In 2005, The Man Who Laughs, Stolen Chair's live silent film for the stage premiered to sold-out houses and rave reviews. NYtheatre.com called it "a triumph...[a] bona fide tour de force of theatre," and Trav SD, author of Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, called it "Utterly tremendous!" Now, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of our founding, Stolen Chair is bringing this innovative piece back to NYC this February in a brand new, completely reinvisioned production.
About The Man Who Laughs
In The Man Who Laughs, six live actors transport the audience to a movie house in 1923, when glamorous stars told larger-than-life stories without a single spoken word. Grab a bag of freshly popped popcorn, take a seat, and watch the hilarious and heartrending story of Gwynplaine, a clown whose face has been surgically disfigured into a permanent smile. Performing with his adoptive sister and father, Gwynplaine gains fame and a very modest fortune for his comic acts-and his comical face. Secretly he yearns to be more than a freak and a joke-but when his yearning leads him into the arms of a debauched duchess fascinated by grin, the results are disastrous for Gwynplaine and for his family.
Based on Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs, the play is performed in the style of a silent film, complete with live piano accompaniment, projected title cards, and a vibrant black-and-white set. The Man Who Laughs transforms silent film into live action, taking us back to a time when performers didn't need to speak to pull on our heart strings and tickle our funny bones.
Why we are asking for your help...As a 10 year old company, we've gotten pretty darn good at managing our limited resources to create challenging and delightful original works of theatre. Through in-kind donations of materials and labor and a little old-fashioned ingenuity, we've found a way to reduce our overall budget to a mere fraction of its original size. The good news? We've already secured that sum through past box office returns, generous donations, and support from the New York State Council on the Arts. The bad news? We had to sacrifice elements from the marketing, staff, and materials budgets in order to bring our overall budget down so low.
- That our marketing can reach people who've never heard of us, bringing a new audience to this very special show ($1500)
- That the show is professionally staffed with house managers and stagehands, so the actors can devote their attention to acting, not to shuffling furniture around during the show ($750)
- That our pianist is playing a real (freshly tuned) piano instead of a keyboard ($750)
- That we're projecting our title cards from a real, theatrical digital projector instead of the creaky and labor-intensive classroom overhead projector we used in 2005. ($1000)
That comes to $4000, just a fraction of the production's overall budget. Think you can help us out?
What you get...
Our heartfelt gratitude AND...
Extra ($10): Your name in the lobby on a list of Indiegogo supporters
Comic Relief ($25): All the above AND a signed glossy of Gwynplaine
Character Actor ($50): All the above AND 1 free ticket to The Man Who Laughs
Romantic Lead ($100): All the above AND MP3 of The Man Who Laughs' original score by Eugene Ma
Mantinee Idol ($250): All the above AND 2 (in total) free tickets & a signed copy of Playing with Canons (a play anthology that includes the 2005 version of The Man Who Laughs, Ed. Martin Denton)
Big Shot Producer ($500): All the above AND 4 (in total) free tickets & backstage tour
Studio Mogul ($1000): All the above AND 8 (in total) free tickets and private Q&A with the creative team behind The Man Who Laughs
Other Ways You Can Help
Please SPREAD THE WORD:
Follow The Man Who Laughs on Facebook (Facebook.com/StolenChairTheManWhoLaughs), then share with all of your closest Facebook friends.
Follow @StolenChairTC on twitter and tweet to your followers about how far their $10, $25, or $100 can go for #TheManWhoLaughs
Reblog our behind the scenes snapshots from our Tumblr blog: stolenchair.tumblr.com
Sign up for Stolen Chair's enews and forward it to everyone you know who loves theatre/silent film/victor hugo/the 1920s
Oh, and come to the show! Bring your friends! Bring your family! Bring everyone! TICKETS: http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?EID=&showCode=MAN41&BundleCode=&PackageCode=&GUID=9022ec41-9f25-471e-b174-5cde554c8866
And thank you to our fabulous cast and crew who continually inspire us to make this show even better:
Written by Kiran Rikhye | Directed by Jon Stancato | Dramaturgy by Emily Otto | Music by Eugene Ma | Makeup by Jaclyn Schaefer with Stephanie Cox-Williams | Costume Design by Julie Schworm | Lighting Design by Daniel Winters | Set Design by Michael Minahan | Stage Management by Colin Miller | Props & Graphic Design by Aviva Meyer | Photos by Carrie Leonard | Publicity by Emily Owens
Featuring Raife Baker, Dave Droxler, Jon Froehlich, Molly O'Neill, Noah Schultz and Rebecca Whitehurst