Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, and Thanks, 2010!!

Psittacus Productions is grateful to everyone who made our very first year of existence something truly special.

This year we:
  • Incorporated in the great state of California,
  • Were approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization,
  • Premiered our first show, "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT," at the Hollywood Fringe Festival,
  • Extended "IDIOT" twice at Son Of Semele Ensemble in Silverlake,
  • Were nominated for an LA Weekly Theater Award,
  • Worked on a critically acclaimed production of "HENRY VIII" at Folger Shakespeare Theater in Washington, DC,
  • Devised and planned our new show..."CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera," which opens on January 22, 2011, again at Son Of Semele.
  • Click here for tickets!!!
This is the time of year for critics to put together their "Best Of" lists - we were honored to be mentioned by Steven Leigh Morris of LA Weekly as one of his Favorites for 2010.

Click here to read the article.

Here is a list of everyone who made a contribution in 2010. We apologize if we have left anyone off the list, and we thank you!

Lori Allen, Jeff Aldrich, Anonymous, Bradley & Shannon Bailey, Elisabeth Barker, Jeremiah Baumann, Jim Bertini, Nathan Blumenfeld, Lynne & Roger Bolton, Michael Boyd, Anne Breeding, Marshall Brickman, Jane Britton, Laura Brueck & Matt Stromquist, Antoine & Susan Butelli, Michael Catapano, Rose Coria, David & Erica Delgrosso, Olympia Dukakis & Louis Zorich, Lian Farrer, Gayl Fitzgerald, Corin Flannigan, Elizabeth Galatro, Linda Geaslin, Amanda Goodman, Eileen Harris, Kristin Hiibner, Jeff Hoffman, Nils Horning, Pamela & Paul Hunt, Elizabeth Jaeger, Richard Jonassen, Katherine Kennedy, Ginny Kinnick, Leslie Klinger, Kari Kovach, Anastasia Krylova, Esta LiBretto, John & Kristin LiBretto, Katharine LiBretto, Elaine Loh, Susan & Jeff Lucier, Gail Lund, Suzanne Mason & Mike Fasciano, Douglas Marino, John Meloy, David McCandless, Ellen M. McGinley, Rick McKelvey, Brian McNulty, Jennifer Nehlsen, Helen & David O’Dell, Kathryn O’Dell, Charlene & Gordon Peiper, Jessica Perelle, Lisa Porter, Mark Cameron Pow, Lisa Pruss Rafal, Brian & Kimberly Reiss, Jennifer Rhoads, Brian & Lisa Rook, Jill Rothar, Shari Finkelstein Safra, Bettsy Santana, Matthew & Martina Scanlan, Keith Shaw, Evelyn Sherman, Michael Loughlin Smith, Carlos Sousa, Sandy Spencer, Krista Steinberger, Jaqueline Stelling, Shel & Anne Stromquist, James Sturzione, Laura Suber, Marilyn & Paul Tretiak, Odette & James Trimble, Allen & Susan Tsao, Letitia Usher, Leonard Webster, Kiersten Weis, Stephanie Wezeman, Richard Willis & Heidi Reimer, Michael Wilson & Amber Lerna

We could never have done this without your love and support. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2011.

With love and respect,
Psittacus Productions

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creating Euripides' CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera

Click the orange PayPal button to the right
to help us make this happen.
Special sneak preview of music from "Cyclops"
at the end of this post!!


By Chas LiBretto

People have been asking me what I’ve been up to these last six weeks or so and I tell them I’ve been living in the Cyclops Cave. It’s not far from the truth. The windows of our living room are covered in sound-absorbing blankets, and barely any light comes through. There are the occasional waftings of body odor, experimentations in facial hair, and a daily intake of "bachelor food" (the beans and corn, of course, are canned). Occasionally, I have to remind myself to venture outside and make sure the Zombie Apocalypse hasn’t occurred.

Mustaches and huevos rancheros aside, what we’ve really been up to has been pre-production and crafting of music for Psittacus Productions' new show, a rock & roll epic adapted from Euripides’ “CYCLOPS” – the only fully intact Satyr Play.

And what, pray tell, is a Satyr Play? I’m glad you’ve asked.

During the 5th century BC, the Greeks would hold a Festival for Dionysus, the God of Wine and Theater (haven’t you always wondered why your actor friends seem to drink so much?). Three Tragedies would be presented back-to-back and, directly following this fun-filled day of matricides, homicides, incest, and rape - and the occasional deus ex machina - a "Satyr Play" would be presented.

These productions would feature the same casts as the Tragedies, and were a big tonal departure. Much shorter in length, the Satyr Play would continue the evening's theme of presenting a story with which Greek audiences would have been familiar - in the case of “Cyclops,” it is the story of Odysseus landing on the Island of Polyphemus and using his considerable wit to escape becoming a meal. The story would then be subverted (perverted, even!) by the presence of Satyrs. While all Greek plays feature a “Chorus,” usually servants or assistants to the protagonist, or a group of the city's elders, Satyr Plays feature a Chorus of...Satyrs: hairy, horny, hedonistic, drunken goat-men. Hijinks ensue, and all in celebration of the God of wine, sex, and storytelling.

Of course, when we tell people this, many seem perplexed: “Why would you do that? You boys have just finished a critically beloved adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, and you follow it up with a dusty museum piece of an extinct genre nobody’s even heard of!” While we take the point, our adaptation began with a translation by Percy Bysshe Shelley - he's no Shakespeare, but he wasn’t exactly a slouch - and we felt that this particular piece was a perfect fit with our Mission: to explore the ways in which the classic informs the modern. Greek play and rock music? Done.

From the beginning, we’ve been adamant about creating a show that isn’t just a straight-play with musical accompaniment but, rather, an evening focused on the music. While much of the script we’re working with is in verse and lends itself rather easily to songwriting, much of it isn’t - there are large chunks of dialogue rich with humor, but little musicality. We found this odd, given a translation by an iconic Romantic Poet. It is more odd still when one takes into account the amount of language in the play concerning music and dancing.

Taking a cue from our favorites in the musical theater genre - Hedwig, Tommy, Rocky Horror, etc. - we’ve set about crafting a show where characters sing, not merely because a writer has put in a song, but because the characters literally cannot convey what they need to communicate to their fellow man with anything but music. It helps when the wine starts to flow, too.

Finally, what we’re left with is a manic musical evening with lyrics that are about 60% by Shelley, and 40% by Psittacus. We hope to have you laughing and singing (and drinking) along with us when we open January 22nd, 2011 at Son Of Semele and, at the very least, wishing antiquity had left us a few more Satyr Plays to mess around with.

And now, as promised, the first single from CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera....



Click "DONATE" to make this happen.





Monday, September 27, 2010

Of Satyrs, Scholars, and Clay


Exploring the Getty Villa’s Art of Ancient Theatre
By Chas LiBretto

We’ve been spending a lot of time at the Getty Villa of late. Psittacus Productions friend and Advisory Board member Olympia Dukakis is currently starring as a single-woman Chorus in a fantastic new version of Sophocles’ Elektra, translated by Timberlake Wertenbaker and directed by ACT’s artistic director Carey Perloff, and we had the good fortune to see it in previews. I’d say run, don’t walk to see it, but unfortunately I believe it’s sold out for the rest of it’s run, which ends next week.

Shortly thereafter, Homa Nasab, another member of our Advisory Board, and curator and writer of an online Arts publication called MuseumViews, set us up to interview Mary Louise Hart, the Getty Villa’s Associate Curator of Antiquities and curator of the Villa’s currently running exhibit The Art of Ancient Greek Theatre (again, run, don’t walk to this exhibit – it lasts until January 3, 2011). She took us on a guided tour through the vases, sculptures, and even the fragmentary papyrus of a lost Satyr Play that make up the exhibit, the largest collection of such materials ever gathered. We deeply enjoyed ourselves and were honored to receive an invitation to join Mary Louise Hart once again at a Symposium called Artists and Actors: Inconography and Performance in Ancient Greece, which I’ve now just gotten home from after two days immersed in the ancient world.

The Symposium was a gathering-together of many distinguished scholars and researchers, professors of classics from around North America and Europe, all of whom were to present new papers related to their current research. For myself, currently preparing an ancient Greek project be presented at the Son of Semele Ensemble Theater in January (and to be officially announced in an article on MuseumViews, hosted by ARTINFO.com at the end of the week), the opportunity to learn from the experts what creating theatre in the 5th century BC was actually like was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Even besides the play-in-progress, much of my early reading as a youth was tied to an obsession with d’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, which has led to a fascination, to this day, with writers and artists who explore what these stories still say about us (people like Lewis Hyde, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, M. John Harrison, Gene Wolfe and others). It was stimulating and exciting, and I obviously find myself having learned more about the theatrical life of Ancient Greece than I knew before. I also leave with new questions, many of which I’d like to explore in a theatrical setting in January.

We were also invited to a luncheon on the second day of the Symposium, a chance for working theater-artists like ourselves (alongside another LA-based company called the Poor Dog Group, Elektra-director Carey Perloff, and Anne Bogart, whose SITI Company is slated to produce a new version of Euripides’ The Trojan Woman next summer, a production we can’t wait to see) to have face-to-face time with the scholars to discuss, specifically, how and why one would go about staging a Satyr Play.

Before I go further, Satyr Plays are a sort of extinct genre in the Greek theatre, having not survived in the way Tragedy and Comedy have. In fact, only one full Satyr Play is fully intact (Euripides’ Cyclops), and one other (Sophocles’ The Trackers) is incomplete. The rest of what we have are mostly fragments, with the implication being that dozens, if not hundreds, have been lost to us. That said, the Satyr Play was important to the Ancient Greeks, and would always finish out a playwright’s entry into the Festival of Dionysus, following three of a playwright’s tragedies. The Satyr Play was a lighter, highly entertaining parody of the old stories, featuring the furry-legged Satyrs, intruding upon often the myths the audience had just watched played out in a trilogy. Some manic, wild energy following a day of matricides, patricides, and doomed protagonists, a necessary cleansing “to give audiences hope,” as J. Michael Walton, Professor Emeritus of drama at the University of Hull, movingly put at the end of the luncheon.

Unfortunately, my two colleagues at Psittacus could not make it to the luncheon or the Symposium. They’re currently rehearsing their version of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII at the Folger Shakespeare Library, another prestigious museum presenting the play in conjunction with a large new exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s ascension to the throne. Still, in discussing what took place over the course of the weekend’s events with my colleagues, and in processing the incredible deluge of information I find myself walking away from the Getty Villa with, I get very excited about what Psittacus Productions will do with these classic works as we move into Year Two. And we have the Getty Villa and their exciting Collection and stimulating Symposium to thank for that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Psittacus Mentioned in LA Stage & Cinema!!


Harvey Perr and John Topping of the excellent blog, "Stage & Cinema" mentioned Psittacus Productions' "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT" in their latest post.

The post also included a glowing review of the Getty Villa's production of "ELEKTRA," which stars Psittacus Advisory Board Member (and Academy Award winner) Olympia Dukakis as the whole of the Chorus. We saw the show and were blown away - particularly by Olympia who continues to amaze. She is truly a force of nature.

The quote:

"WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR CLASSICS?

You can fragmentize a familiar Shakespeare play like Macbeth, if you have a clear concept of what you want to do with it and then give it a witty and inventive production, as was proven recently when Psittacus Productions presented A Tale Told By An Idiot...."

The full post:

Click here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

From Screenwriter Dionne O'Dell

Below is a guest blog post from screenwriter Dionne O'Dell. Psittacus Productions, in association with NewBourne Productions, will be shooting this short film in early 2011. More to come - stay tuned!!



THE HAUNTING OF BEAUFORT CASTLE by Dionne O’Dell

Pre-production has already begun for DREADFUL SORRY, my short film script awarded the extremely generous 2010-2011 SC Film Commission Production Fund Grant, and the shoot will commence in March 2011 with NewBourne Productions.

Many people have asked me how the story of DREADFUL SORRY came to be. In following the Production Fund Grant guidelines, I needed to create a story that was South Carolinian in content. Being a Northerner, I struggled for a few days regarding what I wanted to write about, but the answer became obvious after perusing the local section of the Barnes and Noble bookstore. The shelves were lined with book after book of Southern ghost stories. Having vacationed in South Carolina every summer since I was fifteen, I was always enamored by the mysterious nature of the old Southern plantations and their haunting Spanish Moss covered trees. A ghost story that was psychological in nature was right up my alley and I knew I was on to something exciting!

After researching many South Carolina ghost stories I stumbled upon the story of Gauche, a jester who arrived in Beaufort, SC with Jean Ribaut and the Huguenots. Legend has it that Gauche was a dwarf who wore pointed shoes with bells on them and that he died on the grounds of what is now The Castle, a plantation house built in 1859 by Dr. Joseph Fickling Johnson. During the Civil War, The Castle was occupied by Federal troops and used as a military hospital complete with a morgue and cemetery. The ghost of Gauche has been known to rise up out of the fog that emanates from the river behind the house and to leave bloody handprints on windows and doors of The Castle,

When I read about this character of Gauche, I immediately knew that I had my inspiration. Louis Butelli, co-founder of Psittacus Productions, LA, is a classically trained actor and friend that Robert Richmond, Director/Producer of DREADFUL SORRY, and I have collaborated with for over ten years. Louis has played a plethora of Shakespeare’s fools and I had wanted to write a script specifically for Louis for a long time. So I started with Louis as Gauche and the story just began to write itself.

DREADFUL SORRY was therefore inspired by the legend of Gauche and The Castle but does not follow a particular event that has been recorded regarding the ghost of Gauche and his shenanigans. DREADFUL SORRY is a suspense thriller seen through the eyes of ten year-old Lily Reece Danner. Lily Reece returns to her father, Dr. Conrad Danner, at the family’s plantation house in scenic Beaufort, SC after being sent away for seven years during the Civil War. Lily is befriended by Gauche, a man/ghost who knew the mother she struggles to remember. Dr. Danner is plagued by flashbacks of the night he strangled his wife Victoria and threw her body in the river behind the house. Events of that dreadful evening unfold and Victoria’s ghost rises from the river to exact revenge.

The characters and the revenge tale emerged after visiting Beaufort, The Castle, and the river behind it. The script has gone through several revisions with the insights of Ronda Berkeley, an invaluable resource provided by the SC Film Commission. Ronda is a script coach and a consultant who has worked in the film and television industry for many years. I continue to be inspired by the knowledge and talent of those contributing to this exciting project and look forward to production next spring!

New Project, New Artwork!!





More info on this exciting new project to come. Stay tuned!!

Thanks to the amazing Katharine LiBretto for this image.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Endings and Beginnings


June 1st seems like forever ago, even though it wasn’t. That was the day we started rehearsals for A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT. April 18th, seems an age ago too. That was the day we held auditions at a high school on Fairfax, and first started getting to know our amazing ensemble of actors and artists. April 8th, too: that was when we learned the California Secretary of State had approved our Articles of Incorporation, making Psittacus Productions an official company. This is our long way of saying that it’s hard to believe we started Psittacus Productions in February of this year. Things have moved so fast, it’s been hard to keep track of everything that’s occurred, let alone update this blog (we promise we’ll be better).

We’ve just wrapped up our second extension, a special engagement coinciding with Friday the 13th. We were playing with fire, perhaps, scheduling the show on such an ominous evening, not to mention the amount of times we crawled under ladders to hang and tie-up our scrim that weekend, and let’s not even mention the amount of times Macbeth’s name was uttered in the theater.

Anyway, we couldn’t be more pleased with how things occurred this summer. Our run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival was our quiet arrival onto the Los Angeles theater scene, and it got enough interest for us to feel justified to extend at the Son of Semele Ensemble in July. That run, of course, gained us great reviews in a number of noteworthy publications, including LA WEEKLY and BACKSTAGE WEST, plus we were mentioned as a company-to-watch in the LA TIMES. It also brought us some great audiences, enough to bring the show back again in August, and in essence, run all summer long.

We’re not going away, though perhaps we might go quiet for a bit. We’re going to be putting our heads together about the future, developing a few new projects, and investigate what kind of life A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT may have in the coming months and years.

You haven’t heard the last of Psittacus Productions! Stay tuned to this space!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT" -- Back for one last special engagement!






Back by popular demand! Following a sell-out closing weekend, A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT is coming back one last time (for now).

If you missed A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, or during it's first run at Son of Semele, now is your chance to see the show Steven Leigh Morris at LA WEEKLY called "Mesmerizing -- Go!" and Jennie Webb of BACKSTAGE WEST called "Completely Gripping! Critic's Pick!"

Bring a friend! Bring a date! Either way, there isn't bound to be a more terrifying live theatrical event this Friday the 13th!

Special thanks to Matt Swan for the art inspired by the show!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT is rated "GO!" in LA Weekly and "Critic's Pick" in Backstage.

From LA WEEKLY, July 14, 2010

by Steven Leigh Morris

NEW REVIEW "GO!" A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT
A new L.A.-based ensemble called Psittacus Productions is extending a performance of A Tale Told by an Idiot from the Hollywood Fringe at Son of Semele Theater. It's a mash up of Shakespeare's Macbeth that includes the character of Guy Fawkes - which suggests an influence from Bill Cain's Equivocation. Every scene of the hour-long piece is a plot against somebody's life or a murder, starring - among the very strong ensemble - the lighting plot of designer Dan Weingarten. The action unfolds behind a scrim and is lit entirely with pin-lights. Some on the floor, some held by the performers. The effect is for the entire play, we see only faces, and shifting eyes, and shadows creeping across scrims and walls. The three witches (Casey Fitzgerald, Madeline Hamer and Liz Saydah) appear in masks, and all we see are those masks, or three hands crawling up a wall, or feet tremulously stepping. In some scenes we just see two daggers, barely illuminated, and little more. With composer Graham Galatro's composition, the effect is mesmerizing, culminating in the closing line, that comes in Macbeth right before the more famous "Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing." The line that lingers is that line's direct predecessor : "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more." And this is the lucid essence of the piece. Fine performances also by Casey Brown, Louis Butelli, Lisa Carter, Daryl Crittenden, Darin Dahms and Chas LiBretto. Robert Richmond directs. Son of Semele, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru July 25. (646) 425-4615. (Steven Leigh Morris)

From BACKSTAGE, July 14, 2010

by Jennie Webb

A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT. "Critic's Pick."
Vaulting ambition that threatens to destroy a country, heinous acts done in the dead of night in the name of a higher cause, and the labyrinthian politics of marriage where no hands remain clean are the stuff of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." And by distilling his text and characters then throwing in a marvelous—almost contemporary—twist, Psittacus Productions makes us realize why this is a tale that will always demand an audience.

This particular telling is more than smart—and completely gripping. Guy Fawkes is added into the mix here; we first see him in the basement of the Parliament building as he places explosives to kill the real king, James I. Director Robert Richmond and Louis Butelli's adaptation joins worlds and jumps centuries to juxtapose Fawkes (a mesmerizing Butelli) to Macbeth (Daryl Crittenden). As director, Richmond's inventive staging with a nine-member ensemble makes for a highly physicalized plunge into the murkiest sort of darkness. It's a frightening and intimate look at the inner workings of plots, doubts, recrimination, and bloody actions. Always veiled behind a scrim and moving through—confronted by—shadows and striking visual images, cast members deliver standout performances. Darin Dahms as Duncan and Macduff is a solid presence, and Casey Brown's Malcolm has a passionate strength. As it should be in this nightmare of treachery, the women are given full weight. Lisa Carter's Lady Macbeth is crystal clear, Liz Saydah is a resonant Lady Macduff, and we can't get enough of the weird sisters (Saydah, Casey Fitzgerald, and Madeline Hamer).

So in the end, " 'twere done well," indeed. And as "A Tale Told by an Idiot" clocks in at under an hour, what's not to love about "it were done quickly"?

Presented by Psittacus Productions at Son of Semele, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. July 9–25. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. www.psittacusproductions.org.

Thanks to these excellent authors for these excellent reviews.

Come and see the show!!

Click for tickets.

Click to watch online.

Click to help us continue to make excellent theater.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some Inspiration as Psittacus goes into Rehearsal for A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT

USC School of Theatre Commencement Speech
By José Rivera


Congratulations, we’re all colleagues now.

Having been perpetual students of an art form that can’t be fully learned because all the stories haven’t been told yet, we are now able practitioners.

Not only that, we’re partisans in a great struggle that may seem holy to some and crazy to others, but is wildly quixotic even at the best of times.

We’re all veterans of hope, sergeants and captains of an idealism and courage that seem anachronistic and beautifully, dolefully, painfully antique.

Because what we do, what we are trained to do, is to keep an ancient and sullied and disrespected and much maligned and amazing tradition alive.

We together keep the spoken word from going silent, spectacle from disappearing in the ones and zeros of forgetfulness, great life-and-death themes from dying of malnutrition, enormous characters and souls from the purgatory of indifference and ignorance.

Together we keep the The House of Atreus from foreclosure and the Skryker from extinction and Kent and Salem from dying of cancer and Pozzo from getting too lucky.

We are apostles of language, dreamers in blank verse, aristocrats of sight gags, archeologists of gesture and dance and sword battles and mask wearing and mythic games of tragic and comic consequences.

We bring Falstaff to the party and hope he doesn’t get too drunk and pinch too many butts even as we enter through the back door and try to deliver dream-worlds to the wary and the post-modern and the unsuspecting.

We traffic in awe and metaphors and are impatient with the ordinary and expected.

We fight the inertia of silence and talk too loud in polite locations and there is no Ritalin for us.

We don’t succumb to psychoanalysis and the voodoo of easy answers.

We thrive on complexity and ask that our monsters truly terrify us, that our lovers truly slay us with their passion, that our magicians truly make something out of nothing and hand it to us with smoke and a rakish smile.

We seek connections with the strange and communion with brave souls seeking the truth – not the entire truth, just a piece of it will do – a coin of truth we can keep in a pocket near our valuables, that we can spend in those frightening moments when we don’t know ourselves, when we’re in too deep and some clarity would help, some beauty that could redeem and enliven the night.

We turn awful experience and bad relationships and murdering office jobs and loveless parents and poverty and addictions and angst and loss and death itself into the fearsome gold of art.

We are alchemists and con artists, acrobats and used car salesmen, liars and enlighteners, and we are here to do the earth’s bidding because the earth is screaming out its stories and begging for us to write them down, and act them out, and draw her pretty pictures on the face of the clouds.

What’s in store now that you’ve made it through this training ground of the imagination?

Here are some of the highs and lows you can expect on this amazing journey.

There’s joy as you travel to wonderful places and receive the smiles and affection of new friends made in the crucible of performance, in front of raging armies of critics and prove-it- to- me, I’ve-paid-too- much-for- these-tickets, I-saw-it-last- year- in-London audiences and a perfect stranger comes up to you after the show to say they never felt so transported in the theatre before and they understand something about life they never understood until tonight and how you captured her parents’ pain and nobility so beautifully.

Fatigue as you give it everything you have, every single day, every muscle engaged in a marathon that doesn’t end until you end.
Pain because you tell yourself it’s just a gig, just a job, but then you fall in love with it anyway.

Discovery of your limits and appreciation for the breathless power of your mastery.

Bliss when you’ve written that one good sentence; or you delivered that one perfect moment when the lights are on you and only you; or you discover in the text an idea or an image or a parable so true that it makes your audience weep with recognition; or you put out into the world a rendering of a staircase or a
costume or a throne of gold in three brilliant dimensions that just last week existed in none.

Awe when you sit backstage, a moment before your entrance and realize you’re about to give the greatest soliloquy in our language.

Gratitude when it dawns on you that you make a living from the honey and perspiration of your mind.

Excitement when you write Act One, Scene One on the top of the first page; and you sit along the wall on the afternoon of your third call-back for your favorite play; and you stand in the back of the house and that moment you worked on for fourteen hours with that actor who never seemed to get it gets the biggest laugh of the night.

Amazement when your lights reflect in the physics of time and space exactly what’s happening in the unlit chambers and labyrinths of the hero’s soul.

Even more amazement when your project, which you put together with faith, spit, and favors turns a remarkable profit in actual U.S. currency.

Humility when you look around and everyone else seems more successful, or richer, or quicker, or better reviewed or living on both coasts and are equally familiar with Silver Lake and Williamsburg.

Relief when you figure out that, like all great cyclical events in nature, your long career will rise and fall and you’ll be hot, then forgotten, then hot, then forgotten, then hot again.

Anger when the words won’t cooperate and the costume’s too tight and you made a grave error in casting the world premiere, or passion seems to be ebbing, or you’d rather have a baby, or the grant goes to your rival, or that barbarian in the second row keeps texting his lawyer, or ten people show up to your reading in a theatre with three hundred seats, or you can’t stand Bushwick anymore, or the McArthur people overlooked you – again – or the sitcom’s too tempting, or your favorite actor’s not available, or the culture’s going north while you’re going south.

Or maybe you’ve forgotten something – you forgot the joy and the magic and the purpose and the need for it all.

But then you remember and come back anyway.

That’s the amazing part.

You come back the next day because even when the words don’t come and the costume’s cutting off the blood to your legs, this activity connects you to your most authentic and naked self, to the child who told sweeping sock puppet sagas and imitated your dad’s big laugh and drew pictures of avenging super heroes, to the adolescent who fell in love with the smell of opening night flowers, to the mature artist who became enthralled with the great blank space, that enchanted oval, on which battles determine the course of history and lovers learned the key expressions of the heart and men and women modeled heroism and humanity and Estragon lost his way and colored girls considered suicide and Proctor wouldn’t sign his name and Arial was free to go and a wicked Moon under a Lorca sky betrayed the idea of love.

You come back to balance art and family, and sometimes your checkbook, because nothing feels as good as the act of acting.

You endure the indifference of agents and literary managers because nothing sounds as nice as the click of that perfect metaphor falling into place.

You put off children, or you put off real estate, or you put off the thousand intangible compromises of the spirit because nothing frees you from the dark enchantments of gravity like this.

You stay up to three in the morning memorizing those sides for your best friend’s new play even though she wrote the part for you and the producers insist you have to audition anyway, because nothing brings you closer to Creation that this.

So why do you do these things?

Why come back when it hurts so much?

What kind of people are we?

How crazy do we have to be to put up with this?

Let’s face it, given the speed of today’s run-away clocks, given the accumulation of power and money in the hands of the very few and all the injustice that flows from that, given the complexity of social intercourse in an age of instant talk and delayed reflection, you’re a member of a different species entirely.

You age differently than the rest of the population.

You try hard not to succumb to the common theories and manias of the crowd.

You speak in tongues when everyone else is speaking in fortune cookies.

You make one-of-a-kind little miracles with your bare and blistered hands for below minimum wage as stock markets soar and die and soar and die.

You write about your existential pain in unsentimental words for sentimental audiences.

Your curiosity is so vast and out of control you don’t know boundaries and you annoy your lovers with your constant need to analyze their every nuance and no answer is ever good enough because each answer leads to ten new questions.

You dream in such vivid colors, you wonder if you can market your sleep as the next cool drug.

Your sensitivity to the pain and joy of others is so acute you might as well have multiple personalities.

You and failure are so intimate with each other you could birth one another’s bawling babies.

You are gifted and cursed with a love of words so intense few other pleasures can move you like Lopahin’s declaration that he bought the cherry orchard, or what Li’l Bit had to do to learn to drive, or what devils of self-doubt whispered to a beautiful and wounded soul in a psychosis at 4:48 am.

For all this and more you came to this school and sacrificed, and worked your ass off, and delayed some big life decisions, and dreamed exceptional dreams, and fertilized your mind, and kept important promises you made to yourself.

That’s the important part: you kept the promises you made to yourself to stay in it and learn.

So now that you’ve come this far, and we’re in this room, together, what’s my advice?

It’s not a lot.

Love grandly.

Work forcefully.

Listen humbly.

Risk intelligently.

Risk stupidly.

Scare yourself.

Recycle your pain.

Think about greatness.

Make babies and make art for them.

Slay your heroes.

Laugh at yourself.

Betray no one’s trust.

Throw parties.

Make time for silence.

Search and search and search and search.

I could go on, but I don’t think you need any more
advice from me.

I think you’re ready.

You, the fighter and hero of this morning’s tale are trained and ready to unpack your Heiner Muller and your tap shoes and your colored pencils and are brimming with ideas and full of courage and full of fight and you know the obstacles and laugh in their faces and the dragons you fight are windmills and the
windmills you fight are straw and the time to talk about doing it is over.

It’s time to do it.

So let’s go out now, you and I, let’s go out and make some art.

Thank you and all the best of luck.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT: New Poster Art


For the extension of our show, A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT, at Son Of Semele Ensemble this July (click for tickets here), we decided that we needed a new image that would encapsulate the feel of the show: A Comic Book Come to Life.

We were lucky enough to engage the time and talents of an amazing artist: Katharine LiBretto.

Here's the new poster, hot off the presses...






Needless to say, we're pretty stoked about it. We feel that it simultaneously captures the feel of a vintage comic book, and evokes the sheer spookiness of the show.







You should probably check out more of Katharine's amazing work.
Some samples...











































Visit Kat's website here.
























And come see A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT!!

Don't live in LA? Watch the show streaming live online.

We need your help to make this all happen. Contribute to Psittacus today. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT: Promo Video!!

Take a look at this excellent promo video for our July extension of "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT."

Thanks to Daryl Crittenden and Mark Hampton for shooting and editing this.

Click for tickets and info.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Fringe Festival Experience


by LB

In 2007, I played in a production of “Romeo & Juliet” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

We were six actors, a stage manager, a TD and an intern, and we had spent the earlier part of the summer playing the show across Europe: at a recreation of the Globe Theatre in Neuss, Germany; in the courtyard of a castle in Gyula, Hungary; at the nation’s largest arts, culture, and food fest in Gdansk, Poland; and in a miniature La Scala Opera House in Syros, Greece.

During that time I: was stalked and harassed by neo-Nazi skinheads. Got an “intimate” sunburn while swimming in a “natural hot springs water park” with “naked Hungarians.” Was taken into a windowless cubicle at the airport and interrogated about the prop daggers in my luggage by a man in uniform with a machine gun. Got drunk enough on some manner of foreign liquor that I woke up an hour before the show missing my glasses, and with my left shoe covered in dog shit.

Suffice it to say, by the time we made it to “Auld Reekie,” we were jet-lagged, disoriented, and beyond exhausted. It was in this state that we first walked the Royal Mile, the historic High Street between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Abbey.

I have seen plenty of overwhelming sights in my day but, for a theater artist, there is absolutely nothing to compare to the sheer madness of that 1976.5 yards packed neck-to-neck with buskers, dancers, performers, poets, clowns, gypsies, and garden-variety freaks, all trying to attract the attention of just as many theater-loving pilgrims. I thought I would cry.

Somehow, we made our way to the venue we would play: the Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms. Assembly Rooms is something like “Fringe Central.” Hosting 144 shows from 22 countries, there are four big rooms, including ours with 750 seats, multiple small rooms, and an exclusive lounge for mingling between performers and VIPs. We received our showtime – 1pm – and the lineup for the other acts with whom we would share the Music Hall space – comedian Rich Hall, international acrobatic sensation “Traces,” a WWII “living room” play starring multiple stars of BBC fame, etc, etc, etc. We didn’t stand a chance.

To get directly to the point, we deranged and exhausted actors never once had an audience larger than 6 people in our 750 seat house. Adding insult to injury, the show just before us and the show just after us routinely sold out. This meant walking into the venue as huge beaming throngs were leaving, chatting about how they’d be back to see it again, leaving the venue to a line around the block for the next show and, in the interim, playing a six-person “Romeo & Juliet” in the middle of the afternoon to an audience of 6. We all found this to be…fairly dispiriting.

This week, June 18-20, 2010, my new theater company, Psittacus Productions, played at the First Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Why anyone who has lived through the trauma laid out above would choose another Fringe Festival – particularly a brand new one in a city which describes itself as “theater averse” – as the venue for their fledgling company’s premier production is anybody’s guess. Punishment Gluttony? Masochism? Basic stupidity?

Or is it something else? Could it be a persistent faith in the power of the art form to transcend, to transport, to deliver to audience and artist alike a sense of family and community in an increasingly fragmented time?

Probably it was stupidity. To be honest, as I stood on Santa Monica Boulevard with a handful of fliers in one hand, a cigarette and a cup of coffee in the other (I multitask), watching happy people line up for other shows and gleefully NOT line up for ours, I began to despair.

One nice gentleman who was passing by asked me what I was doing. “It’s called ‘A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT,’” I said. “It’s a 60-minute, comic-book style deconstruction of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’ Come and see! It’s like a comic book come to life…you’ve never seen anything like it!” “Cool,” he said. “You got a quarter?” I didn’t. He seemed annoyed. “That’s okay, baby,” he said. “You got some cereal? How ‘bout some milk?” I went back in to the lobby.

Still, as I sit here running the numbers for our show, “A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, I notice something.

Our venue, the beautiful Lounge Theater, has 50 seats. For the entire run of our show, five performances over three days, we had 60 people attending. That’s an average of 12 people per performance – or 25% capacity. Additionally, we streamed our show live over the Internet. We had 85 people watch our show online. That’s an average of 17 people per performance. If we add that in to the “in-person” figure for 30 people per performance, that’s 60% capacity.

Last week, the Broadway revival of “Hair” played to 47% capacity. The Edinburgh Fringe run I mentioned above played to just over 1% capacity. If I’m not mistaken, that means we did really freaking good!!

Here’s the problem with being an actor/producer rather than an actor. To write the 2 paragraphs above, I had to spend about 20 minutes looking at numbers and fiddling around with the calculator on my phone. Also, I used words like “capacity” and “percentage” and “numbers.”

And that, it seems to me, is NOT the actual point, either of the Edinburgh anecdote, or of Psittacus Productions’ labor pains and birth at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The point actually IS a persistent faith in the power of the art form to transcend, to transport, and to deliver to audience and artist alike a sense of family and community in an increasingly fragmented time.

In Hollywood this weekend, when I would put out my final cigarette, check with the box office, and dash into the dressing room to change out of my monkey suit into my costume, waiting for me inside the dressing room were 8 beautiful actors. Artists. They had come on this incredible, bizarre journey, they had taken a leap of faith, and they were ready to rock and roll.

Together, we huddled in the dark and prepared to pass through that familiar and inscrutable portal. That membrane which is simultaneously tiny and titanic: the little piece of black fabric that hangs between the dressing room and the entrance to stage left. Together, we agreed to put aside all of our nagging concerns - numbers, capacity, parking, rent, car payments, the economy, the heavy-lifting of day to day life – and go on a journey together. To explore the power of the Idea. To share a story with whomever was sitting on the other side of the lights, or at their web browser.

And, somehow, we did it. We survived the Fringe. Moreover, we were a smashing success at the Fringe. Here’s the proof:

We are extending our show!!

A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT
@Son Of Semele Ensemble Theater
in Silver Lake
3301 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004

July 9-25, 2010

For tickets and info: Son Of Semele Ensemble

WE NEED YOUR HELP to make the extension happen! Click to make a secure, tax-deductible donation NOW:







Elsewhere on-line:

Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
Website

An amazing article about Psittacus by Homa Nasab



With love,
LB

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hello, Kickstarter Backer!!

Glad you made it this far, and thank you beyond all thanks for your support on this mad adventure.

Please click the "Donate" button below to transfer your Kickstarter pledge into a tax decuctible donation to Psittacus Productions.

With respect and thanks,
Louis & Chas
Psittacus Productions







By the way, should this all prove too ominous, please feel free to send a good old fashioned check to:

Psittacus Productions
237 S. Avenue 51
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Psittacus is a 501c3 pending nonprofit; all deductions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Only 24 Hours To Go!!!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you that have supported our project on our Kickstarter page.

With your help, we have passed the $4000 mark.

However, we still fall very short of our goal and, without your continued help, we run the risk of losing all that we have gained so far.

Please - if you have not already made a pledge, do so now. If you have already made a pledge, please consider increasing your pledge, or sharing this link with friends.

We can do this...but we need your help!!

CLICK HERE NOW

Also, tickets are now on sale for A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT.

CLICK THIS FOR TICKETS

With gratitude, humility, and respect,
PSITTACUS PRODUCTIONS

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Over $3000 Now Raised!!


Thanks to your belief in us, Psittacus Productions has now raised over $3000 on Kickstarter for our production of "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT," @The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Live on the Internet.

We still have a ways to goal to meet our goal...only 3 days left to meet our goal.

We need your help! Visit our Kickstarter page today!!

Click here to join the adventure!

Article about Psittacus Productions published in MuseumViews!


Check out this fascinating article about Psittacus Productions and "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT" in Homa Nasab's excellent journal, "MuseumViews."

"The rich theatrical heritage and vast body of experience of Psittacus’ creative members promise to inject much-needed life and vibrancy into the vanishing world of Classical Theatre. The company’s mission is “to create innovative theatre art to share with the community, and to investigate the ways in which modern life and technology affect the way we tell stories.” In other words, Psittacus has set out to unveil and stage the corpus of our collective memories – as embodied in classic Western literature – in the highly stylized and aesthetized form of theatre via Web 3.0, smart phones, and other technological apparatus."

Read more...


Psittacus Productions
presents

"A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT"
a comic book-style
deconstruction of
Shakespeare's
MACBETH

The First Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival
@THE LOUNGE THEATER
6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

...and streamed Live over the Internet.

Friday, June 18 - 8pm
Saturday, June 19 - 3pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 20 - 3pm & 8pm

Click for tickets.

Homa T. Nasab is an American art historian, curator & museologist who recently completed her doctoral dissertation in Museum Studies at Oxford University. The foundations of her research and interests in visual arts are extensively rooted in early modern theatre (Stella Adler’s Conservatory), film & sculpture (BA – UMass Boston), museology (CMS – Harvard), 19th-21st century fine arts (MA – Courtauld Institute) and histories of museums & collecting (MSt. & D.Phil – Oxford). In recent years, Nasab’s academic investigations have focused on the development of the art market & formation of museums in emerging markets. Her academic training has given Nasab solid grounding in the aesthetics, economics and management of public and private art collections on a global scale with a particular focus on how to maximize multiple values of an art collection.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Psittacus Productions
presents

"A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT"
a comic book-style
deconstruction of
Shakespeare's
MACBETH

The First Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival
@THE LOUNGE THEATER
6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Friday, June 18 - 8pm
Saturday, June 19 - 3pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 20 - 3pm & 8pm

Don't miss out...$20 when you buy online now!

Click Here!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pssss-atikus.

We have found that some people have a little difficulty in pronouncing the name of our theater and multimedia company.

For the record, it's pronounced SIT-ih-kuss!



Thanks to our dear friends at Theater Workshop Nantucket for helping us out with this one.

The Cyber Room Table


By Chas LiBretto

It’s surreal to be organizing a play in Hollywood from a small beach house on Nantucket. For one, the weather here is really not at all like what one finds in Los Angeles in May (or nearly all the time). Here it isn’t yet the on-season, and there’s always a chill in the air, and at night the tree branches scratch the window panes through all the hours. The ocean here is rough and cold and surrounds us on all sides; even in this highly connected age, the isolation on an island is palpable, and it’s easy to see why people run here to escape the world. The palm trees that rocket from the sidewalks on Sunset Boulevard dwarf any of the salt-water choked scrub that inhabits the island, or the gnarled and ancient Elms that seem to burst from the cobblestones. And the dry, warm desert air of Los Angeles has nothing on the corrosive, moist, ocean breeze that rots and rusts everything it touches here.

But these are all surface-level observations that don’t much resemble what we’re after. Yes, one is isolated on Nantucket, and spends near-$200 and many hours to get across the Sound to Hyannis and to rent a car to Manhattan, but for a theater company that has-not-yet-staged-a-single-bit-of-action, obsessed by the internet as we are, the act of organizing a company, or producing a show from a dining room in a house off the 110 is not terribly different from doing so on Washaman Avenue.

When we’re not typing, bleary-eyed into our laptops, desperately booking theater space, or attempting to coordinate with actors and musicians, we’re off to work, performing in a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in the basement of an elderly Methodist Church, at the top of Nantucket’s main street. It’s a show that seems to mean a lot to everyone who sees it here, and to the actors as well. Many reflect how life 110 years ago in fictional Grover’s Corners still resembles, at least at a cursory glance, what life in the off-season of Nantucket is like: a small, isolated (actually even more isolated, as its not just removed by dirt roads, but by an ocean divide created during the last ice age) New England town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and where most secrets aren’t kept for very long.

But at Psittacus, we’re interested in what being alive in the 21st century really means, and though in many ways, life in a small town pretty much looks the same in 1901 as it does in 2010, the interconnectivity of the internet-age makes us into a kind of global Grover’s Corners, with status updates and tweets keeping us all abreast on the mundane, the strange, and the spectacular goings-on of everyday life, much as gossip after choir practice would have done the same for a hundred years ago.

I didn’t expect to come back to Nantucket and yet, it feels appropriate to be doing new work here. I met my business partner while doing Shakespeare here a number of summers ago, and we spent the following years dancing around collaborations of a kind, until we stumbled upon the Psittacus idea in Los Angeles. And yet, here we are, back with old and new friends and realizing that 3,000 miles and an ocean isn’t very far when your friends and collaborators, on Nantucket and in LA, can communicate in an instant. So many artists spend their time analyzing the effect technology is having on society, but we’re interested in embracing it in practice, and finding out first hand what it says about who we were then, and who we are now. So when “A Tale Told By An Idiot” premiers at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, we’ll be streaming it live to the internet, so that our friends and family around the global village can see it in the comfort of their homes, and respond to it via chat or text, be there a palm tree outside the window, or the branch of an old elm.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Behind The Scenes of A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT


Psittacus Productions proudly welcomes you to the first video of our "Behind The Scenes" series!

As a part of our experiment in uniting the theatrical art form with the power and immediacy of the Internet and social networking, we will create a series of videos which take you step by step through the process of putting on our show, "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT" at the first annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.

These videos will appear on YouTube, Facebook, Kickstarter, and here on our blog. The advantage of watching them here? We will also include rehearsal journals, photos, guest bloggers...and much more. Check back often!

This mad experiment will culminate in a real-time video stream of our production, live from the Lounge Theater at the Hollywood Fringe.

Video 1: Meet Daryl Crittenden! Originally from Alabama, Daryl has been a professional actor for 11 years - most recently as a regular on NBC's hit, "Heroes." Here he talks about meeting Psittacus co-founders Louis Butelli and Robert Richmond for the first time, and shares his impressions of the show before rehearsals begin on June 1st.

Watch, share, and enjoy. Much more to come!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tips for [creating theater]



A few months back, the Guardian published an article presenting a list of tips for writers from an astounding selection of authors. As one would expect, most of the tips are writer-specific, but many of them are good tips for artists-in-general, and some are simply good tips for life. We at Psittacus have culled the list down to what we feel are helpful lessons for theater artists starting a new company from the ground up.


If nobody will put your play on, put it on yourself.
- David Hare

Try to leave out the part that [viewers] tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
- Elmore Leonard

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
- Margaret Atwood

Have regrets. They are fuel.
- Geoff Dyer

Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author [or actor/director] on your desk, especially if the author [or actor/director] is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
- Roddy Doyle

Have fun.
- Anne Enright

Don't take any shit if you can possibly help it.
- Richard Ford

Don't wait for inspiration. Discipline is the key.
- Esther Freud

Be without fear.
- A.L. Kennedy

Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.
- Hilary Mantel

The prerequisite for me is to keep my well of ideas full. This means living as full and varied a life as possible, to have my antennae out all the time.
- Michael Morpurgo

Think big and stay particular.
- Andrew Motion

Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Get lucky. Stay lucky.
- Ian Rankin

The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying "Faire et se taire" (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as "Shut up and get on with it."
- Helen Smith

Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.
- Zadie Smith

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
- Colm Tóibín

Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.
- Jeanette Winterson

Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say.
- Michael Moorcock

Join the adventure and donate today. Use the PayPal button on this page to make a secure, tax-deductible donation to Psittacus Productions.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is Good is Given Back: The Gift-Giving Circle and What it Means for the Arts


By Chas LiBretto


“The Gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—it cannot fail…”
- Walt Whitman

“The gift must always move.” If you’ve read Lewis Hyde’s incredible book "The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World," you’ll be aware of this central, and oft-forgotten tenet of gift-giving and gift-receiving: that a gift in question cannot stand still. “As it is passed along,” he says “the gift may be given back to the original donor, but this is not essential. In fact, it is better if the gift is not returned but is given instead to some new, third party.”

This, of course, has major implications in the not-for-profit world. Legally, not-for-profits, even theater companies, are charities, and so what they create is in essence a gift to their communities. By its very nature, a non-profit takes the gifts it receives, monetary and otherwise, and then immediately puts those gifts to use and enacts its mission.

Hyde calls this the “labor of gratitude” and in a sense, it means “our gifts are not fully ours until they have been given away.” I bring this all up because, with your help, Psittacus Productions is poised to enact its mission and engage its community. Isolated academics like Harold Bloom believe the Western Canon ought to be locked away, and tell us that that the plays they’ve deemed canon-worthy should not be performed, and should be kept in dusty libraries for the perusal of scholars and scholars alone. Pioneers like the Public Theater’s Joseph Papp made it their mission to bring the Classics to the people in their purest form, but we at Psittacus are uncomfortable even with the idea of what “pure” means.

This is a down and dirty age, and we believe that the stories that have stuck with us all these many centuries are strong enough to survive experimentation. We believe it is our job to undo the “canonization” and make these stories as accessible to as large an audience as we can gather, be it by reinventing Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” as a comic book come to life, turning “Hamlet” into a police procedural, or creating a modern SF epic out of Goethe’s “Faust.” These are important stories that still say things about who We are, even in the 21st century.

When discussing cultural snobbery and elitism, I often return to Michael Moorcock, an English writer whose body of work has bounced from “genre” to “mainstream” throughout his entire career. In an interview, he states that he “writes for a reader like [himself]—who has read widely and has enjoyed a wide range of music and the other arts – but is part of a broad, common culture, not an isolated academic culture. There are…more of us than there are of them. More of us who read (or watch) Shakespeare one day and Theodore Sturgeon the next.”

Psittacus Productions feels the same way about theater audiences. Our gift, as it were, is to make the old stories entertaining and moving to as many people as we can find. We give this gift to our audience, be they the people who see us at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, or the students of high schools in East LA. Your gift will allow this to happen, and will give us all louder voices in the culture. We ask you to join us in this, the core commerce of art: the giving of gifts.

As a 501c3-pending organization, your gift is tax-deductible. Checks or money orders may be sent to:

PSITTACUS PRODUCTIONS, 237 S. Avenue 51, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Join us on an exciting adventure!!


Here at PSITTACUS PRODUCTIONS, we are working around the clock to pull together all of the logistics and details for our premier performance of "A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT" at the first annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.

The Festival is getting lots of buzz here in town, and is a great opportunity to share the company's work and reach out to audiences and students alike. Still, we can't do it without the support of our friends and fans.

We encourage you to consider a tax-deductible gift of your choosing. Donations of all sizes can help, and will be acknowledged in our program and on-line. We recently received a gift at the "Prodigy" level, and a pledge at the "Genius" level.

Don't let those generous donors stand alone! Join the adventure today.

Checks and money orders to PSITTACUS PRODUCTIONS may be sent to:

237 S. Avenue 51
Los Angeles, CA 90042


SUGGESTED DONOR LEVELS:

PUNDIT (Up to $25)
Grass-roots optimism and support; the lifeblood of the company.

SCHOLAR ($26 - $100)
Allows our online presence to exist, flourish, and grow.

PRODIGY ($101 - $500)
Enables a costume, set, or musical designer to plan for an excellent production.

PROFESSOR ($501 - $1000)
Provides the company with rehearsal space for one of our shows.

SAGE ($1001 - $2500)
Supports the leasing of performance space for one of our shows.

GENIUS ($2501 - $5000)
Enables the development and production of a brand new show.

MENTOR ($5001 - $10,000)
Sponsors an entire touring production; artists, travel, and accommodation.

MASTERMIND ($10,001+)
Big thinkers looking to the horizon; the future of the company.

Psittacus Productions is a 501c3-pending non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Please contact the company for further information.