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“Frustratingly, a majority of our plays have been written by men,” sighs Aubri O’Connor, an actor whose face has become familiar to Capital Fringe audiences. When she and her friend Emily Todd co-founded Nu Sass Productions five years ago, the whole idea was to advance and promote the work of female theatre artists. “And then we started with Tom Stoppard,” she laughs. “Totally a dude.”
Their new show, Stone Tape Party, was written by Danny Rovin, who appeared in Nu Sass’s 43 1/2: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies, one of the fastest, smartest shows in the 2013 festival.
Also totally a dude.
“We just developed a really good rapport with him,” O’Connor says. “We were amazed [Stone Tape Party] was a script he’d written before he’d met us. I was reading it and I was like, ‘I didn’t give you permission to use this detail of my life in this play!’ It was very easy for anyone reading it to identify with it.”
The play concerns a twentysomething
woman man who UPDATE: IS ALSO TOTALLY A DUDE decides to move out of her group house — an environment to which O’Connor is no stranger — only the house doesn’t want to let her him, the totally-a-dude guy, leave. Though the piece is performed at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s 160-seat Sprenger Theatre, it has some accidental resonance with Fort Fringe, which will leave its home of six years at 607 New York Ave. NW to relocate to the Connorsmith Art Gallery space at 1358 and 1360 Florida Ave. NE next year.
Rovin’s script was inspired by experiences he had while living in New Orleans. Jazz and ghosts come with the territory, as do controlled substances. “I play a coke-using, drug dealing bartender, and I’ve never done a drug in my life,” O’Connor says. “I’ve been mainlining episodes of Intervention.”
Nu Sass has emerged as one of the festival’s most reliable contributors. In 2010 and 2011, they presented the world premieres of Mark Rigney‘s Cavers and Walt McGough‘s Priscilla Dreams the Answer, respectively; in 2012, they devised their own script, Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay, based largely on playwright Emily Crockett‘s experiences reporting on the Occupy movement. A jazz-inflected ghost story seems well within their brief.
Stone Tape Party opens at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Arts Center tonight at 8:30 p.m. Tickets and a complete schedule of performances are available here.