May 28

Emily here, Director of Theatrical Affairs of Variations Theatre Group.  For the record, I’ve never been totally clear as to what that title means, but suffice it to say I am a founding company member and somewhat of an all-around theatre gal.

Maybe we’ve met before working together on some long forgotten show in some theatre somewhere in this city that I just can’t place. Maybe you recognize me from my many appearances as the often-smiling house manager in any one of a series of downtown performance spaces. Or maybe you even recall watching me as an actor back in my NYU days.

Today I have been playing the glamorous role of facilities manager. Well subbing for a facilities manager, anyway. Often we take for granted just how much work goes into the care of a theatre. Today my charge has been to supervise the load-out of a production over the course of a 12 hour day. Theoretically this is an easy job – make sure the trash goes out, turn off the lights, unlocking and locking doors, but when you really care about the space every bump and bang sets your skin on edge. Mind you theater is a messy business – strike especially – sawdust, stray screws and nails, splintered wood…amazingly sets that have lived for months on end supporting the world of a play are knocked down and dragged out in a matter of a couple of short hours. Lighting plots eviscerated as source fours and lekos fly through the air ruining the carefully constructed design. Cues are unwritten erased from the computers that kept the action moving along night after night.

Well now the crew has left, the carpenters are long gone, the electricians, the rental trucks, the dumpster, the production manager and then what’s left? An empty stage and a facilities manager, well his sub for tonight, anyway. This morning a theatrical world inhabited this playing space and now I stand on a bare stage sweeping up the remnants, the drifting dust particles of a show I know I will one day never remember. I will however always cherish the feeling of dark and empty theatre, breathing, gasping for air, because tomorrow a new team, a new set, a new show will arrive to plant itself on top of this beautiful naked stage. The stage and I have both lived to support another show. Tomorrow, we begin on yet another.


May 25

Very exciting news to announce folks…we have added several new contributors to our blog! I have asked all of the contributors to tell us a little bit about themselves on their first post but hopefully we will be able to provide you with some more interesting items and theatre information! This way it is not just me! Which I am sure we will all appreciate! So please feel free to welcome them and say hello!


May 24

Just thought you would want to know that tickets are on sale via our website. A few performance slots are already filling up…which is exciting. Last year’s festival was one of our best ever and this one sure seems like it has a goal to beat that! So get out there and buy your tickets and help these local artists showcase their work!


May 24

Good morning,

We are a little behind schedule on here but the goal is to catch you all up. Here’s the info about the festival that is plowing towards opening very shortly. We are really excited about this year’s festival as not only do we have some great short performance pieces in the competition but we are also able to give a few local productions an opportunity to showcase their work as part of the festival as well. This is exciting for us and goes along with our mission to provide an outlet for artists to showcase their work. If we can’t do that…then why are we doing this! Anyway, here you go:

As part of its commitment to the discovery of fresh voices in the American Theatre, Variations Theatre Group, Inc. (VTG) is proud to present the 2nd annual New York Avant-Garde Arts Festival.

The New York Avant-Garde Arts Festival features an original short-performance piece competition with artists from all over the United States of America and Canada. This year’s festival also includes two co-produced productions. VTG Artistic Director Rich Ferraioli said, “We are really excited to get to work with so many new and talented artists. Part of our mission is to provide an opportunity for original works to be showcased and performed. This festival is exactly that outlet!”

Each piece in the competition will be performed twice. Voting by audiences and judges will determine the top five pieces, which will then move on to the semi-finals. Wild Card night will feature three pieces selected by VTG, and the winner of that night will move on to join the original five winners. After another round of performances, the judges and audiences will choose four pieces to compete in the finals. The grand prize winner will come from the four audience/judge selections.

The winning work will receive a grand prize of $1,000.00. Awards will also be given out for each medium.

Performances will take place at the Hudson Guild Theatre, located in Chelsea (441 W 26th St). The schedule is as follows:

1st Round: June 14th through the 17th (times vary)
Wild Card Night: June 19th @ 7:00pm
Semi-Finals: June 21st @ 7:00pm & 9:00pm
Closing Ceremony & Finals: June 23rd @ 7:00pm

This year’s festival also includes two (2) co-produced original full-length productions that will run concurrently with the competition.

The Fool’s Lear: The critically acclaimed Nomad Theatrical Co. offers up it’s first NYC performances of The Fool’s Lear, their dramatic-comedy imagining of what becomes of King Lear and his Fool as they step off the pages of Shakespeare’s play from the Fool’s point of view complete with rubber chickens, pogo ponies, and a ukulele.

Written by Randy Neale, direction and scenic design by Grant Neale, and performed by the brothers Neale this new play explores themes of identity, senile dementia, care giving, and of course parent child relations. Boasting an excellent design team including Ramona Ponce (Costumes), Cory Antiel (Puppets), Katie Down (Musical Composition), Jeff Duer (Master Carpenter), Ron Erickson and Angela Lucido (Scenic Painters), Richard Currie (Lighting Consultant), and Nancy Keegan (Assistant Director) The Fool’s Lear provides what Carol Furtwangler of Charleston Today called “The most cleverly designed source of constant surprise I have ever seen on any stage…”

Performances are June 15th @ 7pm, June 18th @ 7pm, June 20th @ 7pm, and June 22nd @ 9pm

Perfect – Best friends since college, Sasha, Claire, and Zenobia are struggling with the modern day concept of womanhood and motherhood at integral moments in their lives. Claire has given up a teaching career to stay at home and raise her children; Sasha is engaged and pursuing a writing career, but does not know if or when she wants a family; and Zenobia is determined to make her career in fashion permanent, and believes that having a family would destroy her dreams. Along with their spouses/partners, each woman has to confront the powerful belief system that modern women can have it all, but as they each soon learn, there is a price to pay for it.

Written By: Rebekah L. Pierce
Directed By: Gene Hughes

Performances are June 17th @ 3pm, June 19th @ 9pm, June 22nd @ 7pm, and June 23rd@ 3pm

Tickets are $15.00 for all rounds. The closing ceremony/final round tickets are $18.00. For ticket information and specific details, please visit www.variationstheatregroup.com.

The selected participants for the Original Performance Piece Competition are:

My Past Girlfriends
Written by: Michael Skidmore
“The wonderful unpredictability in relationships or when something goes wrong it is always my fault.”

Snowy Night
Written by: Ana Aysel Ingham
“A comedic drama about unusual lives, survival and a philosophical cat called Descartes.”

Press
Written by: Richard Drake
“Contrasting Pinter realism with Artaudian surrealism, Press examines how genius can go horridly awry through misdirection and subtle spectacle.”

Group 2:
The Tasting
Written by: Joe Krawczyk
“Two characters are locked in a struggle to determine, if any, the existence of divine.”

The Quiet Room
Written by: Jo Ann Rosen
“A freelance copywriter, resorts to a letter opener, masking tape, the quiet of her bathroom, and haiku as she wrestles, against impossible odds, to meet a looming deadline.”

Stranger on a Train
Written By: Jo Ann Rosen
“A young Rastafarian yearns for comfort, a prim loner mourns his dog, and they both find solace over warm donuts and a cup of coffee.”

The Girlfriend Experience
Written By: Mark Troy
“What happens when your mother chooses your girlfriends?”

Group 3:
Mark Twain in Hell
Written By: Vincent Lewis
“Mark Twain is back, and he’s got all new material.”

Something Tells Me
Written By: Ed Tasca
“A visit to the “collective unconscious” finds that “Truths” are not quite as noteworthy and desirable as one might think.”

Shooting Abe
Written Charles Gershman
“Abe and Shlomi may be brothers, but there’s a lot they don’t know about each other!”

Group 4:
Hardships Jeer Love: a Memoir in Dioramas
Written By: Levi Shrader
“We will expand with space and time, and brevity…brevity can go #%@!! Itself.”

Odette
Words by Jason Carlson
Music by John Grimeett
“ODETTE: All Her Needs Are Yours.”

Without a Safety Net
Written By: Stephanie Garrison
“Twenty years of first love, heartache and adult speak in half an hour.”

Group 5:
Sign of The Times
Written By: Jeff Helgeson
“Sign of The Times offers twisted absurdities to reflect and refract our current era of conflicted expectations.”

If All Leads to the Lemon Scene
Written By: Pamela Winfrey
“A head is severed. People die.”

Jump for Aid
Written By: J. Julian Christopher
“Jump for Aid is an absurd parable for the modern student in a financial aid crisis.”