Zeb L. West at Dallas Solo Fest

Here is some more coverage of the upcoming Dallas Solo Fest! 

Lauren Moore Interviews Zeb L. West About Video Game and Theatre Arts

Ms. Lauren Moore, of the gaming website ScrewAttack and an actor in her own right (most recently with Denton's Sundown Collaborative Theatre), interviews Austin-based puppeteer, solo performer and indie video game designer Zeb L. West. They speak via Skype, Lauren from Dallas and Zeb from downtown San Francisco.

West brings his solo show INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM, complete with puppets and sea shanties, to the 2014 Dallas Solo Fest. The festival runs May 15-25. For info on Zeb’s show, click HERE

Highlights of the podcast include:

1:10 – Zeb‘s time as a student at California’s Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre.

4:45 – Getting involved in the world of video games.

5:55 – How the worlds of video games and theatre affect and inform each other.

10:50 – Storytelling as a beneficial tool across art forms.

14:45 - Working on BioWare’s epically huge game Star Wars: The Old Republic and then following that with a swing into an indie game studio.

19:05Web Series about doing 48 hour “game jams” in a van with his indie studio Bionary Solo.

20:30 – getting into puppetry and working his Austin’s puppeteering mad scientist Connor Hopkins at Trouble Puppet Theatre.

23:05 – the inspirations behind his show INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM, including Monty Python, the Canadian fringe and Moby Dick.

INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM plays at the Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, May 15-25, 2014. For info, tickets, directions and more visit: http://www.DallasSoloFest.com

Dallas Solo Fest Brings Home the Talent - Danny O'Connor

If you haven't been paying attention, there are some really exciting things going on in Dallas! While I have had my head buried in the educational field this year, other folks have been working on bringing to Dallas some of the best solo performers in the country for ten days in May. Jeff Hernandez sat down with one of these performers and here is what transpired...

Danny O’Connor brings his show Bouncing Ugly to the Dallas Solo Fest.

By Jeff Hernandez

Danny O'Connor is a big guy. He has a wide smile, nimble voice and an easy laugh. He is also hilarious. He will be performing his original solo comedy Bouncing Ugly at the Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park May 15-18, 2014. The festival runs May 15-25, 2014.

O’Connor grew up in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, Texas, attending Newman Smith High School. Like so many high school students, he did his very best to hide away from everyone. It wasn't until he went on to study acting at Emerson College in Boston that he began to come out of his shell.

After stints in Chicago and New York City, where he worked professionally on both solo shows and traditional full cast plays, he came back to Dallas in late 2010 to be with family.

O’Connor co-founded a theatre company, Octaviar Productions. Octaviar produced his long running show, ZERO, which has performed in multiple cities around the united States to some impressive critical acclaim. TheaterJones, a north Texas based performing arts website called Bouncing Ugly “ seriously one of the funniest hours of storytelling ever.  No Kidding."

Both Bouncing Ugly and ZERO pulled from O'Connor's personal experience. Though Bouncing Ugly is much more O’Connor talking about his life, both shows have central themes of not giving up on whatever it is you're trying to do with your life.

ZERO was written when O’Connor saw himself and his friends all struggling with whether to stop trying to “make it” and “just take the easy route of getting drunk and trying to hook up.”

“It turns out a lot of people saw themselves in the characters of that show,” says O’Connor. “It seems it's not a problem only I have had to deal with.”

O’Connor feels that Bouncing Ugly could “in some ways be seen as the next progression after ZERO's themes.”

“Now that you've committed to following your dreams, how much crap (both metaphorical and literal) are you willing to deal with and what are you willing to sacrifice to stay true to yourself and your goals?” says O’Connor, “ Of course, the show's not that lofty, as it's mostly just ridiculous stories about the people he met working as a bouncer at Coyote Ugly in New York City, and the God awful things they did to themselves, the floors, the toilets, the people sitting next to them, etc etc-drunk-people-are-terrible-sometimes etc...”

O’Connor is quick to point out, as an actor, he doesn't necessarily prefer solo shows to full cast productions, but  adds “there is something unique about just how personal a solo show can be, and it can touch upon an audience's emotions and their own individual relationship with themselves in a way that nothing else artistic can.”

“Granted, it has to be done well, which is very tricky, because besides badly done Shakespeare nothing is worse than a bad solo show,” says O’Connor.

Bouncing Ugly plays as part of the Dallas Solo Fest, May 15-18, 2014. At the Margo Jones Theatre at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park, 1121 First Avenue, Dallas TX 75210. Tickets and info available at: www.DallasSoloFest.com.


Jeff Hernandez is the founder of Sensational Adventure Club, a platform for comics, music criticism and "internet awesomeness." He is also the co-creator/co-host of the podcast Bike Soccer Jamboree. He writes about things that interest him, which mostly involve movies, theatre and internet phenoms. He is currently co-writing a play called Night of the Tarantu-Bears for Audacity Theatre Lab.

Audacity's Brad McEntire talks about the New Production of his play Raspberry Fizz

 RASPBERRY FIZZ at the 2013 Houston Fringe - credit R Engel-McEntire.jpg

RASPBERRY FIZZ at the 2013 Houston Fringe - credit R Engel-McEntire.jpg

Brad McEntire is Artistic Director of Audacity Theatre Lab, a small company dedicated to the voices of a small group of individual artists. In the past few years, he has presented his solo show Chop at festivals and venues around the country, completed a commission for Denton’s Sundown Collaborative Theatre called Carter Stubbs Takes Flight, presented a festival piece about a vengeful Tiki god and cell phone etiquette called I Have Angered a Great God and the produced the scripted/improv hybrid Dinosaur and Robot Stop a Train at last summer’s Festival of Independent Theatres. We cornered McEntire to ask about his current project Raspberry Fizz, playing on Saturday afternoons at the Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park’s Magnolia Lounge in Dallas until December 7.

Q: Tell us about Raspberry Fizz?

A: Sure. Raspberry Fizz is about two adolescents hanging out on a street corner, a boy and a girl. It is 1949 and they are in a small town. Basically, the boy is working up his courage to ask the girl to a school dance. It is actually really charming and maybe the least weird play I’ve written in a while.

Q: Least weird? No robots and dinosaurs? No tigers fights or rocket packs? No amputation fetishists?

A: Well, it still has some weird sprinkled in. There is a mysterious carnival barker on a corner down the street from the kids. He keeps mutter this strange sideshow bally about expectations and possibilities.

Q: You play the Barker, right? Where’d he come from?

A: I play the Barker. He’s based a little on those Coney Island pitchmen and on Johnathon Pryce’s character in the movie “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Which is a movie that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.

Q: What prompted you to write Raspberry Fizz?

A: I had the idea of two 12 year olds talking on a street corner in mind, as an image, for a while. I went through a Norman Rockwell phase, too, and the idea to set it in the late 1940s seemed to fit. Originally, I envisioned it as a two-hander, kind of spinning out a simple dilemma into an interesting yearn. For thematic purposes, I put the Barker in and the play became what it is today.

Q: This is not the first production. This show premiered at the Out of the Loop Festival at Addison’s Water Tower Theatre is March 2012. Why remount  it?

A: Yeah, the play premiered at the Out of the Loop. It went up a week after I got married. Usually, I direct my own plays, but at the time I was busy, uh, planning and being in a wedding. Andy Baldwin directed it. It had Jeff Swearingen, Natalie Young and Shane Beeson in it. They did a wonderful job. This past summer I was invited to the Houston Fringe Festival and I decided to take Raspberry Fizz. I recast it with Travis Stuebing and Tashina Richardson. I stepped in to play the Barker, a role I had originally written for myself to play anyway. This show, with different people and slight rewrites, came out different than Andy’s production. Since we had rehearsed it and put so much work into it, and I was proud of it, we thought it a shame just to do it for three shows in Houston and call it quits. Plus, Travis, Tashina and I have a great time working together. So, we are extending the production for these Saturday afternoon shows here in Dallas. Local audiences can get a chance to see the show.

Q: Saturday afternoons? That is not a traditional time for theatre.

A: Seemed to fit the tone of the shows. Plus, it means we can use the venue in the day time while other productions happen at night. Utlizing resources and all. I'll admit, the afternoon slot is a hard sell. That's why I'm trying to get the word out. Like a lot of theatre productions around the area, audiences usually really enjoy it. It is just a matter of initially getting them through the front door.

Q: You’ve paired it with a curtain-opener, too, right? Tell us about that.

A: Yeah. I have this little 20 minute one-woman piece by Brooklyn-based artist A. V. Phibes called Grading On A Curve. It is about a nihilistic woman who goes on extreme fasts and develops cannibalistic tendencies, especially for fingers. Then one day, she meets a man with no fingers, but flashy lobster-claws, and falls in love. It is weird and wonderful and because it is so short, it is hard to present anywhere. The excellent Lauren Moore performs it before Raspberry Fizz. The two pieces go surprisingly well together as companion pieces. Together, the running time of the two shows is just over an hour.

Q: What’s next for you and Audacity Theatre Lab?

A:  We’re taking a break during the holidays and will be back in January with Andy Eninger’s solo show The Last Castrato. Jeff Swearingen will perform it. It is a co-production between Audacity and his company Fun House Theatre. The show involves a man born without a penis who falls in love with a girl who was born with her skin inside out. That will also be at the Margo Jones Theatre. Then in the spring we are hoping to produce a solo performance festival, the first of its kind in Dallas. We have some other irons in the fire, too. We’ll see what materializes.

Q: Details on Raspberry Fizz please.

A: The show will be playing Saturdays at 2:00 PM, November 16, 23, 30 and December 7 at the historic Margo Jones Theatre at the Magnolia Lounge, Fair Park, 1121 First Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210. Tickets are $10 suggested donation at the door. More information at: www.AudacityTheatreLab.com


Brad McEntire talks with KDT's Tim Johnson

Here is an interview done by Brad McEntire with Tim Johnson of Kitchen Dog Theatre, Dallas. 




Tim Johnson, one of Kitchen Dog Theater’s multitalented company members sat down with local playwright/performer Brad McEntire in the lobby of the McKinney Avenue Contemporary on June 17. Tim had just finished the run of his original production, ONE:MAN.SHOW. as part of KDT's New Works Festival.

The podcast conversation ranges over a wide swath of territory: Tim’s background, a complete debriefing from the show and how it benefited his artistic growth, what seems to be surfacing on the theatrical landscape, and the one thing Tim would change about the theatre if he could (hint: it isn’t the work itself…)

Tim is the Development Manager, Administrative Assistant and a resident Director at KDT. He holds a BFA from Southern Methodist University and a Masters degree from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. He currently teaches at University of North Texas. 

Tim Johnson's ONE: MAN. SHOW. is a multimedia, deeply personal performance revue. It takes us on a man’s hilarious yet harrowing search for his authentic voice and the discovery that you must differentiate in order to integrate. Or, a guy in a banana suit walks into a bar.

Here's some links to reviews of the show, which ran at Kitchen Dog Theatre May 29 - June 15...



About the interviewer:

Brad McEntire is a Dallas-based theatre and visual artist. He is the acting Artistic Director of Audacity Theatre Lab and most recently performed his own original show DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN at the 15th Annual Festival of Independent Theatres. He is a sometimes-contributor to the Stage Directions Blog. For more info:www.BradMcEntire.com


 Tim Johnson. Photo Credit Matt Mrozek

Tim Johnson. Photo Credit Matt Mrozek