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The Extraordinary Fall of the Four-Legged Woman: 10 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2016 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 11, 2016

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


The Extraordinary Fall of the Four-Legged Woman

produced by Flights of Fantasy East

Step right up and witness a fantastical circus sideshow! In the dusty desert of Arizona, Myrtle Corbin, The Four-Legged Woman, meets her match. This experimental musical reveals the wonders of performing and navigates what it means to be “other.”

Show  Info:

  • Thu Feb 18, 2016 | 7:10PM
  • Sat Feb 20, 2016 | 6:40PM
  • Mon Feb 22, 2016 | 8:50PM
  • Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 1:40PM
  • Wed Mar 02, 2016 | 8:50PM

Kraine Theater New York, NY $10/$12

Answers by Madeline Wall (Director)
Lily Ali-Oshatz (Book, Music, and Lyrics)

1. Forget the PR version. When you’re talking to your friends, how do you explain this show to them?
Maddie: I have always wanted to direct a project about different kinds of bodies, and this show really hits all the bases. It’s my favorite thing.
Lily: It’s the love story of Myrtle Corbin, the one and only four-legged woman, so it’s bound to be different, weird, and extraordinary!

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?
Maddie: Honestly, I hope they’re talking about the sweeter moments. It’s a very dark show, but there’s also a lot of joy and I hope that people leave remembering the beautiful parts. Also the music. I know that’s what will be with people after they’ve left.
Lily: I want people to be questioning how they view bodies, in terms of race, gender, and size. This show is all about the performance and presentation of identities. I hope that people are forced to think more deeply about how these identities intersect, both for the characters and for themselves. Oswald’s final scene with Myrtle really encapsulates this idea.

3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?
Maddie: Character. But maybe theme. Dammit, Lily! The characters are so influenced by the actors. But if we had to do this with a whole different cast, the show would still be about love and bodies.
Lily: Definitely character. We had a very extensive casting process and I did a lot of rewrites once we found our troupe of actors.

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?
Maddie: One of the panelists at Musical Theatre Factory in New York when we workshopped there last October said that the work of the team was “like honey, complex and sweet.” I love that this show is a challenge because of the way it’s written as well as the subject matter. It’s about something very complicated.
Lily: People leave remembering the music which is so crazy to me because it’s an a cappella musical! For a long time I was afraid that everyone would hate that it doesn’t use any instruments besides voices, but I felt very encouraged after the Musical Theatre Factory workshop because everyone was really onboard.

5. If money and resources (and even reality) were no object what is the most lavish, c1rcu5luxurious, pointless prop, costume, effect – anything – that you would spend money on for this show?
Maddie: Ugh. Well I went to school for film so even when I’m blocking for a black box theatre, I’m visualizing a three ring circus in the desert of Arizona. I think one of the key elements of the show is actually the large setting. The cast should be able to hear coyotes howling in the distance. So yes. I guess coyotes.
Lily: A real circus tent and midway!!! And a rotating stage because we have a whole onstage/offstage element to the blocking. And smell-o-vision! The audience should smell the “air heavy with carmel treats” that the ringmaster sings about.

6. What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to regarding the FRIGID Festival itself (seeing other shows?  meeting other folks)?
Maddie: All of the above! I’m just so excited that I’m getting to do exactly what I want. The fact that I’m in New York making theatre is such a crazy reality. It feels like I’ve won something.
Lily: The glass of wine after we open. No! Kidding. I want to hear from everyone about how this show affects them. We are definitely using this as a learning opportunity. And I’m very excited to meet the other artists at the festival and see how they’re using their experience at Frigid.

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?
Maddie: OH YEAH. Let’s just say it’s the fall of the “Four-Legged” woman.
Lily: For sure. The legs. That moment can go so many ways.

8. What’s your favorite line from the show?
Maddie: I just love all of them so much! When Myrtle and the whole cast sing about being “Born as someone special.”
Lily: “The light was dark one night in Arizona. The brittle stardust sunk down low.” Those are the first lyrics I wrote for the show and it all springs from that first moment of stillness.

9. What’s the last thing you usually do before the beginning of a show?
Maddie: I get really calm because it’s out of my hands at that point.
Lily: I look at the cast, smile and play the first pitch.

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?
Maddie: Zefferelli, because he never responded to my emails.
Lily: Oskar Eustis? Artistic Director of The Public?! Why yes, I am surprised that you and your team would like to bring Extraordinary Fall to the Public. No no, drinks tonight would be fine.

Maddie, Lily, you may not have smell-o-vision in your show but this interview made me smell the midway! I can already feel the vibe of the show – sounds like this is something that would make Franco Zeffirelli and Oskar Eustis crave the front row seat of the center ring!

Thanks for answering our questions, Maddie and Lily!

The rest of you – don’t forget to check out The Extraordinary Fall of the Four-Legged Woman.


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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