Hello, Sweeties, it’s your store brand Lois Lane: Anna T. Rexia! I just saw a show: The Fog Machine Play, which is packed with insider jokes for theater geeks and the audiences who regularly come to see them. “A collection of 18 short plays written to justify a 2013 purchase of a fog machine” and “a love letter to the Seattle Fringe Theatre community”, it plays a little like Noises Off on acid. (You know, the movie with Nicolette Sheridan?) Using a flesh– I mean flashlight, I decided to clear the air, as it were, with writer/director, Brendan Mack.
Anna: Hello, Brendan! So. The Fog Machine Play is very, very meta! Like, Heavy Meta, am I right? Now, I think I was talking loudly when the show started, but then again I was a little foggy on when it actually started? Was that planned or was it the white wine I was chug–sipping?
Brendan: Every part of this show was a planned experiment in theater. Rachel Tyrrel, Chelsea Madsen and I have had many long nights reading over and over the moment to moment parts of the play- what seems like it is happening live is scripted; and I am so thankful that people go on the ride. It gets weird- there are patterns of behavior and theme and chronological puzzles and invisible connections between scenes and moments that build a really cool dialogue with the audience.
Anna: Since I don’t want to give too much away, let’s focus our spotlight on the cast! I love trash pandas! Now, how did you get the raccoon to pose with its paws on that fog machine for the poster?
Brendan: We Photoshopped a picture of a raccoon we Google searched.
Anna: There are a couple of actresses who play Statler and Waldorf types, you know: the kind who marathon shows as though it was a bar crawl and pack their own snacks? (yes, I Googled the names of the grumpy old balcony men from the Muppets) How hard was it for Marie Bolla to get through that sexy monologue on really loving a theater without laughing? And can Shermona Mitchell really knit?
Brendan: Marie put a LOT of care into her portrayal of Doreen. It’s so hard to be in an immersive environment with one leg in the world of the play and one in the real world and Marie Bolla steps back and forth seamlessly. Shermona Mitchell can do anything; including knit. There’s a story in each loop she pulls through. These two women present some of the best moments in the show- these roles would be completely wrong without their care in crafting these characters.
Anna: We have to talk about Olivia Lee, who is the spitting image of Cher and plays several memorable roles in the show. Do you think any gay man has ever met her and not tried to steal her away in their gym bag so they could carry her around and show her off to everyone?
Brendan: My first rehearsal for Alice’s Anthem with Copious Love Productions a couple years back it was just like that. Every gay boy in the cast staring up at her like she was an actual gay icon. I’d cast her in every play I ever did if I could. She has endless versatility and gets type cast a lot as “The Slut” or “The Witch” when I really feel like she can do just about anything. She also loves Survivor like me so that’s a thing.
Anna: Justin Johns doesn’t break into song in this show, but he did break into dance…and right out of that “costume”! I don’t really have a question, I’m just *sigh* kinda day dreaming now, but go ahead and say something about him!
Brendan: Justin Johns is a goddamn regional gem. Check out his show Highbrow/Lowbrow the fourth Tuesday every month at the Ballard Substation!!!
Anna: Will Lippman has a very pretty face, as mentioned in the show. Was that distracting during rehearsals? Did people forget lines while staring into his eyes? Did he see me in the audience? (You can skip that last question… unless he did!)
Brendan: Will did see you in the audience. He says “Hi- from before!” He is much more than a pretty face. People do forget their lines looking into his eyes. Will is great and saves the show every night. When he comes onstage as Tom Joad from the Grapes of Wrath my heart melts every night.
Anna: Joshua Moore seemed very comfortable playing a creepy monster-y guy. Did he do his own makeup and how did he get his bunny ears so glittery? I was entranced!
Brendan: Josh’s makeup was designed and implemented by Copious Love’s Hair/ Makeup team lead by Saya Burchfield and Sam Koenig. Josh Moore has always shined charismatically on and offstage- this role is a good one on him. The role of Ethaniel has a lot of subtle layers Josh has really taken and ran with.
Anna: Kaysy Ostrom, who plays a bewitched mother in one scene, reminded me a little of Lily Rabe from American Horror Story! What is she like in real life?
Brendan: Kaysy Ostrom is stupid talented. She was so amazing in auditions I was just obsessed. I am so fortunate to get to work with rising stars in the Seattle theater scene and the second she walked in the audition room I knew- This is somebody. Totally authentic- super fun- comes with her own Jigglypuff costume- I’d recommend her to any director or theater ever. She is really smart and has a neat sense of style and makes me laugh out loud in The Fog Machine Play every night.
Anna: Do you think Katie Kuntz will forever list “Emilio Estevez” on her acting resume?
Brendan: I think she has to. Katie does so much in The Fog Machine Play– creates these esoteric characters from Emilio Estevez to her role as “Witch Number 2” In our second to last story in the show- she does it all. But it is important to remember that for all the wacky characters she plays- there is real solid acting at the core. There is so much heart put into her character choices. I think she could actually do anything.
Anna: I think there’s a few people I can’t mention by name because of spoilers, but I think it’s OK to blurt out: Arson Nicki, what a ham! Am I right?
Brendan: Arson Nicki’s performance in The Fog Machine Play so far exceeds anything I could have imagined in writing her scenes. The piece “Sutures” about Euthanasia is so wonderfully delivered and acted that I can’t even imagine someone else performing it. Real proud of that one.
Anna: And in closing, I have to ask: No mention of Daredevil’s best friend, Foggy Nelson?!? What the actual what?!? I’m joking! However, any fog pun you didn’t get to use in the show that you want to hit us with now?
Brendan: We’re running two more weeks, at the Slate Theater- don’t “Fog-get” to buy tickets ahead of time at brownpapertickets.com because its a small audience!
WHO: Copious Love Productions
WHAT: A series of short plays written to justify the use of a fog machine that was bought in 2013.
WHEN: March 31 – April 22, 2017 @ 7:30pm
WHERE: The Slate Theater, 815 Seattle Blvd. S., Seattle, WA 98134
TICKETS: $15 General Admission ($18 at the Door), $12 TPS, Student, Senior ($15 at the Door) – Brown Paper Tickets
Seattle WA – A quick note from our beloved Playwright and Director, Brendan Mack: “It is important to note that in the ever changing world we live in, the one unchanging constant is that people love theatrical fog. No matter how bad your day is, or what life events may be pushing you around and making you feel trapped – oh so trapped, so unbearably trapped – you know that would all change if you were given the opportunity to run through a room full of theatrical fog. We are changing people’s lives. And by people we mean you. And by lives, we mean fog. And by you, we mean machine.” While this show may not give you that exact opportunity, it will be close!
On the surface, The Fog Machine Play is a series of short plays, each strung together by the use of a fog machine that was purchased for a production in 2013 but was never actually used. Never given the chance to live up to it’s full potential. We had to give it it’s time in the spotlight. While The Fog Machine Play explores the various uses of theatrical fog, it also explores what it is like to produce fringe theatre in this day and age. It toys with what can (or cannot) happen during a live show and how an ensemble rises to the occasion when faced with the challenges of live theatre. Part sincere and part absurd, this show will truly be an “unfogettable” once in a lifetime experience.
Join Copious Love Productions for our twelfth full-length production. The Fog Machine Play was created by Seattle Drag Artist and STAGEright Artistic Director Brendan Mack and developed into reality with the help of Copious Love’s monthly Writing Group, Artistic Director Chelsea Madsen and Associate Artistic Director Rachel Tyrrel.
Anna T. Rexia acted alongside a few of the Fog Machine Play cast in shows like Always a Mermaid, Never a Merm (as an albino dolphin) and Yellow Brick Road. That’s right: Brendan Mack and other directors have let Anna “act” onstage before!