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.
Copy of Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner
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

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.

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!