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Internet Fads Jump From Screen to Stage in 'Blogologues'

Blogologues Photo2 These days, it can seem nearly impossible to put down your Blackberry or iPhone. But two playwrights are using this media fascination to their advantage.

"As a theater artist, there's always been an issue of how to get your audience involved," said co-creator Allison Goldberg. "I think there's a way we can take this addiction and obsession with new media and use it to bring people back into live theater."

"Blogologues" takes the voices of various bloggers off the screen and on to the stage, turning their blogs into monologues. The production, which will run at UNDER St. Marks beginning August 29, is fueled by content from actual blog posts (with the blogger's permission). Lively Productions will be taking these online voices and transforming them into a tangible form of entertainment, sharing the thoughts and secrets people are only willing to reveal from behind a screen.

Goldberg and co-writer Jen Jamula will be creating scenes on stage, with actors reciting real blog posts verbatim. The cast will consist of five or six actors, including the two creators. "We love the idea of allowing the actors in the piece to be able to play multiple characters," Goldberg said. "Everyone is able to do at least a blogologue and a half."

When it comes to finding blogs to be used in the show, Goldberg and Jamula said they started by looking through their friends' blogs. Then they would search the Internet for blogs based on particular themes, such as employment, religion, and self-help. "It's sort of very organic when people started sending us their own stuff," said Jamula. "So we've been able to find some very diverse material."

Blogologues Photo01 "Blogologues" will run on the last Monday of each month, with a new theme each time. Recently the two creators have been focusing on the theme of employment. "It can be anything from unemployment, to deciding you're going to quit your job, to issues that people deal with in the office such as employees not washing their hands."

Goldberg and Jamula are familiar with publicly sharing the experiences of strangers. In their video blog, "Why Are You On My Train," the pair interviews random New York City subway patrons. Like "Blogologues," each post has a different theme, such as memorable graduation moments, time with the family, and how New Yorkers spend time during the summer.

For Goldberg, the Internet provides a variety of different voices to work with. "I think the real question is what are you going to do with this opportunity given that there are so many voices to use," she said.

Jamula said "Blogologues" is about more than just creating entertainment based on real life stories. It's about being able to connect with one another without the use of media devices. "We want to take away that barrier that exists between people," she said. "We're looking people in the eye and seeing their reaction as we say the words, and it feels really good. I think we are breaking past this addiction of not really connecting to one another anymore."

The first show will be Monday, August 29 at UNDER St. Marks Theater (94 St. Marks Place) at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Visit www.horseTRADE.info for more details and ticket information.

-- Lisa Eadicicco

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