Pittsburgh Theater Today, Review of And Baby Makes Seven
Pittsburgh Theater Today - Complete review. Please click here
Washington Observer Reporter Review of And Baby Makes Seven
Overloaded as the American theater now is with plays lamenting the dysfunctional horrors that sometimes make family life uncomfortable or excruciating, it's refreshing to see what Paula Vogel's "And Baby Makes Seven" offers at Off the Wall Theater: A comedy about a family that functions quite nicely, thank you, if mostly on its own terms.
And I stress the word "comedy" because I've never heard an audience at Off the Wall laugh more raucously or with more frequency than they did last Friday, at the play and at the finesse and versatility that were obvious in the performances given by Robyne Parrish, Tressa Glover and Tony Bingham.
"You did it again!," I heard one woman say in praise of managing director Hans Gruenert after this 90-minute play ended.
What they did ("they" including director Linda Haston) probably lacks the daringness factor it had when the play was new in 1984 and the general public didn't quite know what to make of a story about a lesbian couple who, in addition to having a fantasy life more active than Walter Mitty's, are preparing to raise a child that was fathered by a gay man. The world had a lot of growing up to do 28 years ago.
Yet despite surges of cleverness that include a grown-up's version of the "imaginary friend" game and allusions to the movie "The Red Balloon," Vogel allows her play to become abrasive and shrill at the expense of its many affecting moments - a hallmark of the author's, I'm afraid. Her "How I Learned to Drive," produced at Off the Wall in 2009, is off-putting for the same reason.
But even when the question becomes "Do we invest emotionally in the characters or simply observe their antics?," Parrish, Glover and Bingham overcome the flaws in the material and turn "And Baby Makes Seven" into a humorous visit with a different kind of family, if not an illuminating one.
A simple love story
Pittsburgh City Paper, And Baby Makes Seven
" Off The Wall again lives up to its name..." For full review, click here
Pittsburgh Owl Scribe, Pittsburgh Theater Review of And Baby Makes Seven
It’s probably good to go to a staging of "And Baby Makes Seven" forearmed with the knowledge that the children who babble about where babies come from in the opening scene are purely imaginary.
When the curtain rises on a darkened stage at Washington's Off the Wall Theater, we hear the juvenile voices of Cecil, 9, an even-tempered, erudite child; Henri, 8, originally from Paris with a melodious French accent to boot; and Orphan, 7, an infant terrible raised in the wild by a pack of canines.
When I say imaginary children, think not on the order of George and Martha’s non-existent son in "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe" but part of a psychological dynamic that involves three real people, two lesbians and a gay man, who fade in and out of their real selves to become their youthful alter egos in a uniquely unconventional domestic menage a trois.
Rather than suffer from multiple personality disorders or schizophrenia, the two women seem merely to find reality a bit too confining for their overactive imaginations and create a complex cerebral game to let off some steam and enervate their relationship. Peter, the gay man, goes along with their shenanigans, but reaches a crisis point when one of the women, Anna, is due to have a child he fathered.
Some might like to explore the play for its psychological "there’s a child in everyone" undertones or as a model for unusual sort of dysfunctional family. But I merely sat back and enjoyed Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paul Vogel’s comedic skills and madcap vignettes and left my thinking cap in the lobby.
Tressa Glover as the energetic Ruth taps more into her inner child than her partner, Anna, physically burdened by the most pre-birth belly swelling ever, adroitly making the transition from adult to devious wolf child or refined Parisian boy with the flick of an eye.
Robyne Parrish as Anna is a bit more reserved than Ruth in her adult persona but makes the most drastic and abrupt change of the two women when she taps into her child identity. Tolerating the antics of his two female room mates, Tony Bingham as Peter adds a richly nuanced performance to the mix and serves as an anchor of authenticity in the make believe world he cohabits.
As director, Linda Haston establishes the right rhythm for the series of short scenes that make up the play, sound designer, Michael Moats, picks an versatile array of interesting thematic sounds that tie the scenes together and set designer, Paul A. Shaw, comes up with an attractive, rock solid space in which the arcane whimsy unfolds.
Near the breaking point of forbearance, Peter suggests putting away the fatuous children to make way for the real thing. The women reluctantly agree to his plan, and, one by one, the fictitious boys fade away in some if the play’s most intriguing scenes.
However, just when it seems the play will end on a realistic note, the playwright turns the table on expectations and ends her comic fairy tale on a delicious note. With "And Baby Makes Seven," Washington’s Off the Wall Theater comes up with yet another delightful way to spend the evening.
Next at Off The Wall Theater
We are happy to welcome back Dreams Of Hope's performance Group.
Come at 1.oo pm and enjoy complimentary finger food and beverages, mingle with the performers.
Parents, bring your kids - 14 and over are welcome.
Being GAY is not a requirement to attend! " Being In, Being OUT" will remind you of what it means to be different in High School.
Click here for more details
Next at Off The Wall Theater, Washington Countys Only Professional Regional Theater
Move way over, Brady Bunch.
Anna’s baby is a week late. Ruth, her longtime partner, is jealous that Anna’s gay friend Peter fathered the child in a very conventional way. And, oh yes, the three imaginary children Anna and Ruth have created (and embody), not to mention impending fatherhood, are totally freaking Peter out. What’s a non-traditional family to do? Simple: kill off the imaginary kids to make room for the real one.
As it turns out, that’s easier said than done. Paula Vogel’s outrageous comedy, And Baby Makes Seven, celebrates a family in which members freely materialize and dematerialize, offering love, comfort, and the occasional kick in the butt if needed. Devising ways to do away with the fictional children becomes problematic. The very sane Anna and Ruth have invented the illusory Cecil, Henri, and Orphan not only for “releasing anxieties,” but also as a means of expressing the often unpleasant truths that adults find difficult to express. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.
Vogel convincingly makes the case that, traditional or alternative, there is no kind of love and no kind of family we should ever turn our back on. There are an awful lot of people to love in this world - not only do you have the opportunity to love them, but you’re better off loving them, even if your history with them is contentious, even if they drive you nuts, even if they're imaginary.
Off The Wall’s penchant for producing daring, thought-provoking plays continues with this, its 20th production. Building a bridge between Pittsburgh and Washington, PA, the company has been highly successful in recruiting talented, professional actors and directors in its short history, and is proud to continue the 2011-2012 season with this hilariously inventive play.
Tickets available ($ 5.00 - $ 30.00) at www.proartstickets.org Phone: 412-394-3353 or at www.insideoffthewall.com
Death And The Maiden
This white-knuckle thriller by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman centers on the story of Paulina, a former political prisoner, who has since retreated from her ordeal with her husband to an isolated country house. While there, happenstance brings a stranger calling who the woman believes may be her nameless, faceless tormentor from years past. Paranoia or reality? You and Paulina will take the journey together in a brilliant bone-chiller from one of Latin America’s foremost writers and human rights activists. Don’t miss your chance to experience the 20th anniversary revival of this contemporary masterpiece.
Death And The Maiden
"... Off The Wall Productions' presentation of the play, staged with unsettling reality by director Maggie Balsley and performed with sure integrity by her cast."
Click here for full review
Death And The Maiden Review by Pittsburgh OWL Scribe
Set in an unnamed, presumably Hispanic, country just after the forces of democracy overthrow its totalitarian dictatorship, the play opens just as progressive attorney, Gerardo Escobar, gets word that he’s included in a special commission whose objective is to investigate the previous regime’s crimes against humanity.
Click here for more
Pittsburgh City Paper Review Of Death And The Maiden
Off The Wall Theater is moving to Pittsburgh
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them” – Albert Einstein
We thank everyone who has supported us in our Washington venue, and we can assure you that the artistic quality of Off The Wall Productions will only strengthen in our new home.
In 2007, Off The Wall made a bold, courageous choice to open our doors in Washington, with the hope of contributing to the community and aiding the city in a comeback from economic decline. Fittingly, our programming choices were also bold and courageous, and we’re immensely proud of that. We are also incredibly grateful for our Washington-based friends and supporters like the Washington County Community Foundation, from whom we received the Director’s Choice Award in 2010.
But now it’s time to move forward – specifically, to Carnegie – for the fiscal and artistic health of our production company. The Borough of Carnegie has welcomed us with us a substantial business development grant, and our new location will have much to offer: a 94-seat theater, a spacious patron lobby for pre-show refreshments, neighborhood bars and restaurants, handicap accessibility…not to mention toilets that flush and a roof with no leaks. Off The Wall is also opening up our venue to other companies (theater, dance, music) who need a home for a night or a weekend or two, making it the multi-cultural center we’ve always dreamed of.
Off The Wall Is Moving to Pittsburgh
Off The Wall is moving to Pittsburgh from its current Washington location. We will start our 6th professional season in a new theater, custom build with 96 seats, state of the art lighting and sound systems, in downtown Carnegie, minutes from I 376 (Parkway West) and I 79, free parking, excellent restauraunts and bars nearby.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
tage Notes: Off the Wall Productions creating new home in Carnegie
July 5, 2012 12:22 am
Off The Wall Productions has a new home for its upcoming sixth season, making the move from Washington, Pa., to Carnegie.
Hans and Virginia Gruenert, the managing and artistic directors of the 6-year-old company, bought an empty building at 25 W. Main St. and are in the process of having it converted to a 94-seat theater with a lobby that can accommodate concessions. A business development grant from the Borough of Carnegie helped to facilitate the move.
"Off The Wall is also opening up our venue to other companies who need a home for a night or a weekend or two, making it the multicultural center we've always dreamed of," Mr. Gruenert said, adding that the stage has been designed with the idea of attracting dance companies and stand-up comedians.
The Gruenerts began the professional theater company in 2007 in Washington, with dramatic programming aimed at an adult audience. The sixth season of a quartet of shows opens Oct. 12 with Sharr White's "The Other Place," in which a biophysicist working on a potential breakthrough in dementia medication finds her own life taking a disorienting turn.
With the company's five-year lease in Washington ending this month, the time was right for the move. Downtown was never an option -- "There are enough theaters in the city" -- but Mr. Gruenert hopes to be a small-theater option for companies looking to lease a stage facility somewhere between the storefront Grey Box in Lawrenceville and the much larger New Hazlett on the North Side.
"Carnegie is right outside the tunnel, it's easy access from the parkway and 79 South and North, it has a giant parking lot that's free after 6 in front of our building," he said. "Plus, with the development grant, they made us feel welcome."
More at www.insideoffthewall.com.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/theater-dance/stage-notes-off-the-wall-productions-creating-new-home-in-carnegie-643366/#ixzz1zoFB5VuO
It's official, we are moving into our new theater in Carnegie
The First banner is going up at the new theater in Carnegie. Off The Wall Theater has arrived.
Off The Wall Pittsburgh - Construction Start
Off The Wall Theater - Pittsburgh
FREE EVENT - Join us for an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, September 22nd from 12 noon until 3:30, and help us celebrate our move to Carnegie!
Off The Wall now resides in a newly-constructed theater space in the heart of downtown Carnegie (25 W. Main Street), surrounded by bars, restaurants, and ample parking. We’ll be offering special promotional deals, ticket raffles, restaurant coupons, live entertain
ment and more. Experience the "new" Off The Wall Theater!
Off The Wall is extremely proud to celebrate the opening of our sixth season this fall at our new location. In keeping with our newly enhanced mission statement, the entire 2012-13 season will consist of plays never before staged in the Pittsburgh region (three of which have yet to be published, one a world premiere), and our focus will be on supporting the work of the enormously talented female artists in our area – playwrights, directors, and actors.
Hope to see you on September 22nd!
Pittsburgh Tribune Review about Off The Wall Theater Pittsburgh
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Virginia Wall Gruenert laughs and swears it’s just a coincidence, discussing the title of Off the Wall theater’s upcoming play.
After all, the show is called “The Other Place.” Carnegie is simply the new place.
“I had to have somebody point that out to me,” said Gruenert, the company’s artistic director. “I did not do that on purpose, because I chose this play long before we decided to move.”
No matter the name on the program, when the lights come on Friday night inside the 96-seat venue along West Main Street, it will mark a new era for the provocative theater and add yet another piece to Carnegie’s growing arts scene.
Wishing to be closer to the bulk of their supporters and actors, Gruenert and her husband, managing director Hans Gruenert, moved their five-year-old theater from Washington this spring.
“We have a very hardcore group of loyal patrons from Washington. It’s a small group, but they’re there,” Gruenert said.
“The larger percentage is from Pittsburgh and understands that theater is supposed to educate and enlighten and open people’s eyes. That’s what we try to do.”
An empty office space previously occupied by WorkWell Inc., was the right size and location for Off the Wall’s new start. And the community is getting just as much value from the recently finished $150,000 facility.
“We’re not just a theater; we’re a performing arts center,” Gruenert said. “We’ve already made our space available to rent to other companies that don’t have a home . . . dance companies, we have a comedian coming in one night, musicians.
“We’re a 365-day theater.”
One that’s rare around these parts.
The name Off the Wall is more than just a play on Gruenert’s maiden name. It speaks to the mature, often-risqué themes the small company often highlights.
“My choices are dangerous, actually,” she said. “I choose plays that have something to say, that are relevant, that are theatrical, exciting, interesting, thought-provoking, that hit you over the head sometimes. ... That’s not to say we don’t do comedies, but even the comedies I choose are edgy.”
“The Other Place,” which begins a 10-show run at 8 p.m. Friday through Oct. 27, fits the bill as an Off the Wall production. The drama explores the fragility of the mind and reality, featuring a scientist-turned-businesswoman’s disorienting descent into dementia.
“This is a play that speaks to us in our time and in an important way,” said Mark Conway Thompson, who plays the main character’s husband, Ian.
A Pittsburgh resident who teaches drama at Duquesne, he’s happy to see Off the Way closer to home. He said others are, too.
“I had been to plays but not had the occasion to work with the company,” Thompson said. “The buzz from actors who have been here before is, ‘That’s a place where you want to work. They know how to host a production.
“Everyone in the theater community has high hopes that this theater will be well attended because of its proximity to the city.”
Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5816.
Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/2716740-74/gruenert-theater-wall-director-mark-pittsburgh-production-thompson-artistic-carnegie#ixzz29FJJTKeV
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Think Outside the Walls - Pittsburgh magazine Oct. 2012
Way back when, we gave the stamp of approval to Off the Wall Productions — a plucky theater company in
Washington, Pa., that seemed determined to push boundaries and tackle difficult work despite their
impressive distance from the Cultural District.
From their 2007 birth through the spring of this year, they mounted acclaimed productions of
daring work, from Neil LaBute’s gut-wrenching 9-11 drama The Mercy Seat to Diana Son’s
explosive sexuality drama Stop Kiss.
And — while they developed a devoted following — it may have been too hot for Washington.
“We started out as a community theater, and people wanted Neil Simon and musicals,” explains
Managing Director Hans Gruenert. “Which we didn’t want to do. So in our second year, we became
an equity house and we used our theater to develop new plays. We developed quite an audience.....more
Pittsburgh Theater Premiere of Looking For The Pony
A Pittsburgh Theater Regional Premiere
Written by: Andrea Lepcio
Directed by: Robyne Parrish
Starring: Theo Allyn*, Karen Baum*, Daina Michelle Griffith*, Cameron Knight*.
Finalist Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award
Finalist for the NEA Outstanding New American Play Award.
There once were two children who could see the bright side of any situation. One day, they are put in a room filled with manure. Hours later they are discovered laughing, scooping up the manure, digging underneath. “What on earth are you doing?” the children are asked. With beaming smiles they answer, “All this poop, there has to be a pony in here somewhere.”
Eloisa is finally ready to leave a lifeless career in finance to pursue a childhood dream when her sister Lauren is diagnosed with breast cancer. Lauren’s perfect life and Eloisa’s second chance collide as the sisters join forces to cure all that ails them. As funny as it is heart-breaking, Looking for the Pony is a fast-paced journey through the places cancer takes us, dedicated to the fierce love of two sisters.
“The charm, grace, and ingenuity of Looking for the Pony bubbles up as it explores cancer through the intimate bonds of sisterhood… wry, witty, and warm…” – CurtainUp
“…gorgeous, wise, and moving…” – nytheatre.com
Without Ruth - A Pittsburgh Theater & World Premiere
A World Premiere Play
Written by Pittsburgh Playwright Virginia Wall Gruenert
Directed by F.J. Hartland
With: Linda Haston, Diana Ifft, Adrienne Wehr.
If it's not one thing, it's your mother.
While it's true that mothers and daughters often have contentious relationships that will keep therapists in business for decades to come, there is no denying the deep bond that exists between them. Without Ruth deals with the end-of-life decisions that must be made by dutiful daughters, as well as the discord, conciliation, warfare, and ultimate acceptance (whether they like it or not) between strong, independent women bound by love and family.
The Zero Hour
THE ZERO HOUR
Written by Madeleine George
Directed by Robyne Parrish
Rebecca and her chronically unemployed girlfriend, O, have created a happy nest in their run-down walk-up in Queens, but the more O pushes Rebecca to stop hiding their relationship, the more Rebecca's work life—writing a textbook for seventh graders about the Holocaust— begins to bleed into her personal life: She starts meeting World War II Nazis on the 7 train, passing as hipster professionals in New York City but eager to come out about who they really are. O is also sparring with convincingly real visions: her long estranged—and recently dead?—mother keeps showing up to argue with her about her choices. This almost-love story explores the relationship between honesty and cruelty: How do you tell the truth about yourself when that truth might devastate the people you love?
Bold, thoughtful, and incredibly beautiful." - CurtainUp
The Main Event
THE MAIN EVENT, starring Ingrid Ullrich and Josh Himes
Ingrid Ullrich is your ultimate overall entertainer.
Her spicy and sassy appearance on stage whether in dancing, singing, acting, or modeling can light up an audience anywhere.Josh "Handsome Hitman" Himes is a nationally ranked Cruiserweight boxer, and is said to be the future of boxing. Come watch this extremely funny,entertaining comedy.
The evening is MC’d by Pittsburgh newspaper columnist, stand up comedian and funny man Mike Buzzelli.
Extra vocals by Jewel Ullrich.
Pittsburgh New Works Festival at Off The Wall Theater
Things are changing at Pittsburgh New Works! We have a beautiful new home at Off the Wall Theater in Carnegie. We’re also changing the format of the Festival to give you more chances to see all of the shows. The plays are now grouped into four programs. Programs A and B will perform during the first two weeks of the Festival (September 5 – 15) and Programs C and D will perform on the final two weeks of the Festival (September 19 – 29).
Check out web site for more information and ticket reservations.
Day of Giving October 3, 2013 for Pittsburgh Theater
The Day of Giving 2013 will be held on Thursday, October 3,2013
from 12:00 a.m. ET until 11:59:59 p.m. ET.
Since the fall of 2012, during Off The Wall’s first year in Carnegie, our organization has helped dozens of artists fulfill a dream - to showcase their talents on a professional stage.
Our own production company has artistically flourished in the new environment, cooperating with visionary directors and designers who in turn brought out the best in our immensely talented pool of local actors. Our play selection, celebrating the great tradition and value of women’s contribution to the theatrical canon, has been extended from four to six plays, and we are happy to continue to shine
the light on today’s female playwrights.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching out and lifting people up.
This has always been the philosophy of Off The Wall Productions.
Please make it yours, too.
Make Oct. 3 special by designating part of your donation to Off The Wall Productions. There will be a pro-rated match for donations of $ 25.00 to $ 1,000.00, but there are no limits to the amount an individual donor can give. All donations are fully tax deductible.
For more information, please click here: www.pittsburghgives.org/
Red City - Burlesque
with a Holiday Encore is an exciting burlesque-style dance review that combines an old burlesque feel with a provocative, yet classy, modern twist.
Gorgeous professional dancers will take you on an exciting musical journey that’ll make you want to get up and dance, with a holiday ending that is sure to set your holiday spirit a blazing!
Mom, Why Can’t You Get ‘Well’
Well is a seriously funny play! Autobiographical in nature, it is the story of a mother-daughter relationship.
Ann, played by Virginia Wall Gruenert, has galvanized the community by spearheading the racial integration of a Lansing, Michigan neighborhood, but is not able to cure her own mysterious illness, which she attributes to unidentifiable allergies. Lisa, played by Daina Michelle Griffith, struggles with her mother’s inability to heal herself. Lisa not only blames her mother for the impact her health has on her own life, but also assumes that she has the same life altering ‘allergies’ as her mother.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in a Pittsburgh theater, join us for this play. You’ll laugh as you, the audience, are not only entertained by both sides of the story, but become part of the play as the actors and characters voice their awareness of you.
December 13-28. Pittsburgh Theater Live
Well, written by Lisa Kron, is a riotously funny play that acknowledges the heartbreaking challenge of true empathy. Appropriate for ages 16+. Click here for tickets and information. Tickets on sale now.
About Daina Michelle Griffith (Lisa): Daina is thrilled to end 2013 here at Off The Wall surrounded by friends, new and not-so-new. This is her third production with this exciting company, most recently appearing in this season's opener The Zero Hour and last season's Looking for the Pony. Daina just completed a run of The Motherf**ker With The Hat with barebones productions, and was seen earlier in the year in All My Sons (The REP), Viva Los Bastarditos! (No Name Players) and John Gabriel Borkman (Quantum Theatre). She has performed with theatres across the country and in NYC, including Kansas City Starlight, Human Race Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, heXtc, NYC International Fringe Festival, among others. Locally: Pittsburgh Public Theater, Quantum Theatre, PICT, City Theatre, Bricolage, Carrnivale Theatrics, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Musical Theater and Prime Stage. Film: The Dark Knight Rises (Foley's wife), Love and Other Drugs, Civilians. Up next: Company at Pittsburgh Public Theater.
About Virginia Wall Gruenert (Ann): was last seen playing Juliana in The Other Place, Off The Wall’s first production in their new Carnegie venue. A graduate of Syracuse University, she studied acting, voice, and movement in New York, London, and in L.A. with the legendary Stella Adler. Favorite roles include Martha in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Dr. Livingston in Agnes of God, Thelma in ‘night, Mother (Off The Wall), various roles in her original play Shaken & Stirred (Off The Wall and Theater 54 in NYC), Aunt Meme in Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wanda in Kennedy’s Children (Syracuse Stage). Her short play Bugaboo was produced at Swan Day Pittsburgh 2012, and her full-length play Without Ruth was produced here at OTW in May 2013. Virginia is a proud member of The League of Professional Theater Women, The Dramatists Guild of America and Actors’ Equity Association. She serves as Artistic Director of Off The Wall Theater.
Well by Lisa Kron
No one's ever going to accuse Lisa Kron of stinting on ideas in her 2006 Broadway play Well, now at Off the Wall Productions.
A mainstay of downtown New York theater, Kron's crafted much of her work from her family's backstory, which she does with Well ... plus a whole lot more. Here we're introduced to Ann Kron, Lisa's mother, a progressive activist in the '60s who also spent most of her life ill and almost incapacitated.
How Lisa and, by extension, healthy people feel about the ill is a big chunk of Well. But Ann's activism involved desegregation, so there's also discussion about America's racial politics. But mostly, Well is about Well. Lisa is writing the play as she and her company are performing it.
There's a lot going on and, speaking as a recovering playwright, I know it can be rough trying to keep everything together. Which becomes another plot point: The piece spins out of Kron's control, with the actors breaking character and refusing to go on until the playwright finds some cohesion.
The great thing is that all of what Kron has written is terrific; it's a funny, clever, theatrical mash-up of ideas and issues. Does it work as a play? I don't think so; there's too much going on which is (purposefully) unresolved. But there's not a second you'd rather be watching anything else.
Melissa Hill Grande brings a passionate and precise direction to the production. It's not her fault exactly that the event feels so unstructured ... because structure is the last thing on Kron's agenda. The sheer volume of talent in the four-person supporting cast of Tony Bingham, Linda Haston, Alan Bomar Jones and Susie McGregor-Laine is so great you're constantly wishing they had more to do.
Virginia Wall Gruenert's miraculous performance as Ann is as amazing as it is because it's all happening in miniature — crafted from sidelong glances, barely audible sighs and slight tremors of emotion. And Daina Michelle Griffith is luminous as the wounded, loving and all-too-human daughter Lisa, trying to make sense of own her life. Griffith does a remarkable job making her journey through the play our journey as well.
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
ritten by: Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by: Virginia Wall Gruenert
Directed by: Simm Landres
With: Virginia Wall Gruenert*, Ken Bolden*, Shaun Cameron Hall, Sarah Silk*,Weston Blakesley*
he sins of the past are at the heart of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, one of the most controversial plays of the late 19th century and a scathing commentary on the morality of the times. Mrs. Helen Alving has accepted her pastor’s counsel and endured her husband’s many infidelities in silence. Ten years after Alving’s death, she is to dedicate an orphanage in his memory. Her son Oswald, kept innocent of his father’s profligacy, returns home for the dedication. His attraction to the housemaid conjures up the ghost of his parents’ unhappy marriage. This disastrous romance, along with Oswald’s increasing symptoms of the venereal disease inherited from his father, force Mrs. Alving to confront her own “ghosts.”
Admission at off the WALL Theater
EMALE EMPOWERMENT – A TALK WITH THE CHOREOGRAPHER OF “ADMISSION”
fireWALL Dance Theater will once again be performing a world premiere under the direction of Elisa-Marie Alaio. We took a few moments to learn about Elisa-Marie’s newest work, Admission. This is Elisa-Marie’s second original show which she personally conceived and produced. Her first was the well received On The Rox, performed in May of 2014. She also produced the dance production Uproar, which loosely paralleled and ran simultaneously to our off the WALL Production OR,.
off the WALL - Important Traffic Update
Important Traffic Update:
The Carnegie exit ramps off I 376 will be closed in both directions from Feb. 20, 2015 until Dec. 01, 2015. Please give yourself some extra time to come to the theater. The easiest/fastest detour is I 376 to I 79 South. Take the Carnegie exit towards Carnegie.
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT – A TALK WITH THE CHOREOGRAPHER OF “ADMISSION”
THE WONDERFUL RUN OF FIREWALL DANCE THEATER’S ‘ADMISSION’
It’s been a wonderful run! Admission, the most recent fireWALL production on our stage, not only was an amazingly powerful dance performance, it exemplified the very existence of off the WALL (Carnegie Stage) Performing Arts Center! A central theme of our mission is to nurture, challenge, inspire and empower women theater artists, and this production did just that!
TO NURTURE, CHALLENGE, INSPIRE AND EMPOWER WOMEN THEATER ARTISTS
Promote women in theater and the arts: Six vibrant young women were the stars of Admission. Four were local artists, and two joined us from New York City.
Provide a fair wage to working artists: An often unknown, and in some cases overlooked fact, is that theater and dance artists too often work for very low wages or no wages at all. Off the WALL believes that artists are entitled to earn a living wage.
Promote empowerment: Female empowerment was the theme of Admission. The act of coming to recognize the frustrations, to overcome inhibitions as one struggles with obstacles, and finally the power of acknowledging and appreciating individual differences while accepting the support of others, ultimately breaking through the barriers as one strong group.
Promote works created by women: Admission was written by our own Elisa-Marie Alaio of fireWALL dance theater. We strive to produce and perform no less than 50% of our productions by women.
Nurture artists: We are thrilled that we were able to give not one, but two local artists the opportunity to have their creations produced and performed. The concept for Admission was conceived, choreographed and brought to life by Elisa-Marie. Ryan McMasters, our sound engineer, wrote and produced the musical score in its entirety, based on a collaborative work effort with Elisa-Marie.
Pittsburgh Theater - off the WALL TheaterSo a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who made this production a success! To all of our dancers, to our expansive tech and support team, and to you, our audience. It is for you, that drives our inspiration and fuels our passion. We look forward to great new works from fireWALL dance theater in the 2015-16 season. We are happy to hear that after this production there is a growing number of fans in the Pittsburgh area who support, admire and appreciate dance theater.
off the WALL Performing Arts Center | a Pittsburgh Theater
25 West Main, Carnegie, PA 15106 | 6 miles from downtown Pittsburgh
Women's-empowerment theme makes for a strong evening of dance from fireWALL
Admission's real strength came in an onslaught of full-throttle, energetic and athletic dance sequences
By Steve Sucato
Familiar themes of self-acceptance, female empowerment and sisterhood are the driving forces behind fireWALL dance theater's latest production, Admission.
The 50-minute intermissionless dance work, choreographed by fireWALL artistic director/dancer Elisa-Marie Alaio, was staged at the company's home, off the WALL Performing Arts Center. Set to original music and sound by Ryan McMasters, the production began with its all-female cast of six (including Alaio) in silhouette behind a row of large panels at the back of the stage. As a cacophony of recorded whispered voices filled the theater, the dancers, in shadow, poured forth a series of gestures that revealed them in states of worry, self-doubt, and feeling trapped by their own fears.
The dancers then emerged from behind the panels onto a stage crisscrossed with bungee cords. As if caught in a web of similarly destructive feelings, the dancers one by one pushed, pulled and stretched the cords with their bodies, seeming to battle some oppressive force. The bungee cords were miked, and when struck by the dancers they emitted thunderous sounds, adding drama to the sequence that ended with all the dancers coming together to dismantle the bungee web.
or the first half of the largely non-narrative work, Alaio's choreography offered visual metaphors for the dark feelings and emotions underlying its themes. But Admission's real strength and entertainment value came in the onslaught of full-throttle, energetic and athletic dance sequences that followed.
As if suddenly empowered and given the green light to let loose, the dancers launched into exhilarating sequences full of power and pace that had them traversing the stage as a unit in Alaio's bold choreography.
Whirlwind solos by Alaio, Cammi Nevarez and Jenna Rae Smith followed as a seemingly relentless succession of hard-driving movement phrases came one after the other. Alaio's choreography mixed styles from jazz to hip hop, creating wonderful bursts of dancing that at times had the feel and intensity of an opening routine on TV's So You Think You Can Dance.
The evenly matched cast also included dancers Sara Cohen, Grace Cohen and Glenna Clark. They were fabulous, as were the efforts of the production crew, Bob Steineck's lighting and McMaster's filmic score.
A Taste of Brewed
By Scott T. Barsotti
Directed by Steven Wilson
Featuring Siovhan Christensen, Sol Crespo, Tressa Glover, Cindy Jackson, Alex Manalo, Moira Quigley, & Kelly Trumbull
Playing June 26, 27 and 29 AND July 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and 11 at 8 PM at off the WALL Theater in Carnegie (no late seating)
Purchase Tickets in advance and save $5. Advance Tickets: $15 | Tickets at the door: $20
Want a taste of BREWED? Below are clips from reviews of past productions of BREWED produced by various theaters around the country, as collected by the playwright himself on his blog site scott t. barsotti: playwright and author
“When the first line of a play is “motherf@cker,” you know you’re probably in for a good time. BREWED is a lively production full of everything from ultra violence to the supernatural and even some dark family issues.” ~ New City, John Accrocco
“My brother and I sometimes fight, but in the world of BREWED the sisters look like they are auditioning for Fight Club (by the time the play was over there were mangled feet, bloodied noses, and blackened eyes)…BREWED is recommended for its very dark satire and wickedly awesome fight scenes.” ~ Splash Magazine Chicago, Noel Schecter
“[C]austic, darkly funny family drama…What does it mean when loyalty among sisters might in fact be a dirty word? What happens when you can’t turn your back on a person who may be psychotic? What happens when all that estrogen starts to resemble testosterone? I suspect it would look a little something like BREWED.” ~ Chicago Tribune, Nina Metz
SISTERLY LOVE? YOU DECIDE!
SISTERLY LOVE? YOU DECIDE!
It's time to tackle a touch question! What is sisterly love? Some say it's commitment, some say it's an undying bond, some say it's being best friends, and some say it's about sacrifice and obligation. But can it also be, well… about emotions, fist fights, and all out shocking drama?
That's the case with the sisters in No Name Theater’s production of Brewed, which is premiering in Pittsburgh at off the WALL Theater in Carnegie.
The sisters include
Paulette - she's just plain fed up
Collette - let's just say she's clueless
Babette - oh so volatile and crippled
Juliette - she does her best to keep things civil, at least for a while
Roxette - she's full of surprises
If you think your family has problems, you haven't seen anything until you meet these sisters! Nothing is off limits as these sisters 'keep the pot stirred'. The question of sisterly love just might not be the only thing tackled in this play!!
Scared of Sarah a play by Laura Brienza
ily and Sam, an upwardly-mobile young urban couple, are in crisis mode. Lily’s pregnant, and Sam is stuck in a panic that rings entirely true: they owe more than a hundred thousand dollars – how will they support a baby? Then the couple begins to face an even graver but all-too-real possibility: what if their unborn child turns out to be like Lily’s older sister, Sarah? Sarah is autistic—not so far on the scale that she is unable to care for herself, but still very difficult to handle and know, processing the universe in such a seemingly unfathomable way. Sarah’s employed, lives independently, has hobbies, and by all means looks “normal,” but she’s not quite normal. She’s the kind of autistic person that one might interact with every day, not realizing her brain is a little different.
KIMONO - a new work
Kimono explores the theme of social justice through the experience of victims, the evil of predation, and the culpability of predators. With the help of a woman who appears on his doorsteps, a traumatized man, an artist, reconstituted his life through the transformational work of creating beautiful kimonos. The result is that together they discover the will and courage to do that remaining thing that should be done — to call out, expose, and symbolically drive back the predator.
Kimono deals with the subject of predation and victimization in a form that resembles a parable. It aspires to recount a horrible story in an eerily beautiful way, juxtaposing scenes of ugliness with very beautiful ones.