“rogerandtom” is an intriguing puzzle waiting to be solved by the audience. The play is a subtle work that twists and folds back on itself, demanding that viewers reach their own conclusions. The play is about the theatre in the most superficial levels, at its core it is about so much more: love and death, decay and transcendence. And all of it in a short hour and a half.
Julien Schwab (Playwright) – Schwab received a BFA in Drama from Syracuse University in 2001. He then moved to New York City and became resident playwright for Personal Space Theatrics (PST). PST has produced several of his works including his one-act, rogerandtom, his first two-act, Nicotine, and his collection of shorts, Sketchy Comedy. After moving to Los Angeles, 4th Wall Productions produced rogerandtom (named as LA Weekly’s Pick of the Week) and, in 2007, the world premiere of his second two-act, Beautiful Morning. In 2011 Julien starred in rogerandtom when it went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was met with critical acclaim. The production garnered three five stars reviews, including this from ED Fringe, “Julien Schwab’s latest play takes theatre in new directions that the Michael Billingtons of the world probably didn’t know existed… Lines and actions don’t make sense at the time, but they do soon enough, yielding some of the most satisfying “a-ha” moments since Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing…” He is now preparing for the upcoming production of his newest draft of rogerandtom, at HERE. Julien has worked as a contributing writer on many projects, including the short film Across the Hall (starring Adrian Grenier) the subsequent feature film Across The Hall (starring Brittany Murphy, Mike Vogel and Danny Pino), the short theater piece, Stats, which premiered in NYC as part of Myth America (featuring new works by writers such as Israel Horovitz, Teresa Rebek and Arthur Kopit), the play Christmas through the Century for The Gateway Playhouse and the short film Bulldog (for which he also operated as executive producer). He’s recently completed his first screenplay, the feature length version of Bulldog, and his first pilot, The Bull Pen. Julien’s podcast, Advice from Grownups, for which he is creator, writer, and co-star, premiered January 17th. He has also worked as an actor in stage productions of Comedy of Errors, Servant of Two Masters, Taming of the Shrew, Survived By, Mix Tape, In the Name of Bob, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and on film in Bulldog, Feature in 48, Triathlon, The Clown Project, The Adventures of Bruce and Julien and Lone Victor.
David Esler (Scenic Design) PST: Moonbirds, Orchidelirium, A Christmas Carol, Don Juan in Chicago, Nicotine, Murder,BecauseHeCan, Safari Party. Recent designs include Titanic (2012 North American Tour), Next To Normal (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Sweeney Todd (Gateway Playhouse) and Assassins (Pleasance Theatre, London). Regional: Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Stamford Theatreworks, Stage One Wichita, Princeton Rep, Augusta Opera, the Hangar, Surflight and Muhlenberg summer theatres. NYC: International WOW Company, LaMaMa ETC, P.S.122, Chashama, the Algonquin, Ohio, Westbeth, and Greenwich Street Theatres, Chelsea Playhouse and Theatre Row. Casino productions: Hairspray, Jekyll & Hyde, Miracle on 34th Street, Footloose, and Fame. Film (production design): Pat Metheny – The Orchestrion Project (3D).
Nastassia Jimenez (Lighting Design) is a theatrical lighting designer residing in New York City. She has designed a wide range of productions including play readings, small black box plays, new works, and large scale musicals. NYC: US: A Progressive Love Story (Theatre Row), Getting the Business (Theatre Row), Revisiting Wildfire (The Arclight Theatre), 4@15 (Roy Arias Studios), Chekhovek (The Arclight Theatre), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Harbor Lights Theatre Co.), Pigs (Fordham University). Outside NYC: Venus, Where We’re Born, and Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre Co.), Peribañez and the Commander of Ocaña, The Secret Garden, The Who’s Tommy, The State(s) of America, In Trousers, and A Lie of the Mind (Northwestern University), 2006-07 Resident Lighting Assistant (Florida Grand Opera). Nastassia holds an MFA in Lighting Design from Northwestern University. www.nmjlighting.com
Taylor Alyssa Marun (Stage Manager) A Long Island native, Taylor has been working as a Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager in the New York area for the past 2 years. Recent credits include ASM on Working (Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble), SM on Portraits and Marble Faun (all with Prospect Theater Company); SM on For Worse (Manhattan Theater Club); SM on The Last Cyclist (West End Theater); and Square Peg Round Hole (Tectonic). MFA in Stage Management from University of Missouri – Kansas City. Graduate of Hollins University. Member of AEA. Love to mom, dad, and gma.
Rachel McMullin (Production General Manager) is excited to work with PST on the extended run of rogerandtom. Recent general management work includes: Tina Packer’s Women of Will (THE GYM at Judson), LOVE THERAPY (DR2 Theater), Popesical: In Concert (Joe’s Pub). Rachel was seen dancing in The Public’s recent production of Comedy of Errors at this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park series. She holds a BFA in Acting (Atlantic Theater Company) from NYU.
Holly Rihn (Costume Designer) is excited to join the PST team on rogerandtom. Selected designs: Eurydice (Barnard College), HA! (Workshop Theater), Cosi Fan Tutte (Westminster Choir College) Mercy Seat, An Infinite Ache, Shape of Things, Bee-Luther-Hatchee, Trying, Rounding Third, Far East, and Intimate Apparel (STW), Laramie Project, Noises Off (Perseverance Theatre). Designs with amazing co-costumer, Meryl Pressman: Travesties 2012 (New York Musical Theatre Festival), Action Philosophers! (The Brick), Thieves (The Public), I Don <3 U Ne Mor (Fringe), HACK! and The Vigil (Impetuous Theater Group). Holly has a B.F.A from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She also works as a personal stylist. Please visit: www.hollyrihn.com.
Chris Rummel (Sound Design) is happy to be working with his friends at PST again, having previously designed all of their productions since 2003, including rogerandtom’s appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Recent designs include Fortress of Solitude (NY Stage and Film), Macbett (Carnegie Mellon University), The Pitmen Painters (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater), Camino (The Hiawatha Project), Star Trek Live: Mirror, Mirror (Carnegie Mellon University), Font of Knowledge, The Luck of the Ibis (both with Shelby Company), Macbeth Remix (Epic Theatre Ensemble), #9Duchess In The Dark (Art.Party Theater Company), Freed (59E59), Boy Girl Mind Rock Fun Love (Roundabout Theatre Co.), Microcrisis, Stockton (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Wood (NYMF’08), The Real Thing, Twelfth Night, How I Learned To Drive (T. Schreiber Studio, two NYIT nominations), The Jack of Tarts (La Mama ETC), The Listener of Junk City (New Dramatists), The Girl Detective (Ateh), Two Rooms (Harold Clurman Festival), Belles (Heiress Productions), Angels In America (Stella Adler), tempOdyssey (SPF), Miracle on South Division Street, Over The Tavern, Around The World in 80 Days, Ten Percent of Molly Snyder (Penguin Rep), and the short films The Waiting Room, Zamir and Preeti: A Love Story and Pirates Vs. Ninjas. Chris is the Resident Sound Designer here at PST, a member of TheDrillingCompaNY, and an Artistic Associate at Stageplays Theater Company. BFA Syracuse University, MFA Candidate Carnegie Mellon University.
C. Alexander Smith (Properties Design) is a native New Yorker and man of many hats. Some time ago he began a full-time career as an arts educator coupled with a freelance career in various design forms. For the greater part of his life he has used his artistic talents to educate the youth of NYC and bring attention to social injustices. He has worked in the past as a designer for PST, EAT, MTV, AMC as well as a selection of schools and artists in and around the tri-state area. He is super amped to be back working with PST on rogerandtom again. He is greatly appreciative to those who have helped him get where he is today and sends his deepest love out to his family and friends.
Personal Space Theatrics Staff:
Nicholas Cotz (Artistic Director) Since founding PST in 2001, Nicholas has helped produce over 15 shows and has directed Erika Sheffer’s Something in your Stomach, the New York premiere of Julien Schwab’s rogerandtom, the World premiere of Mr. Schwab’s Nicotine, the New York premiere of Moonbirds by playwright and poet Christopher Woods, the first NYC revival of Arthur Kopit’s BecauseHeCan, PST’s collage of Americana Myth America (including works by Theresa Rebeck, Israel Horovitz and Arthur Kopit), and Woken’ Glacier Theatre Company’s Locomotive, written by Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award winner Matthew Paul Olmos. In the summer of 2004 he went to Los Angeles to once again direct rogerandtom, this time for an extended run at The Tamarind Theatre and in the summer of 2007 he went back to direct the Premiere of Schwab’s newest work, Beautiful Morning. For PST’s 2008/09 Season he directed the first NYC production of Tim Firth’s The Safari Party. In 2011 Cotz took rogerandtom across the Atlantic as both Executive Producer and Director of the production in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The show received rave reviews at the festival, including this from ThreeWeeks, “rogerandtom is profoundly intelligent, hilarious, tragic, captivating from start to finish, and performed superbly throughout.”
Mel Wadle (Production Director) After graduating with a BA in Theater Mgt from BVU in Iowa, Mel moved to Brooklyn. She has worked on several productions including Manhattan Theater Source’s Estrogenius, KEF Productions’ Merry !@#$%ing Christmas at Theater Row and Corpus Christi at The Bouwerie Lane Theatre, and Barry Primus’s Wonder Comes the 7th Day at American Theatre of Actors. Although she continues to work with various theater companies, Mel’s passion lies with Personal Space Theatrics. Mel has been with PST since early 2003, starting as the Stage Manager for the New York Premier of Julien Schwab’s rogerandtom and quickly moving up to become Production Manager for the company. She’s been involved with every production since. Some of her favorite shows have been Schwab’s Nicotine, A Christmas Carol, the first NYC revival of Arthur Kopit’s BecauseHeCan, and the NYC premier of Tim Firth’s The Safari Party. In 2011, Mel traveled to Scotland to take rogerandtom to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it received five-star reviews.
Jacob Boller (Marketing Manager) Since joining PST as a volunteer who helped build a door frame, Jacob has learned much about the world of Theater in NYC. He has worn many hats for PST including program designer, photographer, concessions and Tollycurney taster. It is in his latest roll as Marketing Manager that Jacob has become most active in the company. Jacob has an MA in Media Studies from the New School University and a BA in Communications from The University of Iowa and is excited to be able to use his skills and knowledge to help PST expand its audience. He finds it humbling to be working with these immensely talented people.
Ethan Van Auken (Business Manager) Ethan began as a BFA Acting major at Boston University but ultimately graduated with a BA in Communications from Oswego State University. Since then, his career in marketing and marketing research has taken him from New York, NY to Los Angeles, CA where he contributed to every theatrical marketing campaign for the home entertainment division of Paramount Pictures, then back to New York. Presently, in addition to his responsibilities with Personal Space Theatrics, Ethan is a Senior Analyst on the Strategic Services team at Experian Hitwise. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Katy, the most amazing person on earth.
“An absurdist comedy of a fresh, exciting elevation… past clever and making its way toward brilliant”
The New York Times
“…and the more nuts things get the more fun this light, whimsical, very well-acted play about the imagination is.”
The New Yorker
“Julien Schwab’s crafty, poignant bottled playlet is a small, cool gem in the hot miasma of summer”
New York Magazine
“…a three-person existential juggling act that shifts between profundity and screwball yuks.”
Time Out New York
“rogerandtom is profoundly intelligent, hilarious, tragic, captivating from start to finish, and performed superbly throughout. It encourages the audience throughout the play to think simultaneously inside the box and outside the box, whilst putting all the conventions of theatre on trial. The storyline is fresh and innovative, and presents the theatre in all its grandeur. In addition to occupying your mind for the rest of the day, rogerandtom is guaranteed to keep you highly entertained.“
~Kathryn Moore, ThreeWeeks
“I love theatre and I loved this. It demands audience engagement and encourages them to consider the nature of their action as spectators as well as the nature of theatre and performance. I cannot recommend rogerandtom highly enough for those who are truly interested in the construction, and deconstruction, of theatre.”
~Ellen Marsh, ED Fringe Review
“As talk of “the end of postmodernism” begins to gain currency in the literary pages of the Sunday supplements, Julien Schwab‟s latest play takes theatre in new directions that the Michael Billingtons of the world probably didn‟t know existed… Lines and actions don‟t make sense at the time, but they do soon enough, yielding some of the most satisfying “a-ha” moments since Tom Stoppard‟s The Real Thing… Nothing‟s ever spelled out; that‟s part of the fun. One needn‟t worry about failing to understand; judging by the unceasing number of garrulous guffaws emanating from the audience, they were all clearly in on it… Julien Schwab may well be the next Luigi Pirandello.”
~Tanjil Rashid, ED Fringe
“Part Pirandello, part The Twilight Zone, playwright Julian Schwab‟s engrossing comic commentary on the futility of one-sided relationships also serves as a tribute to the theater. From the obvious comedy to the wrenching pathos, director Nicholas Cotz plumbs the multiple levels of Schwab‟s storytelling. Designer Sean Mewshaw‟s set of open walls and tape on the floor representing walls complements Schwab‟s fervent insistence to overcome the barriers we all encounter, from the ones imposed on us to those we impose on ourselves.”
~ Martin Hernandez, LA Weekly
“rogerandtom is an engaging work of metadrama, raising a series of interesting questions about the role of theatre in theatre itself. The play uses a comedic twist to challenge the conventions of theatre…Comedic yet thought provoking, rogerandtom is an intriguing work of drama which challenges the audience to think inside the black box, rather than attempting to escape it. Its neo-modernist self reflection engages and entertains while deconstructing the boundaries of theatrical production.”
~ Asya Anderson, LA Splash
“Immensely talented playwright Julien Schwab broke onto the scene in 2000 with this incredible wrap-up of 20th century comedy-drama. If Pirandello wrote entertaining plays and Pinter was a Yankee, they might have collaborated, with a little help from Suzzy Roche, to create this fast-paced wonder. But really, it is all Schwab, a writer with a clear new voice. The play is about the theatre in the most superficial levels, at its core it is about so much more: love and death, decay and transcendence.”
~Jacob Clark, NoHoLA
It has been an exciting year for PST. Coming off last year’s production of rogerandtom at HERE and the wonderful response we received personally and professionally we all thought, now what? And then the answer came in an invitation to produce rogerandtom in the Midwinter Night’s Theater Festival in Tallinn Estonia. It is an amazing honor and opportunity to be invited to participate in this festival. They have been hosting this festival since 2000 (Hell, they only became an autonomous country in 1991), and we are the very first play from The States that they have invited over. We are honored.
We are overwhelmed by the reception that rogerandtom is getting and the global exposure that PST is benefiting from by being a part of this festival.
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to let this European success go to our heads. PST will be back stateside hosting fun events like Zombie Prom and producing great theater for all our loyal supporters to enjoy. Even with all of this success, PST still needs your support. Like all nonprofit theaters we depend on the generosity of donors. Actually, even though the Estonians are being very generous to our actors and artists, PST is still losing money on the venture because of the astronomical insurance bills!
It isn’t too late to get in that donation for the 2014 tax year.
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