“Sex. Drugs. Jazz. You know, the classic ghost story” proclaims the catchy tagline for the new comedy Stone Tape Party. Every ghost story needs a ghost, obviously, and Stone Tape Party has several.
Dusty is visited by the ghost of his best friend, Aedan. When asked about Aedan’s character, director Angela Pirko said, “When we discussed what brought Aedan back, we zeroed in on the house itself – the yearning, the wanting, the chanting of Aedan’s name in the toasts on her birthday reverberating in the walls, seeping in almost like a spell – and then that house acting as a channel for all that love and energy to play her back.”
“In addition,” Pirko says, “Aedan calls herself nothing more than ‘a part of the house’, and we’ve really worked to create the house as almost an eighth character, where Aeden is the house and the house is Aeden.”
While Aedan may be haunting Dusty, each character in the house is facing his or her own demons. “Each character in the house is haunted by something – Basie by love lost, Jodie by love unattainable, Rich by the loss of her freedom, Dusty by fear of never moving on beyond the pain of his past” says Pirko.
The past, and our relationship to it, therefore becomes another important theme of the show. Playwright Danny Rovin talks about attachment to the past, saying, “It’s possible to become so trapped in the past that we limit our own futures. If we never let go of the things that are behind us, we can close the doors in front of us, instead of boldly deciding our own fate.”
When asked why the script was selected, Nu Sass co-founder Emily Todd said the themes of the show seemed especially relevant this year. “This is a year of transition, for me personally, and that of course affects Nu Sass as well. But outside our company, this is a huge year of transition for Fringe – the Festival, the artists, and the audiences.” Capital Fringe has just announced the purchase of a new home, in a new neighborhood (the Cornersmith art gallery building on Florida Ave, NE). “The Fort has been the home of the Festival since 2008. We’ve built something really special there, and our whole community will have to adjust to the new space,” says Todd. “So exploring the ideas of our emotional investment in the past, and our attachment to good times we’ve had seemed incredibly relevant for this season.”
Pirko echoes those ideas, talking about the things that hold us in the past. “Dusty as a character is caught in between a past he can’t escape and a future he can’t quite get to. He seems unable to simply start living in the present – until Aedan shows up and forces him to start making immediate choices in the now, as opposed to only talking about what he will one day do.”
Nu Sass co-producer Aubri O’Connor adds, “All this talk of haunting and the past makes the play seem so melancholy, but really the show is hilarious. When you think of it, it’s the happy memories we hold on to, and replay over and over for ourselves.” Rovin follows this up with “I tried to straddle the line in this show between the pain of loss and the joy of having had someone to lose. Life and death. Joys and sorrows. You can’t have one without the other. So I wrote a comedy about death and heartbreak. As Angie puts it, this play is about all the terrible, selfish, self-sacrificing, and loving things we do to each other in our 20s. I agree, and add that more often than not, we are laughing when we do them.”
Here in the now, you should be sure to participate in this year’s Capital Fringe Festival, July 10-27th. Be sure to grab tickets (on sale now) to Stone Tape Party, presented by Nu Sass Productions.
Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Theatre – 333 H Street, NE,
in Washington, DC.
Thursday, July 10th at 8:30 PM
Saturday, July 12th at 8:45 PM
Thursday, July 17th at 6:00 PM
Sunday, July 20th at 5:00 PM,
Thursday, July 24th at 6:30 PM
Saturday, July 26 at 12:30 PM
BUY TICKETS HERE, OR CALL (866) 811-4111.