Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monique at the Sycamore Rouge

Last week, I attended a "bar performance" of Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Sycamore Rouge. I thought I was going to see a traditional play, but little did I know I would stand witness to some flagrant plagiarism. I don't know who this Picasso fellow is, but it is outrageous that he would present this piece of "reality theatre" without giving credit where credit is due!

You see, it wasn't really a scripted play; instead, as I sat in the bar, Picasso arrived and talked to his friends and drew a few things . . and voila! theatre!!! Truth be told, I was quite entertained. This Picasso had a lot of interesting things to say and some truly charming friends. What's more, I was also sitting at the bar, so the "audience" was also free to drink in my arresting performance as "Woman on a Short Stool."

But I digress. My point was that I have been performing this type of theatre for years. Everyone is familiar with my biggest hits, including "Monique Last Thursday" and "Monique Makes Breakfast, June 15, 1992 at 10:00 am." My most ardent fans are quite fond of my more obscure work like "Monique Watches A Video of Monique" and "Monique Sees a Play."

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I know. But as Mother always says, a credit is a credit and you will be hearing from my lawyer.

As a side note, it is certainly not too much to ask for Picasso to wash up prior to a performance. Good grooming shows respect for the audience. Blue paint covering most of your arms is not a good look unless you are part of the Blue Man Group. Speaking of which, the Blue Men could use a new make-up artist as blue does nothing but enhance undereye shadows.

I unfortunately can't tell you what happened at the end of the play. The alcohol at the bar was NOT prop alcohol.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Age Akimbo

I recently caught a production of Kimberly Akimbo, currently playing at Theatre Gym. This may have been one of the most evocative and groundbreaking performances I have ever seen. At last!!! Age-blind casting of ingenues! What has taken stodgy regional theater so long!?

In this play, the title character is a sixteen-year-old girl, and in this production, the part was played by someone who was, to put it delicately, a bit over sixteen-years-old. Truth be told, I'm not sure I could have passed for sixteen myself, although in a particularly favorite gymboree outfit, I come pretty close.

But really, the casting of Kimberly could have been awkward. Instead, it really elevated the play. I believe they changed lines in the script to cover up the fact that the actress looked too old for the part. This added a VERY interesting subplot about some aging disease. Extremely creative! It reminded me of the time I refused to shave my head for a role in Terezin: Children of the Holocaust. We simply rewrote the script to permit a lovely bouffant. I'm fairly certain the production did not suffer.

In any event, I enjoyed the show a great deal, even though Kimberly looked older than her parents. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, and I encourage this type of thinking!!

I'm excited for what the future brings for Theatre Gym!! I do hope they consider The Music Man. I believe I can bring new meaning to the part of Winthrop. Or maybe simply a lovely, understated Christmas Pagaent. I have always wanted to play the Baby Jesus. What ho!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hollywood, is that you?

What ho!!!

I am exhausted from the successful production of my life's story. Thankfully, grandmother gave both mother and I a gift certificate to our favorite spa for tomorrow (no puppets allowed). I will be refreshed and smooth when Hollywood calls about casting the movie adaptation of All's Well that Ends with Me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don't Miss It

According to John Bryan, President of Richmond's CultureWorks, my life story is "one of those raised-eyebrows, are-you-kidding-me, you-had-to-be-there productions . . . [it] doesn't disappoint."


Only three more performances: August 4, 5, and 6 at 8:00pm at Richmond Triangle Players. www.rtriangle.org

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My To Do List

1. Install cameras in my house so I can have my own reality show without doing any extra work.

2. Answer fan mail. Dominion Power and Citibank have been ignored long enough.

3. Edit Tony acceptance speech. Three hours is probably a tad long.

4. Select costume for trip to the grocery store. (In need of lettuce, so considering a matchy-matchy green).

5. Finish building box seats & balcony at Richmond Triangle Players for my life story's opening night. Orchestra seats are for the unwashed.

6. Remind everyone that my life story runs for ONLY TWO WEEKENDS at RTP. If you are interested in attending, please make your plans now. Blink and you will miss it!!! www.rtriangle.org.

What ho!

Monique (reviewers please note, there is only on "q" in Monique)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Puppet took me to a street festival last night promising I'd see some cutting edge theatre. Imagine my utter dismay when it was a traveling puppet show. Has the world gone puppet mad? And the poor Puppet appears to have a crush on the actress playing the kitty in the show. Although I admire her flawless skin, I think she used too much Botox. I never saw her lips move once.

What's the Point of Make-up?

I traveled in a torrential rainstorm to Swift Creek Mill Playhouse this past weekend to catch the thriller, Wait Until Dark. Rain is not my hair's best friend, so I had to spend to some extra pre-show time in my car fixing my hair and make-up. Well. I needn't have bothered! During the most exciting part of the play, we were plunged into total darkness, and nobody could even see how stunning I looked!! To make matters worse, the lead actress in the play was BLIND -- so even when the lights were on, she couldn't see me or my carefully selected theatre attire.

You might think that viewing my performance as audience member number 127 would not be crucial to your enjoyment of the show, but you would be incorrect. In fact, it seemed to distract the entire cast as they were constantly searching for the "heroine" throughout the show. I imagine they should have given me a better seat so as to make it easier for the characters to move on to another topic of discussion. I attempted to help by shouting "I'm over here!!!!" but I guess they couldn't hear me over the rain, because the dialogue regarding the "heroine" never ceased.

The actors brilliantly covered their inability to locate me in the audience by pretending that the "heroine" was a doll. At that point, I was rather relieved that I was hidden in a darkened auditorium, because the actors proceeded to knife the poor heroine and remove her insides. While I have always wondered whether my insides are as lovely as my outside, I felt the time was not right to find out.

If you are looking for believable portrayals of characters searching for a heroic woman in the sixth row, this is the play for you, but if you are looking to see and be seen (and honestly, who isn't?) , I might suggest you "look" elsewhere!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Kingdom for Some Air Conditioning

This weekend, I attended the closing performance of King Lear produced by the Richmond Shakespeare Festival. The program contained several pages of plot points to help if you do not speak Shakespeare. Had they asked, I could have assisted in condensing the summary as follows:

King Lear ruled over a kingdom with no air conditioning. He simply did not believe in it. This was probably due to a strong lobbying effort from the dry cleaning consortium, as the entire kingdom was extremely sweaty. Much heartache and tragedy resulted from the overheating of the country, including the descent into madness of the King himself. Even clothed in a loose fitting cotton nightgown and leaves, he was unable to retain his sanity in the heat. Most supporting characters also ended up dead from suicide, murder, or heat stroke.

I must say that the acting in this play was truly impressive. I actually believed that people were hot. In fact, in watching the show, I actually felt hot myself. I could have sworn that I myself was part of a sweltering kingdom. Brilliant!! Bravo!

For those of you lucky enough to catch the show, you might have seen my charming portrayal of "audience member in the fifth row." I interacted pre-show with The Fool. We chatted believably about the weather and my seat. I would suggest that you attempt to catch a future performance but unfortunately The Fool is dead and the show has closed. It is unfortunate that some of you missed my appearance, but trust me when I say that it was a truly draining role that I'm not sure I could easily repeat. On the upside, I lost several pounds of water weight at each performance. What ho, a silver lining!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Help Amy & Donna help my show be produced in Richmond, VA!

Since Amy & Donna want to produce my show in Richmond, Virginia, I thought I'd let them take over the blog for today.
What ho!


What ho, friends & family!

As you know, the World Premiere of All's Well That Ends With Monique by Amy Berlin & Ann Bucci opens on July 28th, co-produced by Richmond Triangle Players. This production is being directed by Donna E. Coghill, and stars national spokesperson, Kristen Swanson, as Monique. It also stars BJ Kocen, Kimberly Jones Clark and Stephen Ryan. Set by Todd Schall-Vess, Lights by K. Jenna Ferree, Costumes by Don Warren and Sound & Original Music by BJ Kocen.

This script is so exciting that it already has a publishing deal! Here’s a brief description:
Her theater internship is lost, her trust fund is tied up, and Mother has signed an anti-enabling contract: Monique's dream of finding her breakthrough ingĂ©nue role on the Great White Way seems doomed. What’s a girl to do at 45? Pshaw!! In Monique’s world, it’s always opening night! Never let reality get you down!

Many of you have expressed interest in this exciting production. Unfortunately, we did not get the two big grants we'd been hoping for, and as soon as some of you heard that you asked how you might help. Well, we thought about it and there are a few ways you could join in the Monique fun!

1. You can make a tax-deductible donation to Richmond Triangle Players in support of our production. They’ve made it really easy! Click here to donate on-line (click “CONTRIBUTE TO RTP”), or you can send a check to Richmond Triangle Players, PO Box 6905, Richmond, VA 23230. PLEASE BE SURE TO NOTE THAT THE DONATION IS TO SUPPORT “MONIQUE PRODUCTIONS COSTS.”

Any amount would be much appreciated. Anyone who donates over $50 will receive a thank you in the published script and an autographed copy of the script!

2. You or your business can buy an ad in our playbill. We’ve made it REALLY affordable! $100 – full-page ad, $75 – half-page ad, or $50 – quarter-page ad. Just send your check to Richmond Triangle Players, PO Box 6905, Richmond, VA 23230 (and note that the check is for “MONIQUE PROGRAM AD”), and e-mail your camera-ready artwork to hubbird1@aol.com. Deadline: July 10, 2011.

3. Bring the fun of Monique home with you! Buy yourself or a friend a special Monique gift in our Cafe Press store. We've set the store up mostly for fun, but a tiny bit of the cost will go to help cover some Monique production costs. Check it out at www.cafepress.com/allswellthatendswithmonique

4. Tell your friends about Monique! Help us with publicity by talking us up - joining us on Facebook (search for “All’s Well That Ends With Monique”), Twitter (BroadwayMonique) and the awesome Monique blog (allswellthatendswithmonique.blogspot.com). If you have a storefront, public bulletin board or street facing window, let us know and we can make sure you get a poster. Do you have an email list? We can send you our Monique production info to share with your colleagues. Publicity help will help us out immensely!

AND, most importantly, we would love you to come and see Monique! Tickets will soon be available via Richmond Triangle Players website: .

Thanks so much for always supporting us in our theatrical endeavors. All's Well That Ends With Monique is a dear production to us and we look forward to seeing each of you during our brief run!

And always remember: When life gives you lemons, be sure to count your chickens!!

What ho!
Amy Berlin & Donna E. Coghill

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Barksdale Debut

I found myself back in Richmond, Virginia last week. For reasons unknown, I agreed to accompany the Puppet to visit one of his argyle cousins. The less said, the better.

While there, I took in the production of Circle Mirror Transformation currently running at Barksdale Theatre. Well. I must say I was surprised and thrilled to find myself the central character. Kudos to the director for the brilliant stunt casting!

If you attend, I highly suggest a seat down center with a good view of the mirror. I am visible through the entire production. Truly, I'm not sure what my costars were doing or saying, as my visage commanded the stage. How the designers knew exactly what I would be wearing on the evening I attended, I do not know. Theatre magic at its finest!!

One caveat though. My mother attended the next week, and she was stunned to discover that I was not actually performing that evening. In a truly confounding bit of casting, my mother said she actually saw HERSELF in the mirror onstage. I pity the audience who missed my breathtaking performance.

My mother suggested that perhaps my reflection was only there the night I attended. It is certainly a conundrum! If I am not there to see myself in the mirror, does the tree really fall? Well, I haven't the necessary time to truly contemplate this as I am late for my feng ski lesson, but it seems the safest bet to suggest that, if you want to be sure not to miss my showstopping performance as "Woman in the Mirror," you buy a second ticket and invite me to attend with you! You will not be sorry -- I do a particularly riveting cross and uncross of my legs about forty-five minutes into the show. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!!