Pigpen Profile

Pigpen Profiles: Tony Moschetti

Like the start of a bad joke, the doctor and the priest step out on stage this week played by our own Tony Moschetti.

What is your theatre background?

I did youth community theatre classes when I was in middle school because my parents wanted me to have a hobby and flag football made me cry. I eventually received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from NAU, and a couple years ago Taylor and I started doing our own productions with some friends.

How do you feel about true crime?

I’m actually fairly indifferent to it. My wife listens to some true crime podcasts and I’ll listen in sometimes, but I don’t seek it out. I get the appeal, I just like fiction more.

What is a favorite family memory you have?

Unlike the dynamic in Per, my parents and my wife do try to get along. I remember once we all went to this orchard in southern Arizona called Apple Annie’s. We had gone as a kid so I built it up a lot and was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But there is something so satisfying and fun about picking fruits and veggies. Where else can you use the word bushel casually?

What’s next for you in theatre?

I will be acting in one of the short plays featured in our Now What? event in October, and then I will be directing Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner by Darcy Parker Bruce in January.

What’s something you love that you wish you got to talk about more?

I have a sincere love for James Bond movies, slasher movies, and kung fu movies. I feel like I know people who also like those things, but haven’t been able to really geek out.

Just for fun: Tacos, Burgers, or Pizza?

If I had to pick one, maybe Burgers? If I didn’t have to pick one, I would get 2 huge New York cheese slices, cover them with chorizo, beans and salsa, fold them over, and use them as a bun for a bacon cheeseburger. Yeah.

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

Pigpen Profiles: Eliana Burns

Continuing the spotlight on Per, we have our tragic ingenue (and part-time blood dealer) Eliana Burns.

What is your theatre background?

I have been acting since I was 7 , doing costumes and makeup since I was 13 and directing since I was 16. Some of my favorite roles in the past were Tricia in Parlor Games, Van Helsing in Dracula, #4 in Yellow Boat, and House in Under the Rug/Debajo de la Alfombra. This show is definitely one of my new favorites!

How do you feel about true crime?

I have been obsessed with true crime since middle school. I listen to Crime Junkie or My Favorite Murder on my way to class every day. I’ve seen pretty much every episode of Forensic Files. I also have some very strong opinions about the JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson cases.

What is a favorite family memory you have?

Every year, my mom and I go to see the Nutcracker during the holidays. We’ve been doing this since I was 5, so we always get to compare the differences in each version afterward. The best year was in a smaller venue in Chandler where they incorporated dogs that were up for adoption into the show.

What’s next for you in theatre?

After this, I plan to continue auditioning for shows around the valley!

What’s something you love that you wish you got to talk about more?

I am currently majoring in Sustainability with a minor in Political Science, so I love talking about sustainability and politics, or specifically environmental politics, which is the field I plan to go into. Beyond that, I love talking about my pets or conspiracy theories.

Just for fun: Tacos, Burgers, or Pizza?

Tacos

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

Pigpen Profiles: Dolores Mendoza

Next up in the cast of Per, playing our macabre momma Anna, Dolores Mendoza!

What is your theatre background

I’ve been in and around theatre since middle school, but I’ve loved it even before that.  After being all about theatre in high school, I took a ten-year hiatus to work in corporate America and realized that my life was miserable without it.  I’ve since gone back to study theatre here at Mesa Community College where I’ve been able to act, design, and direct – and adore every minute of everything.  I’ve since been able to step out into the valley theatre community with Stray Cat Theatre and Laughing Pig Theatre – doing acting and properties design.

How do you feel about true crime?

True crime is such a guilty pleasure for me.  I’m strange because the more tame and “everyday” the situation is, the sadder it is for me, and I can’t watch it.  But if it’s over the top, twisted and creepy, I’m super fascinated.  I don’t know what that says about me other than I’m awful.

-What is a favorite family memory you have?

A favorite family memory I have is a New Year’s Eve that we spent in our upstairs living room, which was basically bare aside from a record player, playing with balloons that were filled with homemade confetti and singing and dancing to oldies records all night.  It was my mom, my dad, my older sister and her then-boyfriend (now-husband), my younger brother, and I.  It always makes me smile when I think about it.

What’s next for you in theatre?

Next up in theatre, I’m thrilled to be directing “Made With Love” for Laughing Pig’s “Now What” short play fest!  I can’t wait!

-What’s something you love that you wish you got to talk about more?

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about Cup O’Karma.  It’s a little non-profit cafe that holds a special place in my heart due to where it came from and where it has grown.  It’s located inside the Chandler Public Library at 22 S. Delaware St., Chandler, AZ 85225 and benefits the SEEDs program.  The Support, Education, Empowerment & DirectionS program is a transitional housing project of the National Advocacy & Training Network that helps to address the unmet needs of battered and sexually abused women and their children. The program is a community-based, safe, sober living environment committed to the physical, mental, and emotional healing of women whose lives have been affected by substance abuse and violence.  Not only is the staff lovely, the drinks and food delicious, and do they host great music, but it all benefits a wonderful cause.  Go check it out if you can!

-Just for fun: Tacos, Burgers, or Pizza?

This is like making me choose between my children.  Can we just say that all are beautiful in their own special and unique ways?  (And then just agree to get pizza.  Pepperoni with extra cheese, please.)

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

Pigpen Profiles: Nathan Smith

The Pigpen is open again with the cast of Per, opening this Friday, September 20. To start us off is the man himself, Perses Nilsson, played by Nathan Smith:

What is your theatre background?

I started acting in high school and since then I’ve never considered stopping. I continued performing at Mesa Community College, and these days I am lucky  to be able to focus on improving as a performer with excellent local theatres like Laughing Pig! 

How do you feel about true crime?

I’m conflicted. I think a fascination with darkness is normal, and I love a good documentary no matter the subject. However, I feel the genre has contributed to an unrealistic sense of fear and mistrust. If you pick up a hitch hiker, the odds are probably higher that you’ll kill them in a wreck than that they’ll murder you. Which one are you worried about though?

What is a favorite family memory you have?

I recently said that Ceres was an asteroid and my 3 year old nephew immediately corrected and told me it was a dwarf planet. 

What’s next for you in theatre?

Who really knows? Maybe a meteorite will destroy the human race on closing night. If not, I’m always auditioning for new shows around the valley! 

What’s something you love that you wish you got to talk about more?

The great Pyramid at Giza has 8 sides, not 4. It is built of about 2,300,000 stones weighing from 2-80 tons each, cut and carried from miles away in Aswan and then somehow lifted as high as 140 meters to be placed. It was was painstakingly built upon a non-level surface to incorporate the “subterranean chamber,” and an existing electromagnetic anomaly. It incorporates the values of Pi, and Fi, and the accurate circumference of the Earth into its proportions and while it was coated in limestone, the interior and largest stones are granite- which is among the hardest stones worked by man, and will break copper tools with barely a scratch.

Just for fun: Tacos, Burgers, or Pizza?

Tacos.

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!

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.

 

Upcoming Performance

The Courage to Speak Our Truths, reflecting on Sensitive Guys

Sensitive Guys by MJ Kaufman

“It’s about hearing someone.”

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We are living through history. There has never been a more critical time to discuss the issues that Sensitive Guys by MJ Kaufman unabashedly sheds light on. The Me Too movement has sparked a heated debate that many politicians and people are choosing to ignore or sweep under the rug. Women are at the door, clamoring to have their stories heard and validated. When all of those experiences are being shared, it begs an important question: How often do we actually hear what the people in our lives are trying to communicate to us? Do we sit down to have a serious conversation with others with the intent of listening to their side or do we just want to share our own point of view and be told we’re correct?

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Whether or not we care to admit it, sexual assault is pervasive in our society. It is a heated issue that requires us to actually sit down with one another as people in order to find a solution that works. This point is illustrated perfectly in Sensitive Guys through the formation of two separate groups with spoken confidentiality agreements. The men agree that they will not judge one another or report on one another (pending the severity of the problem, of course) and the women have a similar accord—no judgement, but we’ll help one another report if the want to do so exists. These two groups of people sit down and discuss the issue of sexual assault, but only amongst themselves. When the issue is brought up between two characters when they’re alone together, both are too afraid to confront the issue head on. This is a keen reflection of how the issue of sexual assault is being addressed in the States today.

Truth be told, it’s hard not to find a single incomprehensible moment throughout the whole play. Survivors in Kaufman’s play are talked out of their right to justice for the sake of not disrupting the status quo. Women are told to drop out of classes in order to not harm the futures of their perpetrators. It’s a story we’ve heard in the news one too many times. It’s a story that many of us have experienced one too many times.

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I could sit here and write out each and every experience I’ve run into in my own life, or I could encourage you to sit down with the people in your life and start that terrifying discussion. Speaking from recent experience, you’ll be surprised what people don’t realize is problematic. Were we all unafraid enough to engage in authentic, difficult conversations, we could begin the important work of negating rape culture and eliminating sexual assault. It will require the courage to speak our truths (on both sides of the argument) and the courage to hear what others are trying to say. If we want to solve the problem, we have to be willing to understand one another, even when it feels impossible.

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Sensitive Guys does a great job of showing what happens when we are afraid to talk to one another. In the Men’s Peer Education Group, their tradition of self-reporting turns into the act of smothering the issue and refusing to listen when somebody finally tries to broach the subject. Again, this is an acute comment on society as a whole. We’re all so used to smothering the issue of sexual assault that there are times when we can’t even talk to members of our own gender about it. Smothering the issue allows us to ignore our own feelings in regard to our actions or the actions of others. But we have to accept our feelings and take care of them. It’s poignantly pointed out in the play that we should not take care of one another’s feelings in such a fragile situation. The issue of sexual assault is not about keeping our truths from one another. It’s about confronting acts of barbarism head on and agreeing on what is and is not socially acceptable.

Directed by Clare Thompson and filled with a cast of powerful actors unafraid to deliver a raw, authentic performance, Sensitive Guys by MJ Kaufman is an important play to see. Go. Experience. Start a discussion. Be prepared to listen.

You can catch Sensitive Guys at Laughing Pig Theatre on June 22, 22, 28, and 29 at 7:30pm at the Mesa Arts Center in the Acting Studio. The Acting Studio is located up the big lit stairs on the second floor of Studios South. You can purchase tickets here.

 

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Story 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.