|FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris, present THIS AMERICAN WIFE|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 03:04 pm EDT 05/06/21|
|FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris, present
THIS AMERICAN WIFE
Conceived & Written by Michael Breslin & Patrick Foley
Directed by Rory Pelsue
Dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert
May 20–June 6
FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris, is thrilled to present the world premiere of This American Wife, the newest experiment in live internet theater from the creative minds of Circle Jerk (Vulture's Best of 2020). Part loving satire and part piercing examination, This American Wife, running May 20–June 6, is a multi-camera, live-streamed, dark comedy investigating the obsession, idolization, and all-consuming-hunger the women of The Real Housewives engender in many of us. Streaming live from a hauntingly glamorous Long Island mansion, This American Wife is much more than a tribute to the guilty pleasure of a television franchise. As conceived and written by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, who perform alongside their friend and artistic collaborator Jakeem Dante Powell (Slave Play), This American Wife is an absurd fantasia on national memes that blends improvisation and multi-camera cinematography in a site-specific (and self-specific) live stream.
Directed by Rory Pelsue and featuring dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert, This American Wife is a reimagined and updated adaptation of Breslin and Foley's stage show that premiered at New York Theater Workshop's Next Door series in 2018. The heart and ballooned lips of the original have been custom tailored to the contours of the internet, advancements in Fake Friends' artistic process, and a pandemic epoch of solitary Real Housewives bingeing. Mixing absurdity and reality, the trio of This American Wife inhabits and disturbs an imagined image of a real world, playing out scenarios, texts, and choreographies from the massively popular—and endlessly memed—franchise. As the boys travel deeper into the dark walk-in closets of their minds, they are forced into crises of desire, repulsion, identity, and autobiography.
"The life of an obsessive fan of a trash cultural artifact—in a trash time, in a trash country—is a humbling one," said Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley. "Like the greatest autobiography-driven performance artists from Karen Finley to Spalding Gray, the Housewives have trained themselves to expertly blur the boundaries between reality and fiction. Likewise, the historic segregation of The Real Housewives franchise reflects the aspirations and racism of American escapism. As true fans, there's no way for us to hide from this reality."
Jana Bezdek and Jen Hoguet of FourthWall Theatrical said, "We are so grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Michael and Patrick as they continue to pioneer a new genre and pull the curtain back on the echo chamber that is reality TV."
The creative team of This American Wife includes Stephanie Osin Cohen (Scenic Design), Virtual Design Collective (ViDCo) (Video Design), Cole McCarty (Costume Design), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Design), Kathryn Ruvuna (Sound Design), Tommy Kurzman (Hair & Makeup Designer), Abbie Betts (Stage Manager), Michael Rudd (Company Manager), Violet Tafari (Production Manager), and Angeline Wang (Line Producer).
Tickets to This American Wife are priced on a sliding scale of $5–$50 and can be purchased at www.thisamericanwife.live/. Nine live streamed performances will take place May 20–24, 26–29 at 8 PM ET. Critics are welcome on May 20 for a press opening on May 23. Tickets to the video on demand recording of This American Wife, available May 31–June 6, 2021, are priced at $25 and $50.
In October 2020, Fake Friends, the creative minds behind This American Wife, debuted the "Best of 2020" queer comedy, Circle Jerk, to critical acclaim. "Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley's berserker comedy Circle Jerk is a coup," wrote Helen Shaw in Vulture, adding "I bet artists will be using it as a model, even after the pandemic." Elisabeth Vincentelli in The New York Times called this "crazed, ambitious satire" "the most elaborate [show] I have yet seen in the virtual-theater era." In Towleroad, Naveen Kumar declared, "Circle Jerk isn't a substitute for in-person theatre, or a case for humbly making the best of limitations. It's a gauntlet and a dare to imagine the future."
Breslin and Foley most recently executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, which raised a total of $2 million for The Actors Fund.
The cast and crew of This American Wife are following strict social distancing and safety guidelines during the creation and presentation of this production.
Please visit http://www.thisamericanwife.live/ for more information.
About the Artists
Michael Breslin is a New York-based writer and performer, originally from New Jersey, who is obsessed with collaboration, experimental theater, and pop culture. He is a creative director of Fake Friends. His original works include Circle Jerk, This American Wife, and A Doll's House, Part 3 (with Patrick Foley), Avital (with Ariel Sibert), Arden (with Em Weinstein). These works have been presented at NYTW Next Door, Ars Nova's Makers Lab and ANT Fest, the Exponential Festival, Wesleyan University, Yale Cabaret, and Yale School of Drama. Recently, he executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The Tik Tok Musical, which raised $2 million for The Actors Fund. MFA, dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from Yale School of Drama. BA, Hamilton College. www.michaelstevenbreslin.com
Patrick Foley is an actor and writer working in theater, film, and TV. He has performed at New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Incubator Arts Project, Judson Memorial Church, the Tank, Yale Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Chautauqua Theatre Company, and more. As a writer, his work has been produced at New York Theatre Workshop, Prelude 2019, The Exponential Festival, Little Theatre at Dixon Place, and Ars Nova where he is a Makers Lab resident artist. With collaborator Michael Breslin, Patrick is a creative director of Fake Friends and commissioned by Ars Nova and Seaview Productions. He executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, which raised $2 million for The Actors Fund. Patrick has taught at Wesleyan University, Yale College, Hamilton College, and Queens College. He is a graduate of NYU / Tisch and the Yale School of Drama. www.patrickmfoley.com
Jakeem Dante Powell is beyond excited to twirl into this production of This American Wife! Theatre credits include Slave Play (Broadway), Twelfth Night (Yale Repertory Theatre), Xander Xyst, Dragon 1 (Ars Nova), One Room (Weston Playhouse), A Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theatre Center). Training: MFA, Yale School of Drama. Instagram: @jakeemdpowell.
Rory Pelsue is a director of new and classic plays, musicals, operas, and live-streamed performance. He is thrilled to reunite with Fake Friends after helming Circle Jerk last fall. In the 2019-2020 season he directed the world premiere of Read to Me at Portland Stage, Deathbed Edition at Ars Nova ANT Fest, Circle Jerk at Ars Nova Maker's Lab, and assisted Sir David McVicar on the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Agrippina. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of The Show on the Roof at Boise Contemporary Theater and Sunday in the Park with George at Northwestern University. Rory has worked as a teaching artist at Queens College, Quinnipiac University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Fordham University. Artistic leadership experience includes serving as artistic director of Yale Cabaret, Yale Summer Cabaret, MaineStage Shakespeare, and Oxbridge Opera. Originally from Newburyport, Massachusetts, Rory received his MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama and a BA in liberal arts at Sarah Lawrence College. He is one of 12 inaugural members of the Roundabout Directors Group and has trained with Carmen Morgan and Art Equity. www.rorypelsue.com
About the Producers
Fourthwall Theatrical develops and produces artist-driven, of-the-moment content. Founded by Jana Bezdek and Jen Hoguet, Fourthwall works to find each story its proper platform, while staying true to its founders' theatrical roots. Jen & Jana pride themselves on collaborating closely with artists and are dedicated to elevating marginalized voices, identities, backgrounds, and stories. www.fourthwalltheatrical.com/
Fake Friends is a Brooklyn-based theater and media collective led by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley; Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert are core members. Their first internet play, Circle Jerk, premiered in October 2020, produced with Caroline Gart and Jeremy O. Harris. The show was featured in "Best of 2020" lists Vulture (Helen Shaw), Exeunt (Nicole Serratore), The Playlist (Kyle Turner), and The Miami Times (Juan Barquin). Their work has been presented by Ars Nova, NYTW Next Door, the Prelude Festival, Exponential Festival, Little Theater, and more. Michael and Patrick are currently under commission by Ars Nova and Seaview Productions, developing a new musical. www.fakefriends.net
Jeremy O. Harris is the playwright and creator of the most Tony-nominated Broadway play ever, Slave Play (Golden Theatre - Broadway, New York Theatre Workshop, NYT Critics Pick, Winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences). Jeremy co-wrote A24's upcoming film Zola with director Janicza Bravo which premiered at Sundance in 2020. He is currently adapting the sci-fi epic The New World by Ales Kot for Warner Bros. Pictures. In television, Harris is in an overall deal with HBO and is a co-producer on their hit series Euphoria. He was named "The Queer Black Savior the Theatre World Needs" by Out Magazine, is the HRC's 2020 honoree, was included on both THR's 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood and TIME Magazine's 2019 100 NEXT lists, is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre's Paula Vogel Playwrighting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, a resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwriting Program and currently resides in NYC. https://jeremyoharris.me/
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