Founded by British playwright/director Lennie Varvarides, a)LoStCrEaTiVe was a performing arts/theater production company, which provided all “lost creatives” with a supportive environment in which they could explore their creative demands. It was a forum for actors, artists, poets, singers, musicians, filmmakers and dancers to work together and create new work for future productions. a)LoStCrEaTiVe was originally meant to only be an acting workshop for actors to come together and practice their skills. As weeks passed, however, Varvarides collected notes during such sessions provided the inspirational fodder which she turned into what is now her very first play—the unforgettable UnderAdDress—which her company members successfully performed at the Collective: Unconscious Theater in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Two more plays would follow–The Almost & The Nothing and Crying Out Loud–which were staged at some of the most famous and exciting New York City theater venues: HERE, Collective:Unconscious, Wings Theatre, and 13th Street Rep.
The notion of a)LoStCrEaTiVe was founded in the summer of 2001 and has grown from a one woman wonder to an artistic collective with mutual goals “to create original thought provoking “live art” and “installation work.” Creatives consist of actors, artists, poets, singers, musicians, film-makers, dancers–and anyone with an eye for artistic creation and flare for raw talent. a)LoStCrEaTiVe’s ethos:
- Identifies an individual’s lost creative energy and exploring creative demands
- Challenges new audience conception of performance
- Eliminates elitism
- Opens doors and welcomes both the public as well as the artistic community to collaborate and share artistic experiences
a)LoStCrEaTiVe is a ‘performance art/theater company’, based on the concept of lost creative energy. The objective is to find this lost creative energy and employ it, while providing a supportive environment in which individual artists may explore their creative demands. In creating new, original work, the aim is to challenge a new audience’s conception of performance. In trying to eliminate elitism, a)LoStCrEaTiVe opens the doors and welcomes both the public as well as the artistic community to collaborate and share their artistic experience. The need for creative employment might seem like a romantic ideologue, but it will manifest into a practical utopia. a)LoStCrEaTiVe draws on the skills and culture of its members and uses this as natural resources; nurturing the raw talent of the group and recycling their rejected ideas. The ethos is to challenge that which is expected, with that which visually possible of theatre and film, juxtaposing creative disciplines with human tendencies. There is something quite sexy about this thin line between respectable theatres and high art that Varvarides wants to get to grips with! The structure of the group consisted of a series of alternative workshops (called L.O.S.T.) aimed at opening up that tin of worms called ‘creativity’ with a wholehearted outpouring of ‘imagination.’ The workshops take the structure of acting and writing exercises aimed at tapping into the subconscious, as stimuli to create new work. The style often compliments the absurd and questions concepts of reality. Ideas develop organically-cultivated through the use of different drama exercises and preserved with the use of documentation (this documentation forms the educational part of a)LoStCrEaTiVe and is, in essence, the body of research into the ‘live/performance art’ practices that will be later drawn upon when analyzing the marriage between ‘theater’ and ‘performance art’). The objective is to work towards a finished installation piece, showcase, exhibit, or performance within four months of brainstorming. This timeline is enforced so as to keep ideas fresh, while providing further opportunities to create new work. The artistic director’s intentions in keeping it fresh lie not only in the fusion of different artistic disciplines, but in the understanding of the psyche and ones’ short concentration span! All this art and drama is intended to broaden the voyeur’s artistic appreciation, as well as challenge the artists to create work outside of the framed box. The artistic director’s signature borders on the abstract, marries the surreal, parodies Greek tragedy, and steals from Shakespeare that which was never his.
Lennie Varvarides* (Founder/Artistic Director), Amy Hoerler*, Tricia Napor*, Madeline Virbasius-Walsh*, Miguel Coias*, Julian Mohamed*, Nick DeMatteo*, and Mary Remington*, John Virag, Malwina Sworczuk, Chris Fougere, Marty Grillo, Maria Torres, Susan J. Weiswasser, Jasika Nicole Pruitt, John Garcia, Suzanne Harvin, Stephen Savona, Meret Oppenheim, Kathryn Lotis, Elena Zazanis, Jamil Mena, Dina Plotch, David Margulis, Drego Moore, Christina Mason, Kathleen Addcox, Valerie David * “The Original 8”
Crying Out Loud
Crying Out Loud is a one act “tradomedy” with musical outbursts of song at irregular moments. We grow up in some cases fulfilling only half of our own existence and creating an imaginary world in which to dream out loud the rest of it. This is known as, Crying Out Loud: a play that takes this notion and sings with it! Crying Out Loud is a play that seeks to better understand human tendencies, to analyze why we do or don’t do certain things in our lives, and to clearly understand who-if anyone-is really to blame for what we have or have not achieved. There is no real resolution to the ending of this play, for life is always unresolved. However, the main question that is repeated like a motif is this: is it better to have the courage to begin or the confidence to finish? Maria’s desire to “just sing” is a metaphor for “just being:” an attempt to find personal satisfaction without the need of someone’s love or proposal of marriage. Maria wants to prove her mother’s advice of “just being nicer” to her fiancé Jack will not actually cure Maria’s unhappiness. After all, Maria believes Jack has no genuine interest in her or her development-apart from maybe on an egotistical level. All Maria’s frustration and anger towards her parents and Jack isolates her on a psychological level without even being aware of it. This creates the manifestations of the following characters: Charley, Angel, and Angelica. Here the sub plot thickens: Maria’s alter-egos have their own agendas! Charley and his angels break up the melodrama with irregular outburst of song that are in themselves anecdotes, forming the Greek chorus.
The second run of Crying Out Loud was performed at the 13th Street Rep in NYC. With Isabelle Albuquerque (Maria), Julian Mohamed (Jack), Jasika Nicole Pruitt (Danielle), John Virag (Charley), Marty Grillo (Dad), Susan J. Weiswasser (Mum), Christopher Fougere (Hypnotist/Host), Kathryn Lotis (Angel/January 5 run), Malwina Sworczuk (Angel/January 6 run), Amy Hoerler (Angelica). Written and directed by Lennie Varvarides. Co-directed and stage-managed by Brad Gore. Music by John Virag. Postcard artwork designer: Ginny Chu. Producer: Lennie Varvarides. Marketing: Dan Schulz. Webdesigner: Amy Schulz.
The first run of Crying Out Loud was performed at the Collective:Unconscious. With Mary Remington (Maria), Steven Savona (Jack), Suzanne Harvin (Danielle), Rik Sansone* (Charley), John Virag (Dad), Maria Torres (Mum), Christopher Fougere (Hypnotist/Host), Malwina Sworczuk (Angel), Amy Hoerler (Angelica), John Garcia (Paul). Written and directed by Lennie Varvarides. Co-directed by Brad Gore. Music composed by Rik Sansone*. Postcard artwork designer: Ginny Chu. Producers: Lennie Varvarides, DeAngela Napier. PR/publicity associate: Michelle Oglesby. Collective:Unconscious technical director: Wolf Van Dijk. Webdesigner Amy Schulz. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz. *member, Actor’s Equity Association
UnderAddress is a one act play that addresses the misappropriation of power, explores the notion of truth, and confronts those circumstances of reality and madness. The action is set within the boundaries of constant slide projections that appears on both parallel walls of the space and a triangular collage of newspaper cutting that covers the stage floor. The play works on two different contextual levels; addressing the personal interactions of the protagonists struggle to dominate the triangle and how this is reflected in a world dominated by the discretionary politics of a so called democratic government. To seek the truth one first appears romantic, and later this romanticism appears foolish. To appear challenging is a threat to the status quo and though the search often leaves one displaced…to be satisfied with the facts fed like cat food, lead only to starvation of the mind. The plot of the narrative circulates around this bizarre love triangle were the protagonists get themselves tangled in a web of lust, jealously and craving for power. The sub-plot is based on Natalie obsession with the conspiracy theories that form the running commentary of political satire about our government, a government on a universal level that controls the people through subliminal messages, fear and forced fines in the name of recession. A triangle has three points. It symbolizes love, power and greed. In the middle is space called Sam and Joe. The force Sam is a Green Snake, Joe is a Brown Bear. Both only care about money and power. Joe also cares about fucking. They represent a loose symbol of The Great Powers. Natalie is one point of the triangle. Natalie is Red, desired by all and passionate. Natalie is the heroine who slowly starves searching for the truth. Beverly introduced Natalie to some conspiracy theories in a half heatedly way. This affected Natalie. Beverly is Purple, sexually frustrated and aggressive Beverly attempts to erase all teachings by belittling their importance. It is too late for Natalie. Natalie is possessed with stories and theories–until she can no longer judge between reality and imagination. Andrew is the common man. Andrew is trapped in his only desire to please the heroine. Andrew is Yellow. Andrew attempts to flatter Natalie with self-serving amour. He is not a bad fish, but borders on that which is two dimensional, with that which is obvious. There is no complexity to Andrew’s character. This infuriates Beverly to no end. His efforts and perseverance are recognized by Natalie. Natalie’s acts of sympathy toward Andrew, Are misinterpreted by Andrew as ‘interest.’ This leads Beverly to scorn Andrew even more. The tension in the play arises from Beverly’s jealousy towards Andrew. This is ludicrous as Beverly is a highly intelligent woman. Beverly lacks confidence in her relationship with Natalie. Natalie’s emotions are always in flux. Beverly hides her lack of confidences with her criticism of Andrew. But due to Andrew’s color, His defense is often weak and childlike. All characters are searching. Natalie finds her revenge. Andrew finds some comfort. Beverly tries her hand at modesty. Joe is vanquished. And Sam remains unchangeable.
The first run of UnderAdDress was performed at Collective:Unconscious. With Mary Remington (Natalie), Tricia Napor (Beverly), Nick DeMatteo (Andrew), Julian Mohamed (Sam), Miguel Coias (Joe), Madeline Virbasius-Walsh (Natalie-Future), and Amy Hoerler (Natalie-Past). Written, directed by Lennie Varvarides. With monologues by Laura Axelrod. Music by Nick DeMatteo. Postcard artwork designer: David Stoupakis. Producer: Shawn Randall. PR and publicity associate: Michelle Oglesby. Collective:Unconscious technical director: Jamie Mereness. Webdesigner Amy Schulz. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz.
The Almost & The Nothing
The Almost & The Nothing is a mystical journey towards self-discovery. However, it is questionable to what extent the heroine (Nina) is consciously present in which to be discovered. The realms of the fantastical world provide an overt escape from the mundane, but not even a child’s imagination—with all its power and innocence—can guarantee a safe return back to that which is concrete. The exploration between reality and illusion are recurring themes in The Almost & The Nothing. Nina is obsessed with fairytales and fixated on notions of princes and princesses, wicked stepmothers and dragons. However, dragons don’t always breathe fire—sometimes they look just like our own reflection. Nina’s reflections take on their own emotional existence by manifesting into sub-divisions of Nina’s ego, called Mia (Nina’s subconscious voice, created out of her own insecurities) and Delilah (Nina’s self-destructive nature, created out of her own vanity). Nina learns the hard way just how easily it is to resign all power and control to her dragons—hiding her true desires within Delilah, who acts out Nina’s twisted fantasies. Marlow—Nina’s supposed ‘Prince Charming’—ironically turns out to be a huge disappointment, reinforcing the notion that love cannot fix us or save us. The Almost & The Nothing magnifies the human condition—exposing just how fragile we are—and aims, like all good theater, to encourage each and every audience member to recognize themselves within the follies of the characters and confront their own dragons.
The first run of The Almost & The Nothing was performed at HERE and The Wings Theatre. With Meret Oppenheim (Mum), David Margulis (Dad), Christina Mason (Angelica), Elena Zazanis (Delilah), Amy Hoerler (Mia), Drego Moore (Marlow), Dina Plotch (Nina), Jamil Mena (Jonathan), Mary Remington (Nina understudy). Written, directed, produced by Lennie Varvarides. Musical director: Brer Brian. Choreographer: Kelly Schornak. Stage manager: David Margulis. Special thanks to Lucio Zago. Webdesigner Amy Schulz. Marketing/computer guru Dan Schulz.