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Why So Much Shame?: 10 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2016 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on January 29, 2016

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Ten Questions. Ten Answers. And one Big Surprise in the audience …


Why So Much Shame?

Nicole was six when her dad died. But she kept trying to get his attention, in hopes he’d come back. WHY SO MUCH SHAME? uses vivid storytelling to explore a child’s secret, unspoken grief, a woman’s confrontation with the truth, and the powerful things that happen when we stop pretending.

Show  Info:

  • Wed Feb 17, 2016 | 7:10PM
  • Sat Feb 20, 2016 | 7:10PM
  • Wed Feb 24, 2016 | 10:30PM
  • Thu Mar 03, 2016 | 8:50PM
  • Sun Mar 06, 2016 | 3:30PM

UNDER St. Marks New York, NY $10/$13

Answers by Nicole Ferraro
(writer and performer)

1. Forget the PR version. When you’re talking to your friends, how do you explain this show to them?
Nicole: My father died when I was six, and I always knew I was going to write about him, but I didn’t know how until I found out the truth about his death 17 years later. Through this solo show, I’m telling a story about my lifelong longing for him, both before and after his death, and finding myself through the experience of losing him. It’s about how grief manifests when you don’t give it proper space and attention, and how the stories we’re reluctant to tell are the ones we most need to be sharing. It’s relatable, cathartic, somber, funny… All the feelings will be provided.

2. Here’s a scenario: After the show some audience members go have a drink.  What’s the part of the show you hope they’re discussing?
Nicole: I hope they’re discussing their own stories as they relate to the themes of the show. If people leave Why So Much Shame? and get together and open up to one another about their own experiences and feel a little more full and connected as a result… well, that’s the whole point!

3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?
Nicole: Character is probably the strongest driver in this show, and a plot twist makes its way in about halfway through, too.

4. In rehearsals, read-thrus, or prior incarnations, what’s the one thing someone said about the show so far that made you (or the team) the most proud?
Nicole: As a storyteller, I’ve had the opportunity to debut pieces from Why So Much Shame? in a few different storytelling series. The most rewarding experience for me is when people come up after a performance and relate their stories back to me. I found myself through the theater and through hearing other people’s stories, and giving that back in a small way, for me, is the overall point of creating anything. I can go into a performance feeling anxious and terrible, and if it ends with someone sharing with me after about how they felt or what they connected to, I go home with my heart soaring.

5. If money and resources (and even reality) were no object what is the most lavish, luxurious, pointless prop, costume, effect – anything – that you would spend money on for this show?
Nicole: Not living in any sort of reality? Well in an unreal world, I would call up my lord and savior (and, in this fantasy, BFF) Stephen Sondheim, and we would rewrite this together as a Broadway musical… starring me, because in this version of life I also have a listenable singing voice. In all seriousness, I learned the most about loss, grief, and myself through Broadway musicals, specifically Next to Normal and Into the Woods. There’s definitely a fantasy musical version of this in my mind. We could even have anthropomorphic dancing caskets…! OK. Maybe not that. Next question…

6. What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to regarding the FRIGID Festival itself?
Nicole: I’m so excited to see the other shows and discover what my fellow FRIGID participants have been working on. I’ve never been a part of a festival before, so the whole experience of being involved and immersed in an environment where people are creating independent theater is thrilling to me.

7. Is there a scene, a moment, a gesture … anything at all in the show that you anticipate may get a completely different reaction depending on the audience that night?
Nicole: I share an anecdote about making my first “Dead Dad Joke” (a DDJ, if you will). It involves a jingle for a terrifying 90s board game called Don’t Wake Daddy. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling the reactions may vary on it. We’ll see!

8. What’s your favorite line from the show?
Nicole: “I am so lucky.” Those are the words that open the show (whoops, spoiler) and they resurface again toward the end. It’s my favorite line both because of how it’s used in the show, and how the meaning changes from start to finish; and because I am so lucky to get to have this experience at all, to get to be a part of this festival and to have the support of my friends and family.

9. What’s the last thing you usually do before the beginning of a show?
Nicole: Oh, it’s sort of a bundle: Panic. Drink water. Panic. Regret having been born. Pee.

10. You scan the audience and you see a face that stops you dead in your tracks – who is it? And why are you shocked?
Nicole: My dad. Shocking because I didn’t know he was into indie theater. And also because he’s dead.

Well, Nicole, even if your dad was never into indie theatre before, I’m sure his spirit is supporting you now — and I have a feeling he’ll be there in the audience every night of your performance.

The rest of you – don’t forget to check out Why So Much Shame?


Horse Trade Theater Group will present the 10th Annual FRIGID New York Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) February 16-March 6. All shows run 60 minutes, or less. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at  


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