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.

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Pigpen Profile, Upcoming Performance

Pigpen Profiles: FML Writers & Actors

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Laughing Pig is powering through the remainder of our 18-19 season with the speed and determination of a pedicab driver who’s short on rent.

Tonight we open our third Monologue Cafe, where writers submitted themed monologues to be performed by talented local artists. This time it’s all about those classic tales of shame and absurdity we call #FML.

To get us in gear, we have continued our artist spotlight series with three tag teams of writers and performers you can see this weekend and next: Luke and Sergio, Alina and Shannyn, & Cynthia and Lydia. Hey

Luke Gomez – Writer:

What is your background with writing?
I started writing in high school nobody told me to stop throughout high school and now so if you don’t like my monologue that’s on them. I’ve had a quite a few of my plays performed in Phoenix but it’s been a hot minute.
How did the FML theme inspire you?
Well it made me think back on some rather unfortunate times, mostly hilarious in retrospect but at the time were not. I went with one that felt pretty funny at the time too.
Why is it important to share our lessflattering moments?
Our embarassments are ways we can sometimes feel out of control or even lower than others. If you own them, it becomes like an armor. I think thats a Game of Thrones quote.
Was there another story you considered sharing, but held back on?
Theres a lot, most of them booze related. There was one time I got lost in the woods and another time I woke up with a stop sign. There’s also a lot of non booze stories but not as funny.
What are you expecting from the performance?
I’m hoping the audience properly laughs at my dumbness.

Sergio Hans Martinez – Performer 

• What is your background with acting?
I was involved in theater in high school, but in the nine years since, I haven’t done any acting until now.
• What was your reaction to the piece you received?
When I first saw my piece I found it difficult to relate to, as I myself am not prone to blackout drunk moments. But then as I read into it, I realized that the monologue is also about the awkward situations this guy got into and the effort he was willing to put forward to avoid catastrophic embarrassment. And I think we can all see ourselves in that.
•Why is it important to share our less-flattering moments?
I think sharing embarrassing or shameful moments helps others get through tough times, and that’s always good. That being said, there are a few stories that are better kept to ourselves.
• Did this experience remind you of any of your own experiences?
At my drunkest, I too have made coworkers uncomfortable, destroyed property, and urinated in plain view of innocent bystanders. The difference between these stories and my monologue are that they are among my best memories!
•What are you expecting from the performance?
Ideally, I will be scouted at this performance to play Aegon Targaryen in the new Game of Thrones spinoff series. In the unlikely event that doesn’t happen, I have no backup plan.

Alina Rios – Writer:

What is your background with writing?
I’m a published poet and fiction writer and have been writing since I can remember myself, although I began writing in Russian (my first language). I discovered playwriting in 2017 and am completely head over hills with this medium. I have been living and breathing plays since.
• How did the FML theme inspire you?
It’s a brilliant display of character isn’t it, to see them deal with embarrassment. It tells so much in so little time.
 
•Why is it important to share our less-flattering moments?
Because we need to be reminded that we are all only human. We’re not alone in this.
 
•Was there another story you considered sharing, but held back on?
Yes, but it was too long.
 
•What are you expecting from the performance?
I’m hoping it is a slow and steady burn, and I hope that by the end, it hits you in the stomach, and you connect.

Shannyn Hall – Performer:

• What is your background with acting?
I’ve had a love for acting my whole life and started performing in plays at school and summer camp before I was 10. When I was 11, I filled in for a middle aged woman in a completely age-inappropriate community theatre play in which I played the father of a teen hippie played by an 80-year-old woman. It should go without saying that from that moment was born a lifelong love affair so great it would make peanut butter and jelly jealous.
• What was your reaction to the piece you received?

It was disheartening to see one woman unravel and pity herself for not being like a woman that she found enviable. It undermines her decisions on how she lives her life and minimizes her feelings on what she finds important. She seems to be more embarrassed by her own lack of self worth in comparison than any actual event.

•Why is it important to share our less-flattering moments?
Our less-flattering moments are real and sharing them is what connects us. No one is safe from experiencing them, no matter how glamorous their lives may seem. Those are the moments that make us laugh or cry, they evoke the very thing we want to feel from seeing a movie or play or reading a good book. They are what make us vulnerable and makes the flattering moments so satisfying. And you know, maybe some of us wouldn’t have much to share if we couldn’t share the less-flattering moments but I’m doing my best ok?
 
• Did this experience remind you of any of your own experiences?
Well I’m the queen of saying the wrong thing. So. Yes.
•What are you expecting from the performance?
That’s the exciting part of performing live, you never know what to expect.

Cynthia Wheeler – Writer

What is your background with writing?
Most of my life, writing has been technical in nature; job related, manuals, newsletters, and instructional. In recent years, I began writing for myself. Its often a exercise in capturing stories from memories. Other times I draw on situations I find myself in currently that strike me as amusing or even ridiculous. Ridiculous is a great place to find humor. I have found performing my writing at storytelling and spoken word events has been the logical next step for me, one activity feeding off the other.
How did the FML theme inspire you?
Embarrassment is universal, relatable and links to vulnerability, another great place to mine humor while contemplating the human predicament. While a lot of my writing is driven by a theme or prompt, I usually have a story or scenario already twisting its way out of my head onto the paper. As the Berry Turns monologue was a fragmented story line I was able to bring into focus with the theme embarrassment.
Why is it important to share our lessflattering
If a story is the shortest bridge between two people, sharing a vulnerability is the short-cut to authenticity.
Was there another story you considered sharing, but held back on?
I have other pieces that could have fit an embarrassed theme but this one really developed in a way that I could disassociate from enough to see someone else as the central character. Writing this monologue was a sort of breakthrough for me.
What are you expecting from the performance?
#1. I hope people are entertained and want to hear the rest of the story, if there is one. Second, I expect to have an awareness that was not available during the writing phase by observing the actor engage in the next phase of the creative process by bringing the monologue to life and the audience response.

Lydia Corbin – Performer

• What is your background with acting?
Well according to my family, I’ve been a drama queen all my life, but #FML is actually my acting debut!
• What was your reaction to the piece you received?
I absolutely appreciated the comedy and depth of this piece, and I’m excited to bring it to life.
 
•Why is it important to share our less-flattering moments?
So many life lessons are birthed out of our less-flattering moments in life, and that crazy experience could be a lesson for you or for others.  In any event, it’s necessary to celebrate the wins and the not so winning moments.
 
• Did this experience remind you of any of your own experiences?
There are definitely some parts of my piece that resonated with experiences in my life.  I actually can identify with bits of ALL the monologues which pretty much tells you that I’ve had a couple of “interesting” experiences. 
 
•What are you expecting from the performance?
You mean besides being discovered and cast in a major motion picture?  I just expect to have fun. and hopefully in doing so, I make the playwright proud and the audience laugh while thinking about their own experience in life. 
Tickets are still available for all four performances! We can’t wait to impress you!
Get Involved, Upcoming Performance

Shake-Smash 2018

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!

No! Not Christmas, dummy! Christmas is NOTHING compared to Laughing Pig Theatre’s first ever

SHAKE-SMASH FESTIVAL

That’s right, the time has finally come for us to show off all the hard work that other people have done for us! Our ensemble are working hard to bring to life 8 ten-minute plays and 3 one-act plays from playwrights across the country, and we could not be more thrilled to show them off!

I mean, we could. Like, if all that happened and we also had someone bring a homemade lasagna to the show for us, or something. But you get it. Here is the full line-up!

We will be showing off all eleven shows across Friday and Saturday night, where the audience, along with a panel of local theatre pros will vote on their favorites. The selected shows will get an encore performance on Sunday afternoon, where the three winning playwrights will receive a cash prize!

Purchase tickets for individual nights or for the whole weekend of shows now to vote for your favorite shows and support local theatre!

Auditions

Shake-Smash Auditions!

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Our first ever festival of short plays inspired by works of Shakespeare! We have collected ten-minute and one-act plays from writers all over the country that reimagine, reinterpret, and revise Shakespeare’s life and work for a weekend of exciting new theatre.

We will be casting several short plays with unique requirements. Actors will potentially be cast in multiple roles and/or plays.

WHEN: October 15th from 7:00pm-10:30pm

WHERE: Mesa Arts Center’s Drama Studio
On the second floor of Studios South above the Ceramic Studio. Take the elevator or stairwell next to the “Registration Office” and take the skywalk to the the hallway on the left (opposite building than Registration).

WHAT: Please prepare one, one-minute contemporary or Shakespearean monologue, and be prepared for potential cold reading.

HOW: Make an appointment here, and please email a headshot and resume to laughing.pig.theatre@gmail.com.

 

If cast, you will receive a small stipend. You may also be cast in multiple pieces. Performance dates include: December 7-9th.

We look forward to seeing you at auditions. For any other questions, email us at laughing.pig.theatre@gmail.com.

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Upcoming Performance

reasons to be pretty

reasons to be pretty by Neil Labute opens September 28th and closes October 6th. Purchase your tickets today.

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Starring Casey Anderson as Greg, Taylor Moschetti as Steph, Clare Thompson as Carly, and Andre Johnson as Kent.

About reasons to be pretty: When Greg makes a seemingly harmless comment about his girlfriend Steph’s “regular” looking face, the information gets back to Steph and sends their relationship over the deep end. Greg’s life spirals out of control when Steph leaves him, and he has to come to terms with what he has said. Greg’s best friend Kent is married to Steph’s best friend Carly, and when things start collapsing in Steph and Greg’s life, Carly and Kent are pulled in for the ride. We see Greg, Steph, Carly and Kent deal with the pressures of what it means to be ‘pretty’, and observe how the four friends manage the infidelity, betrayal and deceit that creeps into their lives.

Reasons

Tickets are $20 for evening performances or $15 for matinee.

September 28, 29, and October 6th at 7:30pm

September 30th at 2:00pm

 

You cannot miss this show!

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Get Involved, Writing Opportunities

WRITE for Shake-Smash 2018

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We want to take down Shakespeare!

Laughing Pig Theatre is now accepting submissions for their first ever Shake-Smash New Play Festival. Shake-smash is a festival that both celebrates and challenges Shakespeare’s stubbornly immortal work.

We are looking for creators to submit new ten-minute and one-act shows inspired in some way by Shakespeare. It can be a retelling of a story in a new setting, a deconstruction of a theme, a Tom Stoppard-esque between the scenes companion piece, a farcical parody, a sequel, a prequel, a soliloquy, a musical, a dance, a poem, a saucy puppet show, or whatever else you want it to be! As long as it is demonstrably inspired by Shakespeare, we honestly don’t really care.

Submissions are $5 for a ten-minute and $10 for a one-act. They will be accepted until 11:59pm on September 30, 2018, after which Laughing Pig will select a number of shows to be performed for the festival in December. Shows performed at the festival will be judged by a panel of Shakespeare fanatics, with the opportunity to win awards and cash prizes!

To enter, fill our form here.
Contact laughing.pig.theatre@gmail.com for more details or questions!

 

ShakesmashPRIZES

We cannot wait to read your submissions!

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Pigpen Profile

Pigpen Profiles: Ilana Lydia

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Ok, look, I’m not sold on the name either everybody. Maybe I’m forcing the porcine theme too much, I don’t know, we can revisit it later.

For now, we wanted to give you chance to learn a little more about Ilana Lydia, Artistic Director of B3 Productions and playwright of our upcoming staged reading A Sense of Wonder.

I asked Ilana a few questions about her views on theatre, and you can ask her some yourself next Friday, August 10 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Tickets are $5 or pay-what-you-can. There will be a facilitated feedback session afterwards, so be ready to share your thoughts and help the creative process thrive!

•What is your theatrical background?

Ilana: I started as a director, being left alone with actors and my first notepad at the tender age of 11.  Luckily, I’ve been able to grow beyond almost all of my first experiences.  I’ve always valued people, relationships, and process over the end product, and so as a playwright, it’s experiences like this that keep me writing.

•What inspired you to write A Sense of Wonder?

Ilana: I had the image of a woman escaping from universe to universe in my mind, then I found her friend, and the rest pretty much wrote itself.  I enjoy science fiction, feminism, and comedy–this script seemed to fall together right across these lines for me.

•What appeals to you about using science fiction elements on stage?
Ilana: It’s not done as often as I think it should be.  Science fiction/fantasy is such a rich field, but many producing agents shy away from it.  I like to watch new ideas, and different worlds or universes are the perfect place to explore these.

 

•What are some themes you find yourself focusing on in your work?
Ilana: Metatheater is my big one–the play becoming aware of itself as a play, the characters understanding they are characters, or the audience suddenly seeing itself as an audience.  I think it’s safe to say that I explore feminist topics, as well.

 

•What do you think is unique about theatre in the Valley?
Ilana: What a vibrant community we have!  There’s so much going on every weekend all across the Valley–you could never spend an evening home, if you wanted.  We’re so lucky to have virtually every type of taste represented in our theaters, from Disney musicals to existential reflections on life.  There are so many opportunities here.  We just need to be sure to help each other along the way.

 

•What advice would you give someone interested in playwriting?

Ilana: Find a writer’s group.  Having to check in with new writing every so often will keep you producing.  Exchange with friends.  Exchange with acquaintances.  Keep going.  And above all, be grateful for whatever practice you have.  It’s an honor to be able to put down your words and come out with a script.

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Huge thanks to Ilana for submitting her work to be read. If you’d like us to consider your work for a future reading, you can share it through the New Work Submissions link. See you at the reading, and until then, keep creating!
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