Tonight I had the opportunity to go up at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak and my set was taped for all you fine folks to watch at home. I felt pretty good about my set despite it including some new material.
I love a good Halloween spooktacular, and a good seance. I mean nothing makes me crave candy and anonymity like contacting the dead with a Ouija board; that’s normal, right?
Planet Ant Theatre’s Seance 4 plays on that same dark humor at a seance party for the Neighborhood Cul-de-sac Social Club which just seems to be the weirdos from the hood who like to get together and do standard bored suburban activities, this fall the party has turned into a seance. The neighborhood weirdos, Jane, Trent, Colleen, and Tina all are incredibly quirky characters that are well defined despite the 50 minute running time of the show. Setting out with a goal in mind for the seance, they find they cannot control exactly what spirits need to speak or what they have to say.
Directed by Lauren Bickers, the show and the actors successfully draw from improv backgrounds to make a fresh and amusing piece of theater that kept me laughing without being predictable.
Why should you see this show?
If you appreciate improv and shows born from improv
Ouija boards are your “thing”
If you have a slightly dark sense of humor and are looking for a way to get into the Halloween spirit
Seance 4 runs Fridays and Saturdays at 9 pm at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff St., Hamtramck, MI.
Tickets are $10. Call 313.365.4948 for reservations. Also you would get to talk to me. Because that’s what I do here, I take reservations.
Thursday night two of my lovely lady friends and I saw “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the City Theatre Downtown Detroit, and I must say in a word it was awesome.
Not being as well versed in the “Evil Dead” canon as my friends, I just went in excited for camp, gore, and what was sure to be stellar performances by my homeboys Pete Podolski(Ash) and Dez Walker(Ed/Moose/Professor). From the moment I heard about the concept of the “Splatter Zone,” I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. For those uninitiated, the Splatter Zone is the area closest to the stage, in this theater’s case the first four rows reserved for those audience members who aspire to be covered in stage blood by the time the show is over. Obviously, those are the seats my friends and I were aiming for.
Having never been to the City Theatre, or really ever even noticed it being there, I was pleasantly surprised by how great of a space it is inside the Hockeytown Cafe. The staff was more than accommodating when my friends forgot to give the information for the comp tickets. All in all, great experience from the get-go at the theater.
The show took off as one would expect a horror film satire would, with college students in the woods and well-choreographed dance numbers. The cast was solid across the board playing perfectly satire in the B-Horror genre stereotypes. My personal favorite was David Schoen as Jake whose stellar comedic timing worked well with his caricature of a backwoods hillbilly. The performance of Pete Podolski as Ash was as honest and absurd as a young man dealing with a flock of Canderian demons should be and served as an excellent throughline with the consistent changing of characters and sanity by the other characters. Despite playing several parts both human and demon, the entire cast kept the show alive and engaging. And when Tara Tomscik is a demon at the end of the show, I could not stop laughing at her physicality. Watch for it, you will die. Of laughter.
Having spent years listening to soundtracks and attending musicals, I would say that this soundtrack and performance stacked up fairly well. Although the odd placement of the microphones was somewhat distracting to start, the sound in the space played very well along with the music as taken care of by Music Director Geff Phillips. Director Michelle LeRoy did an excellent job of casting and keeping the spirit of the genre alive. I would highly reccommend this show.
Why should you see this?
To check out the rad space in the City Theatre
If you’re musical lovers who are looking for a change up
If you’re a big fan of horror, camp, and gore being done really well
If you’ve ever looked at your wardrobe and thought that some outfits would be improved by a bit of splatter of stage blood(who hasn’t really?)
Evil Dead: The Musical will be playing at the City Theatre inside the Hockeytown Café through October 29, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8p.m. Tickets are $25.
I’m what you might call a binge blogger. I forget about doing it then I talk about all of my thoughts at once.
For the last yearish, I have worked as an intern for Planet Ant Theatre in my old hometown of Hamtramck. It has been an awesome learning experience. Originally, I was going to be doing more grant writing for the organization which plays well with the concept for Behind the Curtain that I’ve been toying with for the last two years (Eventually I’ll have enough of that together to post a page, but patience until then). Instead its become more of a marketing venture as well as box office managing, which are also skills that I’m feeling really good about developing.
One of the coolest parts of Planet Ant is that they do a lot of work with burgeoning playwrights, which is another skill that maybe I can work with them on, but for now its a great insight into the process. I had the opportunity to stage manage one such production, “Hylomorph,” in January through March(yes. I’m terrible at updating.) and the amount of rewriting through the process was exhausting from my end, I can only imagine how it was on the end of the playwright(the lovely and talented Maggie Smith who is also a U of M alum as well as a former student of OyamO).
I’m going to be continuing my work at Planet Ant for at least a bit longer, but now I’m adding the position of Box Office Manager to my repertoire which is a pretty great way to meet new people and make connections with other people who are as excited about theater and weirdness as I am!
With all of the shows I see, I’m going to start posting up reviews on these awesome plays. I know a lot of my friends aren’t avid theater goers so I’m going to try to not bore them with technicalities and get right to why to see and not to see plays.
The Halloween show Seance 4 opens tonight at 9 at Planet Ant Theatre at 2357 Caniff St, Hamtramck, MI 48212. Tickets are $10. Review to follow!
I haven’t updated this blog nearly enough in the past, oh, year or so.
The (second) latest venture in my life is a weekly to bi-weekly open mic at the Painted Lady Lounge in Hamtramck, MI.
This venue holds a special place in my heart formerly being known as Lili’s 21 where I grew up because my dad’s bands always played there and one of his best friends owned the place.
Also I would go to play ping pong. Damn, was I ever a ping pong shark.
Anyway, I was approached about the venue by another comic named Scott Fischer who had been working with the current owner of the bar Andy Dow to create a space for an open mic because of my in-depth knowledge of Hamtramck and my mad coordinating skills. And so Painted Lady Comedy Jokery Night was born in April of 2011(yeah, get off my butt, I don’t update my website enough).
Click the picture for a link to our facebook page and how to sign up for the show!
It starts at 8 every Thursday(barring some sort of other event on our part) and all comedians get 8 minutes and the chance to bask in the awesomeness that is a dive bar rich in music history.
The derby is beginning and the name I’m going with is Wham!tramck! The exclamation point gives a little extra flavor in my opinion. After a great deal of discussion on the floor of my native land at Planet Ant Theater with special help from Margaret Edwartowski who gave the inspired suggestion of Slamtramck, we’re sticking to Whamtramck! Wham, for short, for my derby career and beyond! I’m keeping my brand based around my @loyooch handle for all other social media with the hashtag #whamtramck for derby stuff. Keep posted for the nonsense and shenanigans!
Just had what I felt was a pretty sweet callback audition for a film that I’ll discuss more if I get the part.
The waiting game is always something that kills me in this industry, no matter how well you think you do you never know. My lovely auditioners at Pound-Mooney are more than supportive and wonderful with every time I come in, but once you go in and put on what you think is the performance of your life, you won’t hear anything back unless you get the part. And that might not be for weeks. If you don’t get it, you just wait. And wait. And wait.
Its a lot of developing that thick skin to not care once you know you’ve done your best, today felt like one of those butt-kicking days.
My buddy Lukasz died this past Monday of cancer, especially sad in a 21 year old when doctors had just told him he had about 6 months left.
A few weeks ago his parents gave him the okay to spend as much money as he wanted to make the ending of his life everything he could ever want. He was super excited about it and called me with a devious master plan.
We were going to purchase a bunch of spy paraphenalia from local spy shops. Which as a sidenote I would like to say there are everywhere now in Metro-Detroit. I don’t entirely understand what people are needing this many hidden cameras and microphones and stealth apparel but it seems we are a hotbed for this sort of merchandising. Anyway, Lukasz and I would purchase an arsenal of such materials and set them up strategically through his parents’ house. This is what would be known as action phase one.
We then were going to have me, or perhaps another lovely young female, dress up in clothing like a high class prostitute. Which would also be paid for by his humble parents. Not sure exactly what direction this would go in, details were not fleshed out on this aspect. Just the general concept of “high class prostitute” was left to imagination, I assume a lot of fake Coach, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and rouge would be needed.
Fake prostitute would then be taken out to an expensive dinner. This part would not be booby-trapped with hidden camera utilities, it would basically just be for the charge on the card and for the fact that it would be a nice fancy dinner. Such a gentleman that one, even if the girl does have to be dressed as a hooker.
The shenanigans would then bring us back to his parents’ house with cameras set up where we would be found in several compromising positions to test the tolerance of a traditional old Polish couple.
We had high hopes for the reactions shots on this one to make Lukasz get some internet notoriety so he could live on through his mischief. Maybe if I can get a crew together I can still make this ultimate prank thing still happen.
I haven’t been using this blog to its full advantage, so I’m going to. Right now. Suck it up, this is a two week late Halloween edition of blogtastic Lauren’s life.
Most traumatic Halloween on record for me was probably in 2000. For the third year running I was scream. Along with three of my friends. Yes. Four screams all trick-or-treated as a group.
I thought I was a dude then. Still. Oddly, the wearing the same outfit as three other people. Not the reason for the most traumatic Halloween on record.
The reason for that would be:
The Blair Witch Project.
I know what you’re thinking. What parent in their right mind would let their 12 year old(yes, I was 12 in 2000.) see the Blair Witch Project on Halloween?
Well that’s a trick question, my mom not in her right mind.
My sister and dad went up north for the weekend and the conversation went something like this, if I recall correctly, “Hey Lauren want to watch this really scary movie at night with the lights off? You’re on the fence? Okay we’ll do it. It won’t be too bad.”
I was already nearly pissing my pants because I was much less of a hardass than I portrayed on the outside. This was very difficult because I was a 12 year old girl, which is not a hardass at all. So much the opposite of a hardass that when you’re acting like a scardey-cat people accuse you of acting like a 12-year old girl. I was worse than average at this point in time because I spent all my time pretending to be tough and never getting any opportunities to prove it(Catholic schools frown upon fighting, the most hardass thing I did was curse like a sailor).
So Gail and I curled up on our couch with all of the lights off and watch these three young people get lost in the woods and terrorized by a largely unseen mystic body who leaves them a scavenger hunt of body parts and creepy arts and crafts. Also piles of stones that the young people somehow knew were signs that she would kill each of them.
I mean just look at the craftsmanship.
I was wigged out in particular by the unseen cackling in the woods and the fact that near the end of the movie our power went out. Yes. I still am not sure if this was somehow forged by my mom, but we had to get out candles to go to bed that night. I was certain that our power going out was a sign that the witch knew we had seen her film(because clearly, with the witch’s name in the title she would have something to do with the production aspect. bare minimum perhaps some sort of executive production credit); and if the witch knew about that she would know other things like how I was thinking about her and would feed off my fear. Also let me take this opportunity to tell you about how my mom had allowed me to watch other horror movies in my childhood, and none of them did too well for my psyche. So after this minor neurotic breakdown in silence, my mom insisted I go to bed. And by go to bed, I mean I went in my room and waited sitting up in silence for the witch-beast to come and steal my soul. Because clearly something that evil is a soul stealer.
As soon as daylight hit the next morning, I rocketed my ass out of bed thrilled to have beguiled the witch one night after having known of her existence. I ran out of my room and was about to run up to my mom’s room and make sure she wasn’t dead when I tripped over a pile of rocks. Yes. In the hallway outside my bedroom, the witch had laid out a pile of rocks. Her signal that my time was running out. I may or may not have peed my pants at this point, I have no shame in saying that. I ran up to my mom’s room and she reacted quite blasé over the whole our house being invaded by spirits situation. She looked at my shaking terrified self and said something along the lines of suck it up, nothing is going to happen and the witch doesn’t come out in the day so you’ll at least be okay until nightfall.. I could not believe her especially after going into the yard and seeing some of the witch crafts pictured above (in retrospect, my mom had to have woken up reasonably early to put together all of the pieces to this. I would like to justify this as she was just so dedicated to whatever lesson and entertainment she was shooting for). I spent the next few days terrified to sleep. I recently found a diary from that time period in which I wrote about my terror then scratched out the phrase “Blair Witch” because I was so scared the witch would know that I was talking smack about her and turn up the heat. I didn’t hear much else from the witch until later that week when in my lunch I got really cute miniature recreation of the whole heart wrapped in cloth surrounded by a bundle of twigs made of a Swedish fish and pretzel rods. Precious. I realized my mom was behind it all and was able to sleep again, but was slightly confused until I found out she was trying to teach me a lesson. Didn’t totally know what that lesson was.
The moral of the story is either: my mom is brilliant or don’t believe everything you see on tv. I ended up getting a degree in theater and wanting to be in film so I don’t think I learned the latter. Which would you go with?