Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Dramaturgy Go Nowhere: Julie Shavers @ Edfringe 2017

TIME: 1:25pm 
DATES & PRICES: 3rd-28th August (not 14th or 21st)
£14-12. Previews @ £8.

From Black Rocking Chair Productions and critically acclaimed playwright Julie Shavers comes a brand new black comedy and a deliciously dark script for this year’s Fringe-goers. 

Workshopped under the guidance of Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel at the esteemed Sewanee Writers Conference, Shavers’ new comedy satirizes the extreme competition and achievement-obsessed culture of Los Angeles. Lala Land isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; it’s surveillance by the neighbours, the police and the PTA.  In a world where strangers snap cell phone videos of you for leaving your child in the car, or call the cops if your kid walks home alone from the playground, it can feel as if everyone is out to get you. 

Mary Go Nowhere is an absurdist take on trying to get by as a parent in LA, where if the droughts, fires and earthquakes don’t get you, your fellow parents will.  Mary’s 3 year old son curses, carries a gun and brings spiders to school.   Trying to keep him enrolled and keep up with the Joneses has got Mary at her wit’s end.   This is a story of one October in Los Angeles, where the weather and residents are hot and mean, and Mary is going nowhere.  

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I was inspired by being new to Los Angeles. It's such a strange and varied place from the landscape to the people. Also the current social climate in the US is totally weird. Everyone is watching everyone else and cataloguing grievances along the way. There seems to be a lack of trust and camaraderie. Like everyone who is different is dangerous. And everyone is different. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Absolutely. My work is very personal. I write what I see. The little things that are ignorable in real life show up more clearly under the magnifying glass of theatre. I think this effect is greater when you experience it in a room full of people. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

My parents were musicians and I began singing and dancing at a very young age. I wrote my first play when I was eight years old. It's what I've always done. Nothing moves me like live performance and I want to give that experience to others.

Does the show fit with your usual
My last several shows have been more spectacular, in that they have included a lot of music dance and multimedia. This play is more of a story. A very funny, dark and twisted story, but more about relationships than fanfare. Until the end at least. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope that the audience will laugh. Maybe that they'll recognize something that makes them feel their own humanity. Maybe they'll hate me. It's hard to know. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

The cast is really important to this play. We have chosen people who understand comedy and can make it fun for the audience. We are also committed to creating a highly theatrical experience. Something different than you might see on screen. 

This production reunites director Paul Urcioli and star Dan O’Brien, who return to the Fringe for the first time in 17 years following their 2000 Scotsman Fringe First winning, highly acclaimed production of Brian Park’s Americana Absurdum. Mike McShane has now been confirmed as cast member, watch this space for further cast announcements! 

Paul Urcioli (director)
The main acting teacher at David Mamet's Atlantic School for the last 20 years, Paul has appeared in numerous Hollywood movies including Viral, The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Wolf of Wall Street, Adult Beginners, Shelter, Thanks for Sharing, Morning Glory, 3 Backyards as well as countless TV series; Elementary, Blue Bloods, The Americans, The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Unforgettable, Homeland, The Good Wife, Golden Boy, Royal Pains, The Unusuals, Cupid, Fringe, Cashmere Mafia, Six Degrees, Conviction, Law and Orders, Third Watch, Sex and the City, All My Children, The Guiding Light and a recurring role on the CBS drama Queens Supreme.  He’s currently producing the feature Phoenix to be directed by Amy Redford.
His New York Theatre credits:  Point Last Seen (Atlantic Theatre Company 2nd Stage), The Invitation (Ohio Theatre), Goner, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, (The Present Company) Over the River and Through the Woods (The John Houseman), Americana Absurdum (Lucille Lortel and P.S. 122) Greg Kotis’ Eat the Taste (Barrow Street Theatre).  Internationally:  Americana Absurdum (Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2000) and at the Menier Theatre in London in 2004. 
Directing credits include an all-female version of The Learned Ladies (Cake Productions and Ateh Theatre Group), Reckless, Weekend at an English Country Estate (Ateh), Revenge of the Space Pandas, Our Town, The Devil & Billy Markham, Twelfth Night, Bridezilla Strikes Back (NY Fringe Festival Award Winner), Brian Parks’ Suspicious Package (HERE), The Rimers of Eldritch, The Women, Pullman Car Hiawatha, Harm’s Way, Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet.  
Paul has taught Acting, Improvisation, Sketch Comedy and On-Camera Technique at the Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School, PACE University, The Tom Todoroff Conservatory and On Camera Technique at The Matt Newton Acting Studio and was an Artist in Residence at Oberlin College teaching acting, movement, improvisation and performing with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  

“Indie Theatre All Star Julie Shavers,” (nytheatre.com) is a playwright, actress, choreographer and mama from Shelbyville, TN.   In 2014 she participated in the Sewanee Writer’s Conference as a Tennessee Williams Scholar with Paula Vogel and Dan O’Brien. In 2006 she participated in the Royal Court Theatre’s New York residency with Simon Stephens and was a finalist for the Emerging Artists program at the Public Theatre.  Recent productions of her work include Silver Bullet Trailer (Ohio Theatre 2008), Go Robot Go (The New York International Fringe Festival 2004), Sunshine on a Monkey’s Balls (Vineyard Theatre 2004), The Secret Life of Plants (The American Globe Theatre 2003), The Kitchen is Small (The Planet Ant Theatre, Detroit 2003) and Lips and Assholes (The Red Room, NYC 2002).  She currently lives as a minivan hobo with her husband and three little boys somewhere between New York, Los Angeles, Virginia and Tennessee. And just between us chickens, Tennessee is still her favourite.
As an actress, The New York Times praised "the compelling Julie Shavers" for her work as the title character in Len Jenkin's Margo Veil at The Flea. Other acting credits include Adam Bock's Three Guys and a Brenda at the Lucille Lortel and Julia Barclay's multi-genre collaborative Word to No One, produced by the Present Company at Siti Company in NY and the Camden People’s Theatre in London.

Dan O’Brien is a Los Angeles based actor, director, voice over artist and producer.   He has worked with Academy Award winning writers and directors from Aaron Sorkin to Erol Morris, but also in church basements, fringe festivals and community arts centres all over the world.
TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, and two seasons as Mark on the NBC primetime sitcom Whitney (aired in the UK on Comedy Central).   Dan’s TV experience has given him the opportunity to work with award winning talent like John Cleese, Ben Stiller, James Burrows, Andy Ackerman, and more. 
He earned a Scotsman Fringe First Award for his work in America Absurdum by Brian Parks at the 2000 Edinburgh Festival and has since worked on numerous productions in theatres in New York and London including The Atlantic, The Flea, The Vineyard, The Ohio, and The Camden Peoples Theatre.
He and playwright Julie Shavers first met when he auditioned for a play she wrote in 2002.  Since then, they have produced a half a dozen critically acclaimed plays, married, and had three beautiful sons.  

Four time 2017 Emmy nominated (inc. Best Actor) American actor, singer and improvisational comedian, Mike was an original regular contestant on Whose Line Is It Anyway? on Channel 4. Other TV credits include Seinfeld, Malcolm in the Middle and Doctor Who. He played Friar Tuck in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves alongside Kevin Costner, provided the voices for Tuck and Roll in Disney’s A Bug’s Life, and has starred in various Fringe productions over the years, including the highly acclaimed Talk Radio in 2006. 

Chris previously originated the role of Christian Grey off-Broadway in 50 Shades! The Musical, co-wrote and performed in Fringe smash-hit Thrones! The Musical Parody, and performs regularly with Baby Wants Candy. His TV credits include Superstore, This Is Us, Idiotsitter, The Thundermans, Serious Music. Film: That Awkward Moment. He earned his BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts. 

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