But here’s a parting shot to all the folks who came out and supported us…
Don’t miss your last chance (this time around) to see LOVE IN THE TIME OF ZOMBIES!
We were packed last night and expect to be standing room only again, so get there early, have some sushi and some libations, and watch the best little rom com Zom dram that San Francisco has to offer!
The show starts at 8, but doors are open as early as 5:30, with the pop up kitchen usually in and serving by 6. The show is free, with a suggested five dollar donation.
Costumes encouraged! As it is closing night!
See you there!
Don’t Miss LOVE IN A TIME OF ZOMBIES, by Kirk Shimano, playing tonight and tomorrow at 8 PM at the Cafe Royale!
Look what the Performant had to say about us:
Speaking of enabling, in SF Theatre Pub’s production of Kirk Shimano’s “Love in the Time of Zombies,” middle-aged mad scientist Melinda (Maggie Ziomek) traps four bumbling zombie-slayers in her isolated cabin in order to feed them to her very own test subject zombie, Clara, whom she may secretly love.
The premise behind her madness is that zombies crave not human flesh but human emotion, and by “feeding” Clara the four “major” human emotions as embodied by the clueless band of four, Clara might become human again. According to Shimano, these emotions are anger, fear, lust, and regret, which probably says more about Shimano’s emotional state than that of all humanity, but regardless, watching the experiment unfold, including a very funny lesson on zombie vernacular, does give the oddience the opportunity to empathize with the unique plight of the zombiefied, who frequently come off as far more likable than the living, despite their limited vocabulary (“me want eat you fuzzy”).
And at least with zombies, you know that they want you for your mind, so really, what’s not to love?
Indeed- what’s not to love?
Eli Diamond, having returned to New York after a brief visit home to the Bay Area, continues his musings about life as a newly enrolled theater major.
Prior to actually attending NYU, the main thing everyone told me about was the city, a lot of “You must be so excited!”, “I’d kill to live in New York!”, “The city’s gonna be so much fun!” Recognizing that this is only my second month of living in the city, I have only one thing to say about it: Meh.
You see, New York City has been described to me as having a very visceral “heartbeat”. You feel as though the city is alive, almost like some sort of organism. This is something I would agree with, but with a little footnote. The city has a heartbeat, but it’s not a healthy one. When asked to describe the feeling of the city, I tend to describe it as “It’s as if the entire city were late to work.” Everyone is always on a rush, you can always hear cars moving and speeding through the street, people don’t wait for traffic lights. No one’s really given the chance to chill.
Compare this to my hometown, San Francisco. San Francisco is a brilliant place for someone who just wants to live. It has its quieter areas, like the Sunset or Golden Gate Park, but it also has most bustling city streets around Union Square and Downtown. No matter what you are feeling, odds are San Francisco has a place that gives you an outlet for that feeling. There are many days where I would just sit in Delores Park with a journal, and just write. They say I could do that in Washington Square Park here, but it’s not the same. No one’s just sitting and relaxing, people are constantly charging through, searching for their next class. It’s not only tiring, it’s depressing.
I returned to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to visit my parents, my old friends, and my girlfriend, and although it’s been a while, I did certainly notice a change in myself. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, I felt stressed. Stressed that I was missing something, stressed that I was going to fuck up, stressed about the weirdest shit. It took me a while, but near the end of my visit, I was able to get back into the mindset I wanted. The mindset of someone who just wanted to breathe, and let life just flow over him. Perfect timing then, to jump right back into New York and have a bit of an emotional meltdown.
Not that the city is all bad, of course. There’s a lot to do and many, many wonderful people to meet, but, sometimes, I just think it’s important to take a step back and breathe.
Eli Diamond keeps learning to breathe (and maybe discovers the quieter neighborhoods of Manhattan are mostly at the top of the island), in the next installment of Theater Conservatory Confidential.
Helen Laroche comes at you, live from New York…
I write to you this week from my Airbnb’d Chelsea apartment. I’d like to tell you that I’m sitting at a pristine desk facing a window, hair disheveled, musing aloud a la Carrie Bradshaw. But the truth is, I’m lying supine on the unmade bed, laptop on my knees a la Hannah Horvath. My husband and I are in town for a few days before we move on to New Jersey for a friend’s wedding. (If we’re lucky, we may even see fellow Theatre Pub writer and my former castmate Eli Diamond while we’re here!)
Like nearly every other theatre person on the planet, I’ve long considered New York to be a theatrical mecca. I incorporated my eventual move to The City into my post-college plans. I fantasized about my eventual life here. I added New York legs to any Eastbound trip and tried to see as many shows as possible. I even had my bachelorette weekend in Manhattan, with my 4 bridesmaids and I huddled into a hostel room for maximum savings. (Somewhere, a picture exists of me — in a “Bachelorette” sash — and my bridesmaids kicklining in Times Square. And I believe that this was before they turned Times Square into a pedestrian area, so it was extra annoying.)
So here I am, back in the city I’ve dreamed of for so long. And it’s not what I want it to be. Like every other crush I’ve ever had, the fantasy I made up for myself leaves no breathing room for the real thing.
First of all, there was the guardedness of the people around me that felt like a punch to the gut. Remember that Baz Luhrmann song “Always Wear Sunscreen”? One of the lines was “Live in New York, but leave before it makes you too hard. Live in Northern California, but leave before it makes you too soft.” I think I’ve gone really soft. I’ve gotten used to keeping my head up, making eye contact with other people, smiling and making some semblance of a connection, a sharing of energy, with strangers. (And, yes, even thinking the phrase “sharing of energy” is a sign of that NorCal softness at work.) The blockage I got from other people in the first few hours of walking around was noticeable. It wasn’t big, and it wasn’t from everyone, but it put me in a sour mood that I ended up directing at my poor husband.
Second of all, a realization that’s been dawning on me for some time now: Broadway, at least vision of Broadway I have in my head as a shining pinnacle of theatre, does not exist. Maybe it did when I was a kid, when I first built that seed of a dream in my head. Maybe it never existed. But my love for creation, for telling new stories, is greater than my love for telling bombastic, high-budget ones. And in light of that, I think I’ll always be a workshop and black box girl.
I have an aversion to things so overly polished that they’ve lost the crags and spots that make them relatable (I’ve always thought this was a backlash to my LA upbringing). I feel foolish saying this, but I never fully allowed myself to apply this aversion to my dream of Broadway. As with all childhood dreams, it’s surprisingly emotional to see this one laid to rest.
But maybe there’s still hope in Off-Broadway.
Helen Laroche is a Bay Area actor and singer. She can make you a 5 shot venti soy half-caf no whip salted caramel mocha. Learn about upcoming performance dates at http://www.helenlaroche.com.
We’re starting a new dramaturgy column where Ashley Cowan, local actress, director, writer, gets to regularly ruminate on whatever we’re putting on this month. She kicks off her column today with some thoughts on Zombies, what makes them tick, and why we can’t get enough of them.
It’s a zombie paradise these days. From AMC’s “The Walking Dead” to Brad Pitt’s upcoming “World War Z” to Theater Pub’s very own “Love in the Time of Zombies” by Kirk Shimano. The pool of zombie-themed films, books, and games released within the last decade would probably take at least two zombie lifetimes to swim through; in fact, on IMDB alone there are nearly 1,000 zombie titles.
It’s a curious development to harbor such an obsession with creatures that are by definition, brainless. What is it that we feel so connected to these undead little rascals? Where does the fascination come from?
Well, for one thing, zombies are a monster for everyone. They don’t need a full moon to shape-shift or a superhuman thirst for blood matched with impossibly sparkly skin. They’re just ordinary folks who have suffered an unfortunate nibble and developed into hungry, mindless, wanderers. They’re pretty simple.
Simplicity is something of a luxury in these complicated times. Life for us non-zombies hasn’t exactly been a piece of cake. Our economy is like a fifteen year old without a license: prone to crashing. Jobs, money, and even basic survival needs can be a struggle. Somehow, along the way, visions of an idealized future appear to have halted and without that sense of personal development and advancement, a preoccupation with the undead seems almost natural. While our surroundings become complicated by technology advancements, new means of communication and abundant social media there still remains a sense of brutal desolation coinciding with modern emptiness. When you consider the uncertain, politically divided, and frightful mindset that governs most of the world, why wouldn’t you want to escape to land of simple necessities? A Zombieland, perhaps?
But when did the preoccupation begin? Well, some believe things started centuries ago. Derived from African and Haitian folklore surrounding voodoo doctors, the word “zombie” came from those who were thought to have the ability to resurrect the dead into brainless shells so that they could then be sold as slaves. These voodoo-practicing doctors would dispense a potent drug to bring people into a near death state and then after they were thought dead, they would be buried and later dug up to resume a life as a servant. Pretty pleasant, right?
Historically speaking though, one of the oldest documented examples of the undead comes from the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, a 2,000-year old poem. Within this seasoned text, Ishtar travels to the underworld and promises, “I will raise up the dead and they will eat the living.” Ah, a lady ahead of her time.
While colorings of zombie qualities have painted their way throughout the canvas of history, the masses have been acquainted with zombies mostly via film. The first zombie film, Abel Gance’s “J’accuse” graced the silver screen in 1919. Described as an anti-war melodrama, the piece featured soldiers who rose from their graves to invade the lives of the survivors. Political reactions were often reflected in films following “J’accuse” as movies were regularly used as a place to reflect the devastations of war, which progressed the zombie film genre.
George Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead,” released in 1968, became another example of an iconic piece of the zombie history. Things are grim, a sense of claustrophobia haunts each shot, and the undead are looking for a party. And by party, I of course mean human flesh. Like other films of its kind, the concept is basic: kill the cannibals who can only be stopped by a blow to the brain or join the masses.
The wonderful thing about zombie dramas is that they can represent any number of societal nightmares. Worried about atomic weapons? A zombie could help channel that. What about genetic modification? Sure, zombies eat that up. Racism? You, got it. Consumerism, violence, death? Obviously. You get it. Zombies provide a tangible scapegoat: a force to destroy hidden within these apocalyptic shadows.
With zombies comes the promise of a new existence. Life would have the excuse to change. There would be no government or bills to pay. No boss to report to or morality to uphold. Everyone would have the chance to be a hero and change the rules of humanity; even the underdog would have a chance to win. All you have to do is survive the zombies. Fight the fear and forge ahead. Hoping that perhaps we could be one of the select few to survive the impending apocalypse.
Whether it be through film or play, book or comic, video game or fantasy world, there’s something almost romantic about the idea of zombies trying to take over. So embrace this entertainment trend and enjoy “Love in the Time of Zombies”. Because when the zombies attack, it’ll be nice to know that the Theater Pub gang is prepared and ready to make a new paradise of plays and beer for both the living and the undead.
Ashley Cowan is a writer, director, actress, and general theater maker in the Bay Area. She’s got lots of stuff to say, most of it pretty entertaining, so follow her here at https://twitter.com/AshCows.
Check it out! We got a great review in the Idiolect!
Don’t miss your chance to see this funny, return-to-life affirmative zom-rom-com! We have three more performances including tonight, starting at 8 PM!
As an added bonus, our favorite cuisine collaborators, Big May’s Hide Away Blues BBQ, will also be there to tempt you with fabulous lobster mac’n’cheese, BBQ pork sandwiches, and bourbon soaked cupcakes.
See you at the bar!
Nicky Weinbach continues his chronicle of bringing an original musical to the stage for the first time.
In my last entry, I talked about how we were in the process of deciding on a final cast list for Made in China after having held the auditions a few days before. It was a very difficult choice to make because there was a lot of great talent that came to the auditions. We didn’t want to let anyone down. I’m sure that must be one of the harder parts of any director/casting director’s job: having to let someone great know that he or she has not been cast.
On the upside, I think we made a good decision on our cast (listed below this blog entry), and we’re really happy to start rehearsing with our actors. Our first read-through is tomorrow, and I’m very excited about it. The hard part is all the tedious things I needed to do during the past week to prepare for it. I didn’t just have to print out multiple scripts for everyone involved, I had to organize and print out all the music for every actor and musician and the full score for the conductor (my twin brother, Max). It would be too difficult for me to explain the tiresome process of going into Finale (the computer software on which I wrote out and arranged the complete score) and having to extract every part from each song of the score, but let’s just say it’s long and arduous, and I ended up having to print out almost 1700 pages of music and script two days ago. That’s a lot. After that, I had to go back into Finale and merge – here come the technical terms – every vocal part with its accompanying piano part into separate two-part scores of their own, then save those scores as MIDI files, and, finally, burn a CD of the appropriate MIDI music for each cast member in order that he or she easily practice his or her part at home. I know it all sounds complicated. It is.
On another note, a week ago, co-producer Clint Winder and I met up at the theater where we’re putting on this production (Bindlestiff Studio) to discuss and plan out how we’re going to set-up the actual theater space for the performances. This is also a little complicated because you have to think about where to put the pit orchestra. You want them to be out of the way and not overpower the actors’ voices, but you still want your audience to see and hear them because it’s a musical, and it’s comforting and exciting to know that there’s a real orchestra accompanying the show. When you see the orchestra there, the magic is heightened.
Anyway, I think we came to a pretty good understanding of how we’re going to set up the theater and a general idea of how we’ll want the set to look. I locked down a set designer a couple of days ago. He’s actually a friend and former roommate from college. I think he’s going to design something great but something that meets our modest budget.
Overall, I’m a little nervous about the days and weeks to come. I hope it all goes well. I’m losing sleep every night thinking about how much work needs to be done and how much work I’ve already done. With a little luck, my next entry will highlight some of the ups and downs (hopefully, mostly ups) of our first few rehearsals. Until next time.
Made in China Cast List
Max – Nicholas Weinbach
Amber – Marisa Gregory
Gary / Mr. O’Meckles – Henry Kelly
Harry / Date – Jan Gilbert
Larry / Mr. Cousins – William Douglas Lester
Mary – Katy Yost
Marissa Skudlarek is taking the week off from her “Hi-Ho, The Glamorous Life” column; however, she passes along a link to a thought-provoking blog post from across the pond.
This morning I read the blog post “Theatre: money/no money, funded/unfunded — there is no comparison” by Stella Duffy, a British theater artist, and wanted to share it with everyone I know who’s involved with Theater Pub — indeed, everyone I know who works in and cares about independent theater. (Thanks to my friend, London playwright Samantha Ellis, for bringing this post to my attention via Twitter.)
Ms. Duffy’s post connects somewhat to what I wrote about here two weeks ago and what Helen Laroche wrote last week — the lifestyle of being an artist with a day job. More than that, it is a full-throated defense of the work that we do without hope of compensation — a tribute to the hunger, the energy, the love, the innovation of indie-theater artists.
It reminds us that we Americans shouldn’t idealize U.K. theater the way that we sometimes do — yes, U.K. theaters have more government support, but the British Isles are still full of struggling independent theater artists who fume at the insularity and stodginess of the big institutional theaters.
And it’s a call to arms — asking those institutional theaters to wake up and realize the value of the indie-theater artists in their community. And asking us indie-theater folks to take pride in our work and know that it is worthwhile.
I highly recommend you go over to Ms. Duffy’s blog and read the whole post.
Those of you who make it out to the Monday night shows of Theater Pub have probably met, and grown to love May, the proprietor of Big May’s Hide Away Blues BBQ, the people who bring us lobster mac and cheese, giant plates of peach cobbler, and booze soaked cupcakes. Honestly, we can’t say enough about this amazing woman, and then just when it can’t get better, she themes her menu to our show and shows up to the opening night of LOVE IN A TIME OF ZOMBIES wearing a wig and scary eye make-up.
Is there anything better than being greeted with enthusiasm, delicious lobster mac n’cheese and the booziest pulled pork sandwich in the world? It’s sprayed with bourbon. SPRAYED WITH BOURBON.
On non-Theater Pub nights, you can find May at Hide Away Blues BBQ at 457 Hyde Street, but it’s a science fact that the unbeatable combination is BBQ + beer + Theater, so make sure you help us keep her at Theater Pub by coming hungry whenever you come on Monday nights. And if you come on Tuesdays, don’t despair: there’s a pop-up sushi restaurant to complete your evening!
Be sure to come see LOVE IN A TIME OF ZOMBIES, with four more performances this month- tonight, Monday the 22nd, and Monday and Tuesday the 29th and 30th of October!