Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Riant Theatre : The Semi-Finals for the Strawberry One-Act Festival 2011

The Riant Theatre : The Semi-Finals for the Strawberry One-Act Festival 2011

Semi Finals #3 (Plays from Series E, F, G & H)
Tuesday, August 2nd at 7:00 pm

Directed by James R. Jaworski
Horst was waiting for his date. Then Graben arrived.

2. LOVE FOR BEGINNERS by Cesar Abella
Most people try to forget their exes when they date new people. Noah likes to bring his exes with him.


by Anna Governali
Featuring: Candice Goodluck, Ginger Kearns, Michael McMullan, Victory Chappotin & Michael Borne
As Hunny is sent to save lost a soul that lingers between life and death, who she really meant to save is herself.

4. WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS by Alison Costello
Directed by Rob Drake
Featuring: Rick Apicella, Matthew Breunig, Alison Costello, Elizabeth Morris
What are the odds?

Semi Finals #4 (Plays from Series E,F,G & H)
Tuesday, August 2nd at 9:00 pm

1. THE JEWEL HEIST by Michael J. Cherkezian
Love goes full circle.
2. MEN IN A BOTTLE by Joseph Lizardi
Three men struggle to keep their jobs as the company tries to bust the Union.
3. IT’S GREEK TO ME by Shelley A. Bromberg
Directed by Michael F. Murphy
How do we move on from the loss of a loved one? Is there ever really a good time?

4. WEIGHT by Kerri Campbell Evans
Directed by Larissa Dzegar
Featuring: Melinda Graham, Geiselle Nix-Fauntleroy, and Kerri Campbell Evans
3 Embryos, 2 women & 1 waiting room.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Plays Moving Into The Semi-Finals Are...

Semi Finals #1 (Plays from Series A, B, C & D)
Monday, August 1st at 7:00 pm

1.  ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE by Jennifer Marvel
Featuring: Dee Cleare, Akua Doku, Helyn Rain Messenger, Kathryn Quigley, Keven Russo, Anthony Jude Setaro
When it comes down to it – the one thing everyone wants in their life is LOVE.

2.  AGAINST THE ODDS by Douglas Cion
Directed by John Dorcic
Featuring: Christopher Tully and Douglas Cion
With seven billion people on the planet, what are the odds?

3.  CROSSING VERRAZANO by Anthony Fusco
Featuring: Christopher J. Anderson, Bradley LeBoeuf, Joe Kurtz, R.J. Lucci, Matthew Michael Raynor & Nick Spain
Three young men visiting NYC for a weekend of fun, experience an incident they will never forget. What really happened that night? Based on a true story.

4.  MI MEDIA NARANJA by Rolls Andre
Directed by Lauren Moran Mills
Featuring: Rolls Andre, Kim Gainer & Jen Taher
After a night of kinky sex gone horribly wrong, a couple of swingers must re-examine their marriage.

Semi Finals #2
(Plays from Series A, B, C & D)
Monday, August 1st at 9:00 pm

1.  MERRY MEETING by Jacob Marx Rice
Directed by Rebecca Leifer; Producer: Jonathan Jager
What happens when a man comes home to find his wife having sex with another man, beats that man unconscious and then sits down to have a civilized conversation.
2.  PAID OFF by Robert D. Argen
Directed by Robert D. Argen and Julia Frieri
Featuring: Dennis Brito and James Fouhey
”Trust me, I’m a banker.” Wall Street and Main Street collide in this classroom drama about a banker’s struggle to prove his moral worth to his grieving former English teacher.

Through the interpretation of history two are brought together in love and manipulation!

4.  THE PRENUP by Charles Gershman
A caricature of coupledom in which a young man’s marriage proposal unravels.

Click here to buy tickets:

Or call 646-623-3488

The plays selected for the wild night will be posted on Monday, August 1st at Noon.

Video Diaries Journal Entry #2 for LOVE FOR BEGINNERS in the Strawberry One-Act Festival, Saturday, July 30th at 3pm

Teaser Trailer by Celia Au:

"Behind the Scenes/Music featurette" by Amanda B. Goodman:

Check out LOVE FOR BEGINNERS by Cesar Abella in the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival, on Saturday, July 30th at 3pm at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street.  For tickets go to

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Video Diaries Project: BUTTERFLY: Stages of Transformation by Trish Cole

Watch The Video Diaries Project: BUTTERFLY: Stages of Transformation by Trish Cole, one of the Short Documentary Films About the Artists in the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets to see BUTTERFLY in Series J of
The Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival, Sunday, July 31st at 5pm
at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, NYC.
Or call 646-623-3488 for further information.

An Interview with Will Budnikov, Filmmaker of the Short Documentary Film: Greek Delight!, which is part of The Video Diaries Project

This year I created The Video Diaries Project: A Series of Short Films About the Artists in the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival.  Here is an interview I had with Will Budnikov, who is an actor in IT'S GREEK TO ME, and the filmmaker for the Short Documentary Film GREEK DELIGHT!

VF:  What inspired you to work on The Video Diaries Project?
Will:  Actually, I fell into the project accidentally.  Our playwright hired a videographer, who dropped out right before we began rehearsals.  During our first read-through, I mentioned that I love filmmaking, and could help out with the project, and so here we are.

VF:  So tell me a little about yourself.  I know you're an actor, but how did you get into film making?  Where did you study and where do you get your inspiration to make films?
Will:  I love movies.  Through my years of film-watching, certain films and directors have influenced my views on this particular form of art.  Unfortunately, I've never taken any major film courses, and have basically educated myself through books, and once again, watching films.  

If I had to pick two biggest inspiration/influences on me, they would be:  Clint Eastwood (I love his energy, and true love of film), and the great Ridley Scott (a master storyteller, and a visual genius).
It is a cliche to list films that have inspired you, but here are some that have made a life-long impression on me, and set me on this path:  Jaws, Kingdom Of Heaven, Blade Runner, Schindler's List, Gran Torino.

VF:  Is this your first documentary?  I love your sense of humor.  What was the process like in working on this project?
Will: I've directed several documentaries in High School and College.  My favorite one was on Violence in Films.  I knew that it was such a lackluster project that me and my co-director decided to "just do it," and actually ended up with a pretty decent, informative and pretty funny piece of film.  We've thrown everything into that film, except the kitchen sink.  That was many moons ago, but nonetheless the memory of making that film stuck with me.

The process of working on this project...  Hmm...  It was interesting.  Once I found out that some of the excerpts were needed to be posted on the website, my director, playwright had to scramble and get together for a quick taping (about an hour long), which was edited down to about seven minutes, so that something...anything could be submitted. Once we had our first, nearly-full cast rehearsal I was able to do more interviews and tape some of the rehearsal.  To be perfectly honest, this project has been re-edited about five times, last one being the day it was handed in.  Even after that, working on it has been such a fun ride that I didn't want it to end.

VF:  How was it directing a short film with your fellow actors, playwright and director?
Will:  Cast and Crew have been very receptive to the idea of participating in this project.  Everyone had a lot to say, and I've captured quite a few memorable moments, a lot of which ended up on the cutting room floor.  I had to stay within the 12-minute limit, and still wish some of them could have made it into the film.  I think, when making a documentary, one should definitely create and stay within a certain structure, but remember to allow people to be real and tell stories and anecdotes that would contribute to the film's effect.  This was an interesting, and sometimes a challenging shoot, but I am very grateful that I've had this experience and was able to participate in the Video Diaries Project.

VF:  What do you expect the audience to walk away with after seeing your film?
Will:  I think the audiences will get the sense of how much fun it is to be an artist, and to participate in projects like "It's Greek To Me."  I think GREEK DELIGHT is energetic and fun, and hopefully will intrigue, excite and entice audiences to come and see the play performed on-stage.

VF:  Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?  Are you a native New Yorker?
Will:  The beauty of film as an art form, I think is the ability to combine all of the random pieces to create a coherent whole, and make it watchable and entertaining in the process.  Film is a way to free oneself, and to allow people experience your vision and your ideas.  

I am originally from Russia.  I've arrived to the US in September of 1991, and have resided in New Jersey ever since.

Click here to buy tickets to see IT'S GREEK TO ME by Shelly Bromberg

Series F in the Strawberry One-Act Festival, July 30th at 5pm

At the Hudson Guild Theatre,
441 West 26th Street, NYC.

Watch the Short Film:  Greek Delight!

Love For Beginners - Diary Journal #1 by Cesar Abella

I've asked the artists involved in the Strawberry One-Act Festival to keep a Diary Journal to record their experiences while working on their play.  Here is the 1st entry for Cesar Abella, playwright for LOVE FOR BEGINNERS, which will be featured in the festival on Saturday, July 30th at 3pm in Series E at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to

I’m not from New York. I feel like this is a good preamble to everything and discussing Love for Beginnerslong trip to the Hudson Guild stage. Everything in getting the play up for The Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival is worthy of a play in and of itself, but the journey will make the first (and hopefully not last) performance this Saturday mean that much more.

I live in San Francisco, and when I applied to the festival, I really didn’t think about the logistics of putting up a show across the country. When I got the acceptance email, I was beyond ecstatic – I mean, any playwright would lie if they said that they didn’t think about having at least one of their shows go up in New York – and for me, it was a very big deal. But then I realized that I was pretty much responsible for getting the show up myself. At first, this didn’t seem like such a big deal – I’m really used to putting up my own shows, as I did throughout college. So, it was like, okay, I’m directing it, all I need to do is find some actors online and fly in two weeks ahead of time and spend that time rehearsing. Easy, right?

Wrong. Obviously. I realized I couldn’t stay with a friend of mine for three weeks, and then I figured that finding a director to work with the actors that I found online and actually, you know, direct would be the best idea. But, of course, there were setbacks with that – the original director, talented person she is, was way above working for nothing on this show, and four of the original actors had, like, a thousand conflicts. It was a stressful few weeks for sure, but everything worked out and I found Jonathan Chang, my amazing director, and he recast the four roles that were missing. It’s incredibly exciting to hear from the rehearsal reports that the cast is getting along amazingly and that there is real chemistry.

So, tomorrow, I fly out to New York. I’m excited and scared, to quote a particular musical, to see the progress and watch how Jonathan and the cast have transformed the material (it was Jonathan’s idea to set Love for Beginners in the 1990s, which is amazing because I’m a child of the ‘90s and a huge pop culture nerd about it – I did have to rewrite a few lines, but I’m so frickin’ excited about it all!). It will be my first show in New York, and on Saturday, when I hear the music start and see the lights go up, I know that all the stress and pounds lost and nerves and struggle to get the money together and all that will have been worth it.

Click here to buy tickets now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Journal Entry #1 for WEIGHT by Kerri Campbell Evans

July 2nd 2011 -------The Countdown To WEIGHT begins….

For some reason the first of July marked my official countdown/freak out to WEIGHT.  While preparation has been underway since the day I found out I was accepted into The Strawberry One-Act Festival I now have this panic feeling of how can I fit more hours in a day between working full-time and rehearsing. 
Yes, the life of an artist seems to always be that constant battle between our full-time jobs and our full-time dreams.

WEIGHT has been a gift in my life, its acceptance into Strawberry One-Act Festival has been a blessing, and its journey to the stage has been oh so rewarding.  When I began this acting /writing journey I remember saying to my mother.  “I just wish I knew that all of my sacrifices would pay off someday” and she simply answered, “but if you knew the ending, the journey would not be as rewarding…enjoy the journey Kerri.”   So that is what I am doing….

When I wrote the first draft of WEIGHT I asked my amazingly talented and beautiful friend Larissa, “Hey, do you mind reading this?” I never once mentioned that I wrote it.   As Larissa read I watched her facial expressions, hoping they would give a glimpse into her thoughts.  After she finished she pushed the script away and asked, “Did you write this? And if you did, can I direct it?”  See that is how Larissa and I work.  We feed off each other’s creativity, and the product is indescribable.  Maybe Larissa was my best gift from Grad School, in addition to my immense growth as an actress.

Our rehearsals thus far have been amazing.  Table reading and improving has given way to fleshed out characters.  As the writer and an actor in WEIGHT, I now fully understand where the writing stops and the acting starts.  It is kind of a mind trip at times.  “No this is not how I intended the line, but it feels so right.”  The actor inside me started winning when I threw away the lines I created and lived in the moment as the character I had formed.  I felt her struggles, I felt her joy, and I felt her simple everyday life.  I discovered parts of her that I, a fairly new writer had failed to understand during the conception of WEIGHT.  There is the growth; there is the beauty of art.
 I am almost positive that I will always be an actor/writer.  My actor self often helps lead to my writer creations, and to be perfectly honest it works for me and I would not have it any other way.

Our next rehearsal is Wednesday and we begin the task of blocking and are “supposed to be” off book. I need to work on memorizing my lines!!  So I should say goodbye for now.  I never thought memorizing lines I created would be just as difficult as memorizing other playwright’s lines.  Yep, not one of my acting strengths, although I do find comfort in knowing if I drop a line I only have myself to answer to.

Kerri Campbell Evans/Playwright of WEIGHT
See WEIGHT in the Strawberry One-Act Festival on Saturday, July 30th at 7pm
At the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, NYC, between 9th & 10th Avenue.
For tickets go to
Or call 646-623-3488