Edinboro theater’s Laugh/Riot is starting season four with a bang and an R rated production of “Bedtime Stories,” a play originally written by playwright Charles Mee.
The show, one of the more edgy, fringe plays that Edinboro’s Laugh/Riot has put on in recent years, stars Jesi Connick, Rob Connick, Ashley Delaney, Kat Farinola, Connor McNelis and Jordanna Wallace. “We have been working on this production since October of last year. There were originally 11 members involved and now this cast is all that’s left,” said Rob Connick.
“We wanted to do dramatic activities that other groups would not do. It allows people to see theatre you wouldn’t normally see.”The play is a series of short acts, with two marked with an asterisk for scenes with domestic abuse and sexual assault. They allow members of the audience to leave at these designated times if they do not wish to watch.
A bed and a chair are the only props on stage. The play is centered around the dialogue and has some profanity, nudity and a dark atmosphere. Cast and crew performed the play at Pittsburgh’s Fringe festival and Gannon’s Fringe festival, both of which received great reviews.
“There are some scenes and new monologues from even [the performances in] Pittsburgh. The play is not given with specific directions or characters, so when you come back tomorrow the scenes will be a little different and we have been rotating characters,” Connick said.
The upcoming theatre season should be a busy one, starting out with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and performances of the classic in October, just in time for Halloween. University Players One Acts will take place in November, directed by students. In December they will put on a production of “The Twin Manaechmi,” a classic Latin language Roman dark comedy, following a case of mistaken identity in which two twins who are extremely close are separated during childhood. Later the brother goes in search of his twin and is mistaken as him. This play is often known as Plautus’ greatest.
In early January 2016, there will be a production of “Killer Joe,” an American southern gothic, dark comedy about a drug dealer in debt who hires a hit man to kill his mother so he can collect the money. He soon realizes that hit men require payment and things go very differently than he expected when the hit man requires payment of the drug dealers sister. “Six Characters in Need of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello will be performed in March. Six actors go out in search of a playwright to finish their play. It is a story with a message and as Connick said, “It is a fun criticism of people in theatre.”
The final show of the season will be the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” based on the low-budget 1960 film of the same name. It follows a florist shop worker who raises a plant to feed on human flesh and blood. The songs are Motown, do-wop and ‘60s Rock n’ Roll style. For the New Works Festival, Laugh/Riot is looking for amateur students to write a play.
“The plays can be any length and anyone can submit one. You can submit your plays anytime and around December and January I will submit the plays to a blind jury, not using names so it is a chance for everyone to get their feet wet,” Connick said.
Admission is $10 at the door for General admission, $5 for E.U.P faculty and staff and non-E.U.P students, $3 for E.U.P students and $5 for seniors. All performances are Thursday through Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.
Visit laughrioterie.com or “Like” their Facebook page at facebook/LaughRiotErie.
Anna Ashcraft is editor of The Arts for The Spectator.