Follow No Strangers To All The Fun Places

Written by Lola Pierson, Directed by Lola Pierson and Stephen Nunns

Follow No Strangers To All The Fun Places deconstructs the audience’s experience of watching. Follow No Strangers to the Fun Places lovingly follows two characters’ repeated—and constantly interrupted—attempts at making a piece of theatre. Through constant breaks, disruptions and disconnections, the show breaks down theatrical narrative; explores the relation of fiction to real life; and ultimately tries to answer the question of why anyone would want to make art in the first place.

“Best Play – 2018” ~ Baltimore Magazine

“[Follow No Strangers] is next-level stuff. And it’s brilliant.”
~ Cassandra Miller, DCMetroTheaterArts

“…if there’s one thing Acme doesn’t do is odd and weird for its own sake. There’s an intentionality behind every element of the presentation… if you allow it, this Acme production encourages you to start thinking about everything else you consume in different ways. Take the redFNSTTFP 3 pill.”
~ Bret McCabe, Bmore Art

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Stranger Kindness

Stranger Kindness is a misinterpretation of the American classic A Streetcar Named Desire. Using the intentions and emotions of the original script, the piece alternates between a play and a video being live filmed for the audience. Incorporating language from canonical American plays, modernist existentialist writers, and Marxist feminism, Stranger Kindness is much more interesting than it sounds like it will be.

“Best Play – 2017” ~ Baltimore City Paper

“Acme offers up probably the most radical and punk rock art thing happening in the city right now. And yet, it’s faithful to the Williams play in the ways that matter—namely, mood, message, and atmosphere.”
~ The Baltimore City Paper

“The whole experience is uncanny, difficult, and exhilarating.”
~ Abraham Burickson, Odyssey Works

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Fucking A

Inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter,  Fucking A by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, offers a bleak and dystopian view of the sadistic power games we are forced to play as members of a ‘free’ and modern society.

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REVIEWS

“Fucking A is fucking brilliant…this is a terrific production, and we can only be grateful to Iron Crow for bringing it to us.” – John B. Gohn, Broadway World Baltimore

“Baltimore’s queer theater, Iron Crow, proves the perfect push-the-envelope match for Parks’ distinctive theatrics. They are more than up to the linguistic, musical, political and sexual demands of the play and their production crackles with danger and unsettling power.” – Jayne Blanchard, DC Theatre Scene

“…an extremely unusual, gripping, and powerful play, which is now being given a splendid new production by Baltimore’s Iron Crow Theatre.” – Michael Poandl, DC Metro Theatre Arts

“Evocative, intensely performed and strongly directed, Fucking A stays with you, especially in a time like this. Incredibly well done. See it.” – Pandora Locks, The Bad Oracle

“Iron Crow Theatre has found its niche with these edgy, queer and dark productions. Fucking A is the latest entry in the catalogue of well-performed and directed plays and is highly recommended.” – Steve Charring, OUTspoken

“…penetrates deep and lingers in a time like this, as the gap between reality and dystopian fiction narrows..” – Maura Callahan, Baltimore City Paper

“Original and unsettling, emotional, and grandiose, Fucking A is not to be missed…” – Michael Poandl, DC Metro Theatre Arts


the boys in the basement by karen houppert and stephen nunns

Joanna P. Adler and Toby Wherry in The Boys in the Basement
Joanna P. Adler and Toby Wherry in The Boys in the Basement

The Boys in the Basement, written by Karen Houppert and Stephen Nunns, was developed in the Mabou Mines/Suite and received a New York State Council on the Arts grant for development. It is a drama based on the 1990 trial of a developmentally disabled girl who was raped by a gang of neighborhood boys in Glen Ridge, New Jersey on March 1, 1989. Luring her into a basement with the promise of a date with a popular athlete at the school, the boys penetrated her with baseball bats, broomsticks, and bottles—then bragged about, facilitating their arrests. This play used court transcripts from the months-long trial Houppert covered, found material from an AOL internet chat room “rape,” and a turn-of-the-century advice book on how to speak to your daughter about sex. Interweaving the various elements, along with music and movement, the show took on themes of sex, sexuality, friendship and betrayal.

The play had a 4-week run at HERE in the spring of 1995. It was directed by Stephen Nunns, with music by Nunns and Alex MacSween. Featured were Toby Wherry, JoAnna P. Adler (who won an OBIE that year for her performance in this play), Christina Campanella, David Kennedy, Gary Brownlee, and Joan Lunoe.

Video excerpt from the play: 

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

Play: the acme corporation

Play, which I co-directed with Lola B. Pierson, took Beckett’s stage direction—“repeat play”—at the end of the script literally: the piece ran repeatedly for 12 hours starting at 12 p.m. on March 15, 2013 (concluding at 12 a.m. on March 16), and 24 hours starting at 12 p.m. on March 22 (concluding at 12 p.m. on March 23). Audience members came to performance anytime during the 12- or 24-hour run of the piece.

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Naomi Kline

This was partially an experiment in endurance—I was particularly interested in seeing how the piece would “break down” over an extended period of time. Such temporal concerns are not that uncommon in the world of performance art, but it is not something that one normally encounters in traditional theatrical settings.

Sophie Hinderberger
Sophie Hinderberger

There were a total of four iterations of the play, with each repetition taking approximately one hour. (The text normally takes about ten minutes to perform.) First, the play was presented in a more or less “traditional” way, with individual lights illuminating each of the characters as they stand side by side reciting their lines. The second iteration was a typically British bourgeois cocktail party that broke down into a drunken revelry. The third was a metatheatrical moment in which the actors relaxed, ate and recited the lines out of character. The last iteration were monologues created for each character from the text.

Naomi Kline, Nathan Cooper and Sophie Hinderberger
Naomi Kline, Nathan Cooper and Sophie Hinderberger

Play was recognized as Best Production in the City Paper’s Best of Baltimore for 2013 and one of the performers, Sophie Hinderberger, won best actress for 2013 in part for her work in the piece.

Read Baynard Woods’ review/article from City Paper and listen to Tom Hall’s interview with Stephen Nunns about the play on WYPR.

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Sophie Hinderberger

Video excerpt: