In Less Than 24 Hours…

June 1, 2007

Since the A.R.T. blog went live, there have been several blog entries chronicling the night before a play has its first audience. I’ve previously resisted writing such an entry because it seems dangerous to write a reflection on the final days of a rehearsal process. It’s vulnerable. So much will be fixed and changed in the final 24 hours before the first audience enters the room. But after watching the run tonight, I was struck by how much energy went into creating The Killing Game in the past 31 days. Yet, what will the audience reaction be? Will they find it as funny as we do?

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The Cast of Killing Game Introduces U.T.O.P.I.A.

May 29, 2007

U.T.O.P.I.A.Katia Asche: It is my distinct pleasure to take part in this theatrical adventure. Developing this project has been my refuge from the storm that thunders upon our great city. I would like to encourage those who have not found shelter to follow my example and be comforted by our humble play. We welcome you into our theatre, our sanctuary, with open arms. Please allow us to guide you to a sense of safety and security. We are U.T.O.P.I.A, and we are here to say that everything will be all right. Read the rest of this entry »

Punch and Judy

May 22, 2007

A major part of today’s rehearsal involved cleaning up a scene from The Killing Game that Ionesco titles “Night.” What is compelling and challenging in the staging is that it begins with characters bobbing up and down like a puppet show in five windows yet ends with a brutal stabbing. A children’s show that turns macabre. Early in the rehearsal process, we took a look at dialogue from Punch & Judy shows to explore the form. Read the rest of this entry »

Muppets, Disco, and YouTube

May 16, 2007

“I really hated the theatre. It bored me.” declared Ionesco in his journals. “Sometimes it seems to me that I started writing for the theatre because I hated it…” As we rehearse Ionesco’s The Killing Game, it is apparent that Ionesco is searching for a new form that intends to entertain instead of bore the audience. Despite the dark theme of a town devastated by the plague, the play is a series of variety sketches much like Laugh-In or Saturday Night Live. Read the rest of this entry »

Laughing at Death

May 9, 2007

An Interview with A.R.T./MXAT Institute actors Cheryl Turski and Neil Patrick Stewart

With graduation just a few weeks away, the Class of 2007 is currently in rehearsals for Eugene Ionesco’s The Killing Game, a comic tale of a plague-ridden town. This production will be the final hurrah for Katia Asche, Caroline Barad, Jackie Brechner, Emmy Lou Diaz, Phillip Dunbridge, Brian Farish, Kristen Frazier, Aaron Ganz, Adi Hanash, Merritt Janson, Jorge Montenegro, Nicole Muller, Natalie Saibel, Sarah Scanlon, Neil Patrick Stewart, Cheryl Turski, Tim Wynn, and Matt Young. Under the direction of A.R.T. Institute Director Scott Zigler, the cast is hard at work creating a variety show of comic sketches and musical numbers that examine dying and death. Read the rest of this entry »

March 20, 1996

March 23, 2007

March 20, 2007—First day of tech for Betty’s Summer Vacation. With the move to the Zero Arrow Theatre, there are now more observers in the room and its informative to learn how the jokes are landing. One of the reasons why there was no need to update the play’s social commentary on Lorena Bobbitt and the Menendez brothers was that Durang includes in the text all you need to know about the cases to get the joke. We may have forgotten how they got into the national consciousness. Even in the 2004 presidential elections Hardball’s Chris Matthews could joke about Bush-Cheney: “I mean, they‘re not the Menendez brothers.” Read the rest of this entry »

“Congratulations, Betty. You have appealed to our higher natures.”

March 20, 2007

After watching this weekend rehearsals of Betty’s Summer Vacation, not only does the play parody the sit-com format, but it also seems to foreshadow shows like Big Brother or Survivor where the darker side of human nature unfolds in a seemingly utopian situation. Perhaps the relevance of reality TV is “old news” in 2007, but as the reality TV gained popularity, it was striking to hear reports that reality TV was not only entertaining, but “good for us.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Camera Adds 10lbs

March 18, 2007

“We wanted a few more killings and then a long, disgusting trial.” One of Betty’s house guests demands. “We wanted it on television. We wanted months and months of humiliating, degrading revelations.”—excerpt from Betty’s Summer Vacation

What is it about watching a trial unfold on television? Are we hooked by the mystery of what will happen next? According to, a coalition of media groups wants the Minnesota Supreme Court to revise rules that currently block cameras from the trial courts. Minnesota is one of the few states that still keep cameras out of the courtroom. Read the rest of this entry »

“Now, now! Court TV now!”

March 17, 2007

As events escalate in Betty’s Summer Vacation, the vacationers decide to hold a mock Court TV trial in the middle of the night to entertain themselves. Within the past week, the real Court TV has made two announcements to draw public attention to their channel. Read the rest of this entry »

“Sex. Murder. Mayhem. Human Interest Stories About Kittens…”

March 16, 2007

As Institute actors in Betty’s Summer Vacation continue to sharpen their characterizations, we are discovering the extremes of comedy. How far are these characters willing to go to satisfy their desires for more sex and more violence? Read the rest of this entry »