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Eighth Grade: 10 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2016 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 4, 2016

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

Eighth Purple

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade is the origin story of Nisse Greenberg’s neurosis. It’s funny in the way that losing your optimism is always a little funny. Using projections of found images and his eighth grade yearbook, Nisse shows us what it’s like inside his mind: a place no one asked to go.

Show  Info:

  • Wed Feb 17, 2016 | 5:30PM
  • Sun Feb 21, 2016 | 1:50PM
  • Sun Feb 28, 2016 | 3:30PM
  • Wed Mar 02, 2016 | 8:50PM
  • Sat Mar 05, 2016 | 8:50PM

UNDER St. Marks New York, NY $10

Answers by Nisse Greenberg
(writer, director, and performer)

1. Forget the PR version. When you’re talking to your friends, how do you explain this show to them?
Nisse: I think of the show as a way of putting narrative to my neuroses. It’s all stories from my 8th Grade year, but it’s really about now. It’s really about who I am in this exact moment and why I am that person.

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?
Nisse: I hope they’re discussing themselves. My favorite type of storytelling is the stuff that opens people up pathways to memories of your self. I did a preview show with a small audience and I was excited in the bar when everyone was sharing their own middle school experiences and discussing why they were important.

3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?
Nisse: My show is about is me. So, I guess: character.

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?
Nisse: Two storytellers have told me that they felt that the twist at the ending and the reflection I have is the type of reflection they’ve never seen before in a storytelling show. That made me proud because it’s hard to feel like you have something to say that isn’t cliched when there are so many solo-shows.

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?
Nisse: I use pictures from my yearbook when I talk about other people from my class, but if I could I would have drones filming the people in their life right now and I would project the spy footage of them in their present day life while I talked about their 8th grade self.

6. What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to regarding the FRIGID Festival itself?
Nisse: I love festivals! I’m excited to go to others’ shows, but I’m more excited to be an audience member with other people who have shows at the festival. That’s my favorite feeling: being in an audience with analytical eyes.

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?
Nisse: My ending sorta changes every night based on my own reactions to the audience’s reaction, so that is always a fun part. I try to live in the moment at the end and pull us out of the past. It’s exciting and it’s nerve-racking, but most of all it’s fun.

8. What’s your favorite line from the show?
Nisse: “Family is an inherently oppressive structure.”

9. What’s the last thing you usually do before the beginning of a show?
Nisse: I wish I could just talk to people right up until I am on stage performing. I wish I could just start the show in the midst of conversation. Instead I guess I just breathe and stare at the audience a little. Maybe ask them how they are doing?

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?
Nisse: I talk about a lot of people from middle school, but I was very careful to not feel like I’m saying anything I wouldn’t say if they were in the audience. I think I’m fair and honest about others, and try to make sure that I am presenting my perspective of them. But if I saw Jeffery, I’d be happy. The show is really for him and all the Jefferys out there. Jeffery was the guy who was always picked last when we played kickball, and got “kick-me” signs taped to his back. I would love to see him in the audience, but I’d also feel really self-conscious because I would want him to like it so bad.

Well, Nisse, while I can’t guarantee that Jeffery will be there, I’m sure there will be at least one person in your audience who has been picked last, and gotten the equivalent of a “kick-me” sign taped to them.  So, in a way, you’ll have Jeffery there every night!

The rest of you – don’t forget to check out Eighth Grade.



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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