FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY: 12-step Walk Up, starring Drama Desk Award-nominee and celebrated monologist Frank Blocker, has received a second extension thanks to audience response and positive reviews from theatre professionals. The play was to close after the Sunday 5:00 pm performance, December 11, at Stage Left Studio, 214 W 30th Street. A full weekend of performances has now been added for Friday through Monday, December 17-19, and will move to 7:30 pm.
A daring, edgy comedy about tenant/landlord relations and facing change in a turbulent world, the producers of FEARLESS have decided to up the ante by making it a Double Feature with award-winning SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL: THE ABERDEEN, MISSISSIPPI SEX-SLAVE INCIDENT. One actor, two solo plays, and 37 characters. Blocker’s Drama Desk nomination sprang from this hilarious play described as a novel, that feels like a movie, but is really a play.
How will Blocker make the switch from the Deep South Mississippi setting to a five-floor walk-up filled with New Yorker tenants? “I get an hour to cool down.” A critical darling of the multi-character genre, he will need to be “fearless” to pull off two plays with a total of 37 characters.
The extension of FEARLESS is due to the critical accolades the play receives from other theatre professionals. Barry Rowell of the Obie-winning Peculiar Works Project states, “He again creates a dizzying array of characters—this time, all residents of a single NYC neighborhood—each with their own compelling personal story. He effortlessly breathes life into them all, in rapid succession, throughout the evening.” Director Sydnie Grosberg Ronga of Gotham Radio Theatre adds, “’Fearless’ is the perfect word to describe his work. I have seen very few actors who can make such bold choices, lightning changes of character and be thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking.”
Producer and owner/operator of Stage Left Studio, Cheryl King directed SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL for the 2009 production. “I’ve watched the show more than 30 times, and I can’t wait to see it again. GOTHIC brought a lot of attention to Stage Left Studio. When he was nominated for Outstanding Solo Performance, he was the only off-off Broadway production in his category. I am very proud to be a part of his breakthrough performance.”
Blocker never intended to be a solo artist. “I write plays; the solo work is accidental. Whoopi Goldberg’s one woman show inspired me as a writer and actor, but I only dreamed I would be in a solo play in New York City one day. And for the record, neither GOTHIC nor FEARLESS started as solo plays. GOTHIC began as a writing exercise that I read to friends who kept pushing for more, and eventually pushed me onto the stage. Truth told, I thought they were crazy for thinking it would work. FEARLESS began as a showcase piece because actor friends wanted to use my monologues. While tooling the script, the concept took form and I had to ‘serve the play.’ Where GOTHIC is described as a movie, FEARLESS is a documentary. My hope is that the audience realizes the point that we are all one and the same at our core, and I believe the solo format cements the message. Still, I have a cast in my head for it.” He states with a mischievous grin.
Director Kathy Kelly Christos used her own distinctive character building process to help with the development of physicality in FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY’s characters. “The intention of the play is to introduce the likeable along with the most irritating of New York City’s characters so that audiences return home from the theatre with more empathy for their fellow man.” Christos worked with Blocker in weekly workshops for a year making each of the cast recognizable by their silhouette, letting the audience know who they are seeing before the character speaks.
FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY: 12-Step Walk Up plays Dec. 11, Sunday at 5:00 pm at Stage Left Studio, then runs Saturday through Monday at 7:30 pm, Stage Left Studio. SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL: The Aberdeen, Mississippi Sex-Slave Incident will re-open for two shows on Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 pm.
Set design is by Edward Morris, vocal coaching by Amy Jones, development & dramaturgy by Helena Judd, costumes by Murray Scott Changar, and sound design by Kenneth Allen and Kathy Kelly Christos.