Friday, April 30, 2010

Granite State-Bound

Well, gang. In mere hours, I'm off to my home state of New Hampshire to attend an old friend's wedding this weekend. I shall only be back in my old fair state for about 36 hours, returning to my current fair city Sunday afternoon, just in time to catch the 7 p.m. performance of Vigil or the Guided Cradle at the Brick.

With some luck, I'll be posting more entries on this site in the ensuing weeks. They may be of the flagrantly self-promotional variety, but I'm planning on making them a little more fun and substantial than the standard, "Hey! See my new play!" entries.

But don't worry. I'll be posting those as well.

Awright, that's it for me for this week. I'm New Hampshire-bound. Don't trash the city too much while I'm gone. Or at least, clean it up before I get back.

Trusting you to behave in my absence,

James "Foolish" Comtois


Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Radio Silence... wish broken legs upon the folks at Management and Flux for their respective shows, Song For a Future Generation and Jacob's House opening tonight!

(So, okay, technically Jacob's House is previewing tonight and officially opening tomorrow, but screw it. The show's going up in front of real people tonight, so the well-wishing still applies.)

Have a great opening, guys. I'm looking forward to seeing them both.

Dealing with a full plate

with a dearth of marbles,

James "Metaphor Mixers Party" Comtois

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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Little One: The Cynic

Christopher Yustin as Sergei in The Little One.

"We aren’t enlightened evolved beings meant to enjoy the fruits of the world with unlimited time. We are the inspiration for countless horror stories and nightmares."

Opening Thursday, June 17 at the Kraine Theater. Tickets on sale soon.

Inspiring ladies to consider
the benefits of being single,

James "Cheery Date" Comtois

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Opening Tonight: Crystal Skillman's THE VIGIL

You know what opens tonight that I'm looking forward to seeing?





Written by Crystal Skillman

Directed by John Hurley


Joseph Mathers - Dion Mucciacito* - Susan Louise O'Connor*
Alex Pappas* - Vinnie Penna* - Christian Rummel* - Travis York*

*Member of Actors Equity Showcase

April 22 - May 8th, 2010
At the Brick Theater

575 Metropolitan Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
L to Lorimer / G to Metropolitan

Here's what the press materials tell us:

"A Medieval man tortures a terrorist in 15th Century Prague while a young tourist in the 21st Century befriends a stranger. A play about the danger of crossing over, between now and then, THE VIGIL or THE GUIDED CRADLE is a chilling portrait of the art of torture and those desperate enough to use their ability to matter the cost."

Click here for tickets. That's what I'll be doing.

Torturing Eastern Europeans all the time,

James "And By 'Torturing,' I Mean 'Dating'" Comtois

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Plays and Playwrights 2010 Available

Well, folks. The latest collection of some of the best indie plays that came out in New York last year, Plays and Playwrights 2010, is now available for purchase.

One featured play, Joshua Conkel's MilkMilkLemonade, made my personal Top 10 list for 2009. Another, Gyda Arber & Aaron Baker's Suspicious Package: Rx, has some additional writing from Yours Truly (not much, but some).

I went to the quite fun, well-attended launch party last night and got my copy.

You should get yours, too.

Not much of a reader,

James "Educated Hick" Comtois

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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Little One: The Mentor

Rebecca Comtois as Marie in The Little One.

"Hundreds—some of us thousands—of years old, with the world as our playground for as long as we want, and all we have to show for it is an insatiable need for cruelty."

Opening Thursday, June 17 at the Kraine Theater. Tickets on sale soon.

Cruel at a young age,

James "Unevolved" Comtois

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Damn. It's Friday. Already?

Jesus, is it really already Friday? This week has flown by. It feels like I just posted that teaser image for The Little One a few hours ago. Guess that's why posting has been light this week. I completely lost track of time.

Fortunately, it seems that folks have been getting a good deal of mileage about the Postcards versus No Postcards question posed in the previous entry. Has it brought the crew over at Nosedive Central closer to coming up with an answer to the question for this upcoming show? Alas, not yet. But soon.

In addition, we here at Nosedive Central are currently rounding up folks for our Little One design team (we've wrangled a few awesome folks so far) and pulling in a few more donations.

Did I mention I'm getting really jazzed for this show? Well, I am.

Well, awright. That's it for me for now. Have a good weekend, folks. I'll catch y'all on Monday.

Hoping the weekend
doesn't speed by as fast,

James "Speed Freak" Comtois

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise...

I'm going to take a brief break from marketing my show to talk a little bit about marketing a show.

Don and Gus have recently written pretty spot-on entries about this here, here and here, which leads me to assume they've either been a.) sneaking into my brain when I'm not looking or b.) this shit is pretty much universal to indie theatre-makers. The jury is open on that one.

But while I continue to ask for more grant money to continue research on the latent psychic abilities of my fellow bloggers and theatre-makers, I'll point out that Don comes up with a pretty astute conclusion based on an informal survey, which is, Your Marketing Doesn't Matter. Over at Gus' entry wondering whether or not Facebook does any damn good, Don augments his conclusion in the comments section by pointing out that the goal is to let your audience base know about your upcoming show.

In other Don's words, "don't sell, inform. Don't peddle, make available."

My take on Facebook invites is pretty much this: it may not actually rope in any new folks to see your show, but hey, it's free and takes very little time to set up an invite page. And when you're trying to get the word out on your show, every little bit helps. So if it costs you nothing, and takes virtually no time, why not?

Okay, I just wrote "every little bit helps." I actually don't know if that's true. I should probably write, "as far as we know, it doesn't hurt."

(On Gus' blog, I commented on the old adage I've heard that I've often used when promoting a Nosedive show: "Look, we know that 75% of what we're doing is a waste of time. But we don't know which 75%, so we have to do it all.")

The entry on to print postcards or not to print is one that we here at Nosedive Central are currently debating right now, since, well, with a new show coming up, we need to figure out where we stand on the subject in a manner of weeks.

I mean, sure, I like the physical memento, and it's nice to be able to physically hand someone a card with all the relevant info if I'm chatting up a show to them in person, but I'm definitely with Don about acknowledging that no one has gone to see a Nosedive play based solely on finding a postcard left at a bar, and with Gus about how depressing it is to have a stack of unused postcards sitting in your apartment after your show closes.

(We're also in a debate about whether or not to print postcards or business cards, since business cards look neater, and are easier for someone to stash in their wallet. But the same question applies: is that business card going to sway anyone into seeing it?)

Personally, neither postcards nor Facebook invites inform my playgoing. Honest. It's through email invites (to get the dates and venue), from knowing the folks making the show (i.e., I've already locked Flux's upcoming Jacob's House on my internal radar, so a Facebook invite and postcard is redundant. I'll use the mailing list email to remind myself of which train I'll be taking before heading off to see it), and from word of mouth (i.e., someone who's opinion I trust tells me to go see a particular show).

But then again, that's just me. Some folks I know solely rely on Facebook to be informed about upcoming shows. As I told Gus, I once asked a friend if he got the email I sent him about one of my shows, and he stared at me blankly. He then asked if I sent out a Facebook invite about it. I had not, and he said: "That's why this show is news to me."

I think we'll ultimately print up a limited run of either business cards or postcards, since it goes back to Don's assertion of getting the word out there: some folks (who are planning to see your show regardless) prefer using Facebook invites to organize their social calendar. Some prefer emails. Others prefer something physical that they can stick on their fridge.

Hey, we just don't know which 75% is wasted.

Wasting his time and yours,

James "Hateful Huckster" Comtois

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Friday, April 09, 2010

From Nosedive Productions: The Little One

Nosedive Productions


The Little One

A new play by James Comtois

Directed by Pete Boisvert


Ryan Andes - Becky Byers - Rebecca Comtois

Stephanie Cox-Williams - Stephen Heskett - Marc Landers

Melissa Roth - Patrick Shearer - Christopher Yustin

The Kraine Theater
8 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Ave.)

June 17 - July 10
(Thursdays through Saturdays)

All shows at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets on sale soon!

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Little One Auditions Done [Drop Mic Here]

Well, all right, folks. Our final round of auditions for The Little One is done and it's time for Pete and I to get the sand out of our respective vaginas and buckle the fuck up. It's casting time.

We had a good (and small) crew of people come in, so we definitely have our work cut out for us. But I think with a little grit, elbow grease, and determination, we can finalize the cast in the next day or dos. As soon as we know, dear readers, so shall you.

Until then, let's all try to get through this Wednesday in one piece. It won't be easy, but I'm confident we can do it. We're a resourceful and plucky crew!

Giving you the goods,

James "Non-News-Bringer" Comtois

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Casting The Little One

Well, folks, we're now halfway through auditioning folks for Nosedive Central's latest, The Little One, which is set to go up this summer at the Kraine Theater. We had round one of auditionations (yeah, that's right, I wrote "auditionations;" you gotta problem with that?), last night and have the second batch this evening.

With a little bit of luck, we should be able to announce our cast in the next few days.

Yes, I'm quite jazzed about this. Not just casting, mind you, but for this show as a whole. I think it has the potential to be great fun for us and for audience members.

Hey, it's about vampires that aren't named Edward and don't sparkle in the sunlight. That's gotta count for something, right?

We shall see. As always, we shall see.

Prolonging the magic,

James "Excitable Moron" Comtois

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy in the Poorhouse

Derek Ahonen's Happy in the Poorhouse opens with Paulie, a soon-to-be washed-up mixed martial arts fighter from Coney Island, arguing with his wife, Mary. He's got a noticeably massive wound on his right temple. She's running around the house trying to get it set up for a welcome home party for her first husband. During their fight, he gets so frustrated he pounds his fist through the plaster of the wall (near other fist-sized holes). Paulie then continues to argue with Mary while putting tape over the hole he just put in the wall.

Right away, the Amoralists' new show—like their previous outing, the exceptional The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side—conveys a raw, intense energy and physicality that hooked me in within the first two minutes and didn't let go until curtain call.

I really enjoyed this play. Ahonen and the Amoralists have a wonderfully distinct style and aesthetic that is very engaging and exciting to watch. After seeing only two of their shows, the Amoralists has become a company—like Vampire Cowboys—that I'm making a point from now on to go see whatever they do. You should, too.

Happy in the Poorhouse is very funny and engaging. It's thought-provoking without being heavy-handed or pretentious. It feels simultaneously old-fashioned (in a good way) yet very fresh and new. To use a sound-byte analogy, this show feels like what would happen if The Honeymooners were directed by Martin Scorsese.

Paulie and Mary are dealing with two huge problems. Well, three. The first one (which may be surmountable) is that they're flat broke. Paulie's primary source of income is not from his MMA fighting—he's a few fights away from being done—but from being a bouncer in a local bar. The two real problems they have is that Mary's ex-husband and Paulie's former best friend, Petie, a more successful former MMA fighter, is coming back from a tour in Afghanistan, and she hasn't resolved her feelings about him yet. Why? Well, that's the other big problem: Paulie and Mary haven't consummated their marriage yet. Ouch.

Wait, there's more. Paulie's younger sister, Penny, is also coming home that night after being away in Nashville for five years pursuing—and apparently achieving—her dreams of being a successful country singer. Mary insists that Paulie ask his younger sister for money. Paulie doesn't feel comfortable about that at all. Well, it's a moot point, since when Penny gets home, she says she's done with the music biz, and just wants to come home and settle down with her new intense German girlfriend, Olga.

I'm not finished. The two of them live with Mary's brother, Joey, a horndog mailman who likes to get it on with all the honeys on his route. This proves to be problematic for Joey later in the show, as he realizes he may have made a huge mistake by having sex with Flossie, a teenage girl on his route who may or may not be legal (hey, she said she was 18). She brings her two large and angry uncles, Sally and Sonny, to Joey, who threaten to beat him to a pulp unless he admits this wasn't a one-night afternoon fling.

There is more, much more that goes on here (including Sally and Sonny running from a $10,000 gambling debt, a possible stalker who's looking for Penny, and Petie's inevitable homecoming). For all the new characters and subplots that Ahonen piles on throughout Happy in the Poorhouse, it never feels overstuffed or confusing. In fact, it's exhilarating. I didn't necessarily know where the show is going (I was expecting a completely different trajectory for the story), but I was never lost.

Although much of this has to do with Ahonen's vibrant writing and direction, a great deal of credit must also be given to the amazing cast he's assembled (many of whom are Amoralist regulars). There's a tight-knit and inclusive feeling that the cast conveys, so you immediately know—and believe—who's connected to whom in the story. Everyone in the 11-person cast is clearly very simpatico with Ahonen's work and each other.

In fact, everyone in the cast (many of whom are former Pied Pipers cast members) is superb, particularly the principals: James Kautz as Paulie, Sarah Lemp as Mary, and Matthew Pilieci as Joey. Nick Lawson steals the scenes he's in by playing know what? I'm not telling you his role. You're just going to have to see for yourself. Nor am I going to tell you too much about Patrick McDaniel's role as Larry "The Lab," aside from the fact that he, too, delivers a hilarious powerhouse of a performance.

Al Schatz does double-duty as set designer and fight choreographer (how's that for a hyphenate?), and does an excellent job with both creating a fully-realized and believable set of a lower-middle-class house in Coney Island as well as orchestrating an intense and amusing fight between two MMA fighters, one of whom happens to be wheelchair-bound.

Like The Pied Pipers, Happy in the Poorhouse evokes an earlier period (the 1960s for Pied Pipers, the '50s for Poorhouse) yet takes place in the present day. Which makes sense: both plays follow conventions of such earlier plays as The Man Who Came to Dinner and The House of Blue Leaves (seriously), yet deftly infuses them with modern sensibilities in a way that doesn't feel awkwardly shoehorned in.

Happy in the Poorhouse deals with working class stiffs who still dream big despite the walls of reality closing in on them. Seeing Paulie pound holes in the wall, it's nice to think that even though he may be washed up as a professional fighter, he's still got some fight left in him.

Happy in the Poorhouse has been extended until April 26 at Theatre 80 on 80 St. Mark's Place. Click here for tickets.

Always fighting paraplegics and losing,

James "Coulda Been Somebody" Comtois

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Gettin' Amoral

I just wanted to say I'm really, really excited to see Derek Ahonen's latest, Happy in the Poorhouse tonight.

His last play, The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side, produced by his company, The Amoralists, was the best play I saw in 2009. So yeah. I'm quite pumped to see this.

Happier when he gets paid,

James "Shallow Money-Grubber" Comtois

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