Ten Questions. Ten Answers. And one Big Surprise in the audience …
produced by: Diana Brown Production Company
HBO’s Going Clear meets Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in this one-woman comedy that takes you along for the ride as main character, Diana, gets into and out of a cult. Based on a true story, Diana’s family does everything they can to rescue her as the cult holds firm control.
- Tue Feb 16, 2016 | 7:10PM
- Sat Feb 20, 2016 | 8:20PM
- Wed Feb 24, 2016 | 5:30PM
- Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 3:20PM
- Sat Mar 05, 2016 | 1:40PM
Kraine Theater New York, NY $12/17
Answers by Diana Brown
(playwright, producer, actor)
1. Forget the PR version. When you’re talking to your friends, how do you explain this show to them?
Diana: This show is how I’m making lemonade out of lemons. I was in a cult, it was very bad, it affected my life in irreversible ways. So instead of trying to reverse the damage, I’m trying to move forward and champion it. The show itself takes you along for the ride as my character, a younger version of myself, gets into and out of a cult. There’s brainwashing, there’s an intervention, there’s rapping about doomsday…it’s fun for the whole family! It’s also about family and friendship. My family are the ones who dropped EVERYTHING to rescue me from the cult. This is a one-woman show, I play all the parts.
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?
Diana: I hope they’re discussing which jokes they laughed the hardest at! I hope it comes across that my family saved me from what could have been a very tragic story. Bottom line: Blood is thicker than Kool-Aid.
3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?
Diana: My character is the eternal optimist. She never gives up, even when she should, and her desperation to avoid the failure of her Zumba business leads to her becoming friends with some girls who claim to be helping, but are really recruiting her into a cult. My dad, the other central character, stops at nothing to rescue me from the cult. His motivation is that his oldest (and favorite) kid is being taken from him and he could possibly never see her again.
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?
Diana: “That’s exactly like what I/my relative/my friend was in, and I’m so glad you have the courage to tell people about it” Sometimes people don’t want to admit they were in a cult for fear that people will blame the victim, ie. “well why did you join a cult in the first place?” Nobody joins a cult. My experience has been that most people hear a cult story and are generally understanding, even if it’s the first time they’re learning about cults, it’s easy to understand how mind control works and that it can happen to anyone. Often times after performances people run up to me and say “is this a cult?” “is that a cult?” “etc happened to my cousin, is my cousin in a cult?” I direct those people to my website www.soamazingshow.com where there are tons of resources for how to deal with a cult.
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?
Diana: While I was in the cult, one of the other members told me that the leader didn’t die, he disintegrated into thin air. I’d like to have a special effect where I can illustrate that. Maybe a hologram or something.
6. What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to regarding the FRIGID Festival itself?
Diana: I’m very excited to meet the other participants! I love meeting people who are doing the same things that I’m doing, career-wise.
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?
Diana: There is one joke that gets the biggest laugh every time without fail, but if the audience is full of kids it will go right over their heads. There are also times in the show when characters that are cult members over-emphasize their words when they are doing things like committing fraud, blackmail, using loaded language, etc. That always gets a reaction, sometimes it’s a laugh, other times it’s a verbal reaction like they’re watching a horror movie “no don’t go in the basement!”
8. What’s your favorite line from the show?
Diana: Cult member: “Do you ever read the bible?” Me: “Oh no, I’m Catholic”
9. What’s the last thing you usually do before the beginning of a show?
Diana: Ask the stage manager if he’s got everything, knowing full well he is winging this, and then give him a big kiss! lol The stage manager is my boyfriend, Aaron Fragnito, real estate investor and CEO of People’s Capital Group. I provided him with a copy of the script with big colorful stars on each cue that says “click powerpoint” “phone ringing sound effect” “throw water in my face”, he just follows along. In earlier incarnations of the show I would make changes to his script and then just hand it to him right before I’m about to start. He has no experience as a stage manager but he’s so down for anything I ask him to do. I could just go on and on about how wonderful he is but…I’ll spare you. #gagmewithaspoon Luckily for him, for the FRIGID festival I have a professional team helping me so he doesn’t have to panic every time the curtain goes up.
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?
Diana: The real life girl who the character Serena is based on. She was my handler in the cult. She is still in the cult. If she came to my show, that would mean that she has left the cult or is considering leaving it. In cults, you’re not allowed to view any publication or production that is anti-cult. They control all information consumption and members are even encouraged to stay away from the internet. There won’t be any current cult members in the audience of my show because they would never allow current members to poison their minds with the reality that they are in a cult. But if I saw “Serena” or any of my friends from the cult in the audience, I would be overjoyed. I would love to see them again, I would love them to finally get to experience the amazing feeling of freedom.
Wow, Diana! I hope that your audience is FULL of ex-cult members, and that you all get to celebrate getting to the other side.
The rest of you – don’t forget to check out So Amazing.
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 http://www.horsetrade.