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Coyote On A Fence – FREE Staged Reading – 5 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2012 Planet Connections Festivity)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on June 16, 2012

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Coyote On A Fence

Benefiting: CEDARS
Produced by The In-Pulse Group
Written by Bruce Graham
Directed by Diánna Martin

Two men convicted of murder await execution in the state of Texas: one a member of the Aryan nation and the other a champion for inmates’ rights. One is considered a monster and the other an outcast of society – but what defines true guilt or innocence? In this thought provoking drama by Bruce Graham, there is no clear verdict.

Show Times:

  • Wednesday, June 20th @ 1pm - FREE STAGED READING, one day only

Answers by Diánna Martin 

(Producer, Director, Actress)

Karen Tortora-Lee’s Question
How did you come up with the title for your show?

Diánna: This is a revival of a play by Bruce Graham, a brilliant playwright with many titles to his credit. It was brought to my attention by my dear friend and fellow actor/director David Robinette four years ago…and my life has never been the same since. They call these backer’s readings…so I dearly hope someone sees it, and is moved to work with me on backing a production of this show.

Diánna Martin’s Question
If you were going to invite 5 people (from the past or present) to see your show – who would you invite … and why?

You mean besides my Mom and Dad? lol

This reading is very personal to me, I produced it completely (The In-Pulse Group is my producing arm of Martin Acting Studios), and have been working on it on and off for nearly 4 years, so I am going to answer with people on a more personal level than the “if you could pick anyone” that I originally wrote that question in relation to.
~ Bruce Graham – I’d like to see what he thinks, seriously – he wrote this amazing piece and I’d love to do a production of it. We are only doing a reading – but in some ways that is much harder because you only have the actors and their work to bring the script to life.
~ Anyone who’s ever had to give the order to kill someone using capital punishment.
~ David Robinette and Robert Michaels, my original collaborators who worked on this with me over the years.
~ My Grandmother, Esther Bearden. She grew up in Texas, a state we all know has the death penalty…and I’d like to see what she thinks of this play….and also I’d love for her to see my act and direct, something she never did before she passed away.

Antonio Minino’s Question
What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your art and was it worth it?
Diánna:  Sleep. I work a day job 9-5, and do all of my art in any microsecond that I can outside of that. Some days I feel like I could easily be a stand in for a zombie on “The Walking Dead” – but that would be kinda hot, so yeah, it’s totally worth it.

But seriously… totally worth it because I need to act and direct to live a fulfilled life. I cannot and will not leave those things out of my life. I was asked by the brilliant actor/director/teacher Charles Gerber (in an offhand manner, a parable, actually) if I simply WANTED to act/direct…or NEEDED to act/direct. It is, indeed, the latter.

Geoffrey Paddy Johnson’s Question
Was there any unexpected discovery made during the development of this production and can you share it with us?

Diánna:  How difficult/time consuming/expensive it is simply to produce a reading, alone (I have nobody helping me, really – to get the materials to the PCTF marketing team, booking space, money, or anything) for a live audience in a festival. It’s worth every penny, and PCTF is very generous – what you get to be a part of is amazing – but it was definitely a learning experience, because I got a taste of what it’s like for the producers of shows I’ve directed or acted in – or have been “part of the producing team” on. When you produce it by yourself…oh, yeah, and act and direct it as well, it’s a whole other enchilada. I have to thank Duncan Pflaster for creating amazing artwork for the reading/show (I think of it as a show). He captured the essence of what I wanted. He’s amazing (but we all knew that already!!! – but he’s more than just a brilliant playwright!)

I suppose one more would be that this play deals with a convict who is an Aryan – and a vocal one. During rehearsals (both the original cast I worked with, and the current one) we discussed…and dealt with what shouting anti-semitic and anti-African American slurs in rehearsal would be like…I applaud my actors for going the distance and able to fully engage in a character unflinchingly, despite their strong belief system being so removed from what is actually said. Hats off to Mark Emerson for going the distance. I also thank my Stage Manager, Adam Samtur, for allowing us to shout said slurs in his apartment he let us use for a few rehearsals. I hope his neighbors don’t start avoiding him. LOL

Michelle Augello-Page’s Question
What do you hope the audience receives from the experience of seeing this show?
Diánna:   I hope that they walk away thinking about how there are two sides to every coin. Is Bobby the true definition of guilty, no matter how grisly and horrific his crime? Or evil?

I want them to see the multi-layered characters in this piece – all of them are, all of them – and think about what drives people to do the things they do.

I want them to think about of all these people…who is the most honest?

And then…see if it makes them question their thoughts on capital punishment. I have no answer – nor do I give an opinion. The play just simply provokes thought and enlightenment on the human condition of damaged people and their damaged lives…and why they are they way they are.


Planet Connections runs from May 30 – June 24 at The Bleecker Street Theater located at 45 Bleecker Street, New York, NY. To purchase tickets to this or any of the shows click here.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dianna MartinNo Gravatar June 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Also important:
Stage Directions will be read by Maureen O’Boyle
Stage Manager: Adam Samtur

Thank you THM for posting this – and I hope people come and enjoy! My hope is someone is inspired enough to work with me on producing it into a full production (with Graham’s blessing, of course).

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