Friday, April 29, 2011

At the NYIT Awards Blog: Auto-Pilot

Ladies and gentlemen, my final entry as guest blogger for the NYIT Awards' Full of IT blog.

I'd like to once again thank Shay Gines and the rest of the crew at the IT Awards for letting me blather cybernetically on their blog. It's been quite fun for me. I hope you've enjoyed yourself, too.

Anyway, have a good weekend, folks. Catch y'all on the flippety.

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Infectious Opportunity in the Fringe!

It's official. Pete just got the confirmation email. Infectious Opportunity is going to be rocking the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival this summer!

That's right: Nosedive's doing three shows in three months. Huzzah!

All theatre all summer,

James "Insane Idiot" Comtois

Labels: , , ,

Shameless Script-Plugging Time

Well, gang. I've been having a great deal of fun guest blogging over at the NYIT Awards' Full of IT blog this week, and it looks as though I've got one blog entry left in me before I hand the torch over to the next guest blogger. It should be appearing tomorrow, provided I finish it in time (I'm almost done, so I really should have it ready for a Friday post).

Although I still don't see myself returning to long-form blogging on a regular basis, it's been kind of fun to return to it for a bit, even if my entries may be a tad insipid and redundant (I know, I know, what a shocker). Paradoxically, it's reminded me why I enjoyed it and why I've kinda stopped.

So, while we all wait for my final entry to be posted on the Full of IT blog, I'm gonna go ahead and do some shameless plugging for my play, Infectious Opportunity.

That's right, campers. The NYIT Award-nominated play by Yours Truly about a guy faking being HIV-positive is available for sale both as a hard copy and for your Kindle for a song.

So be somebody and buy your copy today!

Awright. Enough shameless self-promotion for one day. Real blog entry for the IT Awards tomorrow.

Pissing in the sink,

James "World's Best Roommate" Comtois

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

At the NYIT Awards Blog: Who/What For?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

At the NYIT Awards Blog: Upping the Ante

Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Blogging For the NYIT Awards

Hey, folks! Shay Gines graciously asked me if I'd take the reigns of the NYIT Awards' Full of IT blog for the week, so I'll be their guest blogger for the next few days! So stay tuned; I'll keep you posted as to when new entries will be up.

Servant of two blogrolls,

James "Blogamist" Comtois

Labels: ,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tix for Captain Moonbeam Now on Sale

Aaaaaaaand we're off to the races.

Tickets for Captain Moonbeam & Lynchpin are now also on sale.

(To be performed as a double-bill with Savior, written by Brian Silliman & directed by Jordana Williams.)

Go get 'em, tiger.


James "Jimmycat" Comtois

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tix for Blood Brothers Now on Sale

That was fast.

Tickets are now on sale for The Blood Brothers present...FREAKS FROM THE MORGUE.

Why wait? Waiting is for choads. Get 'em now.

A total choad,

James "Pud Boy" Comtois

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

That's Right: Two Shows

So, yes. As you can see from the last two posts, this summer Nosedive Productions is mounting two -- count 'em, TWO -- plays at once.

We're not doing these plays in rep and not doing them as a double-feature. They're being staged separately as part of two separate festivals in two separate boroughs going up at the same time.

Over at Horse Trade's Kraine Theater in Manhattan, we're staging Blood Brothers present...FREAKS FROM THE MORGUE, the latest installment of our annual horror anthology show as part of EndTimes Productions' Vignettes for the Apocalypse V.

Meanwhile, over the river at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn, we're presenting Captain Moonbeam & Lynchpin, a tragic superhero as part of the Brick's Comic Book Theater Festival.

Captain Moonbeam is playing as a double-bill with Gideon Productions' Savior, a new play by Brian Silliman. Interestingly enough, the Blood Brothers show will also feature new works by Brian as well as Mac Rogers, one of the actors in Savior.

What the dick were we thinking?

Though honestly, I don't think I can convey how excited I am for this to be happening. We didn't plan for this to happen: originally these productions were going to be a month apart, but wound up going up concurrently. Hey, it happens.

The fact of the matter is, I love the idea of having two shows going up at once, especially since (and this is the really bizarre part) this is costing us less to do than if we had staged only one show ourselves. That's right: it's more economically viable to stage two separate productions than one.

We here at Nosedive Central are very thankful for EndTimes and The Brick for bringing us onboard their respective festivals. Really, guys. You're showing that being incredibly ambitious (or perhaps incredibly stupid) can pay off, even without much money. So again, thank you for letting us play in their respective sandboxes and allow us to engage in our theatrical silliness in two boroughs.

I think this is going to be a crazy fun summer.

So: enjoy some macabre horror and gore-based theatre over at the Kraine in Manhattan, then some comic book-style drama over at the Brick in Brooklyn. We here at Nosedive Central have got it covered.

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on tickets and other information in a way that hopefully won't confuse you or send you to the wrong theatre at the wrong night.

(Then again, I once had an audience member who simply couldn't find 85 East 4th Street, and she'd been living in New York for decades. I can only do so much, people.)

Competing with himself,

James "No, My Show!" Comtois

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coming This June at the Brick: Captain Moonbeam & Lynchpin

This June at the Brick Theater...

From Nosedive Productions and The Brick Theater:

Captain Moonbeam & Lynchpin

A tormented father hiding a terrible secret.

A betrayed son desperate to know the truth.

A mask and cape waiting to be donned.

A new play by James Comtois

Directed by Leigh Hile


Tuesday, June 21 @7pm

Friday, June 24 @7pm

Saturday, June 25 @5pm

Sunday, June 26 @2pm

At the Brick Theater on 575 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn

Part of The Brick Theater's Comic Book Theater Festival

Tickets on sale soon.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coming This June at the Kraine: The Blood Brothers present...

This June and July at the Horse Trade Kraine Theater...

From Nosedive and EndTimes Productions

The Blood Brothers present...FREAKS FROM THE MORGUE

An all-new collection of gruesome horror tales for the stage,
based on true stories ripped from the headlines.

With new works by
James Comtois
Stephanie Cox-Williams
Mac Rogers
Brian Silliman
Crystal Skillman

Directed by
Pete Boisvert
John Hurley
Patrick Shearer


Saturday, June 11 @2pm

Friday, June 17 @6pm

Tuesday, June 21 @6:30pm

Saturday, June 25 @5:30pm

Tuesday, June 28 @8:30pm

Saturday, July 2 @2pm

Sunday, July 3 @8pm

At the Kraine Theater on 85 East 4th Street, NYC

Part of EndTimes Productions'

Tickets on sale soon.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cranking 'Em Out

I've always admired those creative types that consistently turn out new work at a rapid rate. Folks like Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh, Stephen King, Louis CK, Dave Sim. People like these—and several others—who produce new works in their respective field at least once or twice a year (or in Sim's case, once a month). Prolificacy is something I've always looked up to. Hell, even with creative types whose work I hate, I've still been impressed with their productivity.

Some of it's motivated by compulsion. No matter how many times he's announced his "retirement," King clearly just can't stop—or slow down—writing. Woody Allen has said in interviews he makes a movie every year because it takes his mind off his life and feels restless when on vacation for too long (he also comes from a background in television, where you don't have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike before creating—you have to produce content week in, week out, no matter what). Some of it's dictated by the rules of the field. Monthly comics, like television, have to produce on a fixed schedule. And some of it's motivated by good old-fashioned work ethic. Louis CK announced that he's going to start from scratch with material every year, and come up with an hour's worth of new material annually. (Even amongst other professional stand-ups, this is unheard of.)

Whatever the reasons—and look, I don't know these people personally, so I'm not interested in engaging in too much mind-reading armchair psychology—there are creative types that are known for being unusually prolific in their medium, and it's something I've found incredibly inspiring and compelling.

This is not to say that the output of these people is always gold (there are many films by Woody Allen that I've found seriously rushed and underdeveloped), or that I don't appreciate, admire or enjoy the work of those artists who meticulously take their time with seemingly forever to complete their projects (the Kubricks, the Malicks, the Flauberts, the Brian Wilsons and Lauryn Hills). It's just that when contemplating my own work, I've always wanted to be in the former camp in terms of creative output.

I'd rather write and stage 20 plays or more in 10 years that are hit-or-miss than two in the same timeframe that are considered (by either myself, the audience, critics, or some combination of all three) masterworks.

Although I'd like to consider myself prolific in the playwriting field, it really seems I'm just on par with the scene (my buds and colleagues Qui Nguyen, Derek Ahonen, Joshua Conkel, and Jeff Lewonczyk among many, many others, are all staging one new play a year or more). I guess for folks like us, it's inconceivable to do less. I mean, we love doing this, we can do this, and we're fortunately in a position where we can get our work staged the way we want it staged. So what's the alternative? Just not write?

Lately, however, I've wondered about the advantages of taking considerably more time to work on a new script or project. Now that Nosedive is over 11 years old, we no longer have Something To Prove (we've done over 20 shows in 10 years and have two new shows lined up for the summer; I think we can be seen as an actual theatre company at this point). We can afford to take time between productions.

Also, at this stage of the game, I don't want to just be producing solely for the sake of producing: writing a play simply because we've got an open slot in the upcoming season that needs filling.

In other words, I don't want to just be marking time.

And again, hey: I'm still a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick. Maybe there's something to taking a substantial amount of time in creating something. So maybe, after 11 years of writing and producing theatre at a steady clip, it'd be worth looking into being more meticulous with the next project.

Besides, wouldn't it be fun to spend over a decade producing two to three new works a year, then go into hiding for a year or two (or three), then unveil some new long-in-the-works secret project?

(This isn't to say that I'm against revising or rewriting, but just that the revision process is still part of the fast turnaround—a month writing the rough, a month putting it away and working on something else, then a month revising.)

Well, it doesn't seem to be sticking. I've quickly found that "taking my time" rapidly devolves into "procrastinating writing," which in turn rapidly devolves into "not writing at all."

It's not that I've run out of or am having a tough time coming up with ideas. Quite the contrary. I've currently got a number of ideas I'm contemplating. But I'm really only doing just that: contemplating. I've been procrastinating, dragging my feet, waiting for one of these ideas to grow on its own before making a decision to cultivate (translate: write) one.

Yeah, clearly this method of creating just isn't for me. In some ways, at this stage in the game, I wish it were. But I don't think I have it in me.

So, although this season—Blood Brothers, Captain Moonbeam & Lynchpin, and possibly Infectious Opportunity—has already been written (not counting if we're invited back to the Vampire Cowboys' Saturday Night Saloon), there's currently nothing yet written for 2012. Which means that needs to change. And soon.

This also means I need to make sure this isn't just a case of me marking time: it means I need to follow Louis CK's philosophy of keep working, keep producing new material, but make sure every new work is better than the last.

We'll see how this goes.

Back to work.

Breaking for nobody,

James "Spaceball One" Comtois

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Not Buy a Script to Pass the Time?

Before I officially announce the schedule of Nosedive Central's upcoming shows (we've been given the dates unofficially, but we need to remain mum for the time being so they can get confirmed and solidified), I just wanted to humbly remind you that while you wait for that info, you can buy Infectious Opportunity for your Kindle.

Same goes with Suburban Peepshow.

They're good plays. They're inexpensive. Just sayin.

Helping you wait for big news,

James "Cyber Life-Coach" Comtois

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Amoral Cowboys

The Vampire Cowboys and the Amoralists are two companies that put on work that I always make a point to see no matter what. Currently, they have two shows up that have again reminded me why.

Although tickets for both of these shows are going fast (and are maybe already gone), if you haven't checked out the Vampire Cowboys' The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G or the Amoralists' Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter, you need to rectify that as soon as possible.

Although radically different shows, they both mark turning points for each company, revealing the Cowboys and Amoralists branching out in new directions. What's even more interesting is that while you could technically call Agent G a sequel, it's still like nothing writing-directing team Qui Nguyen and Robert Ross Parker has ever made before. And with Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter (which features a whole news cast of actors not found in previous Amoralists shows), writer-director Derek Ahonen tones it down a notch, but doesn't make his play any less fun and engaging than his previous works.

Agent G tells two intersecting stories. In one, Paco Tolson plays Hung, a James Bond-esque secret agent who has to return to his native country of Vietnam to connect with and confront the daughter of the man he killed while on his way to America (this part of the story was originally told in Qui's first-ever play, Trial By Water). Meanwhile, William Jackson Harper plays playwright Qui Nguyen, who wants to tell the story of his cousin's journey from Vietnam to America, but feels hamstrung by the conventions of theatre as well as by his own brand of genre and stage combat theatre-making.

Sure, it has fun stage combat scenes, cinematic motorcycle chase sequences, and sing-a-longs with giant puppets, but Qui—both the writer and character—reveals that these elements ring false for this story, which is deeply personal for both him and his family. Even Trial By Water, according to Qui—which the Cowboys didn't stage—had too many artificial constructs (such as a villain). With Agent G, the Vampire Cowboys get the Charlie Kaufman treatment.

In Daughter, a lesbian couple's relationship is rapidly deteriorating, due in no small part to their daughter Garance being on the run, wanted for murdering—and eating—a series of housewives. Their phone rings off the hook from anonymous callers wishing death on them. Where the hell did they go wrong? Or more importantly, what the hell can they do about it now?

Jackie's (Anna Stromberg) answer apparently, is to drink herself to death. Contessa's (Mara Lileas) response seems to be to enable Jackie while burrowing deeper into quiet tearful despair.

Before the couple has time to completely implode upon itself, Contessa's long-lost half-brother, Dexel (Jordan Tisdale) shows up at their doorstep. And without revealing too much here, we soon discover that Dexel and Contessa have been estranged for very good reasons.

And of course, eventually, the alleged cannibal-murderer finally returns home.

I admired the way Daughter still had that intense energy often found in Derek's shows, but bottled it for the most part, allowing the story to unfold slowly, and allowing its actors to engage in long silences. Despite it being a surreal black comedy—yes, I realize I've made the above sound very dour and morose, but it is a very funny show—there were still plenty of moments for quiet and tender scenes. I also found Daughter to live up to the company's name more than any other play I've seen by them—we've got some seriously damaged goods in this show, including a confessed rapist, yet they're all thoroughly sympathetic, likable and endearing.

I should also point out that the casts in both plays—mostly Cowboys vets in Agent G, all fresh faces in Daughter—are of course excellent.

The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G and Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter are both incredibly surefooted works by incredibly talented writers and directors ready and able to expand from whence they came. Even though these shows didn't surprise me in terms of ability and enjoyment, they definitely surprised me in terms of tone and content. These veteran companies show they're not afraid to take risks and try different things, even this late in the game.

Both plays—and companies—remind me why I love theatre.

The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G is playing at Incubator Arts Project on 131 East 10th Street until April 16. For tickets go directly to the box office.

Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter is playing as PS 122 on 150 First Avenue until April 24. For tickets go here.

Getting tasered for fun,

James "Public Menace" Comtois

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I Guess That's The Answer

Well, that didn't take long. As you can see from the button on the right, I have indeed joined Twitter. @JamesComtois. You can follow my up-to-the-minute micro-blatherings here.

Thanks to those of you who weighed in and gave me the extra push over the fence. We shall see how this goes. As always, we shall see.

So, feel free to follow me. I'll try not to lead you astray.

But no promises.

Keeping it short,

James "Sweety Bird" Comtois

Labels: ,

Monday, April 04, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

Hey, gang. For the longest time, I've been dead-set against using Twitter. At first, it was quasi-ideological: I always saw the extremely short limit of characters helping to degrade our already rapidly-degrading attention spans, and I'm still not wild about how the hashtags, retweetings, shitty punctuation & spelling, various acronyms and other codings make tweets borderline impossible to follow.

Also, the arguments I've heard about Twitter being a strong and effective marketing tool have been dubious at best. Yes, a playwright or director can have several thousand followers. But in reality, how many of those followers equates to actually physically present audience members? It's easy to "follow" someone online: it's free and can be done from the convenience of, well, wherever you damn well please. It's another thing entirely to actually go out and pay money to see a play created by whomever you're following.

(It's also not like I have a great deal of information to "tweet" about on a regular basis. How many times can I post, "Having some Cheerios. Cats keep interfering. #cattens# #breakfast#?")

But let's be honest: this site hasn't been the source for long-form essays for a long while. My feelings toward blogging have become much, much more ambivalent of late (well, duh). Maybe updates on what's going on in my creative life is better in the short-form/news stream format.

Plus, although the jury's still open as to how much Twitter can help with self-promotion, it certainly can't hurt. So although I still haven't yet reversed my position on Twitter, I'm at least much more open to it than before.

This is my long roundabout way of saying I'm thinking about setting up my own Twitter account, but am still very much on the fence and still have more than a few reservations.

So, fuck it. I'll ask you. For those of you still out there reading this, what are your thoughts? Do you have a Twitter account? Do you recommend it or no? For theatre-makers, have you noticed it helping with drawing in audience members or not? What are the advantages? Any disadvantages? What do you think?

Lemme know.

Updating folks on the dull
minutae of my dull life,

James "Online Luddite" Comtois

Labels: , ,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.