Today is the one-year-anniversary of the very first Edinburgh Fringe Festival performance of ‘Wretch Like Me,’ and I can imagine no better way to celebrate the moment than to announce that ‘Wretch’ will be on stage again soon, as part of the San Francisco Fringe Festival, opening September 11, 2015 at Exit Theater! In Edinburgh, we had fourteen performances over a three-week period, but in San Francisco, we’ll have just four shows over the same period of time!
With action once again happening again on the Wretch front, it seems like it’s time to fire up this somewhat dormant blog, and offer some updates and progress reports and other information our many fans and followers and supporters might find entertaining and/or useful.
First, how about an update on what Team Wretch has been up to over the last 12 months.
I’ve been busy on a number of new creative projects: I’ve been giving the script for my new one-man-show, Polar Bears, a bit of a polish, and have already begun committing the 38-page monologue to memory, in preparation for its world premier this November (keep reading for more details). My journalistic work has roughly doubled, which has left me little time for the big, big project I’ve just completed: the writing of my first novel. Well, it’s a novella, technically, but coming in at 27,000 words and nearly 60 pages, Mary Shelley’s Body—which will be published in 2016 as part of an anthology of stories inspired by Frankenstein—is easily the most ambitious and complicated writing project I’ve ever undertaken. It was gestating, actually, while I was in Scotland. having kicked off the project by rereading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein while on the plane over to the UK. It seemed like a good omen that in Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile, there is a restaurant and bar called Frankenstein’s, where I was tempted to order a Bloody Mary Shelley, but settled for a beer and hamburger.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. What about the rest of the team?
The director of Wretch Like Me, the brilliant Sheri Lee Miller, has, since her time in Scotland, played a lead role in Main Stage West’s production of Other Desert Cities (she was magnificent, of course), and has also directed a remarkable production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (Cinnabar Theater), and just recently opened the world premiere of Yesterday Again, a brand new play by award-winning 19-year-old playwright Dezi Gallegos. It’s running through the end of this weekend at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, then moves for two weeks to Lucky Penny Community Arts Center in Napa. Next up, after helping to stage Wretch for the SF Fringe, Sheri will be directing me in the aforementioned ‘Polar Bears,’ opening November 27 at Main Stage West.
Robin DeLuca, our stage manager and light designer, has been working hard as a professional lighting tech and stage manager, having designed and run countless shows since we got back from the UK, including productions of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution,’ and a currently running production of ‘West Side Story,’ at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. As a side project, she even helped put together the tech for the annual Pirate Fair in Vallejo. She will once again be running the show when ‘Wretch’ returns for its San Francisco run in September.
Allo Gilinsky, our street team manager and master flyerer has returned to Boston, where he’s launched his own business: Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours. So if you are ever in Boston and thirsty for beer, call up Allo (no website yet, but just search “Pints of Portsmouth” on Facebook and you’ll get it) and he’ll lead you on an expert tour to some of the best breweries in the area.
And finally, Susan Panttaja, our Tour Manager and part-time Banner Holder (whenever it got rainy and windy)—my brilliant and insightful wife—has been doing her job as a geologist, while also studying for a Master’s Degree (in Divinity!). Also, she’ll be teaching a couple of Geology classes this fall at Santa Rosa Junior College.
With the exception of the East Coaster Allo, all of Team Wretch will be back on hand, in some capacity, to get ‘Wretch Like Me’ ready for the Fringe, and serve it up, Edinburgh-style, for a brand new assortment of won’t-know-what-hit-’em audience members.
So . . . if you feel like returning to the wild and weird baptismal font of joy that is ‘Wretch Like Me,’ or know any theater loving folks in or around San Francisco, please pass along your suggestion that they attend the San Francisco Fringe this year. There will be 33 different shows in total (compared to 2500 in Scotland!), running in three venues from September 11-26.
Wretch Like Me (with some great material back in place after cutting the show to a spare 70-minutes for Edinburgh), runs the following dates and times.
All seats are $12.
Our venue, called Exit Stage Left, seats just 49 people, and only a small number of tickets will be held for walk-up purchase, so advance ticket-grabbing is recommended for these few shows.
tickets available on line at www.sffringe.org
So that’s the update! Rehearsals start soon, and I can’t wait to get back to the show that took me, and our amazing team, halfway around the world, just one year ago. Thanks again for all of our friends and supporters. Hope to see some of you when ‘Wretch Like Me’ rises again in just six weeks!