Tragedy in 9 Lives by Karen Houppert: Sightlines Theatre

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Juliana Francis as Valerie Solanas in Tragedy in 9 Lives

Tragedy in 9 Lives (world premiere) was an immersive look at the relationship between Valerie Solanas and Andy Warhol, which culminated in her unsuccessful attempt to kill him.

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Sarah Lemp, Laura Flanagan, and James “Tigger” Ferguson (as Ondine) in Tragedy in 9 Lives

The free-form evening took place at Warhol’s “Factory” loft, beginning as a non-theatrical party – a bar served drinks and a live band played throughout – and then veering between stylized and realistic scenes, songs, and monologues, some distinctly performed and some merely witnessed or overheard, about Valerie, Andy, several members of his entourage, and a journalist trying to make sense of it all.

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Laura Flanagan as Ingrid Superstar in Tragedy in 9 Lives

“Uncompromisingly directed by Stephen Nunns, Tragedy In 9 Lives is a work where, despite glimpses of a traditional narrative, the line between audience and performer is heavily blurred.Yes, the audience is asked to sit and listen to characters’ interpretations of events, but while watching, don’t they become a part of what they’re observing? It’s that question that the play seeks to address, if not necessarily answer outright.” —Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway

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The Silver Girls, Tragedy in 9 Lives
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Juliana Francis as Valerie Solanas in Tragedy in 9 Lives

“Director Nunns does a superb job of breaking down the fourth wall—characters proffer fortune cookies to the audience—and combined with Nancy Brous’ excellent period costumes and Shaun Fillion’s pulsating lighting design, one feels as if one has become part of the Factory party. That counts as art.” — Andy Propst, Backstage

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Chris Wells as The Reporter in Tragedy in 9 Lives

“Director Stephen Nunns stages the piece in a studio with tinfoil wallpaper, in which the audience is seated cheek by jowl with actors, silver balloons, and a raucous rock ensemble. The play’s opening moments are an evocation of a Factory party, complete with booze and dancing hotties and viewers being asked if Andy can take their picture. A level of low-key interactivity remains throughout, in such scenes as Solanas hawking the SCUM Manifesto to ladies in the audience while hissing at the menfolk.” — Jeffrey Lewonczyk,  NYTheatre.com

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T. Ryder Smith as Andy Warhol in Tragedy in 9 Lives
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Juliana Francis as Valerie Solanas in Tragedy in 9 Lives
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