from your energy, your focus and your preparation.” Please watch – and be inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLMAN DOMINGO SHARES SECRETS OF THE “GRIOT” (ULTIMATE STORYTELLER)

 

COLMAN DOMINGO, AFO Advisory Board member, Tony nominee, OBIE winner, and writer/performer of A BOY AND HIS SOUL, is also an accomplished director – and in fact, he directs Carlo D’Amore’s NO PAROLE in our Festival.

 

We sat down with Colman to get this thoughts on solo performance, and came away totally refreshed! Colman told us succinctly, “What makes a solo artist great is when.. it’s not about…me, me, it’s about we.” After seeing literally hundreds of solo shows, we couldn’t have said it better!  A performer is on the right track, says Colman, “When it’s about telling our story, using what you know.” And you can feel when you are in the presence of a great solo performer “when they are vibrating on every single energy that it’s in the room…because they are the other audience member.”

 

Check out this interview to discover how you, too, can be a “griot” or “ultimate storyteller.” Colman’s tips are well worth remembering, because as he observes, “You’re the only event. It’s living through you, and it’s gotta be new and fresh every night.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOW READ THIS: MIKE DAISEY ON WHERE MIKE DAISEY WENT WRONG

 

Can you believe it?  Solo performance has spawned what Charles Isherwood called “the biggest theater story since Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark began its long and wayward stumble toward a much-postponed opening night last June.”

 

Solo performance has never been hit with such a bright spotlight. Unfortunately, it’s not a flattering spotlight, focused as it is on the controversy surrounding Mike Daisey and The Agony And the Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs.

 

Mike Daisey is a giant of solo performance.  He’s on the AFO Advisory Board.  And he has done a truly heroic job making Apple’s abusive labor practices in China news. The problem is Mike has appeared on TV news shows and in print saying things that aren’t strictly true.

 

But now this story has it’s second act, because Mike has just posted a wonderfully thoughtful, eloquent, and humble apology on his website.  It is worth quoting at some length:

 

“When I said onstage that I had personally experienced things I in fact did not, I failed to honor the contract I’d established with my audiences over many years and many shows. In doing so, I not only violated their trust, I also made worse art.”

 

He continues, “And I would like to apologize to my colleagues in the theater, especially those who work in non-fiction and documentary fields. What you do is essential to our civic discourse. If I have made your path more difficult, or the truth of your work harder for audiences to discern, I am sorry.

 

“I would also like to apologize to the journalists I gave interviews to in which I exaggerated my own experiences. In my drive to tell this story and have it be heard, I lost my grounding. Things came out of my mouth that just weren’t true, and over time, I couldn’t even hear the difference myself.

“To human rights advocates and those who have been doing the hard work of bringing attention to these kinds of labor issues for years, if my failures have made your jobs harder, I apologize. If I had done my job properly, with the skills I have honed for years, I could have avoided this. Instead, I blinded myself, and lost sight of the people I wanted most to help.”

 

You can read the full text here: http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/2012/03/some-thoughts-after-storm.html?m=1. Please do! It is highly recommended, hard-won guidance for all of us in solo performance, from someone who has been through the fire of what the New York Times called “the most incendiary story of the theater season.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIRECTING THE SOLO SHOW: MATCHMAKING

 

In this clip from the DIRECTING THE SOLO SHOW panel at the 2011 Festival, three pairs of performers and directors describe how they found each other and decided to work together.

 

Finding the right director is absolutely critical for a performer or writer/performer, and here the powerhouse teams of Jenni Wolfson and Jen Nails (RASH), PJ Walsh and Dion Flynn (Over There – Comedy is His Best Weapon) and Iyaba Iba Mandingo and Brent Buell (unFRAMED) recount how their collaborations began – and flourished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET THE AFO STAFF: EPISODE 2

 

It’s hard to explain what Megan Kolb does at AFO. Her title is Associate Producer, but that just tells you she associates with the producer.  What she does, in fact, is almost everything — helping create our Festival programming…managing the venue during the Festival…artist relations throughout the year….

 

It’s a lot easier to say what Megan doesn’t do, and that’s ever flag in her commitment to making the Festival all it can be.

 

Luckily, Megan is really good at speaking for herself – so I can let her explain all the invaluable talents she brings to All For One.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW YEAR, A NEW GEAR

 

Well, we threw a Festival. People came. And thankfully, enjoyed. Whew. But all that is so last year.

 

The first week in January found the AFO team at a conclave that was formerly a Total Mystery to us; the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, or “APAP|NYC,” where vast hoards of presenters come seeking shows to fill their hungry stages.

 

As newbies (or “First Time Exhibitors”) at APAP, we were thrilled when the President and CEO of APAP, Mario Garcia Durham, who’s seen it all, stopped by our booth and said, “You look great!”

 

We were further delighted to find there appears to be a receptive marketplace for the 15 full-length shows that appeared in our 2011 Festival.  Which is good, because we are determined to share them with cities and campuses across the country.

 

At APAP we fielded a lot of inquires and shared the fabulous new trailers we shot for all our shows, which you can see at http://afofest.org/videos. And we began many relationships that we believe will lead to show bookings in the months to come. Stay tuned…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREAT MINDS DISCUSS “PRODUCING AND CONTRACTING FOR YOUR SOLO SHOW”

 

I’ve come to realize the All For One Theater Festival is the gift that keeps on giving – as  evidenced by the videos from it that we’ve started going through.

 

Today I’m posting a clip from our PRODUCING AND CONTRACTING FOR YOUR SOLO SHOW panel, which was perhaps our most popular. It features Broadway/off-Broadway producer Jane Dubin, solo show guru Matt Hoverman, solo star PJ Walsh, and is moderated by entertainment attorney Peter Breger.  Though it’s under ten minutes, it contain a number of helpful insights very much worth sharing.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy – and watch this space for the next panel excerpt, from DIRECTING THE SOLO SHOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET THE ALL FOR ONE STAFF: EPISODE ONE

 

All For One has been blessed with much good fortune – but our biggest blessing is without a doubt our awesome staff.

 

The staff is doubly amazing because 1) it gets so much done and 2) it is small.

 

Who is this astonishing cadre of unparalleled professionals?  One by one, I shall have them step out from behind the curtain.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the inimitable Kate Hare, our Communications Director.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THANKSGIVING

 

I have never been so thankful in my life, or owed so many people thanks, as on this Thanksgiving.

 

Thank you All, who with your talents, insights, caring, hard work, support and friendship made the first All For One Theater Festival a triumphant celebration and sharing of the power of solo performance.

 

Deb Margolin called us Festival folk a “sudden found family,” and I give thanks that the Festival allowed us to find each other!  Now that we have, I look forward to the sharing and celebration to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JTA Review of Jenni Wolfson’s RASH

 

“Onstage during RASH, a one-woman show now playing in New York as part of the All For One Theater Festival, tea is Wolfson’s beverage of choice.  Born in Scotland, a country of just 5,000 Jews, Wolfson raised in a traditionally Jewish family, observing holidays and rituals, though not stringently.  It was during a Friday-night family dinner that Wolfson learned the United Nations ad offered her a job as a human rights monitor in Rwanda.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAGIC @ ST. MARKS

 

Blogging from Theatre 80 St. Marks, where I am right now auditing Heather Harpham’s thrilling workshop, all I can say is: oi, am I sorry you missed it!!!

 

Today is the one day of the festival totally dedicated to educational programming – no shows, just panels and workshops – but wow, it has been as filled with insightful, moving, and joyous moments as any show!

 

The shows, I gotta say, have been met with wonderful response so far, including raucous standing ovations (honest) for Shadowboxing, Summer In Sanctuary, 23 Feet in 12 Minutes, Good Morning Anita Hill, and Over There – Comedy Is His Best Weapon – all of which confirms my feeling that I am safe in guaranteeing you’ll have a grand and memorable time no matter which of our awesome shows you see.

 

But the surprise for me is not only the magic that has emerged from Heather’s workshop, but from our panels.  It’s the people on the panels who made the magic – Jenni Wolfson, Jen Nails, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Brent Buell, PJ Walsh, and Dion Flynn in the Directing the Solo Show panel, and Elena Holy (FringeNYC), Isaac Robert Hurwitz (NYMF), Amy Rose Marsh (Samuel French OOB Festival), and Matt Hoverman (solo show guru) on the How to Best Enter and Utilize the Festival Circuit panel – as well as the people in the audience with their passionate and incisive questions.

 

We video-taped the panels, so in the near future (after the festival) you’ll be able to catch highlights on this website.  But being there is ever so much better, so c’mon down and catch the soloNOVA Selects panel this Wednesday and the Producing and Contracting For Your Solo Show panel on Saturday.

 

And the upcoming workshops will rock you – like Heather’s is rocking right now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FESTIVAL ON FIRE!

 

Report from the Festival front lines!  Audiences: combustible, exploding in applause and cheers!  Workshops: shooting sparks of inspiration!  Panels” burning questions answered!

 

As we head into our concluding weekend, the creative combustion at Theatre 80 St. Marks features hot ticket encore performances of Deb Margolin’s Good Morning Anita Hill, Jenni Wolfson’s RASH, PJ Walsh’s Over There, Gioia De Cari’s Truth Values, Mary Dimino’s Scared Skinny, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s unFRAMED, and Grant Sullivan’s Shadowboxing.

 

Plus, we’ll present two performances of Heather Harpham’s sublimely balletic Happiness, the ever-so-practical panel Producing and Contracting For Your Solo Show, as well as two wonderfully wise workshops: Jen Nails Solo Show Boot Camp and Kimberlee Berlin’s From the Stage to the Page, which shows you how to translate your solo show into a gripping memoir.

 

We burn brightly for a few more days — so come, experience the warmth, and fire up your creative impulses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT!

 

11.11.11! 1 night you’ll never forget! If you come to the launch of the All For One Theater Festival!

 

After over a year of planning and scouring North America for the most stupendous solo shows and workshops, it’s curtain up on our stellar lineup. Tonight we present Al Letson’s powerful “Summer in Sanctuary” and Mary Dimino’s “riotously funny” (Wall Street Journal) “Scared Skinny”.

 

Tomorrow, we kick off at noon with our panel “Why Solo Performance Matters” featuring the inimitable Deb Margolin, the raucous Judy Gold, the eloquent Gioia De Cari and the Broadway/Off-Broadway champion of solo work, producer Eva Price.

 

The panel is followed by a day and night of solo bliss: “23 Feet in 12 Minutes” @ 2:30pm,  “Shadowboxing” @ 4:30pm,  “Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze” @ 7pm and “Over There – Comedy Is His Best Weapon” at 9pm. We guarantee you’ll laugh, you’ll cry (seriously, bring tissues), and leave illuminated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WITNESS JENNI WOLFSON!

 

An All For One shout-out to Jenni Wolfson, who tonight will be at her day job as Managing Director of Witness, which is throwing it’s 7th Annual Focus For Change Benefit at Roseland.  In this video, Jenni talks about her show RASH and gives us a shout-out.

 

 

 

 

 

ALL AFO PANELS ARE NOW FREE

 

With the opening of the Festival only a day away, we have some good news!  Thanks to a generous donation, we are now able to offer all our provocative and informative panels for FREE to the public!  Simply email boxoffice@afofest.org to reserve your seat.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!

 

 

 

 

 

HOW’S THIS FOR SCARY?

 

The most horrifying five minutes I’ve spent in a theater come at the top of  MONSTER, written by Daniel MacIvor and performed in our Festival by the shock-and-awe inspiring Avery Pearson. It is the PYSCHO shower scene of solo performance.

 

The next 65 minutes of MONSTER are the scariest I’ve spent in a theater, as a succession of tortured souls possess Mr. Pearson and lead us down a twisted path to the outer reaches of demonic human behavior…and a heartstopping climax.

 

Late comers will not be admitted. For their own safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR CRED WITH THE CRITICS: A LITANY OF LOVE

 

One thing that makes All For One different is that our shows have proven they are worth your time. They have run the critics’ gauntlet and come out triumphant.

 

Though our shows speak for themselves, we just can’t help sharing some wonderful words reviewers have said about them, so now if you click on any of our shows, you’ll see we’ve added some snippets of critical praise.

 

To cite just some of the love lavished on our lineup by reviewers:

 

23 FEET IN 12 MINUTES: “A piece so powerful, I didn’t take a single note, my pen was shaking in my hand and I finally put it down when I had to wipe tears from my eyes.” – NYTheatre.com

 

CREATING ILLUSION: “He’s got us in the palm of his hand…sharp and illuminating.” – NYTheatre.com

 

HAMLET (SOLO): “5/5 Stars…Almost before he can take a bow his audience have lept from their seats in a standing ovation.” – Miles Johnson, The List (UK)

 

HAPPINESS: “She captures the audience with her rich storytelling, coupled with humor and wit, and a beautiful physicality that incorporates song, gesture and dance.” – NYTheatre.com

 

MASQUERADE: CALYPSO AND HOME: “Roger Bonair-Agard is his own revolution, a deft purveyor of unflinching politics (and) stark sensuality….There is simply no resisting these stanzas, absolutely no way to turn away from what they will do to you.” – Patricia Smith, four-time National Poetry Slam Champion

 

MONSTER: “Avery Pearson (in) Daniel MacIvor’s Monster… was by turns chilling and hilarious — just as he was meant to be.” – The Villager

 

OVER THERE – COMEDY IS HIS BEST WEAPON:  “Fantastic, heartfelt, hilarious…. a thought-provoking, side-splitting journey” – NYTheatre.com

 

RASH:” The human rights activist has pulled off a tremendous feat, turning her near death experiences into a piece of utterly watchable, totally gripping theatre.” – Edinburgh News

 

SCARED SKINNY: “Sensationally riveting…an evening so indisputable magical…Yes, it’s just THAT fantastic.”

 

SHADOWBOXING: “Sullivan’s visceral confessional is a wry, kinetic tour de force and a moving parable about manhood itself.”- Los Angeles Times

 

SUMMER IN SANCTUARY: An “intimate portrait of the chaotic world of gangs, drugs and violence…Letson is a powerful performer who tells his story by moving fluidly from one role to the next…lovely, adept…a show full of gems.” – The Baltimore Sun

 

TRUTH VALUES: ONE GIRL’S ROMP THROUGH M.I.T’S MALE MATH MAZE: “Funny and insightful…replete with hilarious characters…The story is riveting.” – Curtain Up

 

unFRAMED: “A tour de force.” – Amsterdam News

 

WANDERLUST: ***** (5 stars) An astounding feat of storytelling…blisteringly funny.” – Toronto Eye Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is All the Buzz Around Anita Hill and Deb Margolin?

 

Times Square Chronicles – “What is All the Buzz Around Anita Hill and Deb Margolin?”

 

“This is the longest title known to man. ‘Good Morning Anita Hill It’s Ginni Thomas I Just Wanted To Reach Across the Airwaves and the Years and Ask You To Consider Something I Would Love You To Consider an Apology Sometime and Some Full Explanation of Why You Did What You Did With My Husband So Give It Some Thought and Certainly Pray About This and Come To Understand Why You Did What You Did Okay Have a Good Day.'”

 

 

 

 

 

DOING GOOD AND DOING IT WELL, 24/7

 

The night before our Festival opens, Jenni Wolfson will be completely immersed in her day job.  As Managing Director of Witness, which uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations, she is a key force behind the Witness Focus for Change Benefit Dinner & Concert on November 10th.

 

So Jenni will be zapping around making sure the gala event — which features Witness founder Peter Gabriel, David Crosby and Graham Nash — is running smoothly, and three days later, on Sunday, November 13th, she’ll be on stage starring  in her solo show, RASH, at our Festival. RASH recounts Jenni’s adventures as a human rights worker in a war zone.

 

At her day job or on stage, the key to Jenni is that she is constantly doing good and doing it well!

 

For those of us who find Jenni rather a role model, it’s good to know you can follow in her virtual footsteps by visiting her blog, http://rashsolo.blogspot.com. And if you scroll down to “Meet The Change With Jenni Wolfson” you can click the link to a wonderfully revealing interview in which she explains what drives her work and art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUST SEE, MUST HEAR

 

When the world’s most awesome extemporaneous speaker opens his show, “The Agony And Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” October 11th at the Public, the audience will be charged with expectation. How will Mike Daisey channel and shape our energy, and his own, to tell the tale at its most compelling, current and complete? “I do not know what will happen in the room, to the story, in light of Steve’s passing,” Mike says, “I do know that this is the ultimate, best use of the theater: to honestly investigate the essentially human, and discover together the story we must tell.” I’m going to be there October 11th. Mike’s show will be at the Public through November 13th.

IS ONE THE LONELIEST NUMBER?

 

One question my mind today, October 11th, 1 month from the launch of the 1st All For One Theater Festival on  11/11/11:

 

If there’s a solo show in the forest, and there’s no one there to see it, what, really, is the point?

 

By bringing together a bright constellation of solo talent, All For One hopes to shine a light and raise the bar for solo performance – but it won’t mean a thing if you’re not there!

 

And by gosh, it is my job to get you there! It’s my job to make sure our superstar storytellers don’t tell their stories to crickets!

 

So I’m gonna tell ya some stories myself about what excites me about this Festival in the days to come….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, THE STORIES THEY LIVE TO TELL

 

Something strange about this theater festival: our performers are not only actors.

 

It was pointed out to me by Kate Hare, our Director of Outreach, that our performers come from all walks of life: a human rights worker, a painter/slam poet, a documentary filmmaker, a confidence man, a solider, and several teachers. All of them, though, are driven by the common need to tell you the most important thing they have learned from the lesson of their life.

 

Any of us who has taken acting or directing classes has heard the plaintive actor’s query, “But…what’s my motivation?” It’s a joy to report that none of the performers in our Festival struggles with this question. They are motivated to move you, as they themselves have been moved by their life experience – and they will change your mind, they will change your heart, for each of our performers has a voice that is uniquely winning, strong, and true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLO PERFORMANCE: WHY WE DON’T GET NO RESPECT

 

Mike Daisey calls solo performance a “maligned art;” Matt Hoverman laments its reputation as “the ugly stepchild of theater.” Sadly, we don’t have to ask why solo shows as a genre “don’t get no respect” – the dirty secret is: we know.

 

Josh Rivedal and I were reflecting last night how in so many solo shows the performer rips off a band-aid, shares a wound, and proclaims, “I will survive!”  Only in rare, wonderful, instances does the performer rip off a band aid, expose a deep, collective wound, and proclaim, “We will survive!”

 

In the first case, only the performer leaves healed. In the second case, we all leave healed.

 

Josh, by the way, has a very healing piece in the Festival. It’s a piece you’ll want to talk about after you see it. Fortunately, Josh is eager to hear what you have to say and will be hanging the Theatre 80 bar after the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Solo Performance Matters from Deb Margolin

 

“I think it’s important to reflect on the history of solo performance, and just to tip my hand, I attribute the rise of modern solo performance to the emergence of the woman’s movement and third-wave feminism!  If we move into modern times, skipping over the oral traditions that include Homer singing the Odyssey out loud before a spellbound audience, we come to the upheaval of the 1960’s, the anti-Vietman protest movement, the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers; the time of resistance and change.  During that time, women found that their concerns were ancillary to those of their male counterparts, and the modern feminist movements began, with women meeting in living rooms and basements, and telling their individual stories.  Arguably, the ascendence of the solo voice came out of this movement; women wanted to tell their own stories in their own words; were tired of being depicted by men, having their voices scripted by men, and the theater world came to be the inheritor of solo voices on the stage, emerging out of those living rooms.  In the early days of Cafe Cino, LaMaMa and other landmark solo and avant-garde performance spaces, men came to share and sometimes to eclipse the voices of solo women artists; nevertheless, the excellence of such solo artists as Roberta Sklar and Sondra Segal, Claudia Shear, Whoopie Goldberg, Aviva Jane Carlin, Jenny Allen, Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, Holly Hughes, Margaret Cho, and many more represented a new way of making women’s voices and bodies present and alive on terms newly reclaimed by authors/actors themselves.

 

Oh, the hell with history!

 

Solo performance!  Anyone can do it! It’s the true art form of the people!  You can be weird, queer, fat, Jewish, outre in anyway!  Doesn’t matter!  It’s the ascendant human voice that matters!  It’s the true art form of the people!  Can’t afford a rehearsal space?  You can rehearse in your bathroom!  Don’t have a proscenium and fancy lights?  You can stand in a courtyard and declaim!  It’s a theater of the word, of the body, of the urgent need for the expression of humanity!  We all have what it takes to be solo performers!  It’s a Theater of Desire!  The desire for speech, and the strength and nature of that desire, are the things that define our excellence as we stand alone onstage!

 

Furthermore, at a time when the Supreme Court of the United States has just rehabilitated the status of the Corporation to that of the Individual, the true voices of real individuals has never been more important.  As we, mortal and alone, stand onstage to speak, with none of the money, the power, the lawyers or the might that the Corporation can bring to bear on national elections, rights of collective bargaining and quality of life itself, the true voice of the performative individual, the true solo performer’s voice has perhaps never been more important, more necessary, or more beautiful in its naked form, in its munificent agency, than it is right now, at this critical moment in human history.”

 

– Deb Margolin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagining Yourself with Deb Margolin

 

As we head toward the Festival, we want to introduce you to our awesome performers and educators -and we start with Deb Margolin who is a triple threat (and for us, a triple treat!): she’s on our Advisory Board, is premiering her new solo play in the Festival, and will also teach her unparalleled workshop, “Creative Text for Solo Performance”.

Deb is a solo performing/writing legend.  One of the founders of the NYC solo community, she’s the winner of a well- deserved Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance and now teaches playwriting and solo performance at Yale.  You need to see Deb in action and you can right here by clicking on the link, which is Deb performing a piece from her “Three Seconds in the Key” recently at P.S. 122. : Deb Margolin Retrospective

 

Deb has a way of making news because she rips much of her inspiration from the headlines.  Her play “Imagining Madoff” is now gaining glowing reviews in Washington, D.C. (after an odd, much-reported legal constraint cause a year long delay), and she will stoke the fires of popular and political culture with the premiere of her newest play at All For One.  It’s gargantuan title is verbatim from an actual, astonishing voicemail message: “Good Morning Anita Hill It’s Ginni Thomas I Just Wanted to Reach Across the Airwaves and the Years and Ask You To Consider Something I Would Love You To Consider An Apology Sometime and Some Full Explanation of Why You Did What You Did With My Husband So Give It Some Thought and Certainly Pray About This and Come to Understand Why You Did What You Did Okay Have a Good Day“.

 

Deb has been a constant inspiration to us – full of fire, fun, wisdom and a passionate commitment to solo performance as a means of personal and societal liberation.  We hope you’ll come see Deb perform, and do yourself a favor by taking her “Creating Text for Solo Performance” workshop.  She will free you to imagine the great solo show that lies within you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read All About It!

 

Now you can read all about our full show and workshop line up by clicking on the images above!

 

After a year of seeing over 100 solo shows and receiving the passionate recommendations of the AFO community of educators, performers, Advisory Board members, our Board of Directors and staff, we selected 15 full-length shows and 6 shorter pieces that are guaranteed to inform and inspire.

 

The shows in our lineup have won critical acclaim and many have won awards.  And we are proud to announce that we will also feature the world premiere of the newest work by Obie-winning Yale professor Deb Margolin.

 

And last year, when we reached out to the leading teaching artists in the NYC solo community for suggestions on how we should structure the All For One Theater Festival, we found them remarkably giving and gracious, and we are pleased to report that many of them will be teaching workshops at the Festival, bringing their own unique approaches to the art of solo performance.

 

So please do click on the shows and workshops, meet our performers and educators, and explore what All For One has to offer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNOUNCING THE 2011 ALL FOR ONE THEATER FESTIVAL LINEUP

 

Heartfelt thanks to our fabulous community of educators, performers and Advisory Board  members for all their advice, insights and recommendations in crafting the lineup for the inaugural All For One Theater Festival. And thank you everyone, including keynote speaker Mike Daisey, our Board of Directors and staff,  for making our Launch Party at the Greene Space such a warm, inspiring and memorable evening.

The 2011 All For One Theater Festival shows are:

23 FEET IN 12 MINUTES written by Mari Brown and Deanna Pacelli, performed by Deanna Pacelli

GOOD MORNING ANITA HILL ITS GINNI THOMAS I JUST WANTED TO REACH ACROSS THE AIRWAVES AND THE YEARS AND ASK YOU TO CONSIDER SOMETHING I WOULD LOVE YOU T O CONSIDER AN APOLOGY SOMETIME AND SOME FULL EXPLANATION OF WHY YOU DID WHAT YOU DID WITH MY HUSBAND SO GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT AND CERTAINLY PRAY ABOUT THIS AND COME TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DID WHAT YOU DID OKAY HAVE A GOOD DAY written and performed by Deb Margolin (World Premiere)

HAPPINESS, written and performed by Heather Harpam

OVER THERE written and performed by PJ Walsh

RASH written and performed by Jenni Wolfson

SCARED SKINNY written and performed by Mary Dimino

SHADOWBOXING  written and performed by Grant Sullivan

SUMMER IN SANCTUARY written and performed by Al Letson

TRUTH VALUES: ONE GIRL’S ROMP THROUGH M.I.T.’S MALE MATH MAZE  written and performed by Gioia Di Cari

unFRAMED written and performed by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

In association with soloNOVA Arts Festival, which has set the standard for excellence in solo performance in NYC for eight years now, we will be presenting one performance each of these stellar shows from soloNOVA’s past seasons:

CREATING ILLUSION written and performed by Jeff Grow

HAMLET SOLO by William Shakespeare with Raoul Bhaneja

MASQUERADE: CALYPSO AND HOME written and performed by Roger Bonair-Agard

MONSTER written by Daniel MacIvor, performed by Avery Pearson

WANDERLUST written and performed by Martin Dockery

We will also presenting excerpts from:

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOSH written and performed by Joshua Rivedal

THE PANIC DAIRIES written and performed by Katie Northlich

THEY CALL ME MR. FRY written and performed by Jack Fry

And we will present new work in development by:

Zero Boy

Joanna Parson

Elizabeth Van Meter —  “The Purpose Project”

Our 2011 All For One workshops are:

COMEDY IN PERFORMANCE taught by Cheryl King

CREATING TEXT FOR SOLO PERFORMANCE taught by Deb Margolin

FINDING YOURSELF AS A CHARACTER  taught by Margot Leitman

FROM THE STAGE TO THE PAGE taught by Kimberlee Berlin

LIFE IN MY SHOES: A CHARACTER WORKSHOP taught by Deanna Pacelli

SOLO SHOW BOOT CAMP taught by Jen Nails

TELL YOUR STORY: THE ART OF THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SOLO SHOW taught by Matt Hoverman

TRANSCRIBING THE BONES: WRITING FOR PERFORMANCE FROM BODY TO PAGE taught by Heather Harpam

 

 

 

 

 

Why Solo Performance Matters from Nilaja Sun

 

Why does solo performance matter?  I say, “The strength of one voice can sometimes possibly be stronger than the that of a hundred”.

 

– Nilaja Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Solo Performance Matters From Matt Hoverman

 

There’s something about the way the human brain is wired that makes us see ourselves as victims- basically “good people” on whom the world savagely acts.  Our tech-heavy, media-saturated culture further weakens our sense of agency.  But when you hammer the raw ore of your life into a solo show with a thrilling dramatic arc, you have to won your life choices and claim your core values.  You transform from a minor character in someone else’s story into an active hero in your own life legend.  And when you take an audience on that journey with you, in a form as old as our opposable thumbs and as intimate as a lover’s caress, you bring them into contact – if only for a moment – with the hero in their hearts.  (And y’know, it costs less than producing a musical.)

 

– Matt Hoverman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND WE HAVE LIFT OFF!

 

Tonight we announce our shows and workshops at the All For One Launch Party, a festive gathering of the NYC solo community at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, where AFO Advisory Board member Mike Daisey will give the keynote speech, infusing us with solo performance fever. Festival shows and workshops will then be posted on these pages, as soon as we wash and put away the stemware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS

 

The world has lost a transformative intelligence with the death of Steve Jobs.  We will be living with his legacy far into the future.

 

No one speaks more passionately of the world Steve Jobs has wrought than All For One Advisory Board member Mike Daisey. It’s fateful that Mike’s show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, performed internationally to the adoration of thousands, opens October 11th at the Public Theater.

 

I saw Mike’s show at Berkeley earlier this year, and you must go. Mike’s love for what Steve Jobs created makes his incisive moral analysis of the Apple ethos riveting, wrenching, and exhilarating.

 

Mike’s show celebrates Steve Job’s gifts, and his gifts to us, while sparking critical awareness and debate about what they will mean for our future; I think you’ll agree, it is a marvelously fitting tribute.

 

– AFO Executive Director Michael Wolk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AFO Difference

 

If you’re a solo artist, NYC is the place to be.  This year, FringeNYC will feature 48 solo shows.  The consistently awesome soloNOVA and the fledgling but fearless United Solo festivals are dedicated to solo work, while E.A.T’s One Woman Talking/One Man Standing showcase developing work and talent.  And Stage Left Studio, a congenial, affordable venue exists solely to connect new and veteran solo performers alike with intimate audiences.

 

What does All For One offer that is new and different?

 

AFO presents only critically-acclaimed and award-winning shows that have already been festival and road-tested, and that come with the recommendations of our Advisory Board and the AFO community of educators and performers.

AFO offers a full slate of master classes, workshops and panels to further the creation, development and appreciation of solo performance.

AFO will continue to promote our shows and workshops to theaters and campuses across the country after the festival

By shining a light on extraordinary solo talent and educators, providing year-round booking support for them, All For One aims to become the gateway to a nationwide network of ongoing performing and teaching opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Freeing Earnest from Leslie Jordan

 

I can think of no other art form that is as personal, intimate and giving as a solo performance.  Whether the piece is based upon the performers experiences or even an actor on stage doing some other person’s words or story, it is still one on one with the audience and thrilling to watch. Many years ago, before television was completely highjacked by the reality genre, I saw this interesting program where an interviewer would close his eyes, stick a pin in a map of the US, go to that place, close his eyes again, open the phone book and select a name.  He would then look that person up and ask a simple question, “What’s your story?”  It was amazing how interesting it was. We all have a story.

 

When I was in my angst-ridden youth, I began journeling.  When the scary monsters under the bed began their low moan, I would write.  I quickly figured out that when I put pen to paper, it slowed my mind down to the speed of the pen and I got clarity.  Then I realized that when I read my thoughts aloud to people that I trusted, I got even more clarity.  Many years later when I got into recovery from drugs and alcohol, I was taught that we are only as sick as our secrets and I realized that I had stumbled upon the basic tenets of the recovery movement while still deep into “my disease.”  It was in the rooms of recovery that I learned that my story was significant.  The shame that I had always felt for being homosexual especially from being raised in a devoutly religious household resonated with people.  I also found the humor in the many horrendous situations that I had found myself in growing up. I began to put “my story” on it’s feet.

 

My first one man show enjoyed a long run in Los Angeles followed by a seven month run Off Broadway in New York.  My second one man show toured the country for years.  My latest show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet did a 45 city tour of the US, a 12 week run Off Broadway and just completed a celebrated run on The West End of London.  But here’s the kicker… as proud as I am of all that, the real amazing thing is that I have found at 56 years of age, all my demons have set me free.  I am closer to my authentic self than I have ever been.  And I think that is what we are all searching for, a way in which we can be happy day to day in our own skin no matter who we are or in my case what we are!  I can attribute this to all the work I have done putting together my one person shows.  So…. what’s your story????

 

– Leslie Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Earful From Our Advisory Board

 

We asked all the members of our Advisory Board to tell us why solo performance is an important art form, and wow, did we get an earful! We will be posting their answers on this site in coming weeks, but can’t wait to share this scorching response from Obie winner and Yale Prof. Deb Margolin:

 

“Solo performance! Anyone can do it! It’s the true art form of the people! You can be weird, queer, fat, Jewish, outre in any way! Doesn’t matter! It’s the ascendant human voice that matters! It’s the true art form of the people! Can’t afford a rehearsal space? You can rehearse in your bathroom! Don’t have a proscenium and fancy lights? You can stand in a courtyard and declaim! It’s a theater of the word, of the body, of the urgent need for the expression of humanity! We all have what it takes to be solo performers! It’s a Theater of Desire! The desire for speech, and the strength and nature of that desire, are the things that define our excellence as we stand alone onstage!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“From here on out it is ONLY one man shows for this actor!” What spawned this powerful epiphany?

 

A brave manifesto just in from our Advisory Board member Leslie Jordan:

 

Leslie writes:

 

“My big Broadway bound musical FLOPPED! It closed in a week. Even made the front page of the entertainment section of the NY Times… “Lucky Guy! Not!” in an article about how investors lost close to 2 million. I dodged a bullet and got an open love letter in the NY Times review but gosh, they sure had some problems with the direction and writing of the show! So anyway, I am back in Los Angeles for the summer. And here’s a quote… ‘From here on out, it is ONLY one man shows for this actor!!’ The really hard part about being in a show that I didn’t write was going out night after night and delivering jokes that didn’t work! I am so used to being able to “punch up” my material on a nightly basis. My hands were tied and I didn’t like that experience at all! Love. Light. Leslie.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All For One Salutes the Solo Community

 

A year ago, the small but mighty All For One staff identified some of the top teaching artists, performers and creators in the NYC solo performance community, and we peppered them with questions. They were, each and every one, awesomely gracious. We call them our EDUCATORS (click on the homepage ABOUT tab to see their bios; many will teach workshops during the Festival)!

 

The #1 question we asked our EDUCATORS:

 

“Is there a need for a festival that gathers the solo community together for 10 days of extraordinary solo work along with workshops and discussions to further the development and appreciation of the form?”

 

Their first response was: “Huh? Slow down. You say ‘gather the solo community.’ What solo community?”

 

Turns out, solo artists are an independent lot. There is no trade group or guild for solo artists, no monthly meetings, and solo artists are not by nature a networking breed.

 

So…AFO strives to bring the solo community together so that it can grow in self awareness and strength!

 

All For One, One For All!

 

The next step we took was to seek out our ADVISORY BOARD – which I shall introduce this Thursday, June 30!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Hail the Advisory Board!

 

All of us at All For One are thrilled to announce our Advisory Board! Each of these folks has made a monumental contribution to solo performance, and we are so grateful and humbled to have the benefit of their guidance! The Fabulous Fourteen are:

 

Daniel Beaty

 

Gretchen Cryer

 

Mike Daisey

 

Tovah Feldshuh

 

Jackie Hoffman

 

Matt Hoverman

 

Leslie Jordan

 

Deb Margolin

 

Jackie Mason

 

Dael Orlandersmith

 

Eva Price

 

Mark Rylance

 

Patrick Stewart

 

Nilaja Sun

 

All our Advisory Board members bring so much to the table! We are blessed to have their recommendations of performers and shows, and their invaluable thoughts on how to shape our Festival to best illuminate and elevate the art of solo performance.

 

In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about each of our Advisory Board members, but meanwhile, please click the ABOUT tab above, then ADVISORY BOARD to read more about them and see their stunning headshots. Also in coming weeks, Board members will be posting their thoughts on WHY SOLO PERFORMANCE MATTERS (which is also the title of a legendary solo piece by Mike Daisey) – I know you’ll be inspired by their words.

 

I’m delighted to announce that three of our Advisory Board members will be teaching workshops! Except I’m too coy to tell you which three…. Soon, I promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

From All For One to You, Welcome!

 

Hello and welcome to Day One of our new All For One Theater Festival website! I’m so glad you dropped by for a visit – and I hope you’ll find good reason to stop by often and explore.

 

The vital news I must share: we have dates for our festival, and a venue! Securing the dates and venue…not easy – but at last: what dates we have! And what a venue!

 

Our festival kicks off on Friday, 11.11.11 (November 11, 2011) – a date we find optimally auspicious for a festival of solo work – and it continues through Sunday, November 20th. And our home for the festival is the delightful Theatre 80 St. Marks – please take the “virtual tour” by clicking “2011 Festival” and “VENUE” on the blue bar at the top of the page.

 

Much of our site content is yet to come, but you will find a tribute to the many leading educators from the New York City solo community who’ve been so helpful in shaping our festival programming and philosophy. They include such luminaries and legends as Matt Hoverman and Deb Margolin, and you can find their impressive bios and radiant faces by clicking “ABOUT” and “Our AFO EDUCATORS” on the blue navigation bar. By so graciously sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, they have sharpened our curatorial eye for the types of shows and courses we will include in our festival. And many of these luminaries will be teaching workshops at the festival, their schedules permitting.

 

‘Nuff for now – so much more to come!

 

M.W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donate to the All For One Theater Festival

 

 

 

It is only through the kind support of people like you that AFO will be able to boldly take solo performance to new heights of appreciation and acclaim.  Please browse our donor levels below and become a vital part of the solo show community.  Your contribution is tax deductible, and our appreciation endless.

 

Many thanks,

 

 

Michael Wolk

Executive Director

All For One Theater Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing the 2012 Festival

 

 

 

We’re launching the 2012 All For One Festival! This year we’ve moved venues and moved dates.

 

This year, the All For One Theater Festival will be held at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. The dates of the festival are September 14-30, 2012. Over the course of these three weeks, AFO will present 10 amazing shows and 9 fascinating workshops, as well as panels with stars of the solo show community. We’ve got lots of new faces – including the New York premiere of Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan’s new solo show Fruit Fly, and a few old friends, including a show developed as part of the New Works Series at the 2011 All For One Theater Festival.

 

Take a look at our new lineup. Show tickets are now on sale!

 

And while you are looking around, please consider donating to our Rockethub campaign. We’re raising funds to present the best festival possible, but we need your help. In return, we’ll offer you fawning, gratitude, and some t-shirts and tickets to the festival. Our new t-shirts are very stylish; you don’t want to miss out!

 

We look forward to seeing you at the 2012 Festival!

 

Looking forward to September,

 

The Staff of the All For One Theater Festival

 

 

 

 

 

Support AFO’s Rockethub Campaign

 

We stand on the threshold of a dream.

 

Last year, we launched the All For One Theater Festival, presenting solo work that informs and inspires, and the warm reception accorded our inaugural season has inspired us to step our game. In year two, we plan to bring the uniquely transformative experience of extraordinary solo theater to a greatly expanded audience.

 

In our second season, AFO 2012 to three weekends, to maximize the possibility for reviews and allow our programming to breathe a bit. For example, this year all our shows will be followed by talkbacks to enhance their audience appeal and impact.

 

This September 14 – 30th, AFO 2012 will present a new generation of must-see, must-hear solo voices at the Cherry Lane Theatre, a house that is a gem of off-Broadway and has been home to many legendary stars and productions.  When our 10 extraordinary solo voices take the Cherry Lane mainstage, they will win you, rock you, CHANGE you.

 

That is…they will if you HELP!

 

We can only accomplish these goals with your support! Festival tickets, which we feel must remain low cost, cannot provide sufficient funds; it is only through the kind support of people like you that AFO will be able to boldly go where no solo Festival has gone before.

 

AFO has a lot going for it: a remarkably talented community of performers, educators, writers and directors; a truly rocking Advisory Board (including Lily Tomlin, Carrie Fisher, John Leguizamo, and Patrick Stewart) who know how important it is that exceptional solo voices have a place where they can be heard, a reputation for presenting exceptional shows and workshops, and a committed, almost magical, staff. But quite simply, without your help we will run out of gas.

 

Please check out the Rewards that are yours for your donation. And please know that your gift, whatever size it may be, is deeply appreciated, and that your investment in the keenest voices of our generation is a vital one.

 

– Michael Wolk; Executive Director of the All For One Theater Festival

 

 

            is dedicated to producing and developing extraordinary solo theater.

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