Feb 182016


Dario Fo’s first version of the play They Don’t Pay? We Can’t Pay! premiered in the late 1970s (Originally in Italian as Non si paga! Non si paga!) and was not only played widely throughout Europe but made its way quickly to the San Francisco Mime Troup in the US and Tamanous Theatre in Canada, among other places, as an outrageous working class farce. (His other very famous play Accidental Death of an Anarchist made him one of the most produced playwrights in 20th century Europe.) Since that time he has revised it various times – as cultural and political conditions have changed. He even changed the title (Sottopaga! Non si paga!) He has opened up the original play so that it is less of a living room farce, and more of an epic theatre piece: a sort of boulevard theatre, with a subversive curtain adding a vaudeville element, adding the twist of putting some of the action out on the streets, bringing it somewhat closer to Brechtian theatre – only potentially much funnier.

In the more recent version, as we have received it—with great delight—from Fo translators Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante, the social backdrop for this imaginative farce remains some form of recent economic collapse. In our production we find ourselves viewing a story of desperate people when banks and financial institutions in our own country are bailed out at the expense of taxpayers – who are losing their homes which are “under water” due to loans they can’t pay (This is not a departure from Fo’s script). Wages are forced down and people now have trouble buying the necessities to get by. In this regard Fo keeps the original plot of earlier versions from the 1980s and 1990s intact: working class women begin taking five-finger-discounts in grocery stores, and during a spate of evictions a resistance begins and the authorities close in.

In the spirit of Fo’s wish that very production of this play be topical for the time and place of the production, as we worked we placed our play in a mythical Newark, New Jersey. Newark, with its industry, its role as a transportation hub – much like Fo’s Milan–provided for us, a fitting American model. Italian place names and corporate institutions have been changed to American Equivalents. And while Fo previously reserved some his sharp barbs ever for “the Pope”—that is Pope Benedict—he has defended Pope Frances from “the forces around him” – causing us to improvise a few “tweaks” to this part of the satire.

Fo also seems occasionally to be writing with the recognition that non-commercial theatre is always
working with hard times – forced into multiple casting and peculiar set and design arrangements by
ever increasing budgetary restraints. To do a comedy or farce in these times, requires that we expand the repertory of beloved overclass farces from Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, et al.
Therefore, as a tribute to the underclass created by the Great Recession, the bail-out of Wall Street, and even to our fellow “off-off” theatre companies working with little to create big artistic statement, we offer our underclass farce.  Joe Martin, Director

DC PREMIERE of THEY DON’T PAY? WE WON’T PAY  Opens March 3, 2016

SHOWS: March 3 – March 26, 2016 WED-SAT at 7:30 PM; SUN at 3 PM 

At FLASHPOINT, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC 20001


Feb 022016

IMG_3726They Don’t Pay, We Won’t Pay! (Sottopaga! Non si paga!) is one of the greatest European comedies of the 20th Century, which caused the future Nobel Prize-winning playwright Dario Fo to be brought to trial for incitement. This working class farce set during a time of economic collapse, begins with an episode of mass shoplifting by working class women from food stores, due to price hikes. It soon converges with the shipping of cheap contraband food from Asia as well as work stoppages and strikes. As a result of the “liberation” of food from grocery stores, a peculiar number of pregnant-looking women in coats are being pursued by the authorities everywhere. One of these working class women, Antonia, must deal with her legalistic husband, Giovanni—a union member who plays by the rule-book. She must also explain the unexpected “pregnancy” of his best friend Luigi’s wife, Marghareta, a fact that Giovanni in turn “reveals” to Marghareta’s husband. But soon the raids by authorities seeking contraband food close in on their neighborhood, and chaos ensues.

Though the piece has been called a “comedy of hunger” it is also about the bigger financial farce that results if the victims of financial collapse—brought about by capitalism run-amok—are asked to pay for the disaster while the guilty parties are bailed out.

This play by a master playwright and performer, is both physical comedy and a comedy of wit, sometimes in “boulevard” style. Fo has roots in Commedia dell’Arte, and the influence shows in this modern farce. In awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature—there is no theatre category!—the Nobel committee remarked in 1997 that Dario Fo “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”

Quick Note: We will not be playing the piece “Italian”—but will re imagine it in the New York City area: specifically, ethnic and industrial Newark, which matches the community depicted in the play socioeconomically. (Newark is also a likely town for actions against trains and transit (which are in the play) among other things. Joe Martin

Nov 062015

SMARTPHONES.10-24-15 042I am truly amazed how much intuition and belief helps to make right decisions in very tough situations and how much then everything falls into the right places. It feels like you are struck by a lightening!

Now, after the opening night of Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce I may breath and relax, not completely maybe but breath.

Imagine the situation, it’s about 4:30 pm on Thursday, October 22, I am in the middle of the rehearsal for the Salon of Opera at the Embassy of Poland, where I am supposed to perform as Duchess Elzbieta Sieniawska to introduce talented opera singers to the audience and also block specific moments of the performance as a director, when I get a frantic call from the lovely Stage Manager, Michelle Taylor informing me that our main actor, Bruce Rauscher, was just brought by emergency to a  hospital and he cannot move.  My heart stopped for a moment. So many feelings of compassion, stress and survival! All I knew is that we had full house, lots of VIPs, press and fabulous food prepared for the Opening Night by Taberna del Alabardero.  I immediately tried to call Bruce, texted him worrying what was happening to him, left him messages and at the same time tried calling our director of the play, Joe Banno.  All calls failed, could not catch anyone on the phone. Then I picked my brain quickly , who could help to safe the night! I called several colleague actors, texted them but could not get anyone on the phone. I started frantically texting, all I could think of was sending emergency notes, asking for help! And guess what, all of them responded promptly but the first one was 1469906_10152043200317419_1379102465_ndear friend, Ivan Zizek, who said, I will do it for you but I can come not earlier then 7 pm, one hour before the show.  I had no choice, I knew he can do it and he did! As he always does, a true friend and a fabulous actor as in Protest when we played together mirroring each other as Stanek and Stankova.

The next thing was going back and forth with dear Michelle Taylor, amazing SM whose help was priceless in this huge ordeal to notify all actors in a play and find the best solution to save the show!

Since we had no chance to get in touch with the director due to smartphones – spotty area, dear Michelle and wonderful actors decided to cast Ivan in a small part of Maid and dear Tekle who originally supposed to play Maid, stepped into the big role of Barnaby (originally played by Bruce Rauscher). We knew he had to be “on the book” but he knew the play and blocking so it was natural for all great team of “Smartphones” to make such a great decision.

Then, I had to make phone calls to the Embassy of Spain, the author, Emilio Williams, who first asked if I should cancel the show, I replied too late, “the show must go on”. I knew everyone would understand this and had no doubt that the actors would step up to the occasion and do a fantastic job!. I also knew that I had to welcome the audience and explain what has happened.  Everything was put in place and then on my way to the theater, at about 6:45 pm, I get a phone call from the director, Joe Banno, asking what happened to Bruce and that he just realized while waiting for our calls that he was out of area. I explained that we got Ivan to step in and that he was coming about 7 pm to learn the part to go on at 8 pm. Joe froze for a moment and said, you should have cancelled the show! I replied “too late”, “the show must go on!” I could no longer wait :”for Fede…or Godot…to find a better solution!”

I stood in front of the full house and welcomed everyone to the theater of absurd and ridiculous with a sad announcement of dear Bruce Rauscher’s health condition and a last minute replacement! The audience welcomed the full cast and team of “Smartphones” with not only understanding but also with full approval of this very tough decision I had to make. Thank God, they loved it! And approved my decision!

Then, we had to decide what to do with the full weekend of the performances and with the Press Opening. Ivan could not help with other nights, so the search for new actor to play Maid begun again. I could not play on Friday since I had to perform as Duchess Sieniawska at the Embassy of Poland…then who could step in…? So many calls, frantic searches and finally Michelle stepped in again, she found an actress to step in on Friday, the show was saved again! But she could not perform besides Friday…so who could step in???? I guess…me!

VAL_4148Once more, I had to write notes to the members of the press about the situation, giving them a choice to come back another time. They all replied that they still wanted to come on Saturday night and cover the show despite all circumstances. And we all did it again, full house, me shaking before stepping on the stage as “Maid” and then a huge applause from the approving audience and a relief…we did it! The night proved to me again that my intuition and believe in the fabulous cast was right!  The focus and fabulous delivery of dear Ariana Almajan, Moriah Whiteman, Shravan Amin and wonderful and brave, Tekle Ghebremeschel was unspeakable! They were all on the tip of their toes and saved the show! All I could think at the curtain call was, thank you, thank you dear friends, thank you to all whose help and devotion to the theater and art is absolutely priceless and makes me go on! Despite  all genuine feelings of doubt, love and passion, compassion and sorrow, I stand strong and tall for the mission of the Ambassador Theater and all who believe in it!

Now on a razor scooter, artistic director flies on through the stage waving and sending kisses to all true lovers of the theater and art! VAL_4229

The show of Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce by dear friend, Emilio Williams, got raving reviews and must go on!!!!

With love and appreciation,

Hanna Bondarewska

P.s. Make sure to catch the show before we close Nov 15th!








Oct 222015

EmilioWilliamsIn the US, theater makers call those who are not involved in the process of creating theater “civilians”. I think I write theater for civilians. I love civilians and going with them to see experimental theater, particularly. The best civilians have a very clean eye, they’re hard to fool, and while they may not be able to pin-point at a given problem within a show, they know when something is not quite right. That intuition of the civilians I find very useful as a playwright and as a friend and it allows me to experience theater from a less jaded perspective.

One of the few things that most civilians get confused about is the difference between a show and a play. Technically is not correct to say that you have seen a play.  A show you see, and a play you read. A show is always just an interpretation of a given play, one of many infinite potential versions of what that text could be.

This is why attending the opening of a new show based on one of your plays is an exhilarating but nerve-racking experience. My civilian friends, when they come with me to an opening have a hard time  understanding that I’m truly, and honestly as clueless about what’s about to happen on the stage as they are.

A show can make a play one writes so much better. It has happened to me. Or it can make a play one writes, much worse too. It happened to me, too. That’s the beauty of the collective nature of theater shows, a medium in which so many artists come to contribute their own reading and take on a given material. And this is a risk always worth taking.

Being asked permission to produce one of your plays by a total stranger is one of the biggest honors that a playwright can have, better to me that any award or any rave review.

This morning I wake up early to fly to DC, where a troupe called Ambassador Theatre opens tomorrow the East Coast premiere of my play “Smartphones, a pocket-size farce”. On my facebook I find a picture of the cast dressed up for the show. The picture is very promising and a great relief. I sense that the director, and the team have captured, at least in appearance, how I pictured these characters in my mind.

This teaser makes me even more excited and curious about what may be waiting for me Thursday night.

A novelist in Spain once wrote that publishing a book was like giving away your son for adoption. Once you do that, the book is not yours anymore… I feel like that when I come to see a show of one of my plays, when I have not been part of the process. As a playwright to give your play to a community of artist and they make your own show with it.

Something interesting happens to me when I come to a premiere. I don’t remember writing the plays. Smartphones I wrote 6 years ago. I only recognize a few brainy choices that I may have made during the writing process, but most of it all, I remember vaguely as in a dream, and I don’t recognize the material as mine, but rather as something that had been dictated or transcribed. It’s hard to explain and a bit freaky.

This detachment to the play is a good thing, I believe. It makes me wants to go to opening night to be surprised and to see a show that no matter how it may be will be for sure something new and different from any other show or previous productions of that same play. That’s the beauty of theater. From play to play, from show to show, from night to night, everything is the same and everything is absolutely different, and hopefully, always surprising.


May 222015

TheTrapSample2In “The Trap”, Tadeusz Różewicz has a dying Franz Kafka deliriously dream of a world of horrors that could have come from a novel Kafka never had a chance to write, but that would become reality in Prague and Vienna and across Europe less than two decades after the author’s death.

The man who wrote of the nightmare of Josef K. in “The Trial” would not have been surprised by the rise of a regime that perfected brutality through bureaucracy, and that mobilized a continent to mechanize murder on an unprecedented scale. K.’s arrest on charges he is never made aware of, the alternating stupidity and pomposity of the officers of the court, and a system where the law could change from moment to moment at whim of the masters — all of these aspects of the story Kafka created would be borne out under Nazism.

Throughout “The Trap”, executioners skulk about the edges of the stage, eyeing the movements of the characters with suspicion and disdain. Are they from the near future of the Holocaust, or from Franz’s own time? They are both, and neither; they are the representation of the idea that anyone can become an instrument of death, and that too many among us will stand by while it happens. In one of the most surreal tableaus of the play, a petit bourgeois barber bends Franz’s ear with pretentious babble while in another time, his dim-witted assistant has risen to power as a thuggish enforcer for the Nazi state, humiliating a man of science and learning before hastening him off to his demise.

Why did they, and why do we, stand by? Josef K. — and Franz — would know that it is because distance creates deniability. Most of those culpable for the Holocaust, and for atrocities committed both before and since, were not cramming bodies into rail cars or launching missiles aimed at villages, but were rather the people filling out the paperwork to make it happen — like the forms that would send Franz’s beloved sister Ottla, his truest ally throughout “The Trap”, off to Theresienstadt and later Auschwitz, where she would be killed. They never had to witness the real results of all those papers.

The executioners in “The Trap” embody what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil. They are driven not by fanaticism or sociopathy but by a desire to get ahead and get along, and to take advantage of the chaos of the times to rise in stature. They might be unwilling to kill by the sword, but are all too willing to do it with the pen. Kafka would have understood.

May 212015


Dear Friends, I am thrilled and humbled to present to you The Trap, the most provocative and intriguing play, by one of the most challenging authors I have ever worked with, Tadeusz Różewicz. Living in today’s difficult world of political and social unrest, constantly changing technology and fast life is not easy. I myself feel trapped by challenges and contradictions of life, with its highs and lows and happiness and sorrow constantly interchanging. Looking through the eyes of Franz Kafka and Tadeusz Różewicz and discovering more and more traps that are part of our lives has become a true artistic and mental challenge as well as a blessing. It has made me, as I hope it will make you, the audience, appreciate the artists even more and see how difficult their struggles to create and survive are. Many artists of today, like Kafka, feel alienated, misunderstood and are prone to psychological highs and lows trapped between art and reality of everyday life. Let’s stop for a moment in this fast moving world and give them a hand.  By doing so, we will help ourselves by nourishing what is the most fragile and priceless, our hearts and souls! Let’s stop and reflect on our cruel history which keeps repeating itself, trapping soldiers and civilians in the hell of war. Let’s think about peace and wish for it with all of our hearts! Let’s be kind to one another and help each other to cope with the trappings we are faced with in our lives. I hope this production will make us stop for a moment, and reflect on life and how we can make it better for ourselves, artists and those around us. This creative journey would never be possible without an amazing ensemble of actors, designers and artists and of course our friends and supporters, whose help made it possible for us to experience and unravel the traps that T. Różewicz and Franz Kafka had created for us.  I would like to thank Embassy of the Republic of Poland and Polish Consulate as well Theatre Department of the George Washington University for helping us to bring “The Trap” to life. I hope our biggest contributors and challengers; T. Różewicz and Franz Kafka are watching us from above with appreciation and smile!

Thanks to all Friends and Supporters!

The Ambassador Theater’s 6th season continues rolling on!  During the past seasons, we produced 14 main stage productions in addition to various “Bare Bones” and Staged Readings, New Work Series, Literary Café programs, play-reading workshops, summer camps, Studio Classes and outreach programs.  All of our programs have introduced our audiences to the cultures of several countries across multiple continents (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Macedonia, Poland and Spain). We have worked with over 100 actors, artists, authors, translators, directors and designers, in addition to over a thousand students and interns from various DC Metro schools and colleges. We have even taken students abroad to perform at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw for the First Lady of Poland.  Our productions have been seen by over 10,000 spectators in many venues around the area.  We are fortunate to have developed valued friendships and partnerships with the diplomatic representatives of countries from where our productions originate.  Most recently, our production of Happily ever After received 2014 Best Play, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor recognition from DC Metro Theatre Arts as well as the 2013 Helen Hayes Canadian Partnership Grant Award.  I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our Board of Directors, artists, designers, partners, friends, and, most of all, our audience for helping us to fulfill our mission to continue facilitating international cultural dialogue. We have a thrilling season ahead of us, please join our Circle of Members and Supporters and sign up on our newsletter list. We would love to stay in touch and hear from you at our various events throughout the season! I would like to dedicate this show to all those who suffered the loss of their loved ones in tragic genocides around the world. Enjoy the show! Hanna Bondarewska

WHEN: May 28 – June 21, 2015

May 26, 27 Previews at 8 pm

May 28 at 8 pm, Opening & Reception follows

Friday, May 28, Special Q&A after the show with Prof. Kazimierz Braun, the closest collaborator of T. Różewicz;

Saturday, 30, 8 pm Press Night

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Matinees: Sundays at 3:00 pm

TICKETS: $20 – $40 Online: http://www.aticc.org/home/category/get-tickets

For 16 + Audiences

Media/Press: please e-mail us to reserve your tickets!

Please be advised there is a momentary nudity!        



May 212015

At Rehearsal of The Trap on 5/19/15 by Eliza Anna Falk

“I’ve written my plays, so as to make difficulties for the directors who stage them, not to make their lives easy. What I like best in the theatre are the rehearsals, when the director fights with everything and everyone -The drama of the battle over the shape of the performance”. -Tadeusz Rozewicz.

How well was the author aware of the degree of challenge, difficulty and pressure his innovative, open theater would bring into a rehearsal room!

IMG_0114What I am seeing is indeed a battle of the director and cast to achieve perfection in transitions, movements and performance, and a lot of very hard mental and physical work. What I see is the director trying to realize her vision as it unfolds, talking out her ideas as they ‘come’ to her and asking the cast to make changes. I see the actors seemingly tired of a number of new adjustments, yet despite the pressure, ready to state their point of view, offer advice and comment on safety.

Most reviewers agree that Rozewicz’s plays are best appreciated when seen in performance rather than read, because of the reliance on visual imagery to convey meaning” (Halina Filipowicz). Rozewicz’s theatre does not have action, it presents situations and images instead, like in a collage, yet the meaning of his plays also lies in between those images, in things unsaid and unseen. That is why it is so important and so challenging for the director and the actors to re-create the images in such a way as to not to lose the hidden and unarticulated. The task is overwhelming and arduous.

   The Trap is constructed as a sequence of tableaux. In the words of Daniel Gerould it “is a family photo album through which we can move backwards and forwards”. The process to create the ‘photos’ and smoothly transit between them presents all involved with an array of extremely demanding challenges. The set consists of a number of movable and multipurpose elements, which need to be precisely repositioned between scenes. Majority of actors are not only required to physically rearrange the set, but also, as the margin for a mistake is almost none, to master the transitions through numerous repetitions. To add to the challenge, group scenes performed in unison demand strict synchronization of movement, a process involving numerous trials/errors and adjustments.

It may well be that “For Rozewicz, the struggle between a play and its realization on stage is the crowning moment of the whole theatrical FullSizeRenderprocess” (Daniel Gerould), however I doubt that the same can be said for the Director and crew. Pasting together the “photo album” of the Trap, requires an enormous creative, technical and physical effort, as well as time, lack of which increases already growing pressure. Observing the wonderful cast and devoted crew’s hard work piecing the ‘collage’ together, repetition after repetition, adjustment after adjustment without seeing results would have been frustrating. However, as an observer, I see what they could not – the pieces of the almost finished product, gems of scenes, quality of which truly amazes me.

The seven days remaining to the preview are undoubtedly going to be extra taxing on the production team, yet the biggest battle seems to be over and the Trap brought to life with passion and force. Although sadly Tadeusz Rozewicz, one of the great writers of our time who passed away last year, will not be with us at the premiere, his genius, powerful spirit and legacy ‘trapped’ in The Trap will be present on stage ‘released’ by Hanna Bondarewska and her team for all of us to see and experience!

May 28 – June 21, 2015

May 26, 27 Previews at 8 pm

May 28 at 8 pm, Opening 




May 082015

Early in Tadeusz Różewicz’s “The Trap”, young Franz, having suffered the berating of his father at the dinner table, scorns himself as a spoiled and ungrateful brat. His boorish father, who looms as a monster throughout Franz’s memories in the play, angrily reminded his children of the traps of his own hard life — long days of physical labor, hard beds, and little food. He has provided a better life for them, but keeps the family in a trap of his own devising with his heavy-handed dominance of the household.

IMG_0488Franz would escape that trap and establish himself as a man of the middle class, with a degree in law and a career in insurance. But in so doing, he wanders successively into new traps, with each escape being only the prelude to the next.

Many in the audience will be familiar with Franz’s trap of career and moderate success. He does not toil in the fields like his father, but sacrifices each day to an office and a stack of files. He freely gives up his freedom in order to achieve a higher standard of living, one which comes with its own fresh obligations.

After securing the suitable job, Franz must secure the suitable wife, but he finds himself baffled by her insistence on buying a suite of furniture he neither wants nor needs. Fiance Felice seeks these things to escape her own trap and to establish a household of her own, but her need to achieve status and worth in the eyes of society is just another snare to Franz. When she is forced to admit that she has not read a word of the Tolstoy novella Franz implored her to read, it becomes clear: She is seeking a husband, but his identity does not matter much.

The Artist’s predicament as represented in “The Trap” will be familiar to any of those among us who put aside artistic endeavors and dreams in order to “be realistic” and “grow up” — and who, having achieved financial stability at the cost of creative freedom, try to fill the void with objects designed to impress a society made up of others who have also opted for the comforts of the cage over the uncertainty of the Artist’s path.


Peter Orvetti

Oct 142014

ArianaMarlowebattle (350x205)Thursday, 9 October, two weeks to the opening – we are at Flashpoint theatre, almost half way through rehearsals. The set is almost ready, complete enough for the re-creation of scenes to take place. The Director and the Actors are now ‘separated’ and away from the discussion table – a crucial stage of deconstructing the characters of Laura and Rage through analysis of their personalities, motivations and behaviors. The process of ‘decoding’ the protagonists both in their private and school contexts allowed the Director to reveal the characters’ personas and bring them to life; and was necessary for the Actors to understand Laura and Rage as human beings they were going to impersonate.

Rage is a two character play with an extremely intense plot, based around complex issues and conflict, and a gun as the actors’ companion. Such was the scenario the Actors entered when they were cast in the roles of a pacifist teacher and a radical, suicidal student. Based on my chats with both Ariana Almajan and Marlowe Vilchez, sorting out their initial instinctual and rational reactions towards the characters they were going to become and the roles they were to play, was crucial in being able to move forward toward rehearsing and perfecting scenes.

Ariana commenced her adventure with Rage overwhelmed by how intense the play was, and how exposed she would be on stage as one of only two players. Playing a female subjected to physical violence only added to her pre-rehearsal jitters and a list of challenges she had not faced in her previous roles. Also, there was a barrier Ariana felt existed between her and the character – she simply did not feel comfortable in Laura’s skin. Whilst being able to relate to the teacher’s personal life, the actress was not accepting of Laura’s blind idealism and naive trust in a non-violent way of life, a stance which seemed to her to be totally devoid of realism.

Marlowe had his own set of issues to deal with, such as the age factor and complexity of the character. Rage is not your average teenager, but a well read, intelligent and articulate person with maturity well above his years. To add to the challenge, he also happens to be a sociopath, and as such brings an extra layer of complexity to his already diverse identity – quite a challenge for Marlowe, who is no longer a teenager and who never impersonated a young sociopath before.  He also never handled a gun, a task requiring practice and getting used to, which next to working on voice modulation, language and mannerisms became one of many challenges to overcome.

Ariana and Marlowe tell me that whilst they are now much more relaxed having had the opportunity to get used to the characters and reconcile with the personalities they had to become on stage, the challenge of bringing Rage and Laura to life is very much on and the nervousness has not left them yet. They must have internalized the tension, as I cannot detect it when observing them practicing and perfecting scenes, under the guidance of Joe Banno. What seems obvious is that Joe’s directing style is very much team based. The actors feel comfortable responding to his comments, advice and instructions, as well as asking questions and offering their input. There is always time for impromptu discussion, if necessary, and humor, which gives all a much needed respite from a very intense effort.

Most of the director’s work is done from outside the performance space. As an experienced, highly skilled director and an amazing withaguncommunicator, Joe rarely needs to join the actors on stage to demonstrate specific movements, gestures or the Actors’ positioning. His input is smooth and transparent, his intentions clear, and his rapport with the actors exceptional. The three make an amazing team. I am excited to be able to witness a great director and two talented actors bringing the play to life, adding new layers and depth to the characters with every repetition of a line or a scene, every instruction, question and response, and every digression,  exploring new dimension of a dialog or the Actors’ interaction.

It is still a work in progress, but the end result can already be seen and sensed. Cannot wait for the premiere!

October 22, 2014 Preview at 8 pm

October 23, 2014 at 8 pm, Opening  & Reception Follows

Saturday, October 25, 8 pm Press Night

Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Matinees: Sundays at 2:00 pm

TICKETS: $8 – $40 Online: http://www.aticc.org/home/category/get-tickets

For 16 + Audiences

WHERE: Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint

     916 G Street NW, Washington DC

WHEN: October 22 – November 16, 2014

Oct 092014

PMP_8947 (3) When I first got the script, it was evident to me that Rage was going to be a pretty complex character. It is not say that  the other characters I have played were not complex, but simply that there are aspects of Rage that are difficult to  gauge and manipulate in order to present him believably. During that first week of rehearsals, our Director, Joe  Banno, helped me with finding the right balance in the many aspects of Rage’s character. The aspects of his character  that I had to consider and be mindful of were Rage’s anger, his age, his maturity level, his intelligence, and of course  his level of “crazy” and “creepy”.
I knew from the start that his anger had to fluctuate. I did not want Rage to come off as solely angry the entire length  of the play. Joe and I also agreed that we did not like the idea of Rage’s burst of anger to come out of left field. We came to the consensus that there had to be smaller bursts of anger towards the beginning of the play that build at certain points throughout. These bursts of anger, however, have to be strategically placed or else they might not coincide with the progression of the show. I think this allows Rage to be less stagnant. I think it is a lot more interesting and more real for a character to have different levels. As an audience member, if an actor is yelling every line, I find it hard to empathize with them. And honestly, it is boring to watch a one dimensional character.
When I tried to focus in on Rage’s anger, Joe pointed out to me that what I was doing with my voice really matured Rage beyond his 17 years. He mentioned that the register of my voice had gone much deeper than my natural voice. Subconsciously, I must have made the connection that a deeper voice was much more serious and sounded angrier. It is not a huge stretch, but it just does not fit with who the character is. I had been given similar notes in the past regarding my voice; I realized that because my natural voice was a bit high, I was compensating for it by bringing it down to a lower register. However, by doing so I was compromising Rage’s age. It’s something I will definitely have to monitor much more closely. There is a quality of my voice that I have to tap into to make sure he sounds young but also mature. More than likely, I will have to decide when in the show it would be appropriate to sound one way or the other. That will be dependent on how comfortable and confident Rage is with what he is saying.
Despite the fact that Rage is quite intelligent and formulates mature arguments in his discussion with Laura, his age cannot be ignored. If we forget to address his age, the audience cannot be expected to believe that he is 17. The show also loses that element of innocence being overpowered by anger and violence. It is something I have somewhat been struggling with because what I naturally gravitate towards usually comes off as a bit older. I might deepen my voice, change my posture, or even move in a grandiose fashion. Again not necessarily way off track as these mannerisms can reflect Rage’s confidence in his intelligence or his assertive personality, but not exactly what I should cling to if I’m 17 years old. I’ll sometimes catch myself and realize I might be coming off a bit older, and compensate for it. The problem is I find myself overcompensating and lose the threat level. It is truly a matter of finding the delicate balance of youth and maturity without compromising either.
When considering the threat level, I thought I would benefit from doing some research on psychopathy. Specifically, I wanted to look at the characteristics that come with psychopathy as well as those associated with it. I thought psychopathy would be a good starting point, because the shooters to which Rage relates were described as psychopaths by psychiatrists. Rage also shows signs of being a psychopath because of his lack of empathy and his bold behavior. I found that self-assurance, cruelty, and disinhibition were the main characteristics in psychopathy. My goal thus far is to highlight these characteristics in Rage but only to the extent that a juvenile would be able to address them. I say this because he “still a kid” as Laura puts it, and similarly to what I mentioned before despite his violence and anger we cannot forget he is a teenager. I hope that has the rehearsal process continues I will get more comfortable with the voice, physicality, and anger that comes with playing Rage.

Marlowe Vilchez

rage_200x200 (2)                                                                 Ambassador Theater Presents


By Michele Riml

Will “justifiable” violence or passive resistance win the day? Who will survive?

Directed by Joe Banno

Helen Hayes awarded director

Featuring: Ariana Almajan as Laura Whalen

                                     Marlowe Vilchez as Raymond Stitt

October 22 – November 16, 2014

Flashpoint, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC 20001

Wed – Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 2 pm