Pulitzer Prize Finalist CIRCLE JERK to Debut Hybrid In-Person & Livestreamed Production at The Connelly Theater

In Circle Jerk, it’s winter on Gaymen Island, a summer retreat for the homosexual rich and fame-ish.

By: Apr. 26, 2022
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Pulitzer Prize Finalist CIRCLE JERK to Debut Hybrid In-Person & Livestreamed Production at The Connelly Theater

 

Fake Friends, a theater and digital media production company that develops and produces original works for the stage, screen, and internet, will premiere the hybrid in-person and livestreamed presentation of Pulitzer Prize Finalist Circle Jerk. Performances of this highly lauded and innovative production begin June 8, with an opening set for Tuesday, June 14, for a limited run through June 25. In-person performances, taking place at The Connelly Theater (220 E 4th St, Manhattan), will be simultaneously livestreamed on Stellar. Tickets are now on sale at https://circlejerk.live/.

The premiere at The Connelly Theater continues Fake Friends' groundbreaking work in theater. In addition to being named a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Drama, Circle Jerk is one of the first plays conceived for a hybrid in-person and online performance, creating unique experiences for each audience. In this new configuration, in-person audiences will experience the rollicking joy of fast-paced comedy and behind-the-screens antics, while streaming audiences can watch and rewatch the multi-camera spectacle from anywhere in the world.

Following the breakout success of Circle Jerk in 2020, Fake Friends continued its experiments in live internet theater with the 2021 critically-acclaimed production of This American Wife, which Michael Schulman included in his Best Performances of 2021 in The New Yorker. In calling out "the puckish avant-garde company," Schulman noted, "Amid so many Zoom productions, Fake Friends bent a makeshift medium to its will, using technical invention and heaps of charisma." Charles McNulty in his Best of 2021 essay for The Los Angeles Times said, "Fake Friends makes digital theater the way Charles Ludlam might have made it if the force behind the Ridiculous Theatrical Company had survived the AIDS epidemic." Also in 2021, Breslin and Foley executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, which raised a total of $2 million for The Actors Fund.

In Circle Jerk, it's winter on Gaymen Island, a summer retreat for the homosexual rich and fame-ish. This off-season, two White Gay internet trolls hatch a plot to take back what's wrongfully theirs. Cancellations, meme schemes, and political and erotical flip flops abound as three actors playing nine parts play out this chaotic live-streamed descent into the high-energy, quick-change, low-brow shitpit of the internet.


With Circle Jerk, co-writers and performers Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, joined by Cat Rodríguez, take inspiration from Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep and sci-fi genre films like Ex Machina (both the Gothic children of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the German Expressionism of Fritz Lang's Metropolis) to send up plotlines about the crisis of technology in relationship to humans and the concept of "reality." Circle Jerk is directed by Rory Pelsue and includes dramaturgy by Ariel Sibert.

The creative team for Circle Jerk includes video & co-lighting designer David Bengali, co-lighting designer & video associate Ted Boyce-Smith, scenic and props designer Stephanie Osin Cohen, sound designer Kathy Ruvuna, costume designer Cole McCarty, wig and make-up designer Tommy Kurzman, stage manager Codey Leroy Butler, production manager Violet Asmara Tafari, technical director Jesse Mattes, assistant stage manager Carolina Arboleda, assistant scenic designer Anthony Freitas, video associate Stivo Arnoczy, video engineer Ted Charles Brown, production electrician The Sovereign Candle - Kent Sprague, and graphic designer Kameron Neal.

Miranda Gohh and Emma Orme co-produce this iteration of Circle Jerk. Jeremy O. Harris and Caroline Gart serve as executive producers, with generous support from FourthWall Theatrical.

Circle Jerk was originally developed with Ars Nova's Makers Lab. It was also developed, in part, with support from Mitu’s Artists-at-Home program.

Performances of Circle Jerk will take place June 8-25, 2022, at The Connelly Theater, located at 220 E 4th St in Manhattan, and online. The performance schedule is Monday through Saturday at 7:30pm. Critics are welcome as of June 10 for an opening on June 14. In-person tickets range from $39-$79. Livestream tickets are available on a sliding scale from $5.99-$49.99.

Please visit https://circlejerk.live/ to purchase tickets and for additional information.


About the Artists


Fake Friends is a New York-based theater and digital media production company that develops and produces original works for the stage, screen, and internet. We mix and remix iconic popular culture moments to push personal, political, and theatrical boundaries, often through a queer lens. Fake Friends strives to expand the definition of what theater is and who it is for, investigating the screens and prosceniums that dominate our daily lives. We create comedic work that entertains and cultivates audiences who are passionate about the future.

The company is led by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, with members Cat Rodríguez, Ariel Sibert, and Rory Pelsue. In 2020, Fake Friends premiered Circle Jerk online, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2021, Fake Friends co-produced This American Wife online, which was named the "Best Theater of 2021" by The Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker. https://fakefriends.net/

Michael Breslin is thrilled to return to the Connelly Theater, where he performed in the original musical Count to Ten in 2008. Michael is a writer, performer, and producer who works in theater, film, and television. His play Circle Jerk, co-written with Patrick Foley, is a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. With Foley, he is a creative director of Fake Friends, a theater and media company credited with pioneering digital theater, who recently developed and produced This American Wife, which was featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Vanity Fair, ArtForum and named as one of the "Best Performances of 2021" by the New Yorker. He executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The Tik Tok Musical, which raised $2 million for the Actors Fund. Breslin and Foley are writing a musical commissioned by Seaview Productions and Ars Nova, where they are resident artists. Breslin and Foley are developing a pilot for HBO Max, as well as an infinite number of feature films with unspecified yet incredibly legitimate production companies. Michael holds an MFA in dramaturgy from Yale School of Drama (David Geffen School of Trauma), as well as a BA in theater and comparative literature from Hamilton College. www.michaelstevenbreslin.com

Patrick Foley is an actor and writer working in theater, film, and TV. As an actor, Foley has performed Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, regionally, and in television and film. His play Circle Jerk, co-written with Michael Breslin, is a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. With Breslin, he is a creative director of Fake Friends, a theater and media company credited with pioneering digital theater, who recently developed and produced This American Wife, which was featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Vanity Fair, ArtForum and named as one of the "Best Performances of 2021" by the New Yorker. He executive produced and co-wrote the book for Ratatouille: The Tik Tok Musical, which raised $2 million for the Actors Fund. Foley and Breslin are commissioned by Seaview Productions and Ars Nova, where they are resident artists. They are developing a television project for HBO Max. Patrick was awarded the Constance Welch Memorial Scholarship at Yale School of Drama where he received an MFA in Acting in 2018. He also holds a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Cat Rodríguez (she/ella) werks in theater + media, serving collaboration, community, and lqqks wherever the art takes her and whatever stage or screen it's on. Re. roles played, she's vers: Cat performs, directs, and dramaturgs. A co-foundress of Fake Friends, she was seen digitally domming in the livestreamed 2020 production of CIRCLE JERK (2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Finalist). Cat's a "people person" with a politic and a love for the Ridiculous; she's all about bringing discernment, critical rigor, specificity, playfulness, and laughter to process. Black / Latinx feminisms as well as collectivist organizing experiences fundamentally inform her artmaking and pathtaking. Cat believes in direct action and direct relationship. She lives and labors in English y Español, talks with her hands, and also anda con ganas. A freelancing femme, Cat considers herself a nomad but always names New Orleans and Nicaragua home. www.catlikemeow.com

Ariel Sibert (she/her) is a dramaturg, a producer of film and performances, and a writer. Her work has been shown at the Park Avenue Armory, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Spectrum, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Yale Repertory Theatre, and the Yale Cabaret. Currently, she is a Teaching Fellow at the Yale School of Drama, Yale University. She works towards her doctorate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism there. Her writing has been published in Text & Presentation, Theater magazine, and American Theatre. In the past, she was the Associate Editor of the journal Theater (Duke UP). Education: Yale School of Drama, MFA Dramaturgy, DFA Fellow; Princeton University.

Rory Pelsue (he/him) is thrilled to return to Gaymen Island for Circle Jerk! He serves as the resident director of Fake Friends and has helmed their productions of Circle Jerk, This American Wife, and a workshop of a new musical at Ars Nova. Recent and upcoming credits include the world premieres of The Show on the Roof at Boise Contemporary Theater, Read to Me at Portland Stage, and Deathbed Edition at Ars Nova ANT Fest and Bedlam Theater Company; workshops of Circle Jerk at Ars Nova Makers Lab, Riverbank at Portland Stage, and Alumni Relations at South Coast Repertory Theater; and assistant directing at the Metropolitan Opera, Roundabout Theater Company, McCarter Theater, and Yale Repertory Theater. Artistic leadership experience includes serving as artistic director or associate artistic director of Yale Cabaret, Yale Summer Cabaret, MaineStage Shakespeare, and Oxbridge Opera-a U.K.-based company that specialized in staging rarely-heard editions of Savoy Operas. Originally from Newburyport, Massachusetts, Rory received his MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama, where he received the Julian Milton Kaufman Memorial Prize for directing. www.rorypelsue.com

 




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