2015

Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit

Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit Poster

Written by Lillian Smith / adapted and directed by Thom Fogarty

Produced in collaboration with Piedmont College / Featuring students from Piedmont College

October 1-4, 2015  / Swanson Center Mainstage, Piedmont College, GA

A note from Thom:

Many of you know that I have been working on this for the past five years.  If you click on the link below you can see the history of not only this piece but of my involvement with resurrecting, adapting and now directing the first production in 70 years!  The article goes into the trials and tribulations Lillian Smith went through in bringing her novel STRANGE FRUIT to the stage.  She was not happy with the experience and when it closed, much earlier than expected in 1946, she stipulated that it was never to be done again. However some sleuthing changed all that and I am currently at Piedmont College, where for the next 6 weeks I will be rehearsing a cast of 17, with a full choir, for performances October 1-4, 2015.  I am thrilled to have been a part of this exciting process and getting this vital piece of American theatre back stages – where it should have been all along.  We will keep you updated on the process and progress of this revival and thank you for all you kind support .

Thom Fogarty

Artistic Director 


2014

Lancelot

Written by Steven Fechter / Directed by Thom Fogarty

With Stephen James AnthonyLulu Fogarty, Romy Nordlinger and Grant Riordon. Meet the cast here!

August 13-29, 2014 / The GYM at Judson, NYC

Ryan is a quiet young man who has a good job, a steady girlfriend, and a nice, normal life in Oklahoma – that is, until Ginger arrives. With Ginger come memories of a wanton and wildly creative boy Ryan thought he had buried ten years ago. But can anyone kill the part of themselves that is most madly alive? Ryan will soon find out.

Being a man in Oklahoma is the loneliest fate in the world.


The Carole Bayer Sager Project: Album One

Created and directed by Thom Fogarty for 360repco / Musical direction by Michael Conley

With Crystal Rona Peterson, with Jenny Selig and Micah Bucey as "The Carolettes"Friday,

Jan. 17, 2014, 8:00pm / The Loft @ Judson Memorial Church, New York, NY
Saturday, Jan 18, 2014 7:00pm / The Duplex, New York, NY

Between 1977 and 1981, the iconic Carole Bayer Sager released three albums of collaborations with Peter Allen, Melissa Manchester, Bette Midler, Marvin Hamlisch and many others. This performance is a loving recreation of the 10 perfect pop songs included on her first album, "Carole Bayer Sager" (1977).


2013

                                

Lillian Smith: Being Heard

Created and performed by Lulu Fogarty / Directed by Thom Fogarty

With special appearance by Lorna Hampson

Set and lighting by Bill Stabile / Music by “Blue” Gene Tyranny / Video by Anja Hitzenberger

November 7-16, 2013 @ 7 / The Loft @ Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC

In LILLIAN SMITH BEING HEARD, Lulu Fogarty explores the intersection of her life growing up in America today with that of Lillian Smith’s.  Lillian Smith (1897-1966) was a white Southern liberal, unafraid to criticize segregation at a time when such actions almost guaranteed ostracism.  Lillian Smith devoted her writing career to fighting against racism, segregation, and sexism in America. Lulu Fogarty tells of this brave woman’s life-long struggle to be heard, in her own words and on her own terms.

“I believe future generations will think of our times as the age of wholeness: when the walls began to fall; when the fragments began to be related to each other...” 

- Lillian Smith, The Journey

LILLIAN SMITH BEING HEARD asks the audience to consider who they choose to segregate themselves from. And why.  In a post 9/11 America where immigration, gay rights, gun control and Homeland Security occupy the headlines, who are we really afraid of?  It concludes that while we have come a long way toward creating a world of acceptance, there is still a long way to go.

Learn more at www.lilliansmithbeingheardplay.com.


                                         

A Tavola: A Performance

Written and performed by Elke Solomon / Directed by Thom Fogarty

Presented by Judson Church and Magic Time!

October 23, 2013 at 7PM / Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC

A TAVOLA: A PERFORMANCE was conceived to explore the multiplicity of everyday transactions which occur around the dining table - private, social, economic and cultural.  With the A Tavola (to the table) series, Elke Solomon continues to pursue her interest in the intersection of the cultures of food and art.  Her first endeavor with this issue resulted in A TAVOLA: AN INSTALLATION, where the gallery space was transformed into the familiar domestic space of a full scale hall and dining room.  It functioned as both real and imagined place.  The installation was dressed in a variety of crafted objects that she made including furniture, chandeliers, wallpaper, tablecloths, and additionally a collection of food related pictures and literature.  The crafted objects, “mashed up” with ready-mades creates a context for the exchange and manipulation of meaning, inviting the participant to make the habitual strange.  In A TAVOLA: A PERFORMANCE, Elke Solomon invites us into her personal space to continue the conversation about the history, culture and production of food. The work explores the parallels in the development of the discipline of food history and of her journey as an artist.  Of particular interest has been the modern advent of globalization and the rise of “fusion” food.  We can get anything we want anytime we want - divorcing food from not only place, but climate and time.  The comparisons between the food world connoisseurship and art connoisseurship are both striking and disturbing - and in the end have provided Ms. Solomon with much food for thought.

“Am I making food or am I making art?”

A TAVOLA: A PERFORMANCE continues a relationship between Elke Solomon and Thom Fogarty that began in the early 80’s, when they performed their legendary performance piece, TUNA FISH TALES at venues like the Mudd Club.


2012

                                              

The Mentee

Written by Steven Fechter / Designed + Directed by Thom Fogarty

With Walter Bandes, Lulu Fogarty and Chrisine Verleny

Music by Francesca Beghe / Artwork by Mark DeMaio

October 17th - 28th , 2012 / The Bridge Theater @ Shelter Studios, 244 W. 54th Street, NYC

In THE MENTEE a storm rages. A stranger arrives. A lonely widow and her teen-aged daughter let him in. The stranger makes disturbing claims: that the widow’s husband was his teacher; that he knows the widow well; that the daughter looks nothing like her father. The widow wants him to leave. The daughter wants him to stay. Lies are told, secrets are revealed: a mysterious death, a traumatic birth, a haunted room, and illicit sex. The stranger remains, dreaming of the future. He’s on a mission. He’s the mentee.

What does my body sound like, Chet? Does it hum? Or does it whistle?

THE MENTEE continues Steven Fechter and director Thom Forgarty’s shared exploration of powerful female characters and the enduring artistic soul.


                                                       

The Artifacts

Written by Steven Fechter / Designed and Directed by Thom Fogarty

With Armand Anthony, Lulu Fogarty, Caitlin McMahon and Amy Newhall

April  18th - 29th, 2012 / The Bridge Theater @ Shelter Studios, 244 W. 54th Street, NYC

This was the WORLD PREMIERE of this exciting new work by the author of THE WOODSMAN.

In THE ARTIFACTS, two great divas of modern drama, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Stringberg’s Miss Julie, form an uneasy relationship in search of sisterly companionship. Their target is a dedicated young graduate student of theatre in a modern American liberal arts college.  

The play to celebrates the enduring power, beauty, tragedy, and danger of great dramatic art, which Hedda and Julie represent. It is a darkly comic satire of foolish academic mentors who prey upon vulnerable young students.


                                               

Ten Tall Tales About the Men that I Love

Adapted, Designed + Directed by Thom Fogarty

With Armand Anthony, Micah Bucey, Quincy Ellis, Ken Kidd, Jeff McMahon, Christopher Michael  McLamb, Aidan O’Shea, Adam Patterson, Carlton Tanis and Dustye Winniford

Based on the short stories of Ronn Smith / Lighting design by Bill Stabile

February 24-25 @ 7pm / Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC

This ‘walkabout’ production, based on Ronn Smith’s short story collection and Thom Fogarty's reimagining for the stage, is a series of 10 overlapping scenes for 10 characters, living in the time of AIDS, dealing with love, loss, and the meaning of life.


2011

                                              

Lillian Smith: Being Heard

Created and performed by Lulu Fogarty / Directed by Thom Fogarty

With special appearance by Lorna Hampson

Music by “Blue” Gene Tyranny / Video by Anja Hitzenberger

October 5, 2011 / LAB @ Syracuse Stage, Syracuse, NY

October 30, 2011 / United Solo Festival @Theatre Row, NYC

This piece was originally produced by Thom Fogarty and Extra Pulp Ensemble for Dixon Place’s Experimental Theatre, NYC.

This production has been created using the works of Lillian Smith, as cited.  Whenever Lillian Smith is speaking – those words are hers. Other factual information is presented through the voice of “Paula”.
In October 2011, Lulu performed the piece back at Syracuse U. where the piece began, and in the United Solo Festival.

Lulu Fogarty has indeed “heard” Lillian Smith, and she has heard her in sensitive and significant ways.

She has not tried to imitate, replicate, or literally translate Lillian Smith.  Instead she has let the vision, beliefs, humanity of the person move through her own sensibility and intelligence.  In short, Fogarty’s work is not a strict biographical report, it is her response to a life that continues to leave message and meaning for us all.  

Lulu Fogarty has spent time at the Lillian E. Smith Center, the site of the author’s home and her writing place.  We have been moved and highly appreciative of Lulu’s talent and of her work.  We are delighted that Lillian Smith: Being Heard will be passed on to others in futures venues.    

- Nancy Smith Fichter / President, LES Foundation / Co-Director, LES Center

Learn more at www.lilliansmithbeingheardplay.com.


                                                       

Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief

Written by Paula Vogel / Directed and Designed by Thom Fogarty

With Lulu Fogarty, Colista K. Turner and Christine Verleny

September 21 - October 2, 2011 / The Bridge Theater @ Shelter Studios, 244 W. 54th Street, NYC

Music by Handel


Eurydice

Written by Sarah Ruhl / Directed and designed by Thom Fogarty

With Quincy Ellis, Lulu Fogarty, Caitlin McMahon, Aidan O'Shea, Adam Patterson, Patrick Ellison Shea and Joe Tannenbaun

Music by Jim Campilongo

January 27 - February 6, 2014 / The Bridge Theater @ Shelter Studios, 244 W. 54th Street, NYC

Thoughts EURYDICE from Artistic Director, Thom Fogarty:

This was absolutely the high point thus far in my professional career.  It was akin to a 'perfect storm' of talent and artistry.  The actors, the script, the space, the audience, all conspired to make this a truly touching and exhilirating experience.  The brilliantly conceived retelling of this myth by Sarah Ruhl, taught me a very valuable lesson - when in doubt look at the words on the page.  She so clearly and succinctly defined the world she wanted us to inhabit that you couldn't help but be drawn to it.  

The chance to continue to work with my daughter, Lulu Fogarty, had inspired me beyond what I could ever have dreamed of.  To be able to still go to the 'playground' with your child is something I will always be grateful for.  

The fact that so many people loved our little modest production, hearing from numerous people who had seen the gorgeous main stage NYC production at Second Stage, that they preferred our little jewel box production was more than gratifying.  It was, for me, about giving the magic back to the audience, letting them be part of the journey and the story we were telling, and not just stunning spectacle.  We proved that you can be elegant and moving in a black box with just the imaginations of all who have come together in that moment to share in the experience.  

This is what live theatre does, and it renewed my faith in all that I do.

A heartfelt thanks to the actors and the audience for getting me to such a high plateau from which I must continue to strive to reach.  I hope to be able to share this production in other spaces, in other places and with other people - actors and audiences - who want something a little more in their time spent out there in the dark than just spectacle.

 

Now that you've studied up on what we've done, check out what's next!