Since his “Swansong,” André de Vanny is keeping Conor McDermottroe’s Award Winning Story in the Hollywood Spotlight

Selected for the Munich, Montreal and Camerimage film festivals, Swansong won best drama at the Galway Film Fleadh and was nominated for six ITFAs in 2011. The film was adapted from Conor McDermottroe’s one-man theatre play Swansong which won raves worldwide and was translated into German and Swedish. Swansong makes its West Coast Premiere in Los Angeles on September 8, 2018, at the Skylight Theatre, produced in tandem with the Australian Theatre Company and directed by Greg Carroll.

This is theatre that doesn’t settle for easy answers. A gritty monodrama, it tells the story of Austin “Occi” Byrne, abused and isolated, violent and vulnerable, and searching for redemption.

Award winning Australian actor André de Vanny plays Occi. He began his career with the leading role in the international hit series Wicked Science 1 and 2 and it just keep getting better from there. André has since appeared in many Australian feature films including the upcoming The Combination 2, Hating Alison Ashley, Under a Red Moon, Nice Shootin’ Cowboy. Recently, he was given a nod for Best Actor at the Green Room Awards, acknowledging his work in Glory Dazed for Red Stitch Theatre Company.

Andre’s performance in Swansong has achieved widespread critical acclaim and the show has returned twice to sell out seasons at Sydney’s The Old Fitz Theatre as well as Melbourne’s Metanoia Theatre, and most recently a sell out season at Theatre Works in Melbourne.

This performance is quite a workout, emotionally and physically, even for a young actor. We asked if he’d let us in on where he gets that kind of stamina as an actor:

HR: How do you prepare for a role like this?

André: There are many highs and lows in the play that follow one after the other, often in quick succession. Once the show has begun I just have to let go and allow it to flow in its own unique way. But this takes rigorous physical, vocal and mental preparation. It’s the old story where, achieving spontaneity and freedom in the moment requires extreme discipline and thorough preparation.

HR: Is it more difficult to bring Occi to life without props and a set?

André de Vanny: This is a performance driven piece, a pure story telling experience. Without set, sound or props you have the freedom to create any world you want at anytime. It feels very natural and allows for a more direct and intimate relationship with the audience.

HR: Despite the adversity and challenges for this character he seems to hang tough. Do you see the POV of the playwright as endowing this character with a positive outlook?

André de Vanny: Occi is an eternal optimist. We all know people who have hope even in the face of the most dire situations. It’s inspiring and endearing. I hope people will take that away from the experience of seeing this show.

HR: You’re from Melbourne, but the play takes place Ireland, during the 70/80s. Do you feel it’s still relevant in this time, and in Los Angeles?

André de Vanny: Prejudice and mental illness are unfortunately still prevalent in society today. This play speaks to those issues here and now. It honors those people who slip through the cracks, those who are outcast and forgotten. Having a child out of wedlock is no longer the shameful sin it once was but the bullying and persecution that Occi endures as a result of this, is something many can relate to. It’s a timeless story that is as relevant today as ever, and in almost every city in the world.

HR: You’re returning to the role for the 3rd time, but for the first time in Los Angeles. What’s that like?

André de Vanny: It’s like visiting an old friend. Occi has remained close to my heart and mind. It’s like you just pick up where you left off. However, each time has felt new and special and has grown a bit. As will this run in Los Angeles at the Skylight Theatre.

Swansong opens at 8:30pm on Saturday, September 8th and continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm; 2:00pm on Sundays; and 8:00pm on Mondays through October 7, 2018. Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets are $15 – $30. Reservations: (866) 811-4111, atctix.org

or http://SkylightTix.com

 

Stories of Truth for a World in Denial

A lifetime of family memories and five years of rewrites has garnered Leslie Ayvazian’s “100 Aprils” a spot in Rogue Machine’s 2018 season. The run has been extended twice and the schedule encourages audiences to stay after matinee performances on Sundays, for talkbacks with special guests.

The play packs a sobering punch while shedding light on a subject that has been swept under the carpet for over a century, the Armenian genocide. Strong writing and heartfelt performances make this a production worth seeing.

Described as a darkly comic look at the generational consequences, when history is denied, it travels a fine line between reality and hallucination. John Saypian is somewhat of a modern-day Don Quixote. He and his wife are second generation Armenians whose parents escaped the genocide. John believes that a tormentor is pursuing him, and as his health begins to fail him so does his mind. But, not his memories of the atrocities that he witnessed as a child, along with his family.

Rachel Sorsa, Robertson Dean, John Perrin Flynn and Leslie Ayvazian

To better understand where the subtleties and depth of writing like this is conceived, we asked playwright Leslie Ayvazian to talk about the journey of creating it.

HR: When did you begin, and what inspired you, to write 100 Aprils?

Leslie: I began the project about five years ago. Initially, I wanted to write a play to honor, and to coincide with, the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Some excerpts of my play were included by CTG for their event “Staging the Unstageable” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2015 but this is the true world premiere of the full piece at Rogue Machine.

Growing up in an Armenian family gave me endless resources for writing about this subject. I write what I know. My father was born in Turkey and escaped to NYC. Much of what I know of the genocide is what I’ve learned from my grandmother and my father’s stories, and even from his silences. Some things were too horrific to fully articulate.

Rachel Sorsa and Janet Song

I’m inspired to write about what I am pursuing, and I write what I want to know. For me I want to know why the world has not accepted the history of the Armenians when there is so much proof and so much evidence and yet there is this persistent denial.

HR: Is that what you hope audiences will become more aware of when they see the play?

Leslie: I just hope that audiences will find a reason that it’s relative, and that they are glad that they had the experience of seeing it. I don’t write plays to teach people anything. I write things that are true for me and I hope they’re true for others. I was looking forward to having the play open at Rogue Machine in Los Angeles because it’s a great company, and there is a large community of Armenians in the city. This community was profoundly supportive of my play, Nine Armenians, when Gordon Davidson directed it at the Mark Taper Forum years ago. Gordon believed this story must be told. And it doesn’t matter if it’s been 100 years or 1000 years, people must know the truth. They need to know how the genocide influences our lives, and generations to come. We will keep telling the story so it’s not forgotten, 1.5 million people cannot be brutally slaughtered and it still doesn’t show up in any history books, and certainly not in America.

It’s just a matter of trying to set the world right in truth.

Leslie Ayvazian and John Perrin Flynn

HR: How did you decide on the style of the play? You have described it as absurdist, correct?

Leslie: It comes from an absurdist world, with a sense of humor about the ways that we cope and learn to survive. Any history of family members is a surreal world. Although this piece lives partially in hallucination and partially in dreams that cannot be silenced, the characters are always reaching for what is real.

This style emerged from the experience of denial, and how it affects people who live in a world that has little connection to the truth of history. I remember how my grandmother would talk, and sometimes she would just drift off looking out the window with the pain of those memories. As a physician, my father carried this sorrow throughout his life. Most people from Armenian families have a version of this story. I’m not a person who paints pictures that are set in elaborately designed living rooms. I don’t write plays like that.

100 Aprils has extended twice to run Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3:00pm through July 23, 2018. Rogue Machine is located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $40. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

John Simmons “A Life in Black and White” Exhibit Opens at the Perfect Exposure Gallery

Los Angeles, April 11, 2018

Black and White is beautiful. Photographer, John Simmons proves that with his new exhibit “A Life In Black and White,” opening on April 12, 2018 at the Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles.

A familiar figure on film and TV sets, Simmons is a well-known cinematographer with 2 Emmy Awards under his belt. Though he has been around since the early sixties, he has kept his many powerful still images under wraps.

In “A Life In Black and White,” Simmons pays tribute to ordinary people living ordinary lives–living in anonymity, till they are immortalized through this photographer’s inquisitive yet unobtrusive lens. Simmons manages to capture insignificant moments that on closer examination have so much to say.

Photographers “can’t help but put a frame around the world we see,” Simmons explains. “We are continually composing and all my pictures tell a story. Each one has its own spirit and soul. I have an affinity for people and whatever they share with me the moment I press the shutter becomes a testament to their lives.”

This rare glimpse in the monochrome world of John Simmons opens with a reception on April 12, 2018 and runs through May 25, 2018, at The Perfect Exposure Gallery, 1125 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019.

There is no charge for admission.

www.ThePerfectExposureStudio.com

 

A Warm and Fuzzy El Nino

Review by: Peter Foldy

Sharp writing from Justin Tanner and spot on performances from a talented cast make Rogue Machine’s new season premiere, El Niño, a must see theatrical event.

The first thing you notice as you wait for the play to begin is the incredibly detailed set from scenic designer, John Iacovelli.  Everything feels real on stage, right down to the rain that will eventually fall outside the windows.

Nick Ullett and Maile Flanagan

But what really grabs you as El Niño begins is the edgy, no holds barred dialogue from the loveably pathethic, yet sharply drawn characters who could comfortably meld into an episode of an old Rosanne Barr TV comedy.

Colleen, (Maile Flanagan) a rolly polly woman with an early Beatle haircut, has been kicked out of her home by an abusive boyfriend. We find her sleeping on her parent’s couch. Mother, June (Danielle Kennedy) and father, Harvey (Nick Ullett) clearly don’t want her around. Collen, in their eyes, is a slacker who is soon asked to pack her bags and find somewhere else to waste away. June and Harvey want their space back. Want their privacy. Colleen’s various ailments, however, don’t provide this lady with too many living choices and she convinces them to let her stay until she heals.

Enter, Colleen’s high strung sister, Andrea (Melissa Denton) and her recently acquired boyfriend, Todd (Jonathan Palmer), a veterinarian and a push over who puts up with

The cast of El Niño

more crap from Andrea then most would ever tolerate. Lonely next door neigbor, Kevin (Joe Keyes) also arrives on the scene and when  he discovers that Colleen is the author of a series of science fiction books that he is a fan of, Kevin begins hitting on her.

Collen gradually lets her guard down and the pair are soon making out on the sofa. The messed up family dynamic, however, give Colleen and Kevin a low chance of finding love–but it is mean sprited big sis, Andrea’s hard-hitting revelations that puts the final nails in the coffin. At least that’s what Mr. Tanner wants you to think.

El Niño gradually tugs away at your heartstrings as these hyper-real characters discover their compassion and their humanity. Outside the rain may fall but all ends well in El Niño, not just for our loveable screw-ups but also for the audience who are rewarded with almost none stop laughter.

Melissa Denton, Danielle Kennedy, Jonathan Palmer in El Niño

Maile Flanagan hits every note as the charismatic Colleen. She is a comedy prodigy who should have her own TV series. Danielle Kennedy reveals a powerful matriach, dishing out insult and guarded affection even handedly. Nick Ullett, Joe Keyes, Jonathan Palmer and Melissa Denton also give it their all. This is a connected cast who bounce of each other’s energy. They are a joy to watch. Kudos also go out to director, Lisa James who keeps the show fluid and energized.

El Niño is one of the early hits of 2018. Put on your raincoats and go see it. You’ll thank me later.

When: EL NIÑO runs Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3:00pm through April 2, 2018 (no performances on March 19th).

Where: Rogue Machine is located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Tickets: $40.

Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com 

Social Media Identifiers: #ElNinoPlay Twitter: @RogueMachineLA, Instagram: @RogueMachineTheatre; FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/RogueMachineTheatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Oscar Nominations Announced

January 23, 2018

The Academy Award nominations were announced and The Shape of Water received 13 including for best picture. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”and Dunkirk also emerged as strong Oscar contenders in this year’s race.

There were a few snubs and surprises this morning. James Franco’s work in The Disaster Artist was completely ignored by the Academy, both as actor and director, despite the fact that he won a Golden Globe and a Critic’s Choice Award for his brilliant performance. It seems that any accusation of sexual impropriety, proved or unproven is enough to damage a career in this current climate, unless you are Kobe Bryant, who was charged with rape in 2003 and still managed to land a Best Animated Short nomination for his film, Dear Basketball.

Other glaring omissions included Steven Spielberg in the best director category for The Post and that film’s star, Tom Hanks; Also overlooked were Call Me by Your Name‘s Armie Hammer and the excellent Michael Stuhlbarg in the supporting actor category, as well as the film, I, Tonya in the best picture category.

The edge of your seat German film, In The Fade which was sadly ignored by the Academy. It is a strong thriller well worth checking out.

A lot the nominations followed trends set by the Golden Globes and the other award shows, and by the time of the Oscar telecast in March I predict a genereal boredom with the whole process. The Academy Awards really needs to consider being the first and not the last of the award shows.

It was gratifying to see Timothée Chalamet receive a nomination for his powerful turn in Call Me By Your Name. He exploded onto the scene in 2017 and is an actor we will be seeing a lot more of.

The Academy Awards — hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second time — will air live March the 4th, 2018 on ABC.

 

 

 

 

Here is the full list of 2018 Oscar nominations:

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

Best Documentary Short Subject:

 “Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Visual Effects:

2018 Golden Globe Nominees Announced

Hollywood, CA: December 11, 2017

It was a great morning for some in Hollywood today with the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe Nominations.  The brilliant film, “The Shape of Water” scored the most number of nominations with eight, closely followed by the TV series, “Big Little Lies” which received six.

Some of the most prominent snubs were Michael Stuhlbarg for his moving turn in “Call Me By Your Name,” and directors, Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig who were overlooked for  their films, “Get Out” and “Lady Bird” respectively. Also overlooked was songwriter, Sufjan Stevens, who was snubbed for two powerful songs,  “Mystery of Love” and “Visions of Gideon” from “Call Me By Your Name.”

This has been a banner year for first time nominee, Timothee Chalamet  who scored a Best Actor nod for his lead role in “Call My By Your Name. He can also be seen in the coming-of-age film, “Lady Bird” as well as the western, “Hostiles.”

Some other notable television nominations include the hit show, “Stranger Things” and the compelling British series, “The Crown.”

In most cases the 80 member Hollywood

Timothee Chalamet in “Call Me By Your Name”

Foreign Press Association got it right, but it’s hard to know what they were thinking by nominating Hong Chau for her role in “Downsizing.”  Politics might be a good guess.

 

The 75th annual Golden Globes will take place on January 7, and will be hosted by Seth Meyers.

Here is a fill list of the nominees:

Best Picture – Drama:
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Dunkirk”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Picture – Comedy or Musical:
“The Disaster Artist”
“Get Out”
“The Greatest Showman”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Best Animated Film:
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent”

Best Director – Motion Picture:
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Ridley Scott, “All The Money in the World”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture:
Guillermo Del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, “The Post”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“The Shape of Water”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“Dunkirk”

 Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“A Fantastic Woman”
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Loveless”
“The Square”

Best Television Series – Drama:
“The Crown”
“Game of Thrones”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Stranger Things”
“This is Us”

Best Television Series – Comedy:
“Black-ish”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“Master of None”
“SMILF”
“Will & Grace”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This is Us”
Freddie Highmore, “The Good Doctor”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:
Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce”
Katherine Langford, “13 Reasons Why”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Kevin Bacon, “I Love Dick”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Eric McCormack, “Will and Grace”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Alison Brie, “Glow”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Frankie Shaw, “SMILF”

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
“Big Little Lies”
“Fargo”
“Feud: Bette and Joan”
“The Sinner”
“Top of the Lake: China Girl”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Jude Law, “The Young Pope”
Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks”
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Alfred Molina, “Feud”
Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot”
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”
David Thewlis, “Fargo”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Chrissy Metz, “This is Us”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”

 

“bled for the household truth” – Actors Discuss Their Roles in the New and Compelling Play

“Many of you who read this are going to find it very offensive,” warned an ad on Craigslist. Continuing into those four paragraphs, playwright, Ruth Fowler not only wondered who would create such an ad but quickly became even more curious to know who would answer it?  She created the play bled for the household truth, as a result, and it is now having its timely world premiere at Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles.

The characters in bled for the household truth are raw, honest, and desperate to connect in a way that helps them to forget their pain and makes them feel safe. Director Cameron Watson took on this project because he says, “I hadn’t read a play like this…ever. It fascinated me, gripped me…and just wouldn’t let go”

Benjamin Burdick plays “Keith,” the character who wrote the ad, and Alexandra Hellquist play “Pen,” who answers the ad. Equally fascinated, they were eager to participate in the production and were happy to talk with us about their passion for this piece.

HR: Was your first impression of this play similar to how you think of it now? If not, how has it changed?

Alexandra: I remember getting just a few pages in and feeling my heart race, and my breath catch, and thinking “yes, yes, yes, yes” and wanting to be part of this story so very badly. That feeling has only deepened with time. I was also scared, in the best way. Daunted by the scope of it, artistically and also technically. But thankfully, the whole team – with director Cameron Watson at the helm – has been the safest, most loving group of passionate artists to work with.

HR: What about you, Benjamin?

Benjamin: My first impression was that this play was hauntingly beautiful; a difficult examination of humans in all of their complicated glory. I still think that, but it’s deepened tremendously after living with the character, Keith. There’s fragility, and I didn’t immediately realize how deep it ran. I am still haunted by it, but now on a much more visceral level. We’ve talked about two currents running through the characters and this play – the surface river that seems to be flowing. And the undercurrent – the “river of shit”- that flows beneath us and that actually moves us in whatever direction it chooses.

HR: How did you guys get involved in this production?

Alexandra: When I moved here from New York, I went to see my friend, James Liebman, in Rogue Machine’s production of Greg Kalleres’ Honky. It was the first play I saw here, and I was totally blown away. The script was razor-sharp, uncomfortable and hilarious. The whole production was brave, and boundary-pushing. I knew two things that day; One, I could actually stay in Los Angeles, because there was friggin’ great indie theater here; and Two, I definitely wanted to work with Rogue Machine. The Casting Director, Victoria Hoffman, brought me in for the role and I worked my *arse* off for the callbacks, and the rest is something approximating history.

Benjamin: I’ve been a member of the Rogue Machine for a long time, though I’ve never done a show here. I got an email from Victoria, and I threw my hat in the ring for the role of Keith. There were too many good things going for it not to at least come in and audition: Cameron Watson was directing (he is incredible); John Flynn was producing (equally incredible); and it was being staged at The Rogue Machine (one of the best companies in town). So I read for it and got called back. Coincidentally, Alexandra and I did a scene together in the callback. I walked out thinking, “She’s Pen. For sure.” I didn’t know what they thought of me, but I knew she was Pen.

HR: Where are you from? Have you known any people like your character throughout your life?

Alexandra: I was born in the Philippines, and I’ve lived in Japan, England, Australia, France and Italy before coming to the US, alone, for college. I think there’s a lot of my past and my history that echoes Pen’s. I know what it’s like to be scared about one’s immigration process. And, like almost every woman I know, I know exploitation. I know assault. I know abuse. I know the particular and precarious power of youth and femininity and sexuality. I know survival and refusing to be a victim. I know the feeling of homelessness. I know putting up with seemingly insane things because of desperation, and because it seems like the least terrible option at the time. I feel like everything I’ve ever gone through is helping me to unearth Pen.

Benjamin: I’m originally from a small town in Idaho. As for people like Keith…it’s hard to say. Because I guarantee you that the people who work with Keith in his office don’t know about him, or his arrangement. That’s the beauty of Ruth’s play. It opens the curtain into lives that certainly exist (the Craigslist ad was real). So I haven’t been aware that I’ve known people like Keith, but I can guarantee you that I have.

HR: How did you each prepare for this role?

Alexandra: Research. Taking my dialect and nascent-Pen-ness out for a walk. Watching “Educating Rita” and the original “Shameless.” Forging some strange sideways mental connections. Trying things. Attempting to let go. Making a mess. Looking to my wonderful cast-mates, Benjamin, Nathaniel Meek, and Rachel Brunner. Trusting Cameron, implicitly. A lot of attempted self-care. Music.

Benjamin: Most importantly for me, I think, is that I promised myself never to judge Keith. Ever. By doing that, I am able to live truthfully with Keith in all of his complexity. I also went on Craigslist and looked for ads similar to the one Ruth saw in New York, and wrote to the posters. I created an extensive backstory for Keith. There is a section of the play that was cut, but it told a wonderfully vivid story about Keith in his teen years. And even though it was cut, I held on to all of those details to build Keith’s story. I imagined what brought him to his current place in life, and worked with it until it was a part of Keith’s fabric.

HR: Do you feel that this play ties in with the current climate of sexual harassment accusations?

Alexandra: It’s incredible that this play is being produced now. Given this surge of courageous truth-telling and brutal acknowledgment of the rife ubiquity of exploitation and assault and abuse of power, that has been part of our daily existence for so long. Ruth actually wrote the play seven years ago, and had it turned down again and again by producers. She was told that it was disgusting, or too graphic, or demeaning to the actors.

As for the conversations finally happening about abuse and assault, silence and power – I think the stark ordinariness of this all is something that the play illuminates beautifully. This stuff has become totally normal, taken utterly for granted as the cost of living, of merely existing as a woman. And that’s the tragedy of it – that the abusers and victims aren’t outliers. This stuff is intimately woven into the fabric of our daily lives. This national conversation we’re suddenly having – maybe this is a start for real changes to the fabric. The fact that the writing of ‘bled’ predates this sudden convulsion of awareness is very important. It was not written in response to what’s emerging now – and partly because of that, I think, there are no cleanly-cut villains or heroes in this piece. Everyone is complicit and ‘bled’ is able to look at what perhaps made us so. It doesn’t promise redemption, but it hints at another way, another possibility of being.

Benjamin: Because the play was written well before this came to light, it’s not a response to the disgusting stories coming out daily about men in power and their abhorrent behavior. There are similarities in the structure of the relationship, though, that are hard to ignore, but in order to play Keith objectively, it’s not something that I feel I can delve into without placing judgment.

HR: What is your favorite thing about this play?

Alexandra: Compassion without sentiment. Raw truth without melodrama. Humor that leans into discomfort, and a tension that I love.

Benjamin: The collaborative nature of everyone involved. The ensemble is incredibly gifted and gracious; Cameron creates an atmosphere where one feels not only allowed, but obligated, to explore and experiment and challenge.

HR: What is next for each of you?

Alexandra: I can work local-hire in a bunch of places, like NYC, Atlanta, and London, and I LOVE traveling for work. But I’m newly based in LA and I can’t wait to branch out here (Casting directors – I am here! Hear me roar!!!). I’m also looking for an agent that gets my weirdness, and free spirit – someone who’ll appreciate that I rush headlong into exquisite torment. And of course, I want to take Pen, and ‘bled for the household truth’ as far as it’ll go – I think it’d make a great, incredibly uncomfortable, film. I’d love to make that happen.

Benjamin: Sleep. I kid. Mostly. Though a full night of sleep without waking up and thinking about the play or Keith or a movement within a scene…that would be nice. Then it’s back to the hustle. Working to find gigs, writing my own material, etc. But when I work on such dense and difficult material, it makes other auditions seem like a breeze. I have a confidence when I’m working on a play that I don’t have at other times. That’s especially true with “bled.” I walk into a TV audition and think ‘I just navigated a minefield last night in the theatre. This is nothing. So I’m confident and hopeful that more work will come.

When: bled for the household truth runs Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm through December 18, 2017.

Where: Rogue Machine, located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Tickets are $40. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

 

Big Little Lies and A Handsmaid’s Tale Sweep at 2017 Emmy Awards

Los Angeles: September 17, 2017

The 2017 Emmy Awards were held at the Microsoft Theater tonight. Host, Steven Colbert tried hard to breath life into the ceremony and occasionally delivered. Some of the highlights included John Lithgow’s win for “The Crown,” Alex Baldwin being rewarded as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Elizabeth Moss’ expletive laced acceptance speech after winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Also memorable was 92 year old Cicely Tyson’s emotional recollection of “Roots,” the groundbreaking series in which she starred some 40 years ago.

One of the biggest downers was the show’s announcer, Jermaine Fowler of CBS’ “Superior Donuts” whose grating voice was hard to listen to.

Here are a full list of tonight’s winners:

Outstanding drama series

“Better Call Saul”
“The Crown”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” *WINNER
“House of Cards”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

Outstanding comedy series

“Atlanta”
“Black-ish”
“Master of None”
“Modern Family”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Veep” *WINNER

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” *WINNER
Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” *WINNER
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Ron Cephas Jonas, “This Is Us”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
John Lithgow , “The Crown” * WINNER
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jeffrey Wright , “Westworld”

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale” *WINNER
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Chrissy Metz , “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta” *WINNER
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” *WINNER
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live” *WINNER
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Vanessa Bayer, “Saturday Night Live”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” *WINNER
Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding limited series

“Big Little Lies” *WINNER
“Fargo”
“Feud: Bette and Joan”
“The Night Of”
“Genius”

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series

Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of” *WINNER
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series

Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies” *WINNER
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie

Judy Davis, “Feud: Bette and Joan
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies” *WINNER
Jackie Hoffman ,”Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie

Bill Camp, “The Night Of”
Alfred Molina, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies” *WINNER
David Thewlis, “Fargo”
Stanley Tucci, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Night Of”

Outstanding variety talk series

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” *WINNER
“The Late Late Show With James Corden”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”

Outstanding reality-competition program

“The Amazing Race”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Project Runway”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice” *WINNER

Outstanding directing for a comedy series

Jamie Babbit, “Silicon Valley”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”*WINNER
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley”
David Mandel, “Veep”
Morgan Sackett, “Veep”
Dale Stern, “Veep”

Outstanding writing for a drama series

The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”
Peter Morgan, “The Crown”
Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale” *WINNER
Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul”
Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, “The Americans”

Outstanding writing for a comedy series

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, “Master of None”*WINNER
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Stephen Glover, “Atlanta”
Billy Kimball, “Veep”
David Mandel, “Veep”

Outstanding directing for a drama series

Stephen Daldry, “The Crown”
Kate Dennis, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”
Vince Gilligan, “Better Call Saul”
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”
Reed Morano, “The Handmaid’s Tale” *WINNER
Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”

This “Curious Incident” is Innovative Entertainment

Review by: Peter Foldy

Christopher John Francis Boone, the lead character  in Simon Stephens’ Tony-winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is anything but your normal 15 year old. Christopher knows that adults “do sex” but bristles at human touch. He’s a genious at math and has a mind that is able to observe and remember minute details, but finds the trials and tribulations of everyday life overwhelming. His condition would seem to be Asperger’s but that is never verbally expressed. All we know is that Christopher sees the world differently. That he is a sharp, likeable young man.

The Curious Incident begins with Christopher finding his neighbor’s dog brutally murdered, killed by a garden fork. Strongly identifying with Sherlock Holmes, our young protagonist sets out to discover the killer’s identity, only to conclude that his own father, Ed, committed the deed. Fearing for his own life, Christopher runs away. Makes what is for him a difficult journey by train from Swindon to London to find and reunites with his mother, Judy. Told by his father that she died of a heart attack, mom clearly feels guilt for having abandoned Christopher and is happy to reignite their relationship.

Christopher eventually returns to Swindon, aces an important math test and reunites with his dad.

While the stakes here may read as simplistic, The Curious Incident is an intelligently conceived, entertaining theatrical experience, it’s execution nothing short of brilliant.

Marianne Elliott’s direction is imaginative and fluid, making powerful use of what at first appears to be a minimalistic set by Bunny Christie. The stage resembles the inside of a box, but the sound design and video projection by Finn Ross and the lighting design by Paule Constable smoothly transform it, among other things, into streets, escalators and train tracks. The visual and aural aspects play an important part of the show and distract us from any bumps in the story line.

Curious Incident is blessed with a highly talented cast. Adam Langdon as Christoper is fully committed in his role. He is agile, confident and likable, with an impressive amount of dialogue that he handles with ease. Langdon allows us a glimpse into Christopher’s soul and he makes us care. In a short scene after the curtain call, Christopher reappears to solve a math problem posed earlier in the show. This last little tag is a clever touch and, incase you were not already convinced, clearly demonstrates the character’s astute intelligence.

Felicity Jones Latta and Gene Gillette as Christopher’s parents and Maria Elena Ramirez as his teacher, who narrates some of the play, are especially strong but the entire ensemble works hard to bring the caper to life.

Winner of 5 Tony awards on Broadway, this touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time should not be missed. It is a timely show that compels you to focus, learn and listen as it thoroughly entertains.

Where: Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; ends Sept. 10 (call for exceptions)

Tickets: $25-$130 (subject to change)

Information: (213) 972-4400 or www.centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 2 hour, 30 minutes (including intermission)

 

Two More Nights Left to see “Any Night”

Review by Peter Foldy

“ANY NIGHT” by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn is a play that takes us to a surreal and voyeuristic world where troubled souls, twisted minds and nightmares collide.

A young dancer, Anna, (Maria Fahlgren) moves into a basement apartment after a bad breakup. Anna has a chronic sleepwalking problem. Her caring upstairs neighbor, Patrick (Zac Thomas) a shy, nerdy handyman and jack-of all trades, is determined to make her stay safe and comfortable. The question is can Anna trust him–and can she trust herself as her nocturnal hallucinations refuse to go away?

Patrick understands her. He always manages to be there for her. As their friendship turns to romance it doesn’t take long to figure out that this needy relationship has a limited shelf life that come with consequences.

Ably directed by Elizabeth V. Newman, “Any Night” bounces between fractured reality and carnal intent. There is hardly a dull moment. Like in a horror film, the play lets you know early on that something bad is going to happen, and  as you wait for it, the tension becomes electric.

Ms. Fahlgren and Mr. Thomas give powerful performances, both as engaging actors and as agile dancers, delivering impressive and complicated moves choreographed by Erica Giondfriddo.

Great use of music, a clever set design by Vanessa Montano, and well thought out lighting and sound from Chris Conard also help wratch up the tension.

With only two more performances left in it’s Los Angeles run, “Any Night” is a psychological thriller that is well worth checking out.

Where: Sacred Fools Theater Company, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood, CA 90038

When: Saturday (July 29) at 8:00 p.m. Sunday (July 30) at 5:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30.00 for General Admission, $25.00 each Seniors and Students.

To purchase call 512-496-5208, or email filigreetheatre@gmail.com.

To learn more about the show, please visit the website, www.anynightaustin.com

Cast Photos by: Joshua Scott