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.

Reflection

Reflecting on our first Monologue Cafe

Linda Brown, of landmark case Brown Vs. Board of Education, died on Sunday. March for Our Lives took place across the country on Saturday to call attention to the atrocity of gun violence in the United States. 

Laughing Pig Theatre’s first Monologue Cafe addressing abuses of privilege and power also took place over the weekend. Our mission? To address violence, oppression, and abuses of privilege in our local community by sharing experiences and engaging in dialogue. We collected true stories, then placed those stories in the hands of 11 performers who brought each one to life. On Friday evening we followed the show with a processing session for writers, performers, and audience members. The cafe brought together a diverse, gracious, and enthusiastic group. It was inspiring to engage in the conversation with everyone who came out to participate, support and grow with us.

Writers and performers, we at Laughing Pig Theatre are stunned by and in awe of your courage, heart and humor. Without you all this wouldn’t have been possible. An enormous thank you goes out to: Julia Wallace, Patsy Parker, Dori Honovi, Darcy Cochran, Pina, Belen Markus, Arielle Hurst, Mindy Judson-Garcia, Tayo Talabi, Avery Volk, Sawyer Walter, Mara Nadolski, Katlyn Roberts, and Amy Palmer.

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Writer, Dori Honovi meeting the actors who performed her work post show: Darcy (left) and Avery (right). What a powerful trio!

Want to learn more, take action, or seek help for yourself/someone you love? Here are some inspiring organizations working toward a more just Maricopa County:
ACLU Arizona: https://www.acluaz.org/en
ALANON/ALA-Teen: http://al-anon-az.org/find-a-meeting/
A New Leaf: http://www.turnanewleaf.org/
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence: http://www.acesdv.org/
Arizona Foundation For Women: http://www.azfw.org/
Hope Women’s Center: https://www.hopewomenscenter.org/
NAACP Maricopa County: http://maricopanaacp.org/about-the-maricopa-county-branch/
Refuge Recovery:  https://www.refugerecovery.org/
SAAF Anti-Violence Programs: https://saaf.org/care-services/anti-violence-programs/

Get Involved

Privilege, Power, and Improv

Taylor
Men Aren’t Funny

 

Recently, a friend told me that they were interested in trying improv, but intimidated and afraid of the pressure to “be funny”. I knew exactly what she meant: improv is stereo-typically dominated by white-bread dudes getting a laugh and confidence boost at the expense of everyone else. It doesn’t have to be this way. Theatre (including improv) is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power, at its best, is love NOT elitism.

In the book, Games for Actors and Non-Actors, Augusto Boal writes,

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a dance piece where the dancers danced in the first act and in the second showed the audience how to dance? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a musical where in the first act the actors sang and in the second we all sang together?…This is…how artists should be—we should be creators and also teach the public how to be creators, how to make art, so that we may all use that art together.

At Laughing Pig Theatre we’re committed to making the democratic practice of theatre safe, inclusive, and accessible to all. We’re using our inaugural season to engage with our community about important subjects, to learn together, and to have fun. Here’s how we’re doing it:

  • On Wednesday’s we host a weekly Open Improv Jam. We invite anyone who’d like to play a variety of improv games to join our ensemble in rehearsal. We explore everything from long-form to forum theatre. Being “funny” isn’t important. It is completely FREE, and open to every level of experience and ability. Come play with us! All you need is comfortable clothing and curiosity.
  • Every 2nd Friday Laughing Pig combines entertainment with instruction in a dynamic pay-what-you-can style evening of play. Whether it’s an improv show by our ensemble followed by an open improv jam with the audience, or a Theatre of The Oppressed Workshop, or a reading of a new play followed by a writers’ circle, these monthly events are sure to be as entertaining as they are educational.
  • Our Quarterly Productions explore under-represented aspects of our communities in an entertaining, evening length, genre-bending format.

Come join us at Mesa Arts Center!

Upcoming Workshops

Feb Workshop: Improv for Dialogue

Laughing Pig Theatre’s next event is an educational workshop: Improvisation for Dialogue, set for Friday, February 9, 7-9pm at the Mesa Arts Center. In 2-hours, Ada McCartney will lead our attendees though different theatre techniques designed to facilitate crucial conversations.

If you’re a teacher, community organizer, team leader, or have ever worked in a group with other people, you know it’s essential for everyone to work together. We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced how difficult it is to move forward when the team is out of sync. Or worse: when that big pink elephant appears, and no one in the room knows how to talk about it. These new tools may be just what you need to shake-up your group dynamic, relate to each other compassionately, and attain results.

Adapting techniques used in Forum Theatre and the Theatre of the Oppressed, drawing on the works of Michael Rhod and Augusto Boal, Ada will teach participants to use theatre to create a common language and a safe space to discuss difficult issues,and explore potential solutions. In the process we’ll have a little fun, make some new friends, and continue to build our Laughing Pig Theatre community.

In this workshop you can expect:

  •  Introductions and Warm-up will get you comfortable with each other and the Acting Studio.
  • Trust Building exercises to help move past the awkwardness of meeting new people, raise the community issues you want to tackle, and build connections with your peers for a productive workshop.
  • Bridging exercises will bring your issues and imagination together as we use theatre games to explore more deeply what matters and why.
  • Improv Scene Work ties-in all that you’ve learned. We will improvise scenes in small and large groups, and discuss how we can use these tools to drive change in our own communities.

For this workshop you will need:

  • An Open Mind will serve you best as we’ll be working with new ideas and techniques, and discussing potentially sensitive issues.
  • Important Issues that you face in your communities, are interested in exploring, and want to find new ways to positively address.
  • Comfortable Clothes and Shoes, as we’ll be on our feet moving, bending, and shake-shaking across the Acting Studio.
  • $8 Donation: Laughing Pig Theatre is working to bring you new, exciting, and informative content at a low cost. We want your time, attention, and support most of all. Any financial support you can provide will help us deliver on our endeavors. Best of all: each full-price ticket comes with a Laughing Pig Theatre sticker!
  • A Ticket: walk-ins are welcome, but we only have about 30 seats available. RSVP here to ensure that you have a spot.

We can’t wait to see you on February 9, and at all of our future events. If you have any questions feel free to contact us here, or email us here.