Artists Watch List: Jaeger Christian

I saw this phrase a lot: “Part of what I love about Fringe…..” and one of the parts is watching how artists develop over the years. I like to follow different creators in between Fringe as well, but many only produce for Fringe.

Jaeger Christian is the biggest winner in this category. I was so excited by the idea of his 2014 piece (a new musical about PTSD) that seeing it was very disappointing. He needed a co-writer, a dramaturg, a director…..but something about his heart, his sincerity in the pre-show speech made me pause. It went beyond someone who believes in his work. It didn’t, however, save the show.

So this year I noticed he has two solo shows, The Board and The Backpack. I only saw that The Board existed because it happened to fit into my schedule one night. He went from a new musical to two monologues, still related to the service. I felt that he got the right feedback last year or instinctively knew to return to basics, especially for a Fringe Festival. Focus on the story. He clearly has a lot to say (without being didactic) on the military and I appreciate how he chose to express it this year.

With The Board, he says if you’re into TV shows like “Law & Order,” “Homeland” and “The Shield,” then you’ll like this play. I only know the first one, but he seems right on the money. Sarah Hollis tells the audience her story, who act as her jury. Clearly she’s in trouble for something, but all the whys and wherefores and intricacies aren’t untangled until near the end. Even then, her fate isn’t revealed.

I personally would have preferred it without the marriage story, but it did play into the plot. Overall, the story was completely compelling and I listened to every single word she said on that stage.

The main point here is that if I hadn’t seen the artist at his pre-show speech for last year’s musical, felt something tug at me through his personality and choice of material, then seen that his latest offering fit into my schedule, I wouldn’t have given him another chance. And all those things couldn’t have happened in another space except a Fringe Festival.

Jaeger Christian is now on my Artists Watch List.

I gave this show a #SeeItLA rating. Find more shows on SeeItorSkipItLA.com .

#SeeItorSkipItLA at Hollywood Fringe

See It or Skip It LA is a way to introduce you to the Hollywood Fringe Festival (and other cool art around LA).

Want suggestions for shows to see? Check lists below and listen to podcasts for details.

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#ChanceItLA – our Picks for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015

#SeeItorSkipItLA
Coverage of 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival
Hosted by Cindy Marie Jenkins ( @cindymariej ) as part of @SeeItorSkipItLA

More info at http://www.seeitorskiptitla.com &
http://cindymariejenkins.com/see-it-or-skip-it-la/

Correspondent Guests:
Sara Fenton (@Fentonova)
Lemuel H. Thornton III (@Lemwerks)
Madeline Rosenstein (@mfrosens)

Shows to #ChanceItLA (click on title for websites):

ALL AGREE:

Four Clowns Presents The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah

LEM

*Jason and Medea

*Getting to Know You

*Hamlet Mobile

 

SARA

*Tiananmen Annie

*The Three Musketeerers: Clowns with Swords

*Skanky Me from Kankakee

MADELINE

*The Blacks a Clown Show (Cindy note: in their Fringe profile page, they claim to be “remounting America’s longest running off-Broadway play”. I think they mean “revive,” not “remount,” as the original off-Broadway production opened in 1961 and this company didn’t produce it. This may have no bearing on their ability to produce a fine piece of art, but a mistake like that does make me hesitate and I personally won’t be prioritizing it. I saw this on their page after we recorded the podcast.)

*5 Sirens Beware of Rocks

*The Devil You Say

*HollywoodFringe.org/free

 

Cindy

*The Voyage of Odysseus

*The Snail

*Romeo & Juliet: An ASL Love Story

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Why Water Falls

50 Shades of Shrew

Marry me a Little (Cindy note – Probably only interesting for Sondheim lovers)

It’s the Prom 

Two Girls, One Bard 

8:03 

Wombat Man

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Timeheart by Robot Teammate & Accidental Party

Alien vs Musical

Catherine: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in Today’s LA 


Other Correspondents:
Kat Michels (@fictionoftruth)
Courtney Ann Buchan (@CourtneyABuchan)

Sponsored by Theatre Asylum (@TheatreAsylum)

Shakespeare Adaptations – a Pirate Podcast

I noticed quite a few new Shakespeare adaptations that went far beyond the typical change of setting. After

Their pose is way more refined than their conversation.

Their pose is way more refined than their conversation.

seeing even more pop up in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, I invited some artists to discuss the hows, whys and challenges of adapting The Bard.

 

Shakespeare Adaptations on Stage & Screen

Hosted by Cindy Marie Jenkins

A Pirate Podcast (down and dirty) as part of @SeeItorSkipItLA

 

Guests:

“The Hamlet Project’ by Loose Canon Collective LA

Randolph Thompson & Paul Culuo

 

“Titus and Dronicus” by Better Than Shakespeare

Megan Kelly & Madhuri Shekar

 

“Two Girls, One Bard” by The Illyrian Players

Carly Weckstein

 

Sponsored by Theatre Asylum

Produced by Lemuel H. Thornton III

 

Writers from Wonder Con 2015

I had a very limited budget for WonderCon this year (as in, gas and food), and in a way, that caused me to spend more time looking at the art and not just at stuff to buy.

Here is part 1 of my WonderCon adventures: the writers who I want to read soon (* designates for children as well).

If I found them on Twitter, I added to a List: Artists I Really Dig

Each title links to their main website.

 

Llyn Hunter’s Place (Bobcat Publishing)

*specifically for A Little Book of Monsters and A Little Book of Magical Beings

 

IMG_20150405_115755

I liked the artist so much, that I took a photo of her postcard to ensure I didn’t lose it.

M.F.K Comic by* Nilah Magruder

In the country of Rojardin, super-powered psychics are given a choice:

  • Use their powers to serve the government,
  • Become lawless rogues, or
  • Renounce their abilities and live as normal citizens.

Abbie is trying to do the latter, she’s not exactly subtle.

 

*Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera

A New Mexican folktale graphic novel

 

Knightingail a fantasy-adventure comic book

 

*Monster Elementary

an all ages, comedy adventure graphic novel

When the FBI closes Desmodus, Lukos, Francesca, Rags and Gilda’s monsters-only school, they are forced by their parents to attend a public school to continue their education.  Now, they must try to fool their classmates and faculty all while navigating the horrors of growing up!

 

Sombulus by C. Major

humorous fantasy adventure in the spirit of Discworld and style of a shounen manga

Sombulus banner

 

*Little Vampires by Rebecca Hicks

Adorable webcomic

Zombie Ranch by Dawn Wolf & Clint Wolf

A Tale of a Weird New West; webcomic that updates every Wednesday

Dream Walker by Jenni Gregory

IMG_20150405_114539

They ran out of cards by Sunday, so I only got a photo: Karen Brinson is a dreamwalker, moving effortlessly through the dreamscapes of family, friends, and even total strangers. No secret is safe, no subconscious thought can be hidden from her. (Click photo for link)

Directors Lab West applications due March 6

I used to be on their Steering Committee and it’s a great opportunity for Stage Directors and Choreographers:
dlw
Presenting The 16th Annual

Directors Lab West
in association with the Pasadena Playhouse,
and the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society

Directors Lab West brings together dedicated emerging and mid-career theatre directors and choreographers with master artists for an eight-day long intensive Saturday, May 23 through Saturday, May 30, 2015, enabling them to inspire each other to dream and create the future of American Theatre.
 
The deadline to submit the application is Friday, March 6, 2015 at 5 pm PST.

Apply online now at directorslabwest.com.

+ + +

What is Directors Lab West?
The Lab is a week-long summer intensive for stage directors and choreographers. Part conference, part workshop, part focused discussion, all theatre, all directing and all fun! The wellspring of the Lab is to provide a place for directors to meet and exchange ideas.

When is Directors Lab West
May 23 to May 30, 2015 with events scheduled from 10 am until 10 pm that you won’t want to miss.

Where is Directors Lab West?  
For the majority of the years of Directors Lab West, The Pasadena Playhouse in the historic California State Theatre has been and continues to be our dedicated and supportive partner, but we also hold sessions at a variety of theaters in and around Los Angeles.

Who can attend Directors Lab West?  
By application only, the Lab is open to directors and choreographers committed to the art and creation of theatre. (Note: The Lab is not open to students or those planning to return to school. It is designed for emerging directors who are working professionals, who have finished their studies. And studies are not required—many Lab directors are working directors who have never gone to college.)

Who has presented at Directors Lab West?  
The list is long, but here is a sampling… Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse), Des MacAnuff (La Jolla Playhouse), Michael Ritchie (Center Theatre Group), Anne Cattaneo (Lincoln Center Theater), Jack O’Brien (The Old  Globe), Martin Benson (South Coast Rep), Tim Dang (East West Players), David Ira Goldstein (Arizona Theatre Company), Andrew Barnicle (Laguna Playhouse), Erik Ehn (CalArts), Stephen Wadsworth (Director), John Bowab (Director), Kay Cole (Choreographer), David Lee (Director), Mark Medoff (Playwright), Randy Newman (Composer), Jose Rivera (Playwright), George Furth (Playwright), Richard Thomas (Actor), Eddie Levi Lee (Actor/Playwright), Charlayne Woodard (Actor/Playwright), Tonya Pinkins (Actor), Henry Winkler (Actor), Ming Cho Lee (Scenic Designer), plus many more.

How much does Directors Lab West cost?  
Participation in the Lab is FREE thanks to the generous support of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, partners like the Pasadena Playhouse and all the artists, who donate their time and share their talents each year’s Lab participants.

How do I apply for Directors Lab West?  
Apply online at directorslabwest.com.

When Do I Apply for Directors Lab West
Now! Applications must be received by March 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm.

Have additional questions about Directors Lab West?  
Email us at info@directorslabwest.com

Relevance & Empathy: Ligature Marks at Theatre Unleashed

I always consider my experience with art in terms of Relevance & Empathy, two words that are thrown around culture but rarely examined in detail.

“I feel like you had to be there.”

That is how my husband describes his non-emotional reaction to Andy Warhol. He understands Warhol’s place in art history and why he was revolutionary at the time, but he doesn’t feel anything when faced with Campbell’s Soup paintings.

That’s my reaction to a lot of classical plays, and even recent writers like Stoppard and Sam Shepard. I appreciate and enjoy them; often my brain is stimulated. I just rarely feel much that applies to my life at that very moment, or my future. (There are a handful of exceptions, as always, but I can only think of one, and it’s a film.)

New plays, especially ones that are set in an apartment, often miss the mark with me as well.

I want to be rattled by a play. I want to leave thinking about my life, my neighbor’s life, my cousin in Boston’s life, my son’s life, my boss’s life…..in a new play or adaptation, I want to leave with a perspective I did not have before entering the theater. I want to think more deeply about people and the world and how we all affect each other. I want to spend an evening in a way that directly affects my decision making in the future. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good old escapist comedy or anything; I like those too. I personally don’t see them as often.

With the very recent exception of E.M. Lewis’s The Gun Show, I haven’t felt simultaneously thrilled, revolted, and moved in…..years?

Mac Rogers did that to me. Twice already in 2015.

First with Viral at the Bootleg Theater/Moving Arts and then Ligature Marks, his 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival piece now playing (with new cast and director) at Theatre Unleashed.

It’s hard to discuss it without giving away the very parts of his storytelling which made me go “Oh holy shit, this is NOT what I expected.”Ligature Marks

It left me as fucked up and oddly resolved as the characters in the play felt (otherwise known as empathy).

It gave me insight into a trope I typically despise: dependent relationships, especially when the female looks to be the more dependent one.

Since VIRAL last month, it made me want a different local theater to produce a different Mac Rogers play every single month so I can get my relevance and empathy fix. I would even buy a subscription to it.

I’d say that’s a win.

http://www.theatreunleashed.org for tickets and more information.