The Flea mourns the passing of Reg E. Cathey, known affectionately as Reggie, whom we lost too soon on Friday at the age of 59.
Reggie was a dear friend and colleague of founding Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow from their days at the Yale Drama School where they were classmates and collaborators. Cathey served as a part of The Flea’s “Artistic Resource Group” that works as a sounding board for artistic ideas for Flea programming.
Cathey starred in two Flea productions, Joseph Addison’s 1712 play CATO in 2008, based on the Roman statesman who sided with Pompeii in an unsuccessful civil war against Ceasar and A.R. Gurney’s HERESY in 2012, a satire about the state of our union in the future (not very far off from where we are today). In both productions, under Simpson’s direction, Cathey lent his rich baritone, crackling wit and contagious glee in the creation of unforgettable characters.
Though he became well known for his television roles in The Wire and House of Cards, which earned him an Emmy, Cathey was a theater lover at heart and made his home here in the city. His work is an inspiration to The Bats and his legacy will be upheld through their work. He is mourned and will be dearly missed by all of us who loved him.
Artist’s Leather Jacket on permanent display
On Monday, February 5, 2018, the actual birthday of writer, composer and director Elizabeth Swados, The Flea held a small ceremony and revealed her black leather biker jacket in a large Plexiglas container which will be permanently placed in the lobby of The Sam, The Flea’s largest black box performance space.
The container was designed by artist Steven Sebring and holds not only the jacket but Liz’s keys which she kept in her right pocket. The jacket was originally purchased and worn by Rosalind Lichter, Swados’ longtime life partner. “Liz somehow absconded with the jacket and wore it continually until it actually became hers.”
The ceremony included a group of Bats, The Flea’s resident company of emerging actors singing, Wide White Road, a song from the last theatrical piece that Swados composed and directed, The Nomad which premiered at The Flea in the winter of 2015. Niegel Smith Artistic Director of The Flea welcomed a group of Swados’ closest friends. Ms. Lichter told the story about the jacket and then Carol Ostrow, The Flea’s Producing Director spoke.
Said Ostrow, “Liz wrote about runaways, iconoclasts, outcasts and outsiders – but really she was the ultimate insider – a wonderful giving collaborator, an instinctive and caring director, a dedicated teacher, a relentless and unfailing provocateur and a child of the theater – always a conduit in pursuit of excellence. She was beloved by The Bats and was revered by all of the designers and musicians who came under her spell. Liz will always be remembered, and she is dearly missed. We all feel so lucky that The Flea has a little part of Liz and she is now a part of The Flea forever.”
The Flea Theater is expanding our resident artist program to include playwrights. Ten artists will be chosen to form a writer’s room for SERIALS, our raucous late night play competition featuring The Bats. SERIALS provides playwrights the unique opportunity to write a play in 10-minute episodes, rehearse and perform it over the course of one week – and learn right away whether the audience wants to see more.The SERIALS Writers Room is a year long commitment. Writers will be assigned to a SERIALS team, featuring a director and a group of Bats, The Flea’s resident acting company. Over the course of the year there will be eight cycles. Each cycle features two consecutive weekends of shows, with performances Thursday – Saturday at 11 pm. Five episodes are performed each weekend, and the audience votes to invite three plays back the following week, joined by two new pilot episodes. Playwrights will write for SERIALS on a rotating basis: if your play is not voted back, you will get a few cycles off until it is your turn to launch another series with a new pilot.Click Here to Apply & for More Information
We are looking for writers from diverse backgrounds who are excited to write in a fast paced environment for young, energetic performers. We are looking for writers with a playful, downtown aesthetic and a burning need to confront pressing social issues. We are looking for writers who are keen to explore the form and push the boundaries of episodic theater.
I’ve been doing theatre now for six years in New York, ten years if I count college productions, fifteen years if I count from my first show at the local university when I was growing up. I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of theater, however, if I could change one thing, it would be ticket prices. The theater is becoming inaccessible to a growing number of people, especially young people because of the ticket prices.
I love table work and the conversations about the play. During the table work, we’re still learning about the characters and the playwright’s intentions. I love falling in love with a play through someone else’s gaze.
I love being at The Flea because of the new works that are presented. I appreciate meeting talented writers and directors. I love hanging out with the other Bats in the company and I truly feel a strong sense of community. I love the enthusiasm and work ethic that so many of us share!
My earliest memory of acting on a stage is of playing an angel in the church Christmas play when I was about four years old. The first Broadway show I saw was Aida when I was twelve.
There’s something about growth and success that people want it to be linear, but sometimes it’s not terribly formulaic. And I think FillX7 investigates that notion of success and self-acceptance for a young woman in a world where little girls still grow up dreaming they’ll marry a prince.
Monique St. Cyr, a member of The Flea’s Bat Acting Company, plays KATE in The Flea’s production of Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill written by Steph Del Rosso. The production, directed by our Resident Director, Marina McClure, explores how we put ourselves out there after dealing with a very public heartbreak.
Joseph Huffman (right), a member of The Flea’s Bat Acting Company, plays RAY in our upcoming production of Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill written by Steph Del Rosso. The production, directed by our Resident Director, Marina McClure, explores how we heal a broken heart.
I am currently working on Fillx7. I pretty much love everything about it. It’s a monster of a play. I go into rehearsal every day wondering how we are going to pull it off, and that is exciting.
My first reaction when I read the script was “how the hell are they going to stage this?”The dialog was so fast paced and the transitions were so intense that it didn’t seem possible without a huge budget.
I like theater that doesn’t play it safe. Maybe it’s the subject matter, the acting, the setting, but I like when risks are taken. Honest storytelling is key.
Acting has taught me how to listen to other people. Actors are typically labeled as “selfish” but acting itself has the capacity to be very humbling and selfless. Good acting involves listening to the other person on stage. When I’m up there on stage, I usually couldn’t tell you what I’m doing, but I sure as hell can tell you what the other actor is doing. It’s all about the other person.
I love the rehearsal process. It’s about figuring out what the play “is” with the people you have in the room. You get to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a difficult, but joyful experience. You get up there and try things out and they don’t always work. There is something extremely gratifying about that “aha!” moment when a scene finally clicks.
I love the sense of community The Flea provides. I spent a long time out there on my own without a sense of place. The Flea has become my “home base.” Whether it’s readings, mainstage shows, or Serials, I get constant opportunities to do what I love and with people I respect. Every artist struggles, but at The Flea we struggle together and give each other support.
My advice to new actors just starting out is to find a group that you connect with and stick together. It can be a cold business and unless you can find some kind of artistic community to connect with, you don’t stand a chance. Also, don’t try to give people what you think they want. Stay true to your own artistic integrity.
Roland Lane, a member of The Flea’s Bat Acting Company, plays NOAH, the wanderlust heartthrob in our upcoming production of Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill written by Steph Del Rosso. The production, directed by our Resident Director, Marina McClure, explores how we heal a broken heart.
Roland originally from Philadelphia, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Unlike his character—NOAH in FillX7—doesn’t play games when it comes to courting a woman. “I don’t use pick-up lines. It’s easier to start with ‘hi’ and start a conversation from there.”
I’ve been a professional actor for eight years and I’ve loved every moment. As soon as “action” or “curtain” is called, I feel alive. This alive feeling elevates as when I first step into my character’s costume. I have a very special connection to every performance because of the audience. Each audience brings a very special energy to the room and I connect with that on a very individual level.
When I was a sophomore, I was in our high school’s production of Anything Goes and that was my first experience being in a stage play. The show was great. Looking back, I cannot believe how much that one production changed my life and set me on my current path.
I first learned about The Flea and the Bats a few years ago from my friend, Abraham Makany, who was associated with the theater at the time. Seeing the projects he was working on I wanted to be a part of the company too. The energy that’s in the new space is energizing and refreshing. It’s been great being a part of this artistic community and especially working with Niegel. It’s been nothing short of great! I appreciate every direction and suggestion he makes. It only helps to heighten the quality of my storytelling and craft.
Outside of FillX7, I can be seen in “Brooklyn. Blue. Sky.” on BET’s digital platform and on the Bet Now app. In this web series, I play Duncan. Duncan is very similar to Noah in that they go where their hearts’ lead them. They both love to love, but also love themselves and are truly unaware of how their actions affect those around them. That is where I differ from my characters— I love to love, however, I am constantly aware of the energies around me and do my best to check in with those I love.
My advice to those who want to pursue any dream is—build your squad! You cannot do this on your own. People I would love in my squad that I currently do not know are Andre Braugher, Jeffrey Wright, and John Malkovich.
The skill that has attributed the most to my success is definitely patience.
THE FLEA SEEKS PERFORMERS OF COLOR FOR TWO HIP HOP MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS
Our theater seeks performers of color for two hip-hop musical productions at The Flea this spring: ms. estrada by the Q Brothers Collective and directed by Michelle Tattenbaum and LOCKED UP BITCHES by Catya McMullen with music by Scott Klopfenstein, directed and choreographed by Michael Raine.
Note that getting cast in either production means joining The Flea’s resident volunteer acting company, The Bats. The Bats are a core group of artists who both perform in The Flea’s productions and support the company through volunteering in all aspects of making theater. If cast you will be eligible to audition for all Flea shows and participate in all readings, workshops, and additional programming including our popular late night series, SERIALS.
ms. estrada Synopsis
The boys at Acropolis U are too preoccupied with the Greek Games to treat their ladies right. But fierce feminist goddess, Liz Estrada, rallies her besties to take a stand – and campus chaos ensues. A Hip-Hop remix of Aristophanes’ classic comedy, ms. estrada may well be the Girl Anthem of 2018.
ms. estrada Breakdown
HARRY STEFANI (and as cast): Seeking a male identifying performer of color in their 20s or 30s to play the President of Acropolis U Alumni Association, Founder of the Tappa Kegga Alpha frat. A sleazy corporate raider or venture capitalist. Super rich and wants everyone to know it. He gets off on wielding control over others. Will also double as ensemble/college student.
HERMAN: Seeking a male identifying performer of color in their 20s or 30s to play Limpita’s boyfriend, Student at Acropolis U. Gamer nerd. Sweet and ineffectual. Loves all things nerd culture.
ms. estrada Key Dates
Rehearsal: Tuesday, January 23rd – Saturday March 10th
Tech: Saturday, March 11th – Wednesday, March 21st
Performances: Thursday, March 22nd – Monday, April 30th
Mon., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., @ 7 pm Sun. @ 3 pm
LOCKED UP BITCHES Synopsis
When Pipsy, a pedigree cocker spaniel, lands at the Bitchfield Animal Shelter, she becomes the center of a turf war between the dogs and the cats. Initially a long running #serialattheflea, LOCKED UP BITCHES is a sweet, psychotic, queer, and outrageously funny hip hop musical parody of a certain Netflix women’s prison drama.
LOCKED UP BITCHES Breakdown
Sofurry: Seeking a male identifying or trans actor of color with drag experience. Must be a strong dancer and singer with a high pop tenor. Sofurry is a kind and generous care-taker for the members of her gang, and sings a cover of “Dream On.”
Feelaca: Seeking a male or male identifying LatinX performer. Feelaca is strong and tough, ready to fight to defend her family. She speaks exclusively in rhythm, so strong beat boxing skills are required. Basic dance skills are a plus.
Pouty B****: Seeking a male or male identifying actor of color with strong comedic and clowning skills. PB only speaks in whines and whimpers, so the ability to communicate story without language is required. Basic dance skills are a plus. Feelane: Seeking a female identifying actor of color with strong singing, dancing, rapping and comedic skills. Feelane is the minion to Pawsatucky, she does what she is told to help bring about Cat Rapture. Through an unseen turn of events, she becomes the embodiment of Pusiris: a powerful ancient ruler and lord of all cats.
LOCKED UP BITCHES Key Dates
Rehearsal: Sunday, January 21st – Sunday, February 18th
Tech Cycle One: Sunday, February 19 – Wednesday, Febraury 21st
Cycle One Performances: Wednesday, February 21st – Saturday, March 10th
Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat. @ 9 pm Fri., Sat. @ 11 pm
Cycle Two Tech: Monday, April 9th – Wednesday, April 11th
Cycle Two Performances: Wednesday, April 11th – Saturday, April 28th
Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat. @ 9 pm Fri., Sat. @ 11 pm
How to Audition and What To Prepare
Auditions will be taking place on Tuesday, 12/12 with callbacks on Wednesday, 12/13. Please prepare 60 seconds or so of a rap, and sixteen bars of a song (to be sung a capella). Please submit current headshot and resume to email@example.com for consideration. Please indicate which roles you would like to submit for. All performers will be under consideration for both productions.
Mazels to Bat alum – and the epitome of #QueerExcellence – Taylor Mac for receiving a MacArthur Foundation 2017 Genius Grant!! We are humbled and blessed to know Judy.
Want to read the full announcement?Click Here
The Flea officially revealed its new digs on 20 Thomas Street the morning of Thursday, September 28. Check out pictures from the momentous occasion!
The Flea’s inaugural show is almost here. And it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Join us as Bat Lacy Allen dishes out some much-desired answers about her leading role as Erica in Nick Robideau’s heartwarming new play Inanimate, where a woman falls in love with a Dairy Queen sign.
I hadn’t heard the term “objectum sexuality” before reading this play, but I do think I was aware that there are people in this world that are attracted to objects.
My first instinctual connection to Erica came from listening to a reading of Inanimate a few months back. I was instantly drawn to the imagery and flow of how she speaks to objects and people.
Although I can’t relate exactly to what it is like to be an Objectum Sexual, I can relate to a lot of the feelings that come with “coming out to the world” that Erica goes through in the play. “I just like beautiful things” or “It doesn’t mean anything” are a few phrases that she says she used to tell herself when she was younger when she started to realize she was different. I am a lesbian. I distinctly remember telling myself when I was younger that “it doesn’t mean anything to want to kiss your best friend, she’s just your best friend and it’s totally fine.” Later, I realized what it was and I didn’t want to hide it anymore because I was in love.
I am most excited to explore how Erica becomes truly herself throughout this play. She already, right at the start, is done with hiding. So it’s more about her figuring out how to live in a world, and less about her being ashamed. She wants to be free, and I’m exploring what that means to her, and how she works through the obstacles on her way there.
I do feel like objects have a personality. Maybe my mind has been stretched from rehearsing this play, but I do feel like a fan has a different personality than a drawer or a desk. Isn’t it nice to at least just let yourself think that if anything? When you’re bored?
Working as an actor has taught me a lot about organization and preparation, and to open up my eyes, and take all of the world in, every little bit.
You must be consistent and persistent in this business. You have to do the work. But the greatest thing about this business is that you never stop learning. You can hone your craft and execute and execute and execute, but there is always something else to learn and another way to grow.
My mom was a theater major in college. So, when I started kindergarten, she was hired to be the lighting designer for all of the shows at my K – 8-grade school. Every time my mom worked on a show, I would hang out and watch rehearsals, and witness the process of creating something. I was instantly drawn to the theater community, and both my parents really supported my interest to pursue theater professionally. The first show I did was in 4th grade, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I’m starting to understand what types of theater I want to audition for because of The Flea. I used to audition for everything, but I’m really starting to get a grasp on what it is that I really want to do and the type of work I want to do.
I discovered The Flea because I had a bunch of friends in the show “The Mysteries”. When I saw the show, I fell in love. I ended up going to the opening night cast party. Everyone was so supportive of each other and collaborative and kind. Then I went in for the last round of general auditions, and here I am now!
I would like to think that everything in this world has a soul. Whether or not that’s my childhood speaking to me right now or not, I’d like to think that I somehow still hold that sort of connection with inanimate objects. I still sleep with my stuffed animal “Super Grover” from Sesame Street.
Watch Erica’s journey and the rest of the talented cast of Inanimate from August 21st (first show!!!) until September 24th.