By David Chatterton AUGUST 16, 2016
Phil Nerges & Letter of Marque Theater Co’s sharp satiric dramatisation of some contractors' experiences during the American occupation of Iraq tells sobering truths about the forgotten women and men that in all wars are sometimes referred to as camp followers. It does so in a way that is entertaining, fast and often amusing.
The show depicts two sets of characters. One set consists of a Senator, an ex-General, and an investor who are self serving, driven by the need to make money, and are referred to as "the greedy and powerful high ups that pull all the strings".
In contrast are the three civilian drivers whose dangerous transport work across the roads of Iraq makes them targets for Iraqi resistance. The character Jason, who is loosely based on the writer Phil Nerges’s own experience, observes of the attacks on the trucks that, "they like to wave when they blow us up. It took me a while to figure out they’re waving goodbye."
Review: ‘Double Falsehood,’ and Just Maybe a Double Byline
By NEIL GENZLINGER MARCH 18, 2016
Whether Shakespeare or someone else wrote it, you have to admire the prescience of “Double Falsehood,” at least as it’s being staged in a well-conceived production by the Letter of Marque Theater Company. Thanks largely to a scalding scene in the first half of the show, a central plotline seems as if it could be a commentary on the modern-day scourges of date rape and on-campus assaults.
The play has long been a source of debate among scholars over whether it can be wholly or partly attributed to Shakespeare. Last year, two experts who analyzed its language asserted that Shakespeare’s hand is unmistakable.
Certainly the story (based on the “Cardenio” episode of “Don Quixote”) is very Shakespearean: romantic triangles and treacheries; altered identities; class differences as an obstacle to love. It centers on two sons of a duke...read more....
A Lost Shakespeare Play Grows in Brooklyn: ‘Double Falsehood’ Comes to New York City
By JED RYAN Mar 16, 2016
At the opening night of Letter of Marque Theater Company’s Double Falsehood at The Irondale Center in Brooklyn, one of the creative minds behind the show was overheard telling an attendee, “This show isn’t like Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, where the audience at least knows the story. Most people don’t know anything about this play! It’s a risk.” While Double Falsehood may have been first produced in 1727, the themes of morality, sexual ethics, and equality (in regard to both gender and class) which were explored centuries ago remain as relevant as ever in 2016. As directed by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie, this new production features moments of laugh-inducing comedy alongside provocative tragedy, all performed by an energetic and talented cast. The end result is a play which, despite being over 300 years old, hasn’t lost its ability to both entertain as well as to bring out some timeless emotions.
Double Falsehood is considered to be a “controversial” work — not so much because of its content, but rather for the debate over just how much of the play was actually written by Mr. Shakespeare. It’s an emotionally charged debate....read more
Double Falsehood : Best Bet
by Sarah Weber on 3.19.16
Between clever direction and an outstanding cast, Double Falsehood is an absorbing piece. Every actor is so fully immersed in their characters you have no choice but to watch every little detail. Libresco convincingly maintains the disposition of a gushing romantic even in Julio’s most defeated moments, and Huff portrays Henriquez’s selfishness so well even the character’s sincerest moments feel contrived.
In a play that bluntly addresses rape culture, victim shaming, and society’s ugly obsession with female purity, Hoover and Liu’s performances were beyond empowering. Hoover’s tenacity shines through as the outspoken and bold Leonora—I loved the moment when she contests her father’s approval of Henriquez’s proposal. Liu’s performance blew me away entirely. The nuance with which she juggles multiple emotions at once is staggering. A couple of scenes after Violante’s rape, she delivers a monologue wherein we watch every possible reaction—horror, shame, rage, isolation, fear, desperation, sometimes all together—pour over Liu’s entire body. I wanted to scream with her.
If you want to see how a centuries-old play contributes to contemporary feminist discourse, or you simply have a penchant for classics, please go see Double Falsehood. Or, at the very least, check out Letter of Marque Theater Company’s website to learn about future projects and programs. If Double Falsehood is any indication, they do amazing work. I’ll definitely keep them on my radar. Read more
Ka-ching blade! Fund-raiser features a sword to kilt for
June 10, 2016
BY TATIANA HERNANDEZ
This theater is on the cutting edge!
A Gowanus theater company will launch its new musical across the ocean to Scotland with “Swordraiser X: Curiosity Kilt the Cat,” a fund-raising party that combines a competition for a sword, a theatrical premiere, ska music, and Scottish outfits. The night will send the show “Don’t Feed the Cats” to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and also inspire audiences with a simple message of kindness to kitties, said the company’s producer.
“It’s a send-off and a celebration, but also a premiere for this show that we feel is really important and can say a lot,” said Karen Ng, of the Letter of Marque Theater Company.
The punk rock musical show was written by Phil Nerges, based on his memoir “Don’t Feed the Cats in Iraq.” Nerges violated that rule while working as a civilian contractor in the war-torn country, an act that brought a measure of humanity to a difficult time, said Ng...... read more
By Maurice Moore
Dear Friends and Performing Arts Lovers,
I’m writing you from India where I’ve had the deep pleasure of working on a long-time film project.
I’ll be back in Joshua Tree soon and look forward to welcoming Letter of Marque Theater Company (LoM) as Artists-In-Residence. They will be offering an indoor workshop on collaborative art on May 23, plus a public performance free of charge on the Harrison House outdoor stage on Sunday, May 24th at 2PM, followed by a reception for the artists.
LoM’s workshop on collaborative art, entitled Ensemble-Minded, will take place on Saturday, May 23, from 2PM-4PM. Designed to explore and create live art for visual artists, dancers, singers, musicians and actors using theater games, singing rounds, and spontaneous art creation, they will also introduce a new multi-disciplinary technique called Soundpainting. No previous experience is necessary.
Another Shakespeare Play?
"People cringe just hearing the word rape," says Letter of Marque (LoM) co-founder and music director Nolan Kennedy. "That's exactly why we want to have this conversation."
Letter of Marque Theater Co., a Brooklyn based non-profit theater, is used to producing socially challenging work. Last year, they toured Brooklyn bars with their original piece, Bully Me Down, which combined the controversial topics of bullying and the Edward Snowden saga.
This May, LoM is being joined by prolific Shakespearean director, Andrew Borthwick-Leslie to mount a workshop production of Lewis Theobald's Double Falsehood, a work that has recently confirmed to have been based on original Shakespearean manuscripts.
Borthwick-Leslie, with over 20 years of experience with Shakespeare & Co., The Shakespeare Forum and his own ensemble, The Humanist Project, is determined to ask the hard questions around gender, family, trust, honor society and the roles men and women have in perpetuating rape culture. "We hope to both rollick and heal, to both entertain and enlighten. Having a body is hard. Desire is confusing. Other people are exciting and infuriating," says Leslie-Borthwick. "Why do we mostly get it very very wrong? How can we start to do a better job?"
The ensembled-minded cast is musically savvy and working excitedly on original music for the show to be performed live by the actors. "We're using a crazy-cool live composition technique called Soundpainting to sculpt musical scores, moods and songs. We've only just begun and the room is already buzzing, ready to explode into something incredible," says Kennedy.
The classical text, written in 1727, follows the form of a standard 5 act romantic comedy, surfeit with cross-dressing, anguished lovers, foibled fathers, heroic royalty and privy (yet silent) citizenry. It is a smart and scathing contrivance that demands dialogue around why, in nearly 300 years, our society continues to deal in violence, blame and victimization. This initial showing is part one of a three phase project designed to start the conversation and incite a change of perspective in young adults and our society as a whole.
DOUBLE FALSEHOOD by Lewis Theobald will run May 14th to 16th at 8 p.m. at the South Oxford Space, 138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. Visit www.LomTheater.org for tickets and more information.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
with Robbie Gonyo
Remember O. Henry’s lovely tale The Gift of the Magi, about the poor young couple at Christmastime, who each sacrifice their most precious possession to buy something special for theother’s most precious possession, so in the end they’re both left with a nice accessory for something they no longer have?
Letter of Marque‘s Nolan Kennedy decided to follow that couple, here played by his fellow LOM co-founders Scarlet Maressa Rivera and Welland H. Scripps, into the future, from year to year, as their relationship grows and changes, exploring the meaning of giving, receiving, and what they each really want.
And you can see this lovely, theatrical holiday gem for free, because it’s Letter of Marque, and that’s how they do.
Listen in as Nolan, Scarlet & Welland discuss how & why they built upon O. Henry’s classic, how & why live music and theatrical snow-fall was brought in to the show, and how & why they don’t charge admission.
“The capitalization of theatre minimizes the importance of theatre, not only in history, but in what its potential is now. It severely reduces the potential of how theatre can change…”
Experience Heartbreak This Holiday Season at Letter of Marque's "GIFTS" This Weekend
Installation artist, Sean Naftel, and musician/composer Sam Day Harmet, are teaming up with Letter of Marque Theater Company to make their new show, "Gifts," an immersive and magical holiday experience. These two budding artists are both worth keeping tabs on as they continue to show remarkable talent and promise in their careers. Letter of Marque, a theater company that sprang out of Gowanus, Brooklyn last year, is thrilled to be working with both of them and excited to add these elements to their original play based on the O'Henry's classic, The Gift of the Magi.Sean Naftel, who was recently featured in the New York Times for his piece "yard sale" at De Buck Gallery in Chelsea, will be transforming the lobby of the Access Theater (where "Gifts" is taking place), with an elaborate art installation. "I'm looking to make a space that feels like Twin Peaks: A Christmas Story; Kitsch meets hyper-reality," describes Sean.
After the audience is transported to a new and magical world via the art-installed lobby, they are further transported by the musical score of "Gifts," written by mandolin virtuoso, Sam Harmet. Harmet, who leads the klezmer-electro-funk band, Shtetlblasters, has brought together a quartet of some of New York's finest up-and-coming jazz musicians to play a score that lifts the show into a cross-disciplinary and bold new kind of theater.
"My hope is that the music will elevate the emotional experience for the audience." says Sam. "As someone who typically writes following my own open-ended creative frameworks, it's been a fun, interesting process writing in a way that's been guided by the text and emotional tone of the scenes. My goal is to bring out the character already present in the scenes," explains Sam.
"Gifts," written and directed by Letter of Marque co-founder Nolan Kennedy, follows the lives of an idyllic New York couple from Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve as they learn and re-learn what it means to give, to receive, and what they really want for themselves and for each other. The show has plenty of holiday magic, but it also has a vulnerable heart. Kennedy can barely keep still when he says, "You know that feeling in the rehearsal room when everyone realizes we're creating a really, really magical piece of art? Yea, that's happening every time we work a scene!"
"Gifts" runs December 4th through 21st, playing Thursday through Mondays. 7:30pm (Curtain 8pm) and Sunday Matinee 4:30pm (Curtain 5pm) at the Access Theater | 380 Broadway, New York, NY 10013. Free with online RSVP or $20 at the door. Visit www.LoMTheater.org for more.
Test Your Good Fortune at Letter of Marque's Pirate-Themed Carnivale!
By Naomi Regina Thursday, June 17, 2014.
#EVENTS #THEATER #GOWANUS # PIRATES
I'll bet you all the doubloons in my pocket that you can make a realistic-looking whiskey barrel out of a few milk crates, an old cable spool, and some cardboard...
The good old technical director at the Letter of Marque Theater Co. (LoM) has and (if he doesn't kill me for giving away his secret) you'll find real whiskey (served from bottles), swing dancing, and a casino filled with funny money at Fortune's Take--A Pirate Casino Carnival!
The co-captains of the Letter of Marque Theater Co, Nolan Kennedy, Scarlet Rivera, and Welland H. Scripps founded the company in the fall of 2013. The three captains rotate who has artistic lead of the productions but allows their crew to vote democratically on most other decisions. LoM's mission is to make Art a cultural necessity by creating approachable theater that fights apathy offered at little or no cost to their audiences. ( Yo Ho!)
The company's most recent production: "Bully Me Down" was written by Nolan himself. It tells the story of a privateer (Captain William Kidd), a bullied teen, and Edward Snowden. In a podcast Nolan explains, “We kind of wanted to do a ‘self-titled-album’ kind of show, so it’s trying on these piratical, privateer stories and ideas, and it also is dealing with what’s happening around us…this idea of what’s private and what’s not private…” For more about the production South Slope News has a nice interview !
LoM is hosting Fortune's Take as a fundraiser, but it is free to the public (cash bar). $250 VIP tickets are available but no one will pressure you to purchase one (It comes with a top-shelf open bar, food from Runner & Stone, and $2000 in funny money for the casino). Everyone is welcome to enjoy the live music, casino games, and general merriment! Who doesn't love local theater? The party is this Saturday! Dress appropriately!
The best free things to do in NYC
Time Out New York
June 19-25, 2014
Pop-up casino in Brooklyn? What? Not only can you gamble at this pirate-themed carnival, you can also snag prizes from its silent auction, join in on a Texas Hold 'Em tournament, booze out at the open bar and dance like a money-hungry pirate to bands like the Rusty Guns—or you could just dance like a normal person. All money earned during the event goes to supporting the Brooklyn-based Letter of Marque Theater Company, so you'd even be doing charity!
By Chloe Edmundson
Bully Me Down does have certain points of charm. Worth the trip to Brooklyn itself is a puppet version of Barbara Walters from the bust up, designed and constructed by Serra Hirsch. Especially agile at Barbara-handling is Welland H. Scripps, who manages to coyly flash the puppet’s red-lacquered fingernails as she conducts her interviews with various characters throughout the play. All of the performer’s accents, especially Scripps’ and Kennedy’s, are delightfully overdone and consistent. Also of note is the company’s original and re-imagined musical score: the tune of the song, “Bully Me Down,” is sure to stick in your head, and the musical fun continues during a wacky dumbshow during intermission. Best of all, the performances are free and take place in various bars around Brooklyn, so you can have a beer with locals and enjoy the community vibe.