Category Archives: Theatre

You’ve Got Hate, Mate

Part of the torture being in the “public eye” (and I use that term loosely) … is responding or not responding to feedback. I choose to respond. I’m like a Baldwin.

Here are a series of emails I recently (today) received from a person I do not know who’s unhappy with my show. Enjoy.

Dear Peter,
Please refrain from making any references in your so-called ‘entertainment’ Desperately Seeking The Exit to my wonderfully talented friend Angus Jackson.
He last directed Frank Langella in King Lear. You are wasting your time with your dull circus act on your dreadful show which closed seven years ago. Everybody else has- you should try this concept sometime- MOVED ON,

Best,
XXX (name withheld)

*******
Hello XXX,
Thank you for writing to me. I understand and appreciate you standing up for your friend. I am telling a story. I do not portray Angus or anyone involved in the production in a negative way. I look like the biggest fool in the bunch. We ALL were working in different ways. The original London producers have seen the show and had no complaints and only praise. Angus’ friends have seen the show (even in Australia) and have all told me that Angus would enjoy the show. We both went through a lot during that process and after. I am a storyteller and I am telling my story about mounting a show. It has touched many artists around the world who strive to create and collaborate. I have no bad feelings about Angus and have championed his work ever since the show closed.
Sincerely,
Pete

*******
Dear Peter,
Angus is exceptionally talented

*******
I agree. We all just had a different show in mind. I admire Angus’ success post-Susan! He has proven himself to be a talented director and he has moved on, as have I. My show about the show is one of many things I do as an artist.
Pete

*******
Peter
A v.classy response to what I must confess was an outburst but DSTE is only thing you do as an artist, not one of many things you do as an artist.

*******
That is incorrect. And I honestly don’t feel like I need to fill you in on what I do, unless you plan to hire me, but a visit to my website should make it clear.

*******
Still unclear.
Andy Blankenbuehler is also very talented

********
Have you seen my show? Why is this all coming up now? I performed the show for a month in London, and for two seasons in Edinburgh. Why now? Why the griping now? Why are you questioning me (to quote Patsy Stone from Ab Fab)?

*******
I did have the misfortune to see the show. It gave me a headache and my expression remained stern throughout.The level of disrespect to Andy and Angus was breathtaking.

It is the hallmark of the bad artist to get paranoid

*******
Sorry you felt that way. I haven’t gotten that feedback from anyone else who has seen it…including those who actually worked on the show. Andy and Angus are enjoying great successes and I am happy for them. I am proud to have worked with great artists. I relate stories of what happened and what was said and done during the process based on a detailed blog. I don’t give my opinion, I give the facts of what happened. I do wonder why all of a sudden you are trying to get an irate response when I assume you saw EXIT over a year ago in the UK.

NOW HERE IS WHERE IT GETS WEIRD, PEOPLE …

Changing the subject, am about to try get a project funded on Kickstarter.
Any advice?
Thanks

*******

That’s how I raised money for my EXIT show that you disapprove of – but with a different crowd sourcing company. I think you have to let your potential donors know what you plan to do with the future of the project, so they are investing in a long term goal and not just the NOW. You have to make a detailed schedule for rolling out the campaign and offer some sort of rewards. You have to stay in touch with people. I still write to all of my funders with updates on the success of EXIT. If you have no money for rewards, offer dinner or house cleaning. Planning a crowd sourcing project will also help you define what YOU want to achieve with the project. Most of all, be honest and clear. Set deadlines. Be on top of things. And by all means, don’t take things too seriously and keep in mind that all human beings have their own problems and issues that might be greater than you know. Best of luck with it!
Pete

*******

It’s an immensely funky documentary that if people find out about, they will want to fund…

******

This documentary sounds intriguing already. I am glad I could provide some help; even with the way you introduced yourself to me. I take great pride and responsibility with my work and I hope you do the same. If you treat people like you would like to be treated, you can reap some great rewards simply because you are doing it – honestly – and not alone, but with a community of supporters who want you to succeed.
Pete

*******

Wonderful.
Thanks. Cocktails on me!!
xx

*****

Next time I am in London? This fall. Count on it.
I drink the expensive stuff when I am over there.
PMM

*****

UPDATE: After posting this on my Facebook wall (to friends only, not public) and getting over 100 responses, our hater sent me this email:

Facebook is beneath me but I am told your stage army of stooges have been assaulting my character in regards to what I had assumed was private correspondence. Charming…

I seem to have struck a nerve with my original thoughts on your posturing skit. Your cyber-boat people are laughing with you but when it comes to the show, evidently they’re with me

However I do not need their following. I am not bipolar nor insane nor schizo. Apart from failing to convince my partner that we should have children, all is well in my world.

Best,
XXX (name withheld)

*****

No worries, XXX. I did not mention your name. Your character is safe.
It made for a good read on how to respond to irate strangers.
PMM

*****

So anybody who does not sprint into the Marino boudoir bearing petals and kisses for that underwhelming act of desperation is an ‘irate stranger?’

I don’t do namedropping but as my former neighbour Harold Pinter used to say ‘F*** them all!” (BTW I would have asked Harold Pinter to narrate my documentary.)

Will tell you all about doc over cocktails which, thanks to your misbehavior on Mark Zuckerberg’s toy, are now ON YOU. Till dawn.

Best.
XXX

*****

Darling,
I know that Facebook is beneath you, but if you are going to do a Kickstarter campaign for your documentary, you can reach a much wider audience to help fund your project. Just engage in conversation, have a story, and tell it!
xoPMM
P.S. – You managed to drop two names in that email! Naughty girl.

DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT will be performed on March 22 & 23 at the Triple Crown Underground at 8PM. Pay-what-you-can.

Please visit www.SeekingTheExit.com for more details.

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EXIT 2013. ENTER 2014.

2013 was a dandy year for me and Desperately Seeking the Exit. Here are 13 reasons why:

  1. EXIT debuts in Ft. Myers at Theatre Conspiracy. This was the first time the show played in an actual theater and was met with large houses and a fabulous review. It was also very nice to do the show with a tan.
  2. EXIT debuts in Australia at the Adelaide Fringe. While the houses weren’t huge (but they were hot and I was tan) the show went on to receive two 5-star reviews and was named Best Comedy by The Advertiser. Many new friends were made and it was a blast to see fellow performers from other festivals doing their thing. I also determined that I wasn’t a fan of kangaroo meat.
  3. Did a few more “pop-up” performances of the show at the Triple Crown which regularly had standing room only … and many drinks afterward with good people. And got a new rave here.
  4. LONDON! The show made its way back to where it all (sort of) began with a month-long run at the Leicester Square Theatre in the West End and two performances at the Brighton Fringe. Producer Kat Portman picked the show up after seeing it at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe and produced the marathon London run that was met with great houses, lots of press, and me learning how to spell the word “Leicester.” We had weekly talk-backs with the original Desperately Seeking Susan cast and crew members and many fond memories were shared.
  5. I had the great pleasure of bringing my Flying Solo classes to The Actor’s Centre in London during the run and helped a dozen students create the beginnings of new solo shows … a few of which will be making their debut at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.
  6. Had brunch at Sir Ian McKellen’s house and enjoyed conversations with Ian, Ruby Wax, Alan Rickman, Martin Sherman, and other British notables. ‘Nuf said.
  7. Directed and developed Eva Andersen & Joan Estep’s original musical-comedy-variety-bio-show My Sax Life is All Fached Up which played to a sold out house in Ars Nova’s ANTFEST.
  8. Opened Amy Albert’s Delilah Dix: America’s Showgirl at the Hollywood Fringe, which I had originally directed and developed at Ars Nova. Sold out run and great times with my LA peeps. And a mandatory trip to Universal Studios.
  9. Emceed the Long Lake Bed Races on July 4 weekend. Yes. These are races where costumed teams race decorated beds as I interrogate bewildered travelers passing through the town.
  10. Back to the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe with EXIT for 24 performances in a different venue with standing-room only crowds. The show was named Top 5 Solo shows by Fringe Review and received a bunch of new raves.
  11. Created and hosted the Critical Mass Tomato Toss in Edinburgh where scorned performers gleefully threw tomatoes at a wall of critics … for charity of course!
  12. Brought EXIT to Buffalo (where the first reading of the show happened almost 2 years ago) and got some great press and full, fabulous houses.
  13. Co-produced and created SOLOCOM at The PIT with my new pal Toby Knops. This exciting event packed two theaters over two days with 60 solo comedies making their world premier. Many of these shows are now heading toward full productions and runs in 2014.

I also taught my award winning Flying Solo classes and was presented with the Teacher of the Year Award at The PIT. The Orlando Fringe picked up EXIT where it will be presented in May 2014. Had a chilly blast emceeing the Polar Bear Plunge in Long Lake, and I did indeed plunge into the frigid waters with the rest of the lunatics. And, I began work developing two new solo shows that I’m directing this coming winter and spring: Mark Demayo’s retired NYPD cop comedy 20 & Out, and Amy Marcs’ gripping cancer comedy NICE T*TS.

Finally, it looks like Hollywood Nurses (the lesbian pulp novel homage I co-wrote with Sheila Head) will be making its NYC debut sometime next fall. Don’t fret – you’ll know all about it when the time comes.

Everyone has been so supportive of EXIT and many of the other projects these past two years, and I cannot thank you enough. I hope that 2014 brings you all great happiness and fulfillment and I hope to continue to challenge myself and my audiences with innovative, universal, fun and entertaining work that illuminates a bit more of this condition we call being human.

Much Love,

Pete

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