Drama Talk & Drinks: A well, a swimming pool and a chicken coop

Here’s another experiential theater piece that I wish I could go to with Katie & Brittany. It’s one night only, this Saturday, so they did a pre-interview with the producer:

When Brittany and I saw the announcement for PianoFight’s production of Roughin’ It III: Theater. On. The. Rocks that is being performed in a “forest setting where audiences, who are encouraged to pack a picnic and BYO-Libations, will enjoy fresh BBQ, cold beer and award-winning theater, comedy, music and dance while being taken on a journey into the woods and beyond” we were more than intrigued. Since it’s one night only we wanted to get the DL from the show’s producer Emma Rose Shelton before we attended to get a feel for what we are getting ourselves into.

Katie: So this show is made up of many pieces, how was that process?

Emma: We reached out beyond the San Francisco community and got a ton of submissions, close to 100 submissions from all over the US. It was crazy. Way more than we had anticipated. We read a bunch of scripts. We gave everyone specifications of what the property had – there’s a well, a swimming pool, and a chicken coop – these are things you can use to your advantage and please do. And so writers were able to tailor pieces to that.

K: Can you sum up the experience for us?

E: This year we have 8 pieces in the show. We take you around the property where we have all these short plays in site specific locations. Its a really, really good time and a very different experience than being in a black box in San Francisco. It has had its challenges and its benefits but its one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had at this theatre company thus far. One of my favorites.

Brittany: Are most of the plays comedies or is it a mixed bag?

E: Definitely a mixed bag. This year happens to have 3 movement based pieces and some dance which we’ve had a little bit in years past but not as much as this year. In general PianoFight is known for our sketch comedy since we have the two groups Mission Control and Chardonnay that produce shows on a regular basis. We have a piece in the show by Chardonnay, so there are some strong comedic pieces but definitely a mixed bag.

K: How long is the show?

E: It will be about 2 hours and sometimes it runs a bit over. Each piece ranges from 3-15 minutes, there’s a pretty wide range.

B: Anything special people need to know?

E: Definitely wear layers and shoes you can walk in. And be prepared to move around a little bit more than years past, but other than that we aren’t asking people to take a serious hike into the wilderness but we will have people walk around the property a little bit and up a little hill, experiencing different terrains.

K: How many people will you be expecting?

E: 200 people is our cap, any more than that and it’s challenging to hear [the actors], but when you are outdoors it really doesn’t feel like that many people. It’s an adventure. The shuttle to the venue is also part of the adventure. We can fit 49 and it gives people a time to connect and bond and have a whole added experience.

B: Do the pieces kind of lead into each other, or is it more like a piece ends and we move on to another?

E: There will be guides this year and there may be some transitions that lead into each other but it mostly it will be that a piece will end and a guide will show you to the next piece. There isn’t a storyline for the whole show, each piece is different.

B: When should people arrive?

E: We encourage everyone to come early and picnic. The doors open at 5pm. We will have a solid BBQ option so if you wanted to eat a full dinner you will be able to.

B: Why should people go? What makes this unique?

E: I think PianoFight in general tends not to attract your typical theater going audience and this show is very much an extension of that. It takes you out of San Francisco and into an environment that is completely different from what you are used to and you can still see work that is timely and relevant. The majority of the pieces were written by people under 30 about current, relatable topics.

K: Why only one night?

E: It makes it that much more more special.


Interested? You can check out Roughin’ It III: Theater. On. The. Rocks. Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at the Paradise Healing Center, located at 9 Alamo Way, Lagunitas, CA 94938.

Shuttles for PianoFight’s Roughin’ It III depart 4pm at 54 Mint Plaza in downtown San Francisco for the 6:00pm show time. There are half price tickets available on Goldstar which will surely go quickly. Once they do, you can purchase tickets at pianofight.com that start at $50 GA and $70 GA w/ Shuttle Ride. (NOTE: Shuttle Rides are 21-and-over with valid ID).

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