Update: October 2013 


Update header
OCTOBER  2013                              News from Off-Off-Broadway                             Issue 101
Doug Strassler, Editor                                    www.nyitawards.com  

2013 New York 
Innovative Theatre Awards ANNOUNCED 



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Martin Denton Discusses

Indie Theater Now  

By Doug Strassler

Earlier this fall, Martin Denton announced that online theatre resource nytheatre.com would become an archive-only site. I spoke with him about this decision and about his new mission that he and his mother Rochelle, 2008 IT Award recipients of the Stewardship Award, have embraced: the digital theatre library Indie theatre Now.

DS:  So, why the decision to retire nytheatre.com?

MD: Because it is time to move on. Rochelle and I both believe that we can provide the greatest service to the indie theater sector by growing Indie Theater Now. Our nonprofit corporation, The New York Theatre Experience, Inc., is a very small, very lean organization - just one paid full-time employee and an annual budget of under $100K - and our resources and time need to be devoted to the endeavors that will do the most good, have the biggest bang for the buck. These days, Indie Theater Now is proving to be the program that will have the biggest impact on our community.

DS:   Was it a difficult one, and why or why not?

TDF 9 @ 9 Program
Available to ALL Off-Off-Broadway Companies


TDF launched a new service,"Off-Off@$9," designed to build Off-Off Broadway audiences by providing $9 advance eTix exclusively to TDF members. The program has been so successful and popular with the hundreds of productions that have participated, and thousands of adventurous theatre lovers, that TDF is now offering "Off-Off@$9" to the general public.

Learn More...


  • Obamacare for Artists
    Do you have questions the Affordable Care Act? Does it work for artists?  Check out Artists and the Affordable Care Act that answers a lot of your FAQs   
  • EstroGenius Festival
    The 14th Annual  EstroGenius Festival is running now through Nov. 10th. Check out the full schedule of events.  
  • The Sh.I.T. List wins
    The inaugural LIT Fund grant recipient was announced on October 7th and will support Shared Independent Theater (aka "The Sh.I.T. List") to create a craigslist-like database where Indie companies can rent, sell, buy, and borrow set pieces, costumes, props and more.  Check out the details.  
  • Speaking of Stuff
    FAB ("Fourth Arts Block") is hosting Load OUT! A Reuse and Repurposing RIOT on Sat. Nov. 2nd from 12:00-3:00pm.  Looking for stuff? Want to get rid of stuff?  This is for you! Get more details on the Facebook Event Page.  
  • Boomerang Celebrates 15 Years!
    Congratulations to Boomerang Theatre Company, which is celebrating 15 years of producing new, forgotten & classic plays. They are holding an Anniversary Bash on Saturday, November 16th.  Get your tickets!

For details about these and other important activities affecting OOB and to see how you can help and get involved,  check out the Community Corner.   


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Header Photos (L to R) 
The cell's An American Family Takes a Lover; One Old Crow Productions' David's Redheaded Death; Workshop Theater Company's Life on the Mississippi; An Impossible Thing Productions' An Infinite Ache

Check out nyitawards.com for info on more
great shows currently running OOB.



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In This Issue
2013 Awards Announced
Indie Theater Now
TDF's 9 @ 9
Community Corner
Thanks to Our Sponsors
Spotlight On: J. Stephen Brantley
Kampfire Kounsel




J. Stephen Brantley

by Christopher Borg

If you haven't already heard of actor, writer, artistic director and all-around-hotty, J. Stephen Brantley, you will. He has emerged as one of Off-Off-Broadway's leading talents, both on the stage and off.

His play Eightythree Down received multiple IT Award nominations in 2012 including a nomination for Outstanding Premier Production and this past year he was nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance in Kathleen Warnock's That's Her Way. He is the artistic director of indie theatre company Hard Sparks. His work as a playwright has been performed across the US, Canada and Ireland, and in NY he has been commissioned by PS122, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and East Hampton's Guild Hall. Eightythree Down was published by Indie Theatre Now as part of their Best Of 2011 Collection. He has performed at venues across the city and in Provincetown and received the Micheál Mac Liammóir Award for Best Actor at the 2013 Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival.

The world premiere of his new play Pirira (in which he also appears) just opened at Theatre 167 in Long Island City.  It takes place simultaneously in NYC and Malawi.  As the tiny African nation erupts in riots, American aid workers Jack and Ericka take shelter in the storage room of a struggling NGO in Lilongwe. At the same time 7,000 miles away (but sharing the same stage) Malawian student Gilbert and his gay co-worker Chad begin dealing with their own struggles in the back of a Manhattan florist.
I asked this lanky talent powerhouse to tell me about the story and its inspiration, as well as his take on working in Indie Theatre:
JSB:  Pirira takes place in Malawi and in NYC, tracking two simultaneous stories in real time on a single set, illustrating the ways in which very different lives can be closely linked despite cultural, geographic, and linguistic barriers. The play was inspired party which, by my having written for NGOs working in sub-Saharan Africa and is based on actual events that took place in Malawi on July 20, 2011. It may be the only American play that takes place in Malawi and features a Malawian character. (It is surely the only one that includes a rap in Chichewa and Pig Latin.) I'm passionate about the issues faced by countries like Malawi.

JSB:  I'm very fortunate that Theatre 167, which champions multi-cultural, social-issues plays, gave me a true development process for Pirira. So often, 'development' means a couple hours of rehearsal and a staged reading. Director Ari Laura Kreith, along with several very generous actors, explored this script over a period of six months. I doubt any commercial company would have had the guts or patience or sensitivity to do that with this play. But then, I can't think of anyone other than Theatre 167 I'd have trusted as completely to do so.
PIRIRA plays through November 10th and also features Adrian Baidoo, Todd Flaherty and Flor De Liz Perez. 


Post-Show theatre discussions

Post-Show theatre discussions are a great way to build audiences and explore interesting aspects of your productions...but they can be ineffective--posing the same questions or interviewing the same candidates.  I came across this article "Post-show theatre discussions: presenting your 'DVD' extras menu" (theguardian.com) by John Walton, artistic director of theatre company Fol Espoir.  He created a "DVD extras" menu that they projected on stage after the performance.  The audience then had the opportunity to choose topics they wanted to learn more about from the selected items, such as ""The Greasy Spoon" - about the working relationship Freddie and [Walton] developed, rooted in our local cafe" . The material was all based in dramaturgy that they used to create the production (and most theater companies have that on hand).  Through this process they discovered a new method of post-show talk back that "a can add immensely to both the audience and performer's experience of a production."

So, the next time you are planning your post-show discussion, think about a new avenue to delve deeper into your topic and encourage audience participation.

(John Walton gave permission to reprinting this article.)
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