The Almost & The Nothing is a mystical journey towards self-discovery. However, it is questionable to what extent the heroine (Nina) is consciously present in which to be discovered. The realms of the fantastical world provide an overt escape from the mundane, but not even a child’s imagination—with all its power and innocence—can guarantee a safe return back to that which is concrete.
The exploration between reality and illusion are recurring themes in The Almost & The Nothing. Nina is obsessed with fairy tales and fixated on notions of princes and princesses, wicked stepmothers and dragons.
However, dragons don’t always breathe fire—sometimes they look just like our own reflection. Nina’s reflections take on their own emotional existence by manifesting into sub-divisions of Nina’s ego, called Mia (Nina’s subconscious voice, created out of her own insecurities) and Delilah (Nina’s self-destructive nature, created out of her own vanity). Nina learns the hard way just how easily it is to resign all power and control to her dragons—hiding her true desires within Delilah, who acts out Nina’s twisted fantasies. Marlow—Nina’s supposed ‘Prince Charming’—ironically turns out to be a huge disappointment, reinforcing the notion that love cannot fix us or save us.
The Almost & The Nothing magnifies the human condition—exposing just how fragile we are—and aims, like all good theater, to encourage each and every audience member to recognize themselves within the follies of the characters and confront their own dragons.
The first run of The Almost & The Nothing was performed at HERE and The Wings Theatre by Meret Oppenheim (Mum), David Margulis (Dad), Christina Mason (Angelica), Elena Zazanis (Delilah), Amy Hoerler (Mia), Drego Moore (Marlow), Dina Plotch (Nina), Jamil Mena (Jonathan), Mary Remington (Nina understudy). Written, directed, produced by Lennie Varvarides. Musical director: Brer Brian. Stage manager: David Margulis. Special thanks to Lucio Zago. Web designer Amy Hoerler. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz.
Crying Out Loud is a one act “tradomedy” with musical outbursts of song at irregular moments.
We grow up in some cases fulfilling only half of our own existence and creating an imaginary world in which to dream out loud the rest of it. This is known as, Crying Out Loud: a play that takes this notion and sings with it! Crying Out Loud is a play that seeks to better understand human tendencies, to analyze why we do or don’t do certain things in our lives, and to clearly understand who-if anyone-is really to blame for what we have or have not achieved. There is no real resolution to the ending of this play, for life is always unresolved. However, the main question that is repeated like a motif is this: is it better to have the courage to begin or the confidence to finish?
Maria’s desire to “just sing” is a metaphor for “just being:” an attempt to find personal satisfaction without the need of someone’s love or a proposal of marriage. Maria wants to prove her mother’s advice of “just being nicer” to her fiancé Jack will not actually cure Maria’s unhappiness. After all, Maria believes Jack has no genuine interest in her or her development-apart from maybe on an egotistical level. All Maria’s frustration and anger towards her parents and Jack isolates her on a psychological level without even being aware of it. This creates the manifestations of the following characters: Charley, Angel and Angelica.
Here the sub plot thickens: Maria’s alter-egos have their own agendas! Charley and his angels break up the melodrama with irregular outbursts of song that are in themselves anecdotes, forming the Greek chorus.
The second run of Crying Out Loud was performed by Isabelle Albuquerque (Maria), Julian Mohamed (Jack), Jasika Nicole (Danielle), John Virag (Charley), Marty Grillo (Dad), Susan J. Weiswasser (Mum), Christopher Fougere (Hypnotist/Host), Kathryn Lotis (Angel/January 5 run), Malwina Sworczuk (Angel/January 6 run), Amy Hoerler (Angelica). Written and directed by Lennie Varvarides. Co-directed and stage-managed by Brad Gore. Music by John Virag. Postcard artwork designer: Ginny Chu. Producer: Lennie Varvarides. Marketing: Dan Schulz. Web designer: Amy Hoerler.
The first run of Crying Out Loud was performed by Mary Remington (Maria), Steven Savona (Jack), Suzanne Harvin (Danielle), Rik Sansone* (Charley), John Virag (Dad), Maria Torres (Mum), Christopher Fougere (Hypnotist/Host), Malwina Sworczuk (Angel), Amy Hoerler (Angelica), John Garcia (Paul). Written and directed by Lennie Varvarides. Co-directed by Brad Gore. Music composed by Rik Sansone*. Postcard artwork designer: Ginny Chu. Producers: Lennie Varvarides, DeAngela Napier. PR/publicity associate: Michelle Oglesby. Collective:Unconscious technical director: Wolf Van Dijk. Web designer Amy Hoerler. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz. *member, Actor’s Equity Association
UnderAdDress is a one act play that addresses the misappropriation of power, explores the notion of truth, and confronts those circumstances of reality and madness.
The action is set within the boundaries of constant slide projections that appears on both parallel walls of the space and a triangular collage of newspaper cutting that covers the stage floor. The play works on two different contextual levels; addressing the personal interactions of the protagonists struggle to dominate the triangle and how this is reflected in a world dominated by the discretionary politics of a so called democratic government. To seek the truth one first appears romantic, and later this romanticism appears foolish. To appear challenging is a threat to the status quo and though the search often leaves one displaced…to be satisfied with the facts fed like cat food, lead only to starvation of the mind. The plot of the narrative circulates around this bizarre love triangle were the protagonists get themselves tangled in a web of lust, jealousy and craving for power. The sub-plot is based on Natalie’s obsession with the conspiracy theories that form the running commentary of political satire about our government, a government on a universal level that controls the people through subliminal messages, fear and forced fines in the name of recession.
A triangle has three points. It symbolizes love, power and greed.
In the middle is a space called Sam and Joe. The force Sam is a Green Snake, Joe is a Brown Bear. Both only care about money and power. Joe also cares about fucking. They represent a loose symbol of The Great Powers.
Natalie is one point of the triangle. Natalie is Red, desired by all and passionate. Natalie is the heroine who slowly starves searching for the truth.
Beverly introduced Natalie to some conspiracy theories in a half heatedly way. This affected Natalie. Beverly is Purple, sexually frustrated and aggressive Beverly attempts to erase all teachings by belittling their importance. It is too late for Natalie. Natalie is possessed with stories and theories–until she can no longer judge between reality and imagination. Andrew is the common man. Andrew is trapped in his only desire to please the heroine. Andrew is Yellow. Andrew attempts to flatter Natalie with self-serving amour. He is not a bad fish, but borders on that which is two dimensional, with that which is obvious.
There is no complexity to Andrew’s character. This infuriates Beverly to no end. His efforts and perseverance are recognized by Natalie. Natalie’s acts of sympathy toward Andrew, Are misinterpreted by Andrew as ‘interest.’ This leads Beverly to scorn Andrew even more. The tension in the play arises from Beverly’s jealousy towards Andrew. This is ludicrous as Beverly is a highly intelligent woman. Beverly lacks confidence in her relationship with Natalie. Natalie’s emotions are always in flux. Beverly hides her lack of confidences with her criticism of Andrew. But due to Andrew’s color, His defense is often weak and childlike.
All characters are searching. Natalie finds her revenge. Andrew finds some comfort. Beverly tries her hand at modesty. Joe is vanquished. And Sam remains unchangeable.
The first run of UnderAdDress was performed by Mary Remington (Natalie), Tricia Napor (Beverly), Nick DeMatteo (Andrew), Julian Mohamed (Sam), Miguel Coias (Joe), Madeline Virbasius-Walsh (Natalie-Future), and Amy Hoerler (Natalie-Past). Written, directed by Lennie Varvarides. With monologues by Laura Axelrod. Music by Nick DeMatteo. Postcard artwork designer: David Stoupakis. Producer: Shawn Randall. PR and publicity associate: Michelle Oglesby. Collective:Unconscious technical director: Jamie Mereness. Web designer Amy Hoerler. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz.