Where do we begin with Rising Phoenix Rep?
They are producers, directors, theater adventurers, mentors, Nicki Minaj lovers and extreme friends. They produce any number of plays, projects, evenings, and dinner parties. They’ll have lunch with you. Teach a class. Call you when you’re sick. They star on Broadway. Films. They’re in your television set. They’re being produced all over the country and a few are heading overseas.
They’re the most fierce, intelligent, humble and talented theatre artists I’ve ever met. (They’ll also teach you how to buy the best pair of shoes you’re ever going to own.)
RPR commissions writers to write plays for the back room at Jimmy’s No. 43. These writers are given a director, a team of actors, a designer, and one week. The gang gets together each day in the back room at Jimmy’s to rehearse. As Addie Talbott put it “each day is a week and a week is a month.” Fire-rocketed into action on Monday morning, the play is performed Sunday night. The result is an incredibly committed performance for no more than 35 people in the back of a bar. The vibe is intimate, the goal is communal.
The experiment is dubbed “The CINO Nights” named after Caffe Cino, a theatre revolution started by Joe Cino. Read more about that movement here. If you haven’t gone to one, do it. There’s two more coming up this year by the fantastic Micheline Auger & the unstoppable Halley Feiffer. Totally go to them. Click here to do that.
Two weeks ago the reigns were handed to me. Daniel Talbott approached me last Spring and invited me to write any play I wanted. And I did. Then he sent me a list of directors and asked me to pick any one I wanted to work with. And I did. Right before Christmas Pirronne Yousefzadeh and I had regular meetings about the play, the cast, etc. Our cast was assembled only a few days before rehearsal and on Monday Jan. 21st Micah Stock, Clea Alsip, Lesley Shires, and Joby Earle joined Pirronne and I in a very small, very smelly back room which was transformed into a Colorado home.
There really isn’t another company developing plays, actors, directors and audiences in this way. Rising Phoenix Rep’s work is not only good, its essential. They treat projects as lifelines, colleagues as family, and opposition as encouragement.
Dear Rising Phoenix Rep – all of you – thank you.
East Colfax performed as part of Rising Phoenix Rep’s CINO Series Sunday Jan. 27th with Joby Earle, Clea Alsip, Leslie Shires and Micah Stock. Pirronne Yousefzadeh directed the play.
photo courtesy of Sam Soule