Pigpen Profile, Upcoming Performance

Pigpen Profiles: Dayna Renee Donovan

Closing our Pigpen for Always Plenty of Light in the Starlight All Night Diner, opening this Friday, January 10th, is the lovely Dayna Renee Donovan playing the Starlight expert and lover Sam.

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What is your favorite and least favorite part about them?
My favorite part is the overarching theme of family. The focus is on how family is comprised of who you choose, not those you’re related to and that rings true to my heart.
My least favorite part is eating the licorice. I usually refrain from sugar in January after eating and baking pies, cakes and cookies throughout November and December.
 
Why did you want to be involved in this show?
I quite enjoyed the script. Also, it was a nice break from drama. My last two shows were quite heavy.
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If you could travel to any time in history, when and where would you want to travel? Why? What would you want to see?
Ancient Italy. I’ve been there several times. It’d be cool to see all of the buildings and churches in their original form.
What is your favorite type of Pie? Convince us.
My grandmother’s sweet potato pie. She took the time to de-vein the sweet potatoes and cook them just right. It’s super smooth and kinda creamy. Yum!
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What is next for you? 
A quick break. I’ve been in back to back shows since July. I’m going to take some time off to prep for 20/21 general auditions and audition for one other project later this season, unless of course an offer comes along. I was supposed to take a break in July and another in November, but I never pass up a role and show I feel drawn to.
Handles or anything we should follow?
Nah. They’re private, ish. I’ll create a theater one here soon, though.
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Get your tickets now for Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner today, playing Friday-Saturday nights January 10-18 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Discounts available for students, educators, veterans and theatre artists!
Pigpen Profile, Upcoming Performance

Pigpen Profiles: Casey Anderson

Continuing the spotlight on Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner by Darcy Bruce, we have the doctor played by the super kind and all around cool guy, Casey Anderson.
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What is your favorite and least favorite part about Dr. Moxi?
I truly wish the Dr. would be more open to communicate his feelings with those around him in a more intelligible manner? Yeah, yeah, if people actually communicated then there goes like 99 percent of all drama, but this is just like a what if, ya know?
 
Why did you want to be involved in this show?
I wanted to be involved with this show because everything Laughing Pig Theatre does is passion driven. Performing like this is new to me and daunting at times and they create a space where I feel comfortable and challenged.
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If you could travel to any time in history, when and where would you want to travel? Why? What would you want to see?
Hands down I’d love to travel to the Manhattan area before colonizers came and mucked it up. I watched A New World by Terrence Malick and yeah he clearly didn’t film then/there but his images of it where gorgeous.
 
What is your favorite type of Pie? Convince us.
Lemon meringue tart. I think that counts as a pie. Anyway, the crust is more substantial than those flaccid apple pies or punkin pies. And the tart lemon custard makes your mouth pucker just a bit and the toasted meringue on top really mellows it out is to die for.
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What is next for you? 
Next I’ll be in another Laughing Pig Theatre production called Shopping and F*$#%ing. It’s gonna be rad. Come check it out
Get your tickets now for Per, playing Friday-Saturday nights September 20-28 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Discounts available for students, educators, veterans and theatre artists!
Pigpen Profile, Upcoming Performance

Pigpen Profiles: Itzel Romero

Next up in Pigpen Profiles with the cast of Always Plenty of Light in the Starlight All Night Diner, opening this Friday, January 10th. We have the quirky and lovable wunderkind Danni played by the wonderful Itzel Romero.
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Picture credit from Funny for a Girl by Bella Tindall
What is your favorite and least favorite part about them?
My favorite part of the show is watching the romance between Sam and Jessa develop throughout the show. You can see how much they care for and pine fro each other, and then as they come together-! It’s lovely and I really enjoy watching it happen.
My  least favorite part would be the time travelling slow motion- and that’s only because I myself am so bad at keeping the right timing. I always end up in the wrong place- I just feel a little silly when I’m sitting and done and everyone else is still going or vice versa. (。´∀`)ノ
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Why did you want to be involved in this show?
To be honest, I saw the character descriptions and I was like Yup! This is for me! It’s LGBT and got dinosaurs, that’s my whole deal, I’m IN! Then I read the play, and honestly I really loved it. I think it’s a lot of fun and clever and I just got more excited than I did before about this show and the story it tells.
If you could travel to any time in history, when and where would you want to travel? Why? What would you want to see?
Y’know? I never have a good answer to this question. I’d like to see some dinosaurs, but then again I could go to renaissance times and wreak havoc with their perception of mythology…… Ahhh I don’t know! There’s a lot of history out there and I just don’t know where I’d start.
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What is your favorite type of Pie? Convince us.
My favorite pie is lemon meringue. It’s the best pie because it has two of the best elements for a pie: cream/meringue on top & just lemon on bottom. It’s like an edible slice of lemonade, only better. I hear what you’re saying, “But what about other fruit pies? There are a lot that are structured in the way you just described.” Well to that I say; Lemon is the superior citrus fruit and on its own it is delicious, and as a pie! The pie is a perfect mix of sweet and tangy, the perfect refresher as dessert after a meal or even on its own. Lemons are good, pie is good. Together? Preeetttttyyyyyy nice.
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What is next for you? 
I’m not sure yet! I’m finishing my degree by May, so I haven’t been looking for other opportunities to keep focus. But working on a show is so much fun that I should probably just find more, huh?
Handles or anything we should follow?
I’ve only got an instagram, @space.unicron  if anyone would like to follow me there. (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤
Get your tickets now for Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner today, playing Friday-Saturday nights January 10-18 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Discounts available for students, educators, veterans and theatre artists!
Pigpen Profile, Upcoming Performance

Pigpen Profiles: Erin Cote

The Pigpen is open again with the cast of Always Plenty of Light in the Starlight All Night Diner, opening this Friday, January 10th. To start us off is one of our leading ladies, Jessa, played by the incredibly talented Erin Cote:
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What is your favorite and least favorite part about Jessa?
My favorite part about Jessa is her resilience. Even with everything she is going through, she seems like the person who will figure it out and land on her feet. My least favorite part (and I’ve been struggling with this) is her selfishness. Does she honestly love Sam (I think a part of her does) or is it just the convenience of not having to be alone (I also think this is part of it, too.)
 
Why did you want to be involved in this show?
This is a good challenge for me. I love romance and comedy, but I usually play people I easily like. It was a challenge playing someone that I disagree with and think is a kinda terrible person! Jessa is a tease.
 
If you could travel to any time in history, when and where would you want to travel? Why? What would you want to see?
Most likely Elizabethan England to see Shakespeare. I love the bard.
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What is your favorite type of Pie? Convince us.
My mom makes this special pie every thanksgiving we call sugar pie or graham cracker pie. It is a custard pie that is vanilla flavored. It has a graham cracker crust and a meringue topping. It is my favorite because not only is it damn delicious, but seeing it means we are on vacation. I never see this pie in restaurants, but everyone I make it for always says “wow this is so good”. It is, because it’s made by a sweet and kind mom from Indiana. 
 
What is next for you?
I’m still on LPT’s improv team, but I’m very excited to take a wee break. Been involved in back to back shows and need to recharge my artistic battery. Recharge usually doesn’t take long hahaha
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Handles or anything we should follow?
You can read more about me at misscote.com
Get your tickets now for Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner today, playing Friday-Saturday nights January 10-18 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Discounts available for students, educators, veterans and theatre artists!
Reflection, Upcoming Performance

Per: A New Take on the True Crime Dialogue

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Last night, Laughing Pig Theatre opened the world premiere of Per by Donald Loftus. The playwright flew in specifically for the occasion, the audience was packed, and the dedicated artists at Laughing Pig carried the moment off with all of the momentousness a world premiere demands.

The artists at Laughing Pig Theatre are unafraid to take chances on controversy. This summer, they brought Abortion Road Trip to the Valley. This weekend and next weekend (September 27 and 28th), Laughing Pig Theatre brings to life the story of a young man named Per who has been locked away in Konradsberg insane asylum. From the moment the first act starts, you know this is something new for our theatre company. It feels fresh and experimental. But despite the fact that Per is something of a different direction for Laughing Pig, nothing about it feels contrived or like it’s trying too hard.

As something of a true crime buff, I walked into the opening night of Per with high expectations and I was not disappointed. And having been fortunate enough to sit in on the auditions for the show, I knew this was going to be something special. Erin Cote’s casting choices during auditions left me with chills that carried into opening night. This is her directorial debut, but you’d never guess with her talent for picking the right actor for each role. Her target audience will come for the true crime and get sucked into the gripping reality that she and her actors have created.

Per’s story makes you question what “truth” actually is. There’s perception and there’s reality, and then there’s the way our perceptions mold our realities. Per (Nathan Smith) lives out his days in the Konradsberg asylum, tormented by the ghosts of his executed mother and his murdered wife. As he unravels the story and comes to terms with his demons, the audience watches, enthralled, as corruption bleeds into the stark white set. Dolores E. Mendoza will send chills rattling down your spine right before the climax of the play. I literally leaned back in my seat and stared at her, mouth ajar, wanting to know the truth.

It’s not all blood curdling screams from Natalie Payan’s Mrs. Arnborg (she also plays the nurse) or devastating looks from Eliana Burns’ Hannah, though. Tony Moschetti brings some unexpected levity to the beginning of Per as the church’s father (he also plays a dual role as Per’s doctor).

Per is a different format than we usually get for a true crime. I digest true crime in all ways: novels, podcasts, T.V. shows… Laughing Pig Theatre’s production of this play proves that different is not a bad thing. Loftus’ story is an interesting take on true crime dialogue. Sure, you’re not getting comic relief that’s intended to distract from the horror, and you’re not getting a new tome to add to your true crime library, but what you’re getting is eighty uninterrupted minutes of terror and suspense. There are no streaming platforms asking if you’re still watching this gruesome story, there are no commercials barging in right at the juiciest parts, and there is no one interrupting your quiet reading time. It’s you and the other audience members, held in thrall by Laughing Pig Theatre’s insanely talented cast and crew (no pun intended).

 

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Article written by Alaina Bair

Alaina is a writer who lives in Phoenix. She is a proud feminist and likes to spend her spare time volunteering with women’s rights organizations, reading voraciously, and spending time with her loved ones.

 

Auditions, Upcoming Performance

Audition For Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner

We are looking to fill two roles in our upcoming production of Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner by Darcy Parker Bruce!

Auditions will be Sunday, September 22 at the Mesa Arts Center Drama Studio from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Be prepared for cold reads with other performers.

NOTE: Both of these roles should be played by female-identifying and/or non-binary performers of color. Special consideration will be given to queer-identifying performers.

SAM– (Late 30s, F) Overnight janitor at the Starlight. Very observant, a hard Masculine-of-Center  presenting queer on the outside but a real softie on the inside. Totally and hopelessly in love with Jessa. Lives in her truck. Sometimes couch- surfs or catches a break with a generous lady. Loves the Starlight second only to Jessa, but that’s debatable. Prone to motion sickness induced by sudden Time Travel.

DANNI– (Early 20s, F) Dr. Moxie’s graduate assistant (read: slave) baseball fan and TOTAL dino buff, Danni knows more about the Cretaceous and the Diamondbacks than most folks in Arizona. Loves to read. Collects baseball cards and is also just the right amount of concerned about that comet- you know the one- that’s supposed to pass by Earth tonight? That, big streak of white light in the night sky?

Rehearsals are Mon-Wed 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM, beginning October 21.

Performances are January 10-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 PM. Pay is a $75 stipend.

You can sign up for a slot here:

https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/70A0E4CAAA62BA3FC1-always

If you have questions or concerns, please email tonym.lpt@gmail.com!

Reflection, Upcoming Performance

Fearless Vulnerability: a look at Abortion Road Trip by Rachel Lynett

ARTAbortion. It’s a word that puts everyone on edge. Science versus religion. Democrats versus Republicans. Men versus women. Person versus person. The word causes arguments to sling from all sides. Rarely do people stop shouting each other down to actually listen to the scientific research or the logic behind Roe v. Wade. This past weekend, the talented team over at Laughing Pig Theatre held a limited engagement of Rachel Lynett’s Abortion Road Trip. The title itself is a loaded gun, especially in our current political climate, but the show provided the perfect setting to shed light on this pertinent issue and engage the community in an important discussion.

Abortion Road Trip is a thought-provoking work. Three individual women whose three vastly different circumstances all ended with the same decision unknowingly join together for a journey that breaks them down and finally asks them to allow themselves the vulnerability to let their peers be vulnerable as well. Because that’s what vulnerability needs—the willingness of the listener or supporter to also be vulnerable.

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How do we allow ourselves that vulnerability, though? How do we deal with our own tumultuous emotions in someone else’s emotionally charged situation, especially if it’s something that so resembles something we went through ourselves? Vulnerability and honesty beget good relationships—not just relationships of a romantic sort, but relationships of all natures. So if we know those stakes, it’s about finding the strength to trust ourselves with someone else’s heart and allowing them the same chance to accept ours as well.

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That’s what Lynett’s carefully-crafted dialogue leads to. In the deft hands of Taylor Moschetti, Minnie is the big sister and best friend everyone knows. She’s savvy, sassy, and has a big heart. And when she takes the final step to break down her emotional barriers, you feel it. Her vulnerability brings all three women together in a show of solidarity. Without that willingness, Katya Orozco’s Lexa would never realize that she doesn’t just have to draw strength from herself. And Elaine Zimpleman’s Driver provides the unexpected, tentative warmth of a stranger who knows how important it is to never feel alone when you’re in your darkest moments. (Clare Thompson and Lydia Corbin cannot be excluded from this praise. Without Thompson’s Quinn and her erratic, misplaced displays of the wrong kind of support, the audience wouldn’t have the glimpse they needed into the other side of the argument. Corbin’s Mom shows us all how important unconditional love, support, and acceptance are in this world.)

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Under Tony Moschetti’s direction, Rachel Lynett’s play and the following talkback blossomed into an opportunity for understanding. Not only were the actors’ emotions tangible, but the audience’s emotions were tangible as well. The room was charged, electric. Catharsis felt imminent. The vulnerability was fragile. It’s a testament to the directing and the acting that such intense emotions were still felt in the aftermath of the play. It’s a good day when you can sit down in a room full of virtual strangers and talk without the shame or judgment that usually holds us back.

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Laughing Pig Theatre does an amazing job of creating a real, emotional experience for their audiences. If you’re looking for shows with talent and heart by the Mesa Arts Center. Laughing Pig Theatre is unafraid to present material on topics that are toughest. They are unafraid to ask their actors to dig deep. No doubt you’ll be thoroughly impressed by the world premiere of Donald Loftus’ Per. September 20, 21, 27, or 28—save any of those dates and check out another amazing performance from a theater company whose star shines bright across the Valley.

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Article written by Alaina Bair

Alaina is a writer who lives in Phoenix. She is a proud feminist and likes to spend her spare time volunteering with women’s rights organizations, reading voraciously, and spending time with her loved ones.