Friday, July 6, 2012

Ante Up for Pokerface, Opening This Weekend at Darkhorse

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Originally produced in Nashville in 1996 under the title Fish or Cut Bait — with direction by Robert Kiefer and co-starring David Alford and Brian Russell — John Holleman's script, now titled Pokerface, has been newly revised. It's a simple superficial setup: Two men are trapped on a desert island. That leads to an exploration of patterns in human nature and social situations common to us all, involving politics, faith, manners, artistic taste, etc.

"This is a script that I've tinkered with for years between writing other scripts," Holleman says. "The current draft reflects workshop influences from the Sewanee Writers Conference in 2009 under the eye of the late playwright Romulus Linney, as well as readings at the Clarence Brown Theater in Knoxville and the Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan. Tinkering is fine, and readings have their value, but nothing compares to a production. Actors applying their energy in rehearsal and then in front of an audience is the only genuine test of a script's value."

Holleman resides in Sewanee now, and it was only a few years ago that he surprised and delighted Nashville audiences with his series of mask theater productions. He returns to the terra firma of Music City, and his production — this time under his own direction — is enacted by Cris Cunningham, a film producer and director from Indiana making his Nashville stage debut; Andrew Gumm, another filmmaker with extensive background in improv comedy; and USN alum Henry Gottfried, currently enrolled at Yale University and boasting experience with Wishing Chair Productions, the Nashville Public Library's renowned puppet theater.

After its two-weekend run at the Darkhorse Theater Thursdays through Saturdays through July 14, Pokerface is slated for three performances in Chicago. The Darkhorse is located at 4610 Charlotte Ave.; tickets are $10. For further information, call 210-0463.

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