The play was produced in several theaters around the country after its original production in Nashville in 1996. For that production the play had the title Fish or Cut Bait and was directed by Robert Kiefer and produced by Darkhorse and Mockingbird Public Theater. The play was subsequently performed in several theaters around the country, including college and regional theaters. For this production the playwright is directing a new revision of the work.
“This is a script that I’ve tinkered with for years between writing other scripts,” Holleman says. “The current draft reflects workshop influences from the Sewanee Writers Conference in 2009 under the eye of the late playwright Romulus Linney, as well as readings at the Clarence Brown Theater in Knoxville and the Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan. Tinkering is fine, and readings have their value, but nothing compares to a production. Actors applying their energy in rehearsal and then in front of an audience is the only genuine test of a script’s value.”
Holleman’s most recent original play was an adaptation of the Pulitzer-prize winning writings of ant biologists E.O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler. Written for students at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, the play was literally a staged nature documentary presented as an amalgam of movement theater and spoken-word performance art.
The actors in Pokerface are Cris Cunningham, Andrew Gumm and Henry Gottfried. Cunningham is a film producer and director from Indiana with a strong background in theater as well. This is his Nashville stage debut. Gumm is also a filmmaker, though he has extensive experience in improv comedy. University School of Nashville alum Gottfried is a Nashville native currently enrolled at Yale University. He has performed with the Wishing Chair Productions, the Nashville Public Library’s renowned puppet theater.
Admission for the 7:30 p.m. July 12-14 shows is $10 payable at the door. The Darkhorse is located at 4610 Charlotte Ave. For more information on the facility and the shows offered there visit www.darkhorsetheater.com.
*Photo of Cris Cunningham, top, and Andrew Gumm by Henry Gottfried courtesy John Holleman.