Review Fix chats with Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions producer Jake Lipman, who discusses his new show, “Recent Tragic Events,” which is set for its run from May 8-18 at the Bridge Theatre in New York City.
About the Production:
It’s the day after September 11, and Waverly opens her apartment door, aghast. How could she have forgotten her blind date, Andrew, would be picking her up? As she scrambles to get ready, a series of twists, turns, and unexpected guests make for a fateful first date.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project? What’s the criteria for what you produce?
Jake Lipman: The main criteria for any production is that they are equal parts thought-provoking and funny.
Recent Tragic Events, TIC’s 41st production, looks at a major world event – 9/11 – from a deeply personal perspective of one woman. She’s on what would be a great blind date if not for the fact she is trying to reach her sister in NYC. It’s a play that really makes you think about the nature of free will versus destiny and it’s also very, very funny.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like – choosing, writing, directing?
Lipman: Choosing plays is the fun part – I am a voracious reader, so reading and having that feeling of, “ooh, yeah, this would be great to do!”
Writing is harder – it’s a bit of a moving target, and stressful at times, but so deeply satisfying when I hear it aloud and it works!
Directing is pure joy. I was just in rehearsal on Sunday for Recent Tragic Events, scribbling away in my notebook about what I liked and saw onstage with my actors. It’s so much fun to see the actors being excellent and bringing a play from the script to the stage.
Review Fix: What makes Tongue in Cheek Theater different or special?
Lipman: One of the attributes I’m most proud of is that TIC is still here, 14 years and 41 productions since I first founded it, but it’s not enough to just do the thing.
I want every production to be a step up from the last – and so that means creating new works, encouraging people to tell their stories, and finding existing plays that are challenging and exciting to do.
Plus, we only do comedies, which, as an audience member, I really want when I go to the theater – to laugh and feel something good as a result of the show.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Lipman: Without giving away a plot twist, I have a very important prop/extension of myself in this piece, so manipulating it to make it work and augment my performance has been humbling. I’m still working at it, and we open May 8, so I hope to gain some confidence in the coming week!
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production or your company for the future?
Lipman: I want this show to be seen and for audiences, industry, and reviewers to marvel at the acting and storytelling. Getting an audience to laugh hard and industry to reach out for meetings, and reviewers to rave – it’s all the same thing. We want to perform and impact the people in the room!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Lipman: I am revising my play, Relentlessly Pleasant, from 2018, for future stage productions and also a TV pilot script/treatment. It is so topical – women at work, in an all-female co-working space – and I feel certain in the right hands, it could really be a phenomenon.