Wednesday, July 23, 2014



Pedro De Leon’s Bailey’s Prairie, TX follows Greta Gaines, an interrogation officer right out of the TV series 24, who is trying to get down to the bottom of a human trafficking operation. In this one-and-done scene play, Greta becomes everyone’s badass hero and gets closer than ever to finding a group of girls who are being sexually abused. In a recent talk with the play’s author, Leon said he wanted to write this piece because too many people saw human trafficking as a foreign issue rather than domestic issue, and he wanted to show that these operations can pop up anywhere. But, no matter where the trafficking takes place, awareness needs to be raised, and something needs to be done about it. 

Bailey's Prairie, TX
One of the most interesting and telling lines about Greta’s character is when she says, “My daughter went to school with these girls—and I swear to you, on my momma’s grave that if she’d been one of ‘em girls I’d be the one in chains and not this sorry fuck.” Greta is being very harsh with the man she’s investigating, but she recognizes it would be worse if it were her own daughter. 

What if, let’s just say, hundreds of teenage girls went to a boarding school in upstate New York. And one night, a bunch of men came and forcefully took them all up to Connecticut where they were being sold as slaves for $12.00. And what if you knew exactly who did it? That operation would be shut down in a day, right? Well, that’s exactly what happened in Nigeria a few months ago. You may recall the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, one that started with a explosive fire but soon dwindled down to a trickle of a flame—a phenomenon that seems to be a common theme in this area of the world (Stop Kony 2012 anyone?). We stopped caring, we went back to our normal business, and 200 girls were left hopeless as slaves.

But what if those were our girls? What if they were from upstate New York or a small town in Texas? Would we feel more ownership towards them? Would we give up just as fast? What if those girls were your cousins? Your sisters? Your daughters? Would you even want to go after the perpetrators yourself? Pedro De Leon’s play is a very important piece because it slaps you in the face with an issue we never see as domestic, and makes you imagine it happening in your own town. Maybe it will make a difference in the way we think. And maybe we can still #BringBackOurGirls, even if they aren’t exactly “ours.”

             BAILEY'S PRAIRIE, TX by Pedro De Leon will be presented in the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 2pm at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to #StrawberryOneActFestival #RiantTheatre  #BaileysPrairieTX

           Listen to Kristopher Karcher's interview with Mr. De Leon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dickens and Poe: A Tale of Two Authors

By Kristopher Karcher

     Fourth of July is different for everyone. For me, it's always been a family affair. It gets a bit harder each year for us all to come together, but I have fond memories of many past independence days. I would usually spend some time at the community pool, then head over to my grandparent's house for dinner and fireworks. While burnt charcoal wafted through the air mixing with marinated steaks, burgers, and hot dogs, my cousins and I would wait patiently playing card games, jumping in the bay, or, as everyone got older, enjoying happy hour. But amongst all the Jell-O shots and red, white, and blue streamers, it is imperative that we as citizens of the United States remember why we celebrate this beautiful day of freedom. Because on July 4, 1776, a bunch of sweaty guys hunched up in a small building in Philadelphia signed a Declaration that they were tired of the Brit’s taxes and wanted to be their own country, with their own taxation system to fight over for the next couple hundred years.

Philadelphia, my home city, is now considered one of THE historical centers for early America. Here’s a few fun facts about my beautiful home city of brotherly love (with their citations of course):

1.       The Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in all of major league baseball, unless of course, they’re losing (my father).
2.       Will Smith is from Philly… which is like… a total win (IMDB)
3.       You haven’t had a real cheesesteak until you’ve had one made in Philly (literally everyone).



Here’s another interesting fact about historic Philadelphia.  In 1842, two incredible authors met in the city for a chat, but mysteriously, no one knows what they talked about or what came of it. The authors in question were Mr. Charles Dickens and Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. So of course how could a writer come across this story without wanting to write his own version of their conversation? Playwright Mike Perrie surely couldn’t resist. His play The Raven Doesn’t Talk, part of this year’s Strawberry Theatre Festival, features the two writers at a pub on that fateful day in 1842. Mr. Perrie navigates their relationship through clever dialogue and gives a few ideas as to why no one knows what happened, such as:

1.       Why did they never speak of their meeting?
2.       Is it possibly something spooked them? Something perhaps paranormal? and
3.       Did the meeting spark an idea for their next book?

The Raven Doesn’t Talk is a great play for any literary fans, anyone interested in historical fiction, or (as with the rest of the plays in the Strawberry Theatre and One Act Festival) just anyone who enjoys good theatre. Be sure to check it out it will be performed on Sunday, August 24, 2013 at 7:30pm and Monday, August 25th at 8pm at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to

What do you do each Fourth of July?
What two authors would you love to explore a conversation between? What would they say? Comment and Tweet us @RiantTheatre

      Listen to the interview with playwright Michael Perrie, Jr.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

And Baby Makes Three: Breaking The Stigma of Tourettes and other Mental Disabilities

By Kristopher Karcher


     And Baby Makes Three, a play by Rick Charles Mueller, deals with a brilliant young boy with a lot holding him back. Zachary has Tourettes. And although he’s a 16 year old student at Columbia University, his disorder has certainly been a setback. Zachary has trouble with social interaction and especially with relating to people his own age. Mueller, in his brilliant new play, tries to break the stigma of Tourettes and other mental disabilities, but has also identified why there is such a stigma. People like Zachary are different. And kids don’t like people who are different. They either feel uncomfortable around them or worse, exploit them. This doesn’t make social interaction or making friends easy for anyone.

     As a writer, I find it is important to be honest with my readers, so to put it shortly: I was also a “different kid.” Around age seven I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an anxiety disorder that eschews messages in the brain and, on the most basic level, makes you worry. These “worries” can usually only be conquered through “rituals.” Normal rituals include counting to certain numbers, walking a certain way, or excessive cleanliness. OCD affects about 1% of the population, but some cases are more severe than others. Unfortunately, mine was pretty severe, which made me stick out like a sore thumb. Whether I was holding in saliva (I thought it was poisonous), not eating my lunch (also poisonous), or wearing the same outfit everyday (you guessed it, I thought most of myclothes were contaminated), I wasn’t normal.
Rick Charles Mueller

      Though our mental disorders are quite different, I relate heavily with Zachary. We both had to go through it alone on the friendship front because no one seemed to want to hang around us. Luckily, for both of us, we had incredibly supportive parents, and they helped us get through the tough times and we both came out as highly functional human beings. (Well Zachary is highly functional; most of my life at college is binge watching Netflix.) Zachary’s tale is a tale of overcoming his disorder while being constantly reminded how different he is. And that kind of stuff takes its toll. Luckily, he, as did I, overcame both obstacles and became mature adults because of it.

     Listen to Kristopher's interview with Rick Charles Mueller, playwright of AND BABY MAKES THREE, which will be performed in the Riant's Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 3pm at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to
#StrawberryOneActFestival  #RiantTheatre  #AndBabyMakesThree  #Tourettes  #OvercomingTourettesStigma