BACKERS AUDITION: NEW YORK’S NEWEST ART FORM SHOWCASED ON BROADWAY
True Story to be joined by musicians from THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL and PIMPS OF JOYTIME with live-art painting by OCEAN CLARK
NEW YORK, NY—True Story Project will perform a showcase of its groundbreaking play “The Mammal Problem” at The Theater Center on Broadway, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. The performance art group blends nonfiction storytelling with live, original music, often incorporating interpretive dance and live-art painting to create a unique collaboration of the arts.
The group is led by writer-storyteller Eric Valentine and singer-songwriter Laio. The duo wrote the script and the music for the play, respectively. Both direct and perform. What makes the collaboration especially unique is that Valentine and Laio create their respective works separately, pairing story and song together when themes and emotion match.
Annie Bulow is the group’s actor. She is a graduate of the Michael Howard Studio, an acting conservatory based in New York, and holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Boise State University, where she teaches acting for Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Bassist and synth player David Bailis—from the popular Brooklyn-based, electro-funk band Pimps of Joytime—will join Juilliard musicians Chelsea Starbuck Smith (violin) of Les Deux and Adam Rothenberg (piano) for the showcase. Renowned world-percussionist Jimmy Lopez, who has performed with artists such as Gypsy Kings and Better Than Ezra, will round out the music ensemble.
WHAT’S THE ‘PROBLEM’?
The play recounts 10 true stories covering the last 20 years of the main character’s life—two decades removed from the death of his wife, Lisa (played by Bulow), who succumbed to bone cancer at just 23. Valentine’s stories are paired with songs written independently by Laio but matching in emotion and theme. Bulow introduces each story through monologues and asides, which are also accompanied by music.
“The Mammal Problem” is the name of a theory developed by Valentine—who holds both a psychology and philosophy degree from UCLA—explaining human suffering in general, but more specifically how our species forms ideas about life’s meaning, suffering and God.
The tagline for the play is: A deceased bride watches her husband live the last 20 years of his life.