Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

April 22, 2011

Erratica director Dan Foss sat down with AD to talk about the show and life in the theatre.

How’d you get into theater?

When I was 12, my father passed away unexpectedly.  My junior high school chorus teacher thought that encouraging me to audition for the school musical would be good distraction/therapy.  I auditioned and was cast as the title character in “Tom Sawyer”.  So, Ms. Bohart, if you’re out there somewhere, I have you to both thank and blame for my addiction to theatre!

I understand you’ve worked with Reina Hardy before.  What show did you do?  Any thoughts on that experience?
My first introduction to Reina was when Babes With Blades asked if I’d be interested in directing a series of staged readings to help develop a play that they really liked.  I read it and was smitten with Reina before we ever even met!  The show is “Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride”, a comedy about a secret society of female detectives in 1880s London.  I was (and still am) majorly impressed with Reina’s use of language and the way she can incorporate wacky comedy into really intelligent dialogue.  I like my comedy both smart and silly…Reina delivers!

What appealed to you about Erratica?  Why did you want to direct it?
I really love directing comedy.  Though Erratica isn’t technically true to the farce genre, Reina calls it an “academic farce”.  All farces that I’ve directed in the past have featured strong male roles, while the women are relegated to playing airheads and tramps, running around half-naked and delivering lame dialogue.  Erratica has some of the smartest and strongest female characters of any script I’ve read!

What is your dream role/project?
As a director, I really want to do a musical again soon!  I just got a taste of that by directing a ten-minute musical for Point of Contention, but that wasn’t enough for me.  I’ve wanted to direct “Batboy: The Musical” since the first time I heard that music!  As an actor, the list of dream roles is long…but right there at the top would be George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”…preferably opposite our current leading lady (and my dear best friend) Lisa Herceg as Martha!!

You own a lot of Wizard of Oz stuff.  What’s with that?
The easy answer here is … I’m gay!  But I’ve always been touched by the themes of the story.  The idea that you always have everything you want (brains, heart, courage, home) if you remember to embrace it.  I’ve done a lot of shows over my almost-30 years of theatre and playing the Cowardly Lion remains one of my favorite experiences.  His story, in particular, is one that I can personally relate to.

Your cats are Tootie and Belvedere.  I’m detecting a theme.  Why that period in television?
Tootie and Belvedere are in fact named for two of my favorite 80’s sitcoms (I also had a cat who was named after Weezie Jefferson, but she was very sick when I adopted her and too soon passed away).  For me, the 80’s were my teen years…and the television and I had a very close relationship.  All of the crazy sitcoms of that era – Gimme a Break, Silver Spoons, Family Ties, etc. – still inspire my direction.  I learned comedy from that genre, which definitely colors my style a little.

You get one super-power.  What is it?
Invisibility…hands down!  I can’t count the number of times that would come in handy at my day job!!

Magic genie.  Three wishes.  Go.
1)  a magic checkbook that is never ever empty…oh the things I could do…for myself and others!  2) the ability to time travel — there are things I’d love to do differently and people I’d love to see again!  3) more wishes!

What is your personal motto?

It’s cheesy, but I think that Jonathan Larson’s RENT lyric “No Day But Today” is a great motto to live by.  There are days when repeating it to myself like a mantra keeps me sane.

If the zombie apocalypse, or zombocalypse, hit tomorrow, what would your plan be?
I immediately take refuge in the company of my friends Jamie and Eric Prahl…they know more about zombies than any sane people should.  I know I would be safe with them!

Who do you consider a modern-day demigod?
I’d worship at the altar of Jon Stewart!


Meet the Author – Reina Hardy on Writing

April 11, 2011

Reina Hardy, author of Erratica, recently indulged the interrogatory whims of the AD web monkeys and participated in an interview via email.

As a writer, what do you generally do once the script is done and rehearsals have started?
I glower in the background and do stuff on my laptop during rehearsals.  That’s what I’m doing right now in Orlando for my play, “Glassheart.”  That’s the character I have for every show.

How active are you in bringing your plays to fruition?  Do you tend to argue with directors about different points or ideas?  Are you more hands-off or hands-on?
Depends on the parameters of the development process.  “Glassheart” is still being rewritten, so I’m here all the time, working and talking with the director.  “Erratica” is totally complete, so I just came to a readthrough, and otherwise let the director and cast work on their own.

Where do the words come from?  Who do you think has influenced your voice?
Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis and “Labyrinth” were my childhood influences.  I’m not sure where the words come from and I don’t ask in case they stop.

What makes a story worth telling?
1. It should be, in some fundamental but not literal way, true.
2. It should not make the world worse by propagating narratives and tropes that re-inforce the worst aspects of the world as it is.
3. Someone should love it a whole lot.

You get one super-power.  What is it?

Flight!  Or self-healing. I probably NEED self healing.  I’m injury-prone.

What really pisses you off?  I mean REALLY.  I’m talking murderous rage here.

Lazy writing. Also, the patriarchal system of oppression sometimes really gets up my skirt.

What do you mean by lazy writing?  Can you offer some examples of particularly lazy writing in some popular medium?  Films, books, other plays?

You don’t want to get me started.

What is your personal motto?

Remember the Hotel Night Manager Does Not Give a Fuck.

That sounds like there’s a story in that.
There are several.

If, hypothetically, someone wanted to seduce you, how would they go about it?  In theory.

Have good breath and an erection.

Bar seems kindof low.  Is that really all it takes?

I am a simple girl.

Who do you consider a modern-day demigod?

David Milch, Robert Downey Jr., and Nora Ephron.

Tickets now on sale for Erratica!

April 5, 2011

Tickets are now on sale for the Chicago premier of Reina Hardy’s academic farce Erratica.  You can slide on over to Brown Paper Tickets to buy in advance.  Featuring a brilliant cast led by Chicago theater veteran Dan Foss, this promises to be AD’s greatest show to date.

“Bad poetry, good sex, and severe academic misconduct.  Professor Samantha Stafford – bitter, brilliant, foxy – just wants to write a brilliant book on Shakespeare.  But one of her students is madly in love with her, her publicist wants her to do something more commercial, and she is persistently haunted by an entity claiming to be the ghost of Christopher Marlowe.  Meanwhile, Jack Hooper, the university’s most rugged and studly librarian, has lost a prized manuscript to a mysterious thief.  Can Stafford prove her innocence, clear her mind, finish her book and keep her pantsuit on?  Find out in this sassy, smart, and unforgettable farce.”



December 12, 2010

The American Demigods are titillated to announce our next production: ERRATICA by Reina Hardy!
Directed by Dan Foss
April 21 through May 14, 2011.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights
Second Stage Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield

“Bad poetry, good sex, and severe academic misconduct.” AD can’t wait to mount a new production of Hardy’s raucous and raunchy work. Produced with permission of Original Works Publishing.


Jarvis Closes

August 31, 2010

The Irrelevant Adventures of Jarvis McFadden closes its tremendous run this weekend, September 3rd and 4th at the Cornservatory Theater at 8pm, $15. See this piece of theatrical history before it sails forever west into the Undying Lands across the Sea…


Save the date: Erratica

August 20, 2010

The American Demigods are proud to present Reina Hardy’s comedy Erratica in a FREE staged reading

  • Saturday, September 25
  • 4 PM
  • The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway, Chicago
  • Zero dollars

After the reading: a burlesque show (also free) and a silent auction (awesome things for cheap!)

More to come on this special event!


Smosh one get one smosh.

August 11, 2010

Last week went so well we’re doing it again.

Tickets for shows on August 13th and 14th are buy-one-get-one free! Enter the discount code “SMOSH” when purchasing online or buy tickets at the door on the night of the show.

That’s right. Two tickets for $15.00. With all the money you’ll save, you’ll never have to steal donuts again.