Get Involved, Reflection, Upcoming Performance

It’s a Labor of Love

I’m here mainly as an observer. Watching this series of ten-minute plays come together is intriguing. Even as the plays are coming into clarity, Taylor and Tony are spitballing additional creative ideas in the booth. I listen in on what the directors have to say about their interpretations of their chosen scripts. The lighting cues fly over my head, but some of the sound cues have me grinning from ear to ear.

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Taylor tells me that twenty-four hour theatre has a tendency to breed unusual things. She lets me read the scripts and I’m reminded of late nights during college. We’d stay up all night, spitting out lines of poetry and agonizing over whether or not the words we were laboriously cranking out on a friend’s typewriter adequately described our torment, our elation, our early-twenty-something-ness. We’d pull our favorite albums from the same friend’s vinyl collection and dance and laugh and commiserate until, sometime after the witching hour, all inhibition finally left our writing.

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After it all, there we’d be, a huddle of creatives lauding each other’s guts and quoting each other’s perfectly imperfect words. It was, much like Laughing Pig’s twenty-four hour theatre project, a labor of love.

Step behind the scenes at Laughing Pig Theatre and try not to admire everyone involved just a little bit.

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The writers who cranked out tonight’s ten-minute plays in a span of ten short hours left bits of themselves hidden in the scripts. In between the lines, you can see who they are when they have the courage to let go of their inhibitions and roll with the unusual.

The directors have such clear visions for their plays. I’m in awe of the amount of creativity and brain power it takes to look at these scripts in the ways they have. You can see how much they care about this project as they posit scenarios to their performers and give guidance around lines and movements. These are out-of-the box thinkers working under a time crunch and it seems to have only served them well.

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Tonight’s performers are doing an incredible job of bringing the writers’ scripts to life. From the realistic to the absurd, they’re bringing worlds to life right before our eyes. They’re rounding out their characters from top to toe and making every moment believable.

What seemed daunting before has quickly turned into something that seems entirely possible.
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So if you’re in the mood to laugh, to get drawn into story lines generated in the dead of night, and to spend an evening with a group of talented people who want to present to you the results of their labor of love, make some time to come out to the Mesa Arts Center tonight at either 7:30 or 9:00. The product of their hard work will not fail to make your night.

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Alaina Bair wrote this article.

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.

 

Reflection, Upcoming Performance

East Valley Overnight Theatre, time is ticking!

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The fluorescent yellow light of the acting studio at the Mesa Arts Center lights up the landing at the top of the stairs. Through the windows, you can see rows of people chatting and waiting for the meeting to begin. There is a flurry of activity near the door as performers, directors, and writers all check in. On the board, there is a schedule for the next twenty-four hours. It looks daunting. Outside of a brief flirtation with the idea of submitting a play to my university’s twenty-four hour theatre project, I’ve never been involved with an experience like this. I’m in awe of the fact that this is even possible.
Taylor and Tony have a way of putting people at ease. Their enthusiasm and wit bring levity to the meeting. This is the first time that everyone involved with the East Valley Overnight Theatre is in the same room. Some people are Laughing Pig veterans. For some, twenty-four hour theatre is old hat. There are a couple of us who are brand new to the experience. Something that I admire most about Taylor and Tony is the way they are able to build a supportive, caring community out of a room of people who have one overarching thing in common: a love of theatre. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Their deep, abiding love for theatre is palpable.
They make an intimidating schedule sound like a fun, easy walk in the park.
After a discussion surrounding the schedule and expectations, everyone participates in the performer raffle. It’s interesting to see the writers and performers come together. In order to ignite the creative process, the performers have brought in either costumes or props to (hopefully) inspire their writers. Each group immediately has a different atmosphere. Some debate the merits of certain items. Others are huddled around tables and locked into deep discussions of what they envision for their play.
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Smiles and laughter permeate the acting studio. Everyone in this room is here because they love the work they’re about to do. The camaraderie that comes with knowing you’re surrounded by people of a like mind has already begun to bond everyone together. Everyone, performers, writers, and directors alike, is in this room tonight because they love giving their all to the theatre.
The writers leave fairly quickly. They each have about ten hours to produce a play and time is flitting away. Taylor reminds them of the second wind party at Denny’s should they need it. The big grin on her face belies her excitement at the possibility of this party. She’s anticipating the thrill she finds in being a sounding board for writers. It’s up to the writers, though, if they feel a need for her skills. Time will tell.
And time is ticking.
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Alaina Bair wrote this article

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.

Get Involved, Job Opening, Writing Opportunities

Monologue Cafe: Lessons Learned

Laughing Pig Theatre is proud to announce the fourth entry in its popular storytelling event. The theme for this outing is Lessons Learned. We are calling for writers to submit 1-6 minute monologues about lessons you have learned in your life. These monologues can be comedic or dramatic; a variety is always preferred. We also encourage writers with diverse backgrounds to submit. You can either request to perform your own monologue, or we will cast a talented local actor to perform it on your behalf.

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Submissions are due midnight March 12. Performances of selected monologues will be May 1, 2, 3. This is not a paid opportunity. Follow this link to submit

Deadline is March 12, 2020 at 11:59pm.

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.

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!