Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Open Letter to the Buffalo Artie Committee

I know we're all supposed to be too busy licking the Artie Committee's ass to ever voice the slightest breath of complaint, but I have to say that it seems quite obnoxious of the Artie Committee to pretend to be in a position to judge the best shows in Buffalo Theatre when they haven't even seen them all. We've barely ever seen any Artie Committee members at Subversive Theatre (the only one who comes on a regular basis is the narcoleptic Tom Dooney -- he snores so loud through each show that you can barely hear the actors -- but, hey, at least he comes! And Tony Chase comes to almost all our shows. But what became of all the rest of 'em?). As a result -- surprise, surprise -- we don't get any nominations.

Of course we at Subversive Theatre don't do what we do to get awards -- all that bourgeois snobbery is precisely the opposite of what the arts should be about. But over this last year we've had some very fine artists do some very fine work. And since the Artie Committee is either too busy, too blind, or too biased to give them the recognition they deserve, I'm going to do it instead.

So here's a list of the nominations you would have seen if the Artie Committee had ever bothered to come out to the Manny Fried Playhouse:

Best Actress -- Victoria Perez, TWILIGHT
Victoria played eighteen different roles in this one-woman show and was absolutely extraordinary! Every night she made superb lightning-quick transitions playing the roles of Black Congresswomen, Latino teenage gang-bangers, white lawyers, Korean store owners, cops, Black Panther Leaders, clergymen, etc. For her to not even be nominated is an insult to sanity.

Best Actress -- Arlene Clement, WIDOWS
The perfect role for the perfect actress! Arlene is one of the most tenacious and fiercely intense actresses I've ever seen. Playing the half-mad matriarch of a Latin American town where all the men had been dragged away by an unnamed military junta, Arlene was an unstoppable powerhouse of defiance, disgust, and determination.

Best Actress -- Rebecca Ward, EIGHTY-FOUR
Who would've thought that anyone could make the role of George Orwell's brain-washing torturer sexy? But that's just what Rebecca Ward did adding a sultry side to the sinister Big Brother lackey O'Brien in a performance that unfalteringly brought together the evil and the intelligence of Orwell's distopian authorities to life in a disturbingly believable way.

Best Actor -- Patrick Cameron, THE HAIRY APE
With incredible ability, the short and trim Patrick Cameron magically transformed into Eugene O'Neill's huge, boisterous, obnoxious "Yank" commanding the stage every second he was on it and demonstrating a masterful use of dialect with an out-of-this-world early Twentieth Century Brooklynian accent that would have made both Dashiell Hammett and Clifford Odets proud.

Best Actor -- Victor Morales, WIDOWS
Victor was just plain brilliant as the wanna-be reformer turned military strong man of Ariel Dorfman's anti-authoritarian drama. Every night he ran the gamut from tender peace-maker to brutal oppressor with chilling conviction. Seeing Victor and Arlene Clement square off in this play's truth vs. power showdown was downright electrifying.

Best Actor -- James Wild, THE LESSON
James was a man on fire in his relentless portrayal of the instructor in Eugene Ionesco's bizarre absurdist work. James rattled the rafters with his super-human lung capacity and voraciously turned in one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen exploring depths of savagery and blood-lust that few actors would dare to touch!

Best Supporting Actress -- Martha Rothkopf, NECESSARY TARGETS
A gut-wrenchingly beautiful portrayal of a one-time proud doctor reduced to a meager existence as a destitute Bosnian war refugee. Martha played this role with a stunning balance of fortitude and righteous indignation. I felt my dignity as a human being rise five notches every time I watched her performance.

Best Supporting Actor -- Jack Agugliaro, WIDOWS
Jack displayed astonishing range miraculously managing four separate heart-rending portrayals in just one production. Playing a callous military doctor, a gun-shy village priest, a deranged torture victim, and a grandiose countryside patrician, with craftsman-like expertise, Jack infused every role with an unmistakable sense of honesty, individuality, and intensity that any actor would be proud to achieve with one character let alone four!

Best Supporting Actor -- Paul O'Hern, THE HAIRY APE
With his extraordinary facility for Irish accents, Paul crafted an unforgettably touching rendition of Eugene O'Neill's sorrowful old seaman "Paddy" beautifully contrasted by his light-hearted performances of this play's horny prison guard, crusty I.W.W. activist, and dehumanized 5th Avenue gentleman.

Best Set Design -- Dyan O'Connell, EIGHTY-FOUR
Subversive Theatre's resident set designer demonstrated her abilities once again taking our raw shoe-box-shaped ex-warehouse space and transforming it into the cold, intimidating world of Orwell's distopian dictatorship. Dyan's inventive set incorporated multi-tiered scaffolding, projection screens, ominous hand-crafted torture devices, massive tentacle-like webs of electrical cable, and even live rats! An unforgettable mise-en-scene if ever there was one!!!

Best Lighting Design -- Carlie Todoro-Rickus, EIGHTY-FOUR
Distopia never looked so elegant as it did amidst this breath-taking ambiance-rich lighting scheme. Somehow Carlie took the all-too-limited technical capacities of our humble venue and crafted a series of eye-popping lighting effects featuring side lights, up lights, gobos, intense shadows, and jarring interrogation lights that worked beautifully in tandem with this production's multi-tiered set and almost non-stop video projections.

Best Costume Design -- Paul Stephenson, THE HAIRY APE
Operating on one of Subversive Theatre's notorious shoe-string budgets, Paul found a way to assemble a resplendent menagerie of Turn-of-the-Century costumes replete with delicate parasols, lavish corsets, sailor suits, carny blazers, keystone cop-esque uniforms, upper class ladies gowns, deliciously sleazy prostitute attire, ape suits, and all the other regalia needed to complete the carnival atmosphere of our play within a play withing a play!

Best Ensemble -- WIDOWS
This fourteen actor ensemble came together with stunning beauty. I need only mention some of the names for you to know what I mean -- Arlene Clement, Victor Morales, Diane Gaidry, Bethany Sparacio, Jack Agugliaro, Joy Scime, Sandra Gilliam, Jenna Winnett, Hanna Lipkind, Justin Fiordaliso, Joanna Farrell -- it also featured the debut of high school actors Marisol Torres and Elijah Tyner. It was a great honor to work with such an exemplary team.

Best Production -- THE HAIRY APE
Undoubtedly one of our greatest productions to date, our totally experimental re-interpretation of Eugene O'Neill's uniquely political work THE HAIRY APE was an overpowering spectacle filled with daring use of interpretive movement, pantomime, and dance, puppetry, juggling, and even a live found-sound orchestra that provided music and Foley effects throughout. This production featured outstanding performances by Patrick Cameron, Candice Kogut, Paul O'Hern, Betsy Bittar, Sarah Brown, Brian Zybala, and many others and brought standing-room-only crowds to almost every performance. It was both a joy and an honor to have the opportunity to bring this project to life.

And here are some artists who made their Buffalo acting debut with us this season (in no particular order) . . . a fact that I'm betting will be woefully overlooked by the Artie Committee as well:
Joanna Farrell, JennaBeth Stockman, Marisol Torres, Daniel Henderson, Eric Mowery, Anthony Orlowski, Mary Boatman, Andrew Kottler, Ryan Berkun, Jane Cudmore, David Utter, Brittany Kucala, Angelina Buscaglia, and Dacia Dunnigan.

I'm happy to be able to say that we've had far too many excellent artists at work to mention them all. My apologies to anyone I missed. Congrats to EVERYONE who made our 2009-2010 Season such a terrific success!

Kurt Schneiderman,
Artistic Director,
Subversive Theatre Collective.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Subversive announces its new season! Check us out in 2009-2010!

Buffalo’s only people’s theatre is excited to announce a working list of our 2009-2010 season. Featuring an extraordinary list of plays by such radical greats as Bertolt Brecht, Langston Hughes, Ariel Dorfman, Dario Fo, and Eve Ensler, our 2009-2010 Season is quickly sizing up to our best yet. Below please find a brief explanation of each show, with detailed releases to follow as they approach.

o October 15th - November 7th, 2009 WIDOWS by Ariel Dorfman Directed by Kurt Schneiderman, Starring Arlene Clement & Victor Morales. An inspiring tale of speaking truth to power as widows defy and unnamed Latin American military junta by Chile's Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright/novelist.

o November 20th - December 12th, 2009 WE WON'T PAY! WE WON'TPAY! by Dario Fo Directed by Donn Youngstrom. An off-the-wall comedy about strikes, food riots, and peoples' power by Italy's incomparable Nobel Prize-winning socialist playwright!

o January 8th - 31st, 2010 EIGHTY-FOUR Conceived of and Directed by Brian Zybala. * This multi-media physical theatre experience offers a powerful re-interpretation of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece"1984," unfortunately more relevant to today's world than ever.

o February 18th – March 14th, 2010 HARVEST by Langston Hughes Directed by Kurt Schneiderman.* For our fourth annual "Workers' Power Play Series," union history comes bursting to life as Black, white, and Latino migrant farm workers unite and strike in 1930s southern California.

o April 1st - 25th, 2010 NECESSARY TARGETS by Eve Ensler Directed by Susan Forbes*, Starring Lara Haberberger* & Kelly M. Beuth.* Presented in association with Buffalo's feminist troupe "The Brazen Faced Varlets," a moving account of women refugees of the Yugoslav Civil War by America's leading feminist playwright.

o Saturday, May 1st, 2010 THE FURIES OF MOTHER JONES by Maxine Klein Directed by Susan Forbes.* For the ninth annual installment of our "May Day Staged Reading Series" comes this unique working class musical about the Turn-of-the-Century agitator known as "Mother Jones."

o May 13th - June 6th, 2010 A MAN'S A MAN by Bertolt Brecht. Directed by Mark Tattenbaum* & Drew McCabe,* Brecht's farcical story of dehumanization and murder by western soldiers in the Middle East -- all TOO relevant to today's issues!

o June 17th - July 11th, 2010 sUBVERsIVE sHORTs 2010! By multiple playwrights with multiple directors, our original new political play showcase is now an annual event with a huge arsenal of radical works from all across America taking on just about every issue you can imagine!

In addition to the events listed here, The Subversive Theatre Collective also offers staged readings, lectures, film screenings, improvisation showcases and more throughout the year, often themed in conjunction with our shows. Please visit to view a complete calendar of events, or visit us on facebook for more current listings!

As always, all Subversive Theatre performances are presented on a pay-what-you-can basis at The Manny Fried Playhouse at 255 Great Arrow Avenue on the third floor of North Buffalo's historic Great Arrow Building. Come check us out for thought provoking, controversial, socially relevant theatre for people who don’t belong to country clubs.

• = indicates members of the Subversive Theatre Collective.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Waterboarding Blues: a personal invitation!

A note from out director:

If you haven't gotten the word already, I wanted to let you know that my newest creation -- one that I've both written and directed -- WATERBOARDING BLUES opens tonight (Fri, April 3rd, 8pm, at the Manny Fried Playhouse).
It has been a herculean task for me to get this one off the ground and I'm very proud of product that cast & crew & I have been able to come up with.
Now that I've survived the gauntlet and we're ready to get this show underway, I'm really hoping you'll be able to come out and see it. Please join us tonight for opening night if you can. There'll be a humble opening night party immediately after the show to which you are hereby invited.
If you can't join us for opening, then I hope we'll see you at one of the other performances. Sadly, this one only runs for three weekends, so you better come soon before it's all over.


And PS, if you have seen the show already, please tell us what you think! We would love to hear your comments, complaints, rave reviews, rants, and other various and sundry noises. Please comment below or send us an email at!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Waterboarding Blues announced!

*The Subversive Theatre Collective Presents “WATERBOARDING BLUES” April 2nd through April 19th*

The Subversive Theatre Collective is proud to present the world-debut of “WATERBOARDING BLUES,” the newest play written and directed by Subversive Theatre's Founder and Artistic Director Kurt Schneiderman* (biography included below). Performances run from April 2nd through April 19th, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 6pm. Please note: no performance Easter Sunday (April 12th).

“WATERBOARDING BLUES” is a daring new work of protest theatre that plunges unflinchingly into one of the most painful subjects facing Americans today -- the unofficially official use of torture by our own government. This Twilight-Zone-esque drama leads audiences on a dizzyingly intense journey as a military intelligence officer in modern day Baghdad is pushed by supernatural forces into stunning revelations about the harsh realities of America's past, present, and future.

Sobering, spellbinding, and unapologetically agitational, "WATERBOARDING BLUES" is a powerful and urgently necessary statement on our Twenty-First Century World.

Gordon Tashjian heads up this play's ensemble which also features Dennis Keefe*, James Wild, Robert "Hodie" Hodas*, Jessica Stuber*, John Vines, and Travis Hedland with Costume Design by Paul Stephenson*, Sound Design by John Shotwell*, and Set Design by Dyan O’Connell*.

All shows at Subversive Theatre's recently established performance space, The Manny Fried Playhouse on the third floor of North Buffalo’s Great Arrow Building, located at 255 Great Arrow Avenue. Admission is free with donations gratefully accepted before and after all shows. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis with doors opening half an hour before each performance.

For more information or to request publicity photos or supporting materials, please call Subversive Theatre at 716-408-0499 or email us at

* = indicates members of the Subversive Theatre Collective

Kurt Schneiderman is a local playwright whose works have been performed in New York City, Toronto, Montreal, and Chicago in addition to multiple productions here in Buffalo. He is the winner of the 2003 Helen Mintz Award for Playwrighting Excellence and was nominated for "Best Playwright of Buffalo" at the 2007 Best of Buffalo Awards. A professor at various local institutions, he has taught the craft of playwrighting at Canisius College, Empire State College, and the Just Buffalo Literary Center.

The Founder and Artistic Director of the Subversive Theatre Collective, Kurt Schneiderman is also the Founder of the Buffalo "infringement" Festival, and formerly the Dramaturg of the Buffalo Ensemble Theatre.

The upcoming production of WATERBOARDING BLUES marks the fifth time Subversive Theatre has presented the world-debut of Kurt Schneiderman's works. Previous productions include FOUNDATIONS (2007), MOTHER DIS-COURAGE (2005), A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON MY WAY TO SHOOT THE CZAR (2004), and MANIFEST DESTINY BLUES (2003).

Auditions for sUBVERsIVE sHORTs


No appointment necessary, actors will be auditioned in the order of arrival. Actors will be asked to present one to two monologues no more than three minutes in length. Resumes and headshots welcome.

Our production of "sUBVERsIVE sHORTs 2009" will run April 30th through May 17th with performances running Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 6pm.

For more information, visit Subversive Theatre's website at or give us a call at 716-408-0499.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to the Subversive Blog!

We at the Subversive Theatre Collective of Buffalo, NY welcome you to our new home in cyberspace. In addition to our regular web site, this blog allows us to open a dialogue with the people: here we can share our news and hear yours, leave our comments on performances, news, and events, and get your feedback on the same.

Here is a space where you can speak up, act out, and talk back to us about our performances, events, mission, manifesto, or anything that generally gets your blood boiling and your back prickling. Have an idea for us? Let us know! Seen a performance recently? Let us know what you think! Loved it? Hated it? Lay it on us, we're ready.

As the voice of the people's theatre, we exist to give you a say in the state of things. So let us hear you! We want to know what you want, and this is the place to do it.

So take off your shoes, hang up your hat, and stay awhile. Browse our links, wander around our pages, and get a taste of what the Collective is all about. Most of all, check back often! We will be updating regularly with performance information, news and events, announcements and general observations on the world we occupy.