The American Play – 5 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2012 Planet Connections Festivity)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on May 7, 2012 · 0 comments

in Festivals, Interviews, Manhattan, Off-Off-Broadway, Planet Connection Theatre Festivity, Theatre

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The American Play

Benefiting: Sanctuary for Families
Produced by The Dirty Blondes
Written by Ashley J. Jacobson

“A sinister tale of a burgeoning friendship in an increasingly sociopathic society hell-bent on making monsters of its men and objects of its women.  What would Partick Bateman do?”

Show Times:

  • Mon 6/4/12 – 6:00pm
  • Thur 6/7/12 – 10:30pm
  • Thur 6/14/12 – 4:00pm
  • Wed 6/20/12 – 8:30pm
  • Fri 6/22/12 – 6:00pm
  • Sat 6/23/12 – 6:30pm

Answers by Alexandra Siladi (Director),

Ashley Jacobson (Playwright),

Elizabeth Sarkady (Manager)

Karen Tortora-Lee’s Question
How did you come up with the title for your show?
Alexandra Siladi: Our show was inspired by American Psycho – playwright Ashley Jacobson decided on this specific title because we also realized this story was a capsule of modern American life. It is about white men, a demographic who not only who founded the country we live in, but continue to decide on the laws & regulations that govern its citizens. We see this play as a comment on American society and how in 20 years since American Psycho was written, not only has the story of Patrick Bateman been embraced by a large majority of those who know it, but it has become an iconic vision of the American male’s greatest concerns: image, sex, power, and money.

Diánna Martin’s Question
If you were going to invite 5 people (from the past or present) to see your show – who would you invite … and why?
AS: Bret Easton Ellis, because he wrote the book that is our inspiration in addition to being one of the most prolific writers of our generation, Christian Bale because he’s the inspiration for the film and our play’s image, Marilyn French the author of The War Against Women written years before the hashtag was part of our lexicon, Donald Trump Jr. because he would make a great Bateman and might be inspired to support the arts, and…

Ashley Jacobson: Quentin Tarantino, because I think he’d really like it.

Antonio Minino’s Question
What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your art and was it worth it?
AS: The biggest sacrifice I’ve made for my art was my life – I’ve given myself up not only for this play, but for theater. It’s great exploring the mysteries of the human condition through the performing arts, I don’t see any other way.

AJ: As a writer, the artistic process is solitary, confining, alienating. You can’t do it with friends, of for me, a crowded room. I sit alone and stare at a computer screen and let the voices in my head guide me. Especially with this play, I think the sacrifice has been a bit of a social life, and a lot of my sanity. I dream about these people and hear their voices. It’s rewarding to hand it over to the production team and let them inhabit that world for a while.

Geoffrey Paddy Johnson’s Question
Was there any unexpected discovery made during the development of this production and can you share it with us?
In the beginning, my goal was to bring American Psycho to life as essentially a one-person play told by multiple actors. From this seed, it has become a play about two fully formed characters that are able to exist as a comment on the same darkness that exists in the book. Also, we’ve discovered that live actresses make a better chorus than mannequins.

Elizabeth Sarkady: The original idea of the play came about before our company, The Dirty Blondes. After our company formed and we came back to this project, we noticed that the fact that this was a script about men penned and developed by women gave it a subversive feminist agenda.

AJ: After the first round of auditions, the entire production team was really depressed and freaked out by the show. It was a turning point in the writing process because we realized that we had created such a dark world, but we weren’t offering an alternative. We were just painting a picture of a cartoonish cruel world as if it was exact and inescapable. We had a little bit of an email therapy session, and I went back to the drawing board. From there, we added scenes and words that became the heart of the play; that made it more human; more touching and much more powerful.

Michelle Augello-Page’s Question
What do you hope the audience receives from the experience of seeing this show?
We hope the audience experiences not only the Brechtian ideal of “alienation” (which we’re going for with breaking down the fourth wall) but that they are moved to look at how their behavior in even the most subtle forms of expression or language can impact the series of events that leads to violence. Violence begets violence, and we hope that the audience might not just turn their head to this fact, but try to stop it and show some kindness, which is not an easy feat.

AJ: Alex puts this perfectly. I just hope people are touched. The play points to so many elements of our daily lives – sexism, bullying, capitalism, etc. The takeaway message, though, is that it is all about how we treat each other, the damage we do to each other for the sake of “survival.” Kindness, and live-and-let-live can be a form of survival as well.


Planet Connections runs from May 30 – June 24 at The Bleecker Street Theater located at 45 Bleecker Street, New York, NY.  To purchase tickets to this or any of the shows click here.



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