| Review Fix chats with Mary’s Little Monster actor/producer Adam Belvo, who discusses the upcoming production and what makes it a spooky, delightful treat. |
About MARY’S LITTLE MONSTER:
Running July 18 – August 3 (Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays @ 8PM) at the historic home of Rip Torn and Geraldine Page: Torn Page, 435 W 22nd Street, New York City
It was 1816, frost throughout June, July and August gave it the name “the year without summer.” It was during this unusual time that Lord Byron‘s intimate circle of friends found themselves confined together in a Swiss mansion. What happens when darkly brilliant minds and passionate souls like Mary Shelley, along with Byron, Claire Clairmont, Dr. John Polidori, and Percy Bysshe Shelley … spend the night together? Astonishing poetry, alluring literature, conflict, catharsis, sex, swordplay … and one of the world’s greatest monsters. Join Adam Belvo, Sara Fellini, Xandra Leigh Parker, Nicholas Thomas, and Perri Yaniv for a beautiful and compelling nightmare. Lighting by Chelsie McPhilimy; Costumes by Sara Fellini A suggestion of a $35 donation represents a charitable donation. Seating is extremely limited. Reservations are recommended. Run time: 1 hour and 30 minutes. No intermission. Performance space is up one flight of stairs. Reservations at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/marys-little-monster-by-thomas-kee-torn-page-tickets-62241405720
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Adam Belvo: Tom Kee’s MARY’s LITTLE MONSTER has always been a show we loved. It’s the sexy version of the story about the creation of FRANKENSTEIN – the characters are fully fleshed out, everyone has their flaws and their beauties, and it’s a complicated, intricate, beautifully written & wonderfully wild play. We actually performed it almost 3 years ago in New Orleans; a friend of ours runs a ghostly puppet theater in the Bywater, and it seemed like a perfect setting for the show, so we toured down there in November 2016 for a one weekend run. We did secure three performances in NYC with the same cast as part of the then extant Davenport Theater Space Grant, but we never were able to find a theater to our liking to put it up for a full run. Late last year, I saw a friend’s show at Torn Page and thought that the space was incredible, and then earlier this year when we were discussing possible projects, when MARY’s LITTLE MONSTER came up, it was a perfect fit. I suppose finding the space resuscitated the project – how apropos, given the subject matter.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Belvo: We approach our projects by collaboratively creating the design elements and coming up with an aesthetic vision for the show. Once we have our creative trajectory, we pull in a cast and crew who can help us flesh out the vision. We cast our productions with people we trust to carry out their roles, and keep an open eye and ear in our rehearsal processes for people’s ideas – we believe our shows belong to all of us, and we should each have a say in how it develops and is executed. In terms of design, we are pretty ad hoc; we make the most of the what we have to create the worlds we want to bring into existence; Materials for the Arts has been a godsend for this production, it allowed us to find the period chairs we needed, and we then took a nightstand we found and built it into a writing desk/divan.
Review Fix: What makes your company different or special within the indie theatre scene?
Belvo: I believe that we stand out for the following reasons; our shows involve situations that are complex, nuanced, with characters that are fully fleshed out humans with flaws and inherent beauties. We prefer healthy conflict and resolutions that are not fully ended; we like shows that leave an audience thinking long after the curtains close about the nature of the piece, and the lives of the characters we inhabit, and how perhaps maybe they saw a bit of themselves onstage. We take our work deadly serious, and that is reflected in our general aesthetic. We tend to cast shows with extremely talented actors, which gives for high quality performances. This is important for our aesthetic, because we mix magically realistic/surrealist elements in with real world scenarios. This allows us to tell the kind of stories we love; extremely emotional, expressive plays that are complicated and involve tricky scenarios that involve dreams, ghosts, and assorted phantasmagoria in order to express inner conflict that otherwise would be hidden from an audience. We like high contrast in our shows, we tend to use bright accent colors and music that is highly expressive.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourselves through this process?
Belvo: We are learning that we work very well as a team – once we have an idea, we dive in full hearted and swim for the shore. We each finding our hidden talents as we take the various roles we need to, whether that is being director, producer, actor, painter, upholsterer, prop designer, costumer, carpenter, etc. It is humbling and terrifically exciting to work with passionate, likeminded artists who are working in concert with you to execute a play such as this.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this play and your company for the future?
Belvo: We want to continue producing the kind of quality theater we want to see in the world, and to bring more people into the fold to share in our vision, to help us tell the stories we think are vital for our culture and society. We are excited to bring this play to NY audiences, and we hope they will enjoy MARY’s LITTLE MONSTER as much as we have had in bringing it to life.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Belvo: We have a reading series we hope to revivify late this summer and fall (blue light reading series,) and we have word that a show that we produced late last year will be receiving a one night special performance at The Players Club this November. Otherwise, we’re hoping perhaps MARY’s can find another life sometime next year.