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Help me out here: 10 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2016 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 1, 2016

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

Help me out here graphic

Help me out here

produced by No Dominion Theatre Co.

As one assembles an IKEA chair, another determines the meaning of their existence. Devised from journals, emails, and drunken iPhone notes, Help me out here is written and performed by Michael Joel and Kaitlin Overton.Bring a screwdriver…and a Xanax.

Show  Info:

  • Thu Feb 18, 2016 | 5:30PM
  • Sun Feb 21, 2016 | 5:10PM
  • Wed Feb 24, 2016 | 7:10PM
  • Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 10:30PM
  • Sat Mar 05, 2016 | 12:30PM

UNDER St. Marks New York, NY $13/$18

Answers by Michael Joel and Kaitlin Overton,
(writers, actors, and creators)

1. Forget the PR version. When you’re talking to your friends, how do you explain this show to them?
M&K: Basically Kaitlin is actually putting together an Ikea chair every night on stage, and we both are reading things we have actually written in journals over the past year and a half. That’s the easy answer. However what makes this interesting is the fact that Kaitlin is really not good at putting furniture together at all, so Michael will have to help her on stage, hence…Help me out here. But most importantly Help me out here refers to us trying to work through some feelings and stuff (you know) which again you will be able to see live on stage. It’s just a big ol’ mess happening before your eyes.

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?
M&K: There is a really interesting moment where we use the format of an infomercial. It’s a little jarring and out of place structurally, but fits with the theme perfectly. I hope people like it as much as we do.

3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?
M&K: Theme definitely. The idea for this show started with “What if we just put furniture together on stage?” and when we finished laughing and actually thought about it, and decided that this is what we were going to do. It all spiralled from there. The idea of help, the idea of working through something, the action of constructing things both physically and internally. It all came from one idea, so theme is definitely the driving force in this show.

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?
M&K: We have been telling people outside the process about the concept of the show, and they are really excited about it, which makes us really excited to do it. It’s comforting and exciting when you decide to do something strange and people are already on board.

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?
M&K: Besides an Evian shower in the dressing room and unlimited bottles of very expensive wine at our disposal, we would rent out an airplane hangar, paint it totally white, and buy a different piece of furniture for each member of the audience that they have to put together before the show can start (so we have time to drink the wine and take Evian showers).

6. What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to regarding the FRIGID Festival itself?
M&K: Definitely meeting other artists and seeing their work, but also that we get to perform on the stage with them. We have always been around the downtown off off theatre scene and now we get to be a part of it!

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? That infomercial we were talking about before. It is going to read differently for almost everyone who sees it.
M&K: That infomercial we were talking about before. It is going to read differently for almost everyone who sees it.

8. What’s your favorite line from the show?
Kaitlin: “Can you please come help me build this mother fucking chair” (for obvious reasons)
Michael: “When one door closes, leave it. Look around for a light switch and start getting comfy. There is nothing good on the other side and knowing that has already made you a better person.”

9. What’s the last thing you usually do before the beginning of a show?

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?
M&K: Meryl Streep. I’m surprised she came after that falling out we had in the 80’s.

Well, you may not be on speaking terms with La Streep at the moment, but if you can arrange to get her in on those pre-show Evian showers and unlimited wine you may just have the perfect scenario to patch things up.  I’m rooting for you!

The rest of you – don’t forget to check out Help me out here.


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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