Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hidden Gems in "Repulsing the Monkey" Set

If you saw Repulsing the Monkey, you caught a great script, acted by fantastic actors, and set in a cool old bar. But did you also see some of the Easter Eggs we placed on the set? Check out these photos and see how many you caught...
Uncle Mike (left) and Dad.
Remember when Danny says, "I had an uncle who had his heart opened up..."? Well, we chose playwright Michael Eichler to play that part. He doesn't appear in the play but, if you had your eyes open, you saw this photo behind the bar.
Mom and Dad.
Speaking of Dad, Director Kevin Six cast himself as Danny and Janey's father. Playing the part of Mom, and seen here in a photo that we placed in the "Family Circle" (the mirror on the right side of the set), is Tiffany Tang. Tiffany played Janey on the original reading so we decided to honor her in this "old photo of Mom and Dad". Oddly, the photo was taken at the Big Kitchen, another place where site-specific theatre has been done by members of this company.

Janey (Laura Bohlin) at her First Communion

Janey and Danny talk about Mom and Dad putting their First Communion pictures up in the bar and we had one of those too. This is Laura Bohlin's actual First Communion picture. Isn't she cute? We wanted to use everyone's First Communion photo as their headshots in the program but not everyone was raised Catholic...
Jewell and her cousin, not Danny and Janey.
At the end of the play, Danny hands a framed photo to Janey. It's meant to be a sentimental gesture between brother and sister. The only problem is we didn't have pictures of Steve Smith and Laura Bohlin from their childhood. This is because they grew up in separate cities and aren't even brother and sister. So we used this rather darling photo of Jewell at a wedding instead.

We also wanted the Kensington Club to look more like Jablonski's, with more references to Pittsburgh. To that end, designer Christina Johns recreated old Imperial Whiskey and Iron City Beer ads. Not only that, but she recreated the labels for the prop bottles the actors used.

Christina also talked the Southside Chamber of Commerce to send along the Duquesne and Pirates banners. Pretty cool, eh?

The great Roberto.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Roberto Clemente was a Major League Baseball right fielder who played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972. Danny looks right at this photo, placed on the mirror, when he asks the Bonus Points question.

We hope you enjoyed this walk down Manufactured Memory Lane.  Thank yins for coming to the play and we hope to see you at another one real soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why Repulsing the Monkey?

Michel Eichler calls his new play "Repulsing the Monkey" but why?

Repulsing the Monkey is a Tai Chi maneuver. Formally called Step Back and Repulse Monkey, it has been elegantly explained, on www.taichido.com: "The posture implies the gentle application of energy. Success lies in retreating because you refuse to use strength against strength. Retreat and then wait for the right time to counter-attack."

To find out who's Repulsing the Monkey in a shot-and-beer bar in Pittsburgh, and why, you'll just have to see the show... Tickets are moving well but still available at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2002157.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Familiar Faces

Repulsing the Monkey director Kevin Six tells us why he uses certain actors -- a lot.

Kevin Six and Jewell Karinen in the Coffee Shop Chronicles.
I don't think you'll ever hear a director or a producer tell you they had trouble casting a show before it opens. But every director of every production has trouble casting. This is because, as many directors have stated; directing a production is made considerably easier with a good cast.

You hear all the great stories after the show closes and the director and producer look brilliant for having cast a certain actor. But, trust me; they struggled with every casting decision. Any director or producer is going to go a little mad until the cast is just right.

Steve Smith and Laura Bohlin in Simply Sci-Fi.
This is why I have come up with a go-to list.  It's not in writing, there is no actual list, but when I read a play, certain faces and voices take over. When I look to cast, I remember those voices and the good times I've had on stage or giving direction.

With Repulsing the Monkey, we got exactly everyone we wanted for the staged reading. The cast of the full production is not that cast. But -- and this is why I think Theatre is my actual religion -- miracles happened in casting and we got people who are good at what they do, bring tons of experience and talent, and are fun to work with.

Joshua Jones in Calendar Girls.
To me, the most important part is the fun. At a certain level, everyone has talent. When it comes right down to it, I am going to cast the person I know well over the person I don't. This is because I know what their habits are, how they approach a part, and how fun it is to work with them.

Do I get casts full of these familiar faces? No. I've worked with everyone in the cast but some only once. The thing is, if you get a critical mass of good, fun people, your show is going to be better. Better than any show where people had to "make it through" to performance.

For the non theatrical reader, opening night is the time when the director and actors part ways. No more direction, no more notes, no more anything. The director has just got to hope that he/she imparted enough of his/her vision on the cast and that the momentum generated carries the show forward. The Repulsing the Monkey cast is a momentum machine!

Kevin Six and Tyler C. Jiles
I have been lucky enough to cast people I trust in every role; people I have worked with in every role; people you will like (or hate depending on the demands of the part) in every role. I resisted the urge to audition people -- especially because we loved the cast so well after the reading that we offered them first right of refusal.

But who are they? Oh, yes. The cast of Repulsing the Monkey:

Danny the native Pittsburgher -- Steve Smith
Janey his sister -- Laura Bohlin
Dylan the native Californian -- Joshua Jones
Kylie, native Californian Yoga instructor -- Maelyn Gandola
Ethan the native New Yorker -- Tyler C. Jiles
Sophia the uptight native New Yorker -- Jewell Karinen

Repulsing the Monkey, by Michael Eichler, will be performed at the Kensington Club at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays from August 25-September 3, 2015. For tickets visit 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Repulsing the Monkey on Brown Paper Tickets

There is movement on the ticketing front. Brown Paper Tickets is handling the Box Office for Repulsing the Monkey and sales are brisk. With only 76 tickets per performance -- and only six performances...

You get the picture. Click the photo on the left or the link below to get your Repulsing the Monkey tickets. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2002157

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Repulsing the Monkey - Save the Dates

Repulsing the Monkey is officially in production! We've got the venue and we're putting a dynamite cast together We're releasing tickets in steps for this site-specific event so you need to save these dates:
  • July 18, 2015: Co-Producer Tickets available
    • Six Reserved (booth), discounted ($15) seats and Co-Producer Credit
  • July 20, 2015: General Admission Tickets ($20, unreserved) available
  • August 25: Opening Night
  • August 26: Performance
  • August 27: Performance
  • September 1: Performance
  • September 2: Performance
  • September 3: Closing Night

Friday, June 12, 2015


Sometimes when you are developing a play you can't wait to see a production of it. You hear it read by an excellent cast and you have to have more. You imagine the set, the music, and the movement. When REPULSING THE MONKEY was read, there was already a commitment in Pittsburgh to have it performed there this Fall. But what about San Diego? The response was so positive we have decided not to wait for a theatre partner. We will be producing it ourselves. We hope to have you all involved in this because it will take a team effort to make it happen. So you too can be a co- producer. Much, much more to follow. Check back and follow THE MONKEY!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


REPULSING THE MONKEY had a house reading on May 31 and those in attendance showed lots of love for the quirky little play and its' excellent cast. Michael Eichler's play centers on a brother and sister who inherit a bar in a working class neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Two couples, one from LA and one from New York are looking to reestablish themselves in Pittsburgh. The bar is put up for sale and the out of town couples compete to purchase it. Under Kevin Six's direction, the audiance reported praise for the diologue, the characters, the plot twist and the music. The play is based on the real situation of 20- somethings with money moving to Rust Belt cities and changing the neighborhoods. Hats off to Steve Smith, Tiffany Tang, Josh Jones, Maelyn Gandola, Ben Shaffer, and Jewell Karinen for portraying Pittsburghers, Southern Californians, and New Yorkers so brilliantly. You know, they really are different.

Friday, May 15, 2015


This October, Michael Eichler's new play REPULSING THE MONKEY will be performed in Pittsburgh. To get it ready, Kevin Six will be directing a house reading on Sunday May 31st at 7:30 p.m. Included in the evening will be homemade desserts, a reading from a fantastic cast and a chance to shape the play with your comments and insights. Michael has reserved just two spaces for blog readers. To get those last two spots, reply and tell us why you'd like to participate. Good luck! There is a rumor that LEON will appear!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Future Thingies

We cannot say much so we will let a picture take up one thousand of them.  More soon...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Heart of a Lion Cast: Michael Garcia

This is Michael Garcia, who plays Javier in Heart of a Lion. He was intense, sensitive and a little dangerous in last night's reading. There is one more reading of Heart of a Lion tonight (March 24, 2015) at 7:30 p.m. More information here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Heart of a Lion Cast: Molly O'Meara

Molly O'Meara is a San Diego local now studying in North Carolina.  We're so happy she's sharing her spring break with us.  She's Allison in Heart of a Lion and we think you'll love her. Here's her bio:
Molly is thrilled to be back working on “The Heart of a Lion”. She is currently studying Music Theatre at Elon University in NC, but while home for holidays, was granted the opportunity to perform in the house reading. Molly's elated to continue exploring the play as it progresses. Other San Diego credits: “Spamalot” (Moonlight Stage), Betty in “The Crucible” (Moxie Theatre/Intrepid Shakespeare Co), Blanche in “King John” (Intrepid Shakespeare Co), Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, Peter in “Peter Pan”, and Gracie Shinn in “The Music Man” (Lamb’s Players Theatre). Thank you Michael and Kevin for this opportunity!

Heart of a Lion has two staged readings: Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 at Moxie Theatre. Tickets, which are selling briskly, may be reserved here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Heart of a Lion Cast: Jim Chovick

Jim Chovick is Pete in Heart of a Lion, which receives a reading on March 23rd and 24th.  Here's what he's been up to.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

San Diego Playwrights Interview With Michael Eichler

San Diego Playwrights interviewed Michael Eichler -- author of Heart of a Lion. Check out the excerpt below or read the whole thing here.

Michael Eichler had an excerpt of his play Heart of a Lion read at WordPlay Tuesdays at Diversionary Theatre in October 2014. The entire script will be read at Moxie Theatre 6663 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, 92115 on Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm. (A show the day before sold out a month in advance!) Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will benefit the Consensus Organizing Center at SDSU. You can make reservations at admin.consensus@mail.sdsu.edu.  Kevin Six is directing a terrific cast led by Jim Chovick.  Come join Leon the lion and learn that love can take the most unusual forms.

Tell us about Heart of a Lion and its development.
I was thinking about how little communication we have between generations today and when we do it’s pretty stilted and stereotypical. I asked, what do these attempts at connecting look like? Is there such a thing as friendship between people of different generations? If not, is there anything we can do to compensate?

-read more-

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Half the seats are gone for the second HEART OF A LION reading on Tuesday March 24 at Moxie Theatre 6663 El Cajon Blvd. at 7:30. LEON says all seats will be gone soon and says you should not miss him perform. Reserve your seats at  admin.consensus@mail.sdsu.edu. LEON is "in the moment".

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LEON ready for second show

A second HEART OF A LION show is added added on March 24 at 7:30 at Moxie Theatre. It really is quite unusual to see a sell out on a Monday night for a reading over a month in advance, but that is what has happened. LEON urges all of you to reserve early at   admin.consensus@mail.sdsu.edu. No other nights are available for extending the run. He wants to see you.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Performance Added

Performance added: March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
The Consensus Organizing Center has just announced that a performance has been added for Heart Like a Lion by Michael Eichler.  Heart Like a Lion, a staged reading to support the Consensus Organizing Center, at Moxie Theatre, will now have two performances -- March 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m.  The play is about good people living and working in a bad neighborhood and what you can accomplish with a little love the a heart like a lion.

For information and tickets, please email:

Friday, February 13, 2015

There have been 84 reservations made. Only 30 seats remaining for HEART OF A LION. Reserve at  admin.consensus@mail.sdsu.edu before it's too late.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Heart of a Lion

HEART OF A LION will have a staged reading at Moxie Theatre (6663 El Cajon Blvd.) Monday, March 23 7:30 p.m. This is a benefit for the Consensus Organizing Institute at San Diego State University. There will be a talk back after the show with playwright Michael Eichler and the cast

Tickets are moving quickly so them soon.  
Click here for more information or, for tickets, email:
admin.consensus@mail.sdsu.edu. Talk back after show.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Michael Eichler Bio

Michael worked most of his life as a community organizer, stumbling into play writing late in life. His very first effort, The Examining Room was performed at the North Park Play Festival in 2009. He was chosen by Playwrights Project and New Village Arts Theatre as one of San Diego's emerging playwrights in 2011. His play on mental illness, Holy Name, was read to two sold out audiences at Moxie Theatre and performed Off Off Broadway at the 13th Street Rep. In 2015 it was selected as a semifinalist in Houston's New American Voices series. Michael writes plays that have been called naturalistic with dialogue that resonates.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Heart of a Lion

Heart of a Lion by Michael Eichler

a staged reading, to support the Consensus Organizing Center, at Moxie Theatre