The Playgroup and Empire Stage kick off its' fourth season with "The Monster Project", celebrating four freaky, funky original plays by award-winning playwright and Miami Beach resident Brian Harris. Directed by Joyce Sweeney, Empire Stage shares its mission developing original plays by local playwrights. "One of very few South Florida theatres that supports new play works and local playwrights in South Florida. " Theatre Chat.
Their current production "The Monster Project" offers plenty laughs. The plays may not be Improv, but the writing gives the nonsense comedy of the Los Angeles Groundlings or Chicago's famed Second City Improv. The four wickedly funny plays are cleverly written by Brian Harris.
The new works may remind comedy play lovers of Puliztre Prize winner Jules Feiffer play "Feiffer's People". Jules Feiffer, a syndicated cartoonist shared similar type scenarios with a tatste of psychoanalyst humor and a bit cartoonish. Brian Harris has captured the same essense of comedy, throughout these four plays called "The Monster Project".
The first play "The Pattern" is what happens to those who fall into the same dating habits. Teresa Biber (Sunny) brings Christopher Mitchell, (her date) to David Meulemans, (a psychiatrist) to make sure she does not fall into same dating patterns dating weirdos. The monsters we date come out to play for one of the strongest of the four plays, reaping many laughs for the very engaged audience.
"The Grandfather" played by David Meulemans is brought back to his house by Clelia Patrizio (his wife) from a nursing home, where jobless Christopher Mitchell (their Grandson) is addicted to computer avatar games. The wife steps out to get more meds for "The Grandfather" and the two disturbing characters are left to battle... when Clelia Patrizio returns, let the real games begin.
"The Wrong Stuff" is just as strong as the first play. The space ship crew have spent to much time in outer space, someone is missing. The NASA budget of three months of soap for a three year endevor, may just be the least of thier problems. A live broadcast from space to globe is like our current reality shows, leaving those left to survive, if they can return to Earth.
"The Binder" David R. Gordon (Roger) gives Teresa Biber (Jennifer) a present with mysterious inscription, when Jennifer reads it aloud Christopher Mitchell (Vampire) comes to life, haunting her and her relationship.
David R. Gordon still proves to be the strongest Actor in the company, but many laughs are had by all. Teresa Biber non stop talking character in "The Pattern", Clelia Patrizio in "The Wrong Stuff", David Meulemans in "The Patterns", David Gordon in "The Binder", Christopher Mitchell in "The Grandfather" and Playwright Brian Harris shines in thinking out side the box. "The Monster Project offers Florida Jules Feiffer type characters with Second City laughs." Theatre Chat.
Special thanks to Director Joyce Sweeney who keeps the pace going and also brought laughs changing the scene with "I hired myself and I can fire myself too", Brian Reeves Assistant Dirctor and Mick Sackett (Technical Director).
"The Monster Project" plays Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, October 4, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, October 11, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Empire Stage is located at 1140 North Flagler Street, Fort Lauderdale FL 33304. Admission: is $25 for all performances. Tickets include complimentary beer and wine and may be ordered at www.smarttix.com or by calling 954-678-1476. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
"The Monster Project" features:
“The Pattern”: Sunny brings her date to a psychiatrist to make sure she’s not falling into old patterns. But maybe she’s found a new one.
“The Grandfather”: Maury’s gaming is taken to another level when his grandfather moves in.
“The Wrong Stuff”: Too much time on a space ship leads to strange pastimes.
“The Binder”: Things heat up when Roger gives Jennifer a present with a mysterious inscription.
About the Playwright
A native of Hollywood, Florida, Brian Harris holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and has spent most of his life as a stock analyst in New York. His short plays have won The Strawberry One Act Festival twice, and, The Jean Dalrymple Award for Best Comedy Playwright at the American Theatre of Actors. His Off-Broadway production of "Tall Grass" is published in Samuel French. He has also co-written a humor book Lay Low And Don’t Make The Big Mistake (1997 Simon and Schuster). Brian lives in Miami Beach with his wife, Rachel, daughter Harper, and dog, Tango.
Teresa Biber is a speech-language pathologist by day, but an actress at heart. She has combined the two and has written, produced, directed and starred in numerous educational videos, as well as making appearances on local television news shows and Lifetime’s “The Balancing Act.” Since joining The Play Group LLC, she has worked as a technical director, a stage manager, a director and actress in many short plays. Teresa was featured in The Play Group’s production of “Joseph Andrews” as Pamela Andrews.
David Gordon is an actor/producer and a Founding Producing Partner of Empire Stage. Previously seen at Empire Stage in “He’s Coming Up the Stairs!” as Jeff Winston, and in “Making Porn” as Jack Hawk, a role he played Off Broadway as well as in the National Tour. Some of David’s other New York Stage credits include “Oklahoma!”,”Bongo Fever”, “ Picnic”,”Down! Down! Down!”, “A Town Without Shame” and "Crazy for You.”
David Meulemans is a popular leading man in Florida’s musical scene. His credits encompass diverse roles as Bobby in “Company,” Za Za in “La Cage Aux Folles,” Little Chap in “Stop The World,” and even Stepsister Gert in a traditional British “panto” version of “Cinderella.” David is also an accomplished singer. Recently, David performed in “Cabaret Stars of Tomorrow” at the International Caberet Conference at Yale University, which was followed by his debut performance, at the famous Don’t Tell Mama cabaret in New York City, with an introduction by Julie Wilson. The show “Welcome to my World”, selections from the David Kent Songbook was performed at the Pheasantry on King’s Road in London, with Musical Director Colin Billing, CD now in international distribution.
Christopher Mitchell is an up-and-coming young talent who holds a BFA in Theatre from Florida Atlantic University. Among his local credits are “Cabaret” and “Sweet Charity” for The Boca Raton Theatre Guild, “Urinetown: The Musical” for Slow Burn Theatre Company, “The Interview” for The Women’s Theatre Project. His special talents include tap dancing, beat boxing, stage combat and, he can wiggle both ears.
Clelia Patrizio is a versatile actress with local credits that include “The Killing of Sister George,” and “As Bees in Honey Drown,” for Rising Action Theatre, “Equus” for Andrews Living Studio, and “Women’s Minyan” for West Boca Theatre Company. She has worked in both drama and musical comedy in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Seoul, Korea.
Managed by Joyce Sweeney of Coral Springs, (Director of "The Monster Project"), The Play Group LLC is a coalition of South Florida playwrights, directors and actors. Formed in 2010, we put the community in community theatre by featuring original plays by local playwrights.
Tickets are $25 for all performances. Tickets may be purchased at www.smarttix.com or by calling the Box Office at Empire Stage at 954-678-1496 or at the door. "Empire Stage one of very few South Florida theatres that supports new play works and local playwrights in South Florida. " Theatre Chat.