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BWW Previews: TALES OF MILD INTEREST PREMIERES "COMEDY YOU SEE WITH YOUR EARS" at Urban Phoenix

From left to right: Mike Garraffa, James Hollingsworth, Kelly Clow, Nathen VanZile, Yvelisse Cedrez, Jesse Hutson, Erica Garraffa, Heather Smith, Bianca Badia, Eddie Gomez, Laura Gonzalez, Eric Swearingen, Nathan Juliano. Photo by Bianca Badia/BGB Creative.

Debuting Thursday, May 11 at Urban Phoenix for the Tampa International Fringe Festival, TALES OF MILD INTEREST (TMI) is what happens when the crazy imaginations of two local performers run completely wild. The name of the theatre group is both self-deprecating and cynical, which co-founder Erica Garraffa teased "is absolutely our style."

Jesse Hutson, TMI director and co-creator agreed that a little dry humor in the name would help set patron's expectations up.

By no means is this your typical theatre experience.

With a black crow mascot, dubbed a family-friendly PG13 "feast for the ears," Jesse and Erica set out to create an innovative episodic serial that patrons can enjoy with eyes opened, watching the actors and the sound effects being created on stage or eyes closed, using their own imaginations. This is a format from radio shows of days gone past.

While living in Chicago, Hutson fell in love with podcasts that were bringing back this forgotten oral concept of a theatre. Upon his return to Tampa, it was his goal to bring this long-forgotten style to the mainstream.

"I was lucky enough to know Erica who works on the same mental frequency I do and it was a perfect comedic pairing, so it just took off extremely naturally," he explained. "The Fringe Festival gave us the perfect venue to try out an experimental kind of piece."

Featuring Erica and Jesse, along with Mike Garraffa, James Hollingsworth, Kelly Clow, Nathen VanZile, Yvelisse Cedrez, Jesse Hutson, Erica Garraffa, Heather Smith, Bianca Badia, Eddie Gomez, Laura Gonzalez, Eric Swearingen, and Nathan Juliano, with these 13 talented voice over actors and live foley sound effect artists, the pair's ultimate goal is to create a continuing serial that travels to different venues for its audience to discover what happens next.

"We want to do TMI as episodic theatre. It's already a show broken up into three different shows. It's going to be continually growing and changing," said Erica. "We definitely see a future for it, even after the Fringe Festival."

Shows premiering at Urban Phoenix are PENDLETON PARK, a Downton Abbey style drama; THE B-TEAM!, a slightly-less-than-super superhero antics tale, and SWAMPY GUNDERSON: DRACULA HUNTER described as BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as a grizzled swamp hobo with a sidekick battling Dracula in a California public high school.

"We'd like to find ourselves in a position where audiences can look forward to a new show on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and they can see new stories as they progress. They're serial much like the LONE RANGER back in the day," said Jesse. "We'd like to give Tampa a regularly-occurring radio theatre program to follow. We're excited to bring an immersive experience, a style of theatre that many of our audience may have never experienced before."

TALES OF MILD INTEREST will be playing at the Urban Phoenix, 2002 E 5th Ave, Ste 103, Tampa 33605 on Thursday, May 11th at 9pm, Saturday, May 13th at 4:15pm, and Sunday, May 14th at 12:15pm. For tickets or additional information, visit http://tampafringe.org/tiff/tmi-tales-of-mild-interest/. Tickets are $12. To reach out to have TMI perform at your venue, email tmi.radioplays@gmail.com. Like TMI on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TMIRadioPlays/.



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From This Author - Deborah Bostock-Kelley

A twice-published author, multi-time award-winning playwright, magazine writer, theatre reviewer, and newspaper journalist with 30+ years in journalism and business copywriting, Deb was a 2019 Reci... (read more about this author)


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