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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Have you ever met a stranger and knew, almost immediately, that they'll be a part of your life for a long (lost) time? Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor first met when they were young, collegiate actors in an absurdist play. Now, professional performers, directors and writers, they're slightly older, but their work is no less absurd. Get to know these two co-writers, co-directors and performers before catching them (and third member of the company, Teddy Spencer) in William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged)!
 
Austin and Reed Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin

1. What's the one Shakespearean character you'd want to play? 

Austin Tichenor: I play Falstaff briefly in William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged), but I'd love to play him for real in either parts of Henry IV or The Merry Wives of Windsor!

Reed Martin: Scar from The Lion King. That counts right? It's based on Hamlet!

2. Tell us how you first met (abridged)!

RM: Austin and I met as students in the Drama Department at the University of California at Berkeley around 1981. We performed in a couple of shows together and stayed in touch over the years. 

AT: I think our first meeting was in a very absurd college production of Ionesco's Jack, or The Submission around 1981. My dad's question after the performance was, "Now why would you want to be in something like that?"

RM: I joined the Reduced Shakespeare Company in 1989 and when there was a cast opening in 1992, I suggested that we ask Austin to join the company.

 

Austin Tichenor Austin Tichenor as Falstaff
3. How do you create work together? Do you live near each other? 

AT: We both grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and were in the University of California at Berkeley's drama department together. While Reed still lives there, I live in Chicago, but I still visit my family out there.

RM: We spend a fair amount of time together on the road. We're in contact almost every day via email, phone, FaceTime or Skype. When we're creating a new show we spend a lot of time trying to settle on the subject matter. It needs to be something that we are both interested in and passionate about. The subject also needs to appeal to all the places to which we tour, both in the USA and around the world. 

We outline the show together and then write the scenes separately. We come together to read the new material, usually when we're on tour together. Then, we sometimes rewrite our own material and other times we rewrite each other's material. After about nine months and many drafts we have a version of the script that we bring into rehearsals. We rehearse for about six weeks, making changes and doing rewrites every day. And then we put it on its feet in front of an audience. The audience is like another collaborator. We listen to how the audience responds and make changes accordingly.

4. Describe what it's like to juggle so many characters. Do you ever wish you could trade with each other? 

RM: When we start to rehearse a new show sometimes the characters aren't very distinct, but over the rehearsal period they become clear. The toughest thing is all the quick costumes changes. There's a fascinating, fully-choreographed show backstage involving props and costume changes that the audience never sees.

AT: Part of the fun is the juggling! Making each character distinct and funny is a great challenge and one of the reasons I wanted to be an actor. 

RM:  I wouldn't want to trade parts with Austin. He has to play the ukulele onstage every show and I know how tough that is. I have played the accordion in a number of Reduced Shakespeare Company shows. If you stumble over a line you can usually cover it, but everybody can hear when you play a sour note.

 

Reed Martin Reed Martin as Puck
AT: I usually don't want to play Reed's roles because he's very physical and I'm very lazy. But we both play Falstaff in this production—audiences can decide #WhoWoreItBetter.

5. What is the strangest space you've performed in? 

RM: One time we performed an excerpt from our Complete History of America (abridged) at The White House on the Fourth of July. It was surreal and awesome.

AT: I played the Prince of Aragon in a production of The Merchant of Venice in a bar in Chicago. The audience had been drinking, so they heckled me. I had to change my lines to deal with them and they all applauded me on my exit. It was fantastic.

6. You've been at The New Victory a few times now, what makes you excited about this particular go-around? 

AT: It's always exciting to be back at the New Vic! The history of the building is so amazing, it's a privilege to be speaking Shakespeare's words—even his long lost first words—on this stage!

RM: This is our third time at the New Vic and we love it! The reaction to William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged) around the world has been spectacular and we can't wait to share it with the audiences at the New Vic. The show is a love letter to Shakespeare, to theater and to first plays by all young playwrights.

Photos: Teresa Wood
 
Long Lost First Play Thumb That's right, the "Bad Boys of Abridgement" are back! Uproarious and rapid-fire, the Reduced Shakespeare Company makes sharp, short comedy in their latest sendup, spinning the Bard's 39 plays into a fast, funny and fictional 40th. Get your tickets today!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson


Though they first met at the National Centre for Circus Arts, the friendship between the creators of Barely Methodical Troupe's Bromance has taken them far beyond the bounds of academia. 

Louis and Charlie first laid eyes on each other during school auditions in 2010. Charlie reminisces, "I still remember Louis' solo piece about the evolution of man—surprisingly conceptual, I thought, for a big guy that does parkour for a circus audition."

 

Charlie Wheeller Charlie Wheeller in the Cyr wheel Photo: Chris Nash
After they were both accepted, Beren joined the team. As soon as Charlie saw him fly, he realized that Beren was a "magical dude." Charlie immediately wanted to train with him. He comments, "There's a great saying, 'Never be the best in the room.' I still always enjoy being onstage with Beren to simply witness the magic."

Beren has equally glowing things to say about "Chiseled Charlie" or "that fresh-faced Justin Beiber lookalike." He loves his energy and "knew from the get-go that deep down we're nearly the same person."

During the journey to his first day of school at the National Centre for Circus Arts, Beren sat directly in front of Louis on the ferry. So, his first impression was, "...why is this huge man following me?" He says, "The rest was history and I'm all the better for meeting him."

When they first began working together, it seemed like an odd pairing. Louis elaborates, "Beren came from a martial arts and tricking background, Charlie from breakdancing and I came from parkour and it was this combination of influences that initially informed our movement style, and still does to this day." 

Beren agrees that that this variety of style helped to fuse their trio, "Myself, Charlie and Louis instantly stuck together because we were different from our classmates, who came from the circus and gymnastics worlds. Not knowing any of the circus jargon, we just threw ourselves around relentlessly until we had some snazzy moves under our belts."

There's a fourth member of the troupe who quickly stepped into Bromance when a shoulder injury sidelined Louis—Arthur Parsons. Dubbed "Endearing Arthur," by Beren, who attributes Arhtur's charm to his infectious positivity. "People gravitate towards him like he has a magnetic force. Everyone wants a dose of that gentlemanly charm."

 

Beren D'Amico and Louis Gift Beren D'Amico balancing on Louis Gift during a hand-to-hand routine Photo: Chris Nash

Though not an original creator, Arthur switches out with Louis for certain performances and has become a central figure to the group. He says, "When I first met the Barely Methodical crew, they immediately seemed like they were old friends I just hadn't met yet. I turned out to be right!"

"There's a moment in the show that perfectly captures the idea of what a 'bromance' means to me. Beren and I look into each other's eyes as he's walking towards me. I'm filled with a feeling of love and warmth—in that moment, I know we're connected and looking out for each other."

Bromance initially started as a brief 30-minute piece, but producer Di Robson brought the "sensei of a director" Eddie Kay in to extend it into a full-length show. "Once we met him, we knew we were in for a fun ride. Eddie's humor was a complete joy and it became clear that comedy needed to become a strong foundation for Bromance to sit on," says Charlie.

Although Beren, Louis and Charlie lead exceptionally unique lives, Bromance has a story that makes it both incredibly personal, yet ultimately universal. Louis explains, "A lot of the situations in Bromance are drawn from our history as friends. However, they're situations that everyone has experienced at least once in their life."

The only question that remains is, "What's next for Barely Methodical Troupe?" Always excited to stretch the limits, Louis shares, "The feeling to stay fresh is less pressure and more ambition. One of the main reasons we do this is because we love pushing our skills and learning new things. We want to stay fresh for ourselves just as much as for our audiences!"

Consider this audience member rapt with excitement to see what new trick is up their sleeves. In the meantime, check out Bromance at The New Victory Theater, spinning on our stage until February 25! 
 
 
Bromance Thumb In Bromance, the astonishing talent of these three mates from London will make a hopeless bromantic out of you. Get your tickets today!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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