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Lusty Lady

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Join me in Princeton, NJ July 20-22 for the play Dead Man's Cell Phone (watch trailer)

Every summer since 2012, I've gotten a special summer treat: to see a play in an intimate 60-person theater in Princeton, New Jersey. My boyfriend is the co-director of Chimera Productions, so he's worked on all those plays, and more before that (this is their 12th year), and he even wrote his own amazing play, Bottle Factory, two years ago. This July 20, 21 and 22 they are putting on the comedy Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, which I'm really excited to see, partly because with the dreadful news blaring nonstop from my TV, I could use a laugh, partly because I loved her play about vibrators and hysteria but was utterly puzzled by her play about polyamory, so I look forward to a third chance to see her work. TL:DR - you can come see this play for just $15 cash at the door (doors open at 7:30 each night, the play starts at 8). That's a huge bargain and you're not going to find too much theater at such a low cost. It all takes place at The Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, and it's right near tons of great restaurants (and amazing ice cream at Halo Pub).


I won't pretend I'm not biased (or a user of double negatives), but I've truly been awed by each and every performance, and most years I go to all three nights of the show, as I will this year. The actors do amazing work and the space is truly transformed into a theater using the most minimal of sets. When someone gets shot, you hear the gasps of your fellow audience members. You get to see the reactions of the actors up close and very personal. And the stories they put up stay with me. When they put on the Adrienne Rich poetry quoting play After Ashley by Gina Gionfriddo, it promoted a lot of soul searching from me.

On a personal level, I love getting to spend three nights immersed on characters and ideas and art. I also love being part of an artistic household where we can have a play's opening night and a book release in the same month. I love that yesterday I got to help pack up props to go to the theater and wonder what those props would be used for. And as someone who believes the arts are for everyone, I especially love knowing that many people coming to these plays only see this one piece of theater each year. I try to get out of my suburban town and see theater when the timing and opportunity arise (I once even flew to Charlotte and saw The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz) for the second time because I'd loved it so much at Washington, DC's Woolly Mammoth, and was stunned to see an utterly different rendering of the wrestling play), but I know that's likely rare amongst Americans. I'm in awe of how much heart and soul and passion everyone involved puts in for free, simply because they believe in theater and its power to touch people and entertain them. We are living in a time when our federal government cares not an iota for art, and our president would rather hang fake magazine covers on his walls than anything real. To me, this makes theater even more urgent and necessary. For those who feel like theater is overpriced or out of reach, their shows are an antidote to that, because they are, as I mentioned above, only $15 to get in (and if you want perks like snacks and the best seats, donate $25 via their Indiegogo campaign, which goes to cover the price of putting on the production, including theater space rental, props and other costs - it's an all volunteer production so the directors and cast are unpaid, doing it for the love of theater).

I do my best not to read any reviews and not to attend rehearsals or find out too much about Chimera's plays before I see them, but this year I'm helping with publicity, which coincides nicely with some of my copywriting duties and my general attempts to become better at marketing because that's where my career is taking me. So because of that, I've gleaned slightly more information about the play than I might have other years. I know that it probably will speak to dependence on technology that I, as someone who almost always has her iPhone in her hand and her eyes glued on it, can relate to. I know from the trailer that it's probably going to make me laugh; I even asked if I should sit near the exit so I can dash out to pee if I laugh that hard. Watch the trailer yourself:

And I'm going to throw in a special bonus as a thanks for reading this far and supporting the play: If you donate $10 or more, which means you can also select the perk of getting thanked in the show's program, and email me a screenshot of your donation by July 19, 2017, I'll send you a free autographed book of mine (U.S. only because overseas postage costs over $20 - sorry!). Just send your screenshot to rachelkb at gmail dot com with "Chimera" in the subject line along with your full name and mailing address and I'll send your book on July 20, 2017. I can't guarantee which book it will be (I'll send from my surplus stash) but if you have a request of a specific title or subgenre let me know and I'll try to send it.

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