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About the Show
Dear Diary LOL is a comedic theatre performance born verbatim from the real-life, tween-teen, early 2000s diaries of the show’s actual creators and performers. The devising ensemble invites you to cringe, laugh, and cry at their most earnest desires, deepest fears, secret shames, and terrible poetry written as coming-of-age girls in the late 90s/early 2000s. The piece explodes its source diaries with moments of direct address, music, dance, and physical comedy, colliding the style of melodrama with the inherent humor found in the earnestness of young girlhood musings (with all the benefits of hindsight).
These tumultuous coming-of-age years are explored from a female perspective, providing an intimate glimpse into the ways these young girls come to understand the world around them, form a self, and use their voices as they experiment with their malleable identities and budding adulthood.
About AntiGravity Theatre Project
AntiGravity Theatre Project is an interstate devised performance company, developing and presenting work in Philadelphia, Providence, and New York City. Core members of the company live and root the work in each of these three locations. Since 2012, we’ve developed a shared creative aesthetic rooted in play, movement, image, music, and found text. AntiGravity is: Kym Moore, Michael T. Williams, Francesca Montanile Lyons, Michael Costagliola (Co-Directors) and Megan Thibodeaux, Alicia Crosby, Sarah Knittel, Gina Murdock, Jenna Strusoswki, and Shanti Pillai (Associate Artists).
Kym Moore and Michael T. Williams founded the company in 2012 with a three-venue tour of Erik Ehn’s Yermedea, culminating at La MaMa E.T.C. as part of Soulographie: Our Genocides (Lead Artists: Kym Moore, Erik Ehn, Ale Prieto). The company’s second work, Nellie/Nellie, premiered in Philadelphia’s FringeArts Festival in September 2014 (Lead Artists: Michael T. Williams and Michael Costagliola). Dear Diary LOL (Lead Artist: Francesca Montanile Lyons) premiered in the 2017 Philadelphia FringeArts Festival. Up Next: Time’s Up! (Lead Artist: Kym Moore) and Chub Suits (Lead Artist: Michael T. Williams).
AntiGravity’s interdisciplinary works have been praised for their “beautiful visuals” (Phindie) and “extraordinary physical performances” (Broad Street Review). The New York Times call our first work Yermedea Raw “energizing and frightening” with “haunting images.” Mark Cofta of Broad Street Review called Dear Diary LOL “hilarious and touching” with “vividly honest performances.”
Kym Moore, Michael T. Williams, Michael Costagliola, and Francesca Montanile Lyons
Megan Thibodeaux, Alicia Crosby, Sarah Knittel, Gina Murdock, and Jenna Strusoswki, and Shanti Pilla
Created and performed by Alicia Crosby, Sarah Knittel, Francesca Montanile Lyons, Gina Elizabeth Murdoch, Jenna Strusowski, Megan Thibodeaux, and Michael T. Williams Lead Artist Francesca Montanile Lyons Direction Francesca Montanile Lyons and Michael T. Williams Light Design Megan Thibodeaux Sound Design Francesca Montanile Lyons, Michael T. Williams, and Ensemble Set Artist Alicia Crosby Producers Michael T. Williams, Megan Thibodeaux, Francesca Montanile Lyons, and AntiGravity Theatre Project Photos & Video Timothy O’Donnell Illustration Francesca Montanile Lyons Source Diaries by Alicia Crosby, Naomi Inoshita, Sarah Knittel, Francesca Montanile Lyons, Megan Thibodeaux Additional contributions Riva Rubenoff and Andalyn Young contributed significantly to an early draft of this piece.
Meet the Cast/Crew
FRANCESCA MONTANILE LYONS (Lead Artist, Co-Director, Performer-Creator) is a Philadelphia-based theatre maker and teaching artist, born and raised in Puerto Rico. She graduated from Brown University in 2011 and completed an MFA in Devised Performance at The University of the Arts/Pig Iron School in 2016. She has co-devised, performed, and/or directed many new theatrical works, including AntiGravity Theatre Project’s Nellie/Nellie (2014), Butter & Serve’s Slaughter/ette (2015), The Hopefuls (2015-2016), Rough & Tumble (2016), Fourth Quarter (2016), and Dear Diary LOL (2017). She is a Co-Director at AntiGravity Theatre Project and is a member of the Art/Not Art collective. As a teaching artist, Francesca has worked with Trinity Repertory
Company, Providence Children’s Museum, AntiGravity Theatre Project, BuildaBridge International, Girls Leadership, University of the Arts, and Brown/RISD CoLAB.
MICHAEL T. WILLIAMS (Co-Director, Co-Producer, Performer-Creator) is a Brooklyn-based ensemble and physical theatre artist: part director, performer, and educator. With his devising collective – AntiGravity Theatre Project – and solo Michael has worked with: La Mama ETC, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Soho Rep, FringeArts, Pig Iron Theatre Company, MCC Theatre, Trinity Rep, Winged Cranes Productions (Madrid), AS220, Sleeping Weazel, and in Arena Stage’s Downstairs Series for New Work and Voices of Now Festival. Michael attended the MFA program in Devised Performance at Pig Iron/UArts and is a professor in the Humanities Departments at CUNY Medgar Evers and City Tech. www.michaeltimothywilliams.com
MEGAN THIBODEAUX (Performer-Creator, Co-Producer, Lights) is a performer, producer, and designer based in Philadelphia. She is a company member at AntiGravity Theatre Project where she co-devised Nellie/Nellie (Philadelphia Fringe 2014) and Dear Diary LOL (Philadelphia Fringe 2017). Most recently, she performed new work at AGITATED and the Werks Barehouse Cabaret. As a designer, Megan has forayed into lighting design (Dear Diary LOL) and costume design (Pierrot Assasin of His Wife). As a production manager Megan has worked with Nichole Canuso Dance Company (The Garden), Pig Iron Theatre Company (Zero Cost House, PAY UP), George & Co (Animal Animal Mammal Mine, Holden), and MIRO (generate.degenerate, Self Portrait). Megan is a 2015 graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.
ALICIA CROSBY (Performer-Creator, Set Artist) is a Philadelphia-based theatermaker, designer, and performer. A graduate of Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, Alicia has designed properties for New Paradise Laboratories, Bristol Riverside Theatre, and Nichole Canuso Dance Company, among others. By moonlight Alicia goes by Felicia Datts, a defunct and overwhelmed newscaster attempting to make sense of a world set on fire. www.aliciacrosby.com
GINA MURDOCH (Performer-Creator) is a visual artist and performer. She explores aspects of illustration and storytelling through physical and visual narratives and combines traditional performance styles such as mime, clown, and mask work with handmade objects, marionettes, and paper dolls to create tactile and layered theatrical works. Occasional updates may be found at http://gemworks.works
JENNA STRUSOWSKI (Performer-Creator) is a Philadelphia-based stage performer, on camera actor, creator, and improviser. As a graduate of the Pig Iron Theatre Company’s APT program for physical and devised theatre, she discovered creating characters gave her the breath of life (or maybe she just enjoys putting wigs on and talking in different accents). www.jennastrusowski.com
SARAH KNITTEL (Performer-Creator) is a theater maker, teaching artist, and improviser. In 2017, she was selected to be the inaugural Automatic Arts Artist in Residence. Sarah is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Acting. Upcoming: Johnny Shortcake Show (Kimmel Center), Catch-22 (Curio), Maria Marten (PAC), and the solo piece NIGHTMARE FUEL, a brutal clown show, at Good Good Comedy and Edinburgh Fringe.
Dear Diary LOL is made with verbatim text from the real-life diaries of five girls ages 12-15 in the late 90s/early 2000s, most of whom perform in the piece. The performers don’t speak their own diaries. For the most part, each performer speaks text from one single source diary.
Get pumped for the show by listening to a nostalgic, specially crafted Dear Diary LOL Spotify playlist!
Spark: Fringe for Young Audiences
Enrichment materials were developed by Misty Sol.
Supported in part by a grant from Small But Mighty Arts and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Originally conceived under the title of This Song is for You as part of 2015 Pig Iron School’s Dares Festival. 2017 premiere at the Maas Space in the Neighborhood FringeArts Festival. A thousand thanks to our amazing 2017 FringeA-thon donors, without whom we would never have been able to create this work!
The SPARK Series is made possible by a leadership gift from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund.
Coming Up at FringeArts
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