Sunday, February 14, 2010

Help Me (and Taffety Punk) Put on a Show

My show, that is. I am so excited that Taffety Punk Theatre Company will produce my play about alchemy in Renaissance Prague, Burn Your Bookes, at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in spring. (Opening night: Friday, April 30, 2010.)

We had a standing-room only audience for the sneak preview of Burn Your Bookes at the Kennedy Center over Labor Day weekend. If you didn’t see it, a video of the performance is here at the Kennedy Center's web site. (Note: Real Player required.)

But I’m posting this message because we need your help to get the play up and running in late April.

Taffety Punk was the first theatre company that I contacted when I finished Burn Your Bookes in April 2008. Why? The same reasons that I’m asking you to help support the company today.

Commitment to excellence: Taffety Punk is about taking artistic risks and making them pay off for audiences. Whether it’s rethinking Shakespearean classics like Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure or Troilus and Cressida or tackling new work (like Burn Your Bookes or Gwydion Suilebhan’s plays Let X and The Faithkiller, or our recent critical smash room), Taffety Punk possesses a keen sense of adventure and a knack for showmanship. Critics and the D.C. theatre community are taking note. Taffety Punk performances have garnered raves in the Washington Post., the Washington City Paper and elsewhere, attracted the attention of local television and radio, and won the company a Helen Hayes Award as Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company in 2008.

Don't believe me? Ask Washington Post critic Peter Marks, whose review of in early February summed it up nicely: "The energetic evening is brought to you by Taffety Punk Theatre Company, a resourceful D.C. troupe that looks for ways to supplement the fairly conventional diet on which audiences here tend to be restricted."

Low ticket prices: Taffety Punk artistic director Marcus Kyd knows that the fierce competition for entertainment dollars – and young audiences – means that theater needs to be priced for maximum accessibility. Taffety Punk performances always feature a low $10 ticket price – live theater that’s cheaper than a movie. And some of our most innovative performances, including out annual Shakespeare bootleg (check out this rave from D.C.'s Examiner here) are absolutely free!

Emphasis on text and performance: As a playwright, this was a key selling point in asking Taffety Punk to do Burn Your Bookes. Taffety Punk is an actor’s and a writer’s theatre company. They love the text – whether it is the Renaissance language of Shakespeare or the contemporary language of new playwrights – and savor the wit and audacity of great writing.

I hope you’re moved to make a generous donation to Taffety Punk Theatre Company. Even with our scrappy, lo-fi production ethos, it still costs a few thousand dollars to produce a show. (Especially with $10 ticket prices.) Your contribution is targeted to ensure that actors and technical staff get paid – and that more people hear about the great work that we’re doing. We don’t have paid staff or other overhead at Taffety Punk. When you donate to us, it goes to producing great theater. Period.

Donating is easy. Click on this link -- or you can send a check to Taffety Punk Theatre Company at P.O. Box 15392 Washington, DC 20003. (Be sure that you write “Alchemy” on the dedication line on the web donation page or on the info line of the check, so we can track the support for Burn Your Bookes.)

Taffety Punk is a 501(c) 3 organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible.

Thanks so much in advance for any generosity. Burn Your Bookes has already had some major successes -- from a one-act version winning the and Prague Playwriting Festival to the full house at September's sneak preview. I hope to see you in April!

Richard Byrne for Taffety Punk Theatre Company

(Image is a drawing of John Dee's Hieroglyphic Monad -- a key element in Act One of Burn Your Bookes.)

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