A Look Back at the Noughties–Opening Night Edition!!

It’s tough to really have an objective view on a decade that is still so fresh. We didn’t fully understand the cheese of the nineties until about 2004, right? Although-“Pump Up the Jam” holds up.  I swear it.  I wonder if I will talk with such zeal about Radiohead and Spike Jonze in twenty years. I think I will, but my mom probably thought the same about the Doobie Brothers and Alan Pakula.  I am sure about this: I cannot wait to say to my grandkids, “Yeah, that’s right. Granny was living in New York City at the Turn of the Century!” TURN OF THE CENTURY. Drink that in for a sec. For my grandkids, I will leave out the stories that involve heavy bourbon drinking and tube tops. In fact, from now on I’ll edit that whole summer out…it’s best for all parties involved.

I started out the “turn” serving overpriced steaks to wannabe foodies in the cubic zirconium of fine dining establishments on the coast of New Hampshire. I worked that New Year’s Eve and handed out glasses of sparkling wine to the entire staff and all of my regulars. I remember the countdown and all the silly Y2K tension as we got to the 3…2…1! I remember kissing a boy I placed far too much importance on as noise makers blew in the background.

This decade brought me to the city. New York was my first real love. And it brought me to the love of my life. I didn’t expect to fall so hard for the funny man from Plymouth Mass, but boy-oh-boy did he knock me for a loop. Love happens at weird times and in strange circumstances…I’ve always held those ideas very close.

A few years ago, I read a New York Times story about a crime scene clean-up guy from Queens. I tore out the article and stuffed it into my “interesting characters” folder. On a side note- everyone should have a folder like this. I tucked him away and continued to frolic around the city. I moved to Brooklyn with that funny, funny man. I wrote some plays, adopted a dog and got married. In that order.

My piece of this crazy puzzle happens one day after our opening. Hopefully, aliens do not invade during our short run at the Fringe, otherwise I will look like a Class A asshole. I pulled that interesting character out of the folder and let him loose on August 14th, 2011. He fits in well with the present day. A little jaded. A bit of an idealistic realist.

I’m excited to see what sticks from this decade. I have clear snippets that seem important now, but perhaps they will fade away and seem trivial in years to come. But, I can close my eyes and hear the haunting blips and harmonies of “Kid A” and I can feel the cold creeping into my hands as I waited in line for the midnight release of the new Harry Potter book. I see my husband’s eyes filling up with tears as he sees my turn down the aisle on our wedding day. I can remember the way my couch felt underneath me as I inched forward to hear the television announcer say “Our 44th president, Barack Obama.”  I’m pretty sure those snippets will hold up.

Get to know…Lindsay Murphy.


A Look Back at the Noughties–Episode 3

I remember August 14th, 2010, pretty vividly as I was doing a medical school rotation in the ER.  It was a rather slow morning, so I managed to catch a bit of the morning news.  A few of the bigger stories were Obama’s endorsement of the mosque next to the World Trade Center site, the BP oil spill, and the end of the swine flu pandemic.  Obama’s endorsement of the Mosque was of particular interest to me for two reasons: my apartment at the time was across from ground zero and I was dating an Islamic girl.  I commended Obama for such an endorsement, it took courage and although it wasn’t an election year, I’m sure he lost more than a few votes for his words.  The protests continued around the neighborhood long after his endorsement, but they certainly dwindled down for the remainder of the year.  My girlfriend at the time was quite passionate about the issue.  She was originally born in Iran and moved to America at the age of ten.  I found her stories of growing up in the revolution fascinating, and her passion for her beliefs and culture endearing.  It was shortly after I met her that I began to learn Farsi and more about the countries out east that before I had thought to be “the axis of evil.”  I remember her being very upset that Iran did not have a team in the World Cup that summer due to some political bullshit.  She cheered on the USA with me, but refused to call them “her” team or use the word “us.”  Anyway, I remember texting her about Obama and the mosque to which he responded with a colon and a bracket to form a smiley face.

Things got very busy in the ER that afternoon and the day flew by.  It was around 6pm we received a gunshot victim from the Bronx.  The patient did not appear to have any internal bleeding but his entrance and exit wound were so close to the kidney that we sent him for a STAT MRI.  As luck would have it, the MRI went down 5 minutes before we arrived and so my attending physician asked me to take an ambulance ride with the patient to another hospital uptown.  Now before I go further, I should mention that my attending physician was a fifty-year-old Chinese woman named Dr. Chen, where as I am a twenty-eight-year-old male Irish medical student.  This is worth mentioning because it was before hopping in the ambulance that Dr. Chen handed me two things, a blood pressure cuff and her ID badge, and said “Put on this badge and check the patients blood pressure until you get to the hospital, if it drops you’re in trouble.”  Before I could ask how the hell anyone would take me for a little old Chinese woman or what I should do if the patient’s blood pressure dropped, she slammed the ambulance door and I was on my way.

I must have checked the patient’s blood pressure a hundred times in that ambulance ride, I’ve never been so scared.  It felt like an hour, but when I look back on it, I realize it was an incredibly short trip since I only heard one song on the way.  The song was Billionaire by Travie McCoy, and I remember the driver singing a very out of tune version as I frantically checked the patient’s blood pressure again and again.  Luckily the patient’s pressure never dropped.  It’s interesting what a year of medical school can do, because if it were today I would have no problem in that situation, but a year ago I was scared shitless.  So I arrived in the ambulance bay at the hospital uptown to be greeted by the ER attending and several eager young medical students.  As I gave the attending the patient’s history and transferred the patient to a gurney, I noticed him glance at my ID badge and then curiously look up at my face.  “Your name is Dr. Chen?” he said with a smirk.  I gave him a deer in headlights look and before I could think of what to say, he said “Don’t worry, happens all the time.”

The MRI showed that the bullet missed the kidney and there was no other internal damage.  The patient was released the next day and went on to have a full recovery.  The rest of my day was pretty uneventful in comparison.  I was released roughly around midnight to go home and catch a few hours of sleep before having to be back there at 6am.  As I walked to the subway to go back to my now former apartment, I texted my now ex-girlfriend.  I asked her how her day was and she asked me about mine.  This was our usual end of day routine. I couldn’t really think how to sum mine up so I simply responded with 🙂.

Get to know…David Scott.

Bridget Barkan Writes Original Song for The Apartment

The lovely and talented Bridget Barkan has penned a gorgeous new song for our show!

Check it out!  This Place Knows Me by Bridget Barkan

Get to know…Bridget Barkan.

Bridget is currently performing worldwide with the Scissor Sisters who opened for Lady Gaga this Spring. Bridget has worked with various different producers and artists including Hip-Hop legend Q-tip, Chris Sholar, Gary Gunn, The Beatnuts, The Burrell Brothers, Chris Liggio (Ginger Rose), Mark Wilson, legendary DJ Todd Terry, David Maurice and Melvin Van Peebles. She has performed sold out shows at the Blue Note, Mercury Lounge, Drom, Fat Baby, Public Assembly, Webster Hall, Rockwood Music Hall and was an official performer at Sundance 2009.

Theatrical expression in every fiber of her being, it comes as no surprise that Bridget’s foundation as a performer began as a child actress and has continued through her adult life. She starred in the HBO film Everyday People, co-starred with Maggie Gyllenhaal in SherryBaby, appeared in the war film Redacted directed by Brian DePalma, and performed in one of the earliest productions of the Broadway hit Spring Awakening, just to name a few.

A Look Back at the Noughties–Episode 2

On January 1, 2000, I was in Darjeeling, India standing on a hilltop watching the sunrise.  As the sun came up, the sky spread into each of the colors of the spectrum, quite literally, a Rainbow.  I was an actor at the time and a play had taken me to India.  My personal life was no less colorful than that auspicious beginning but far more tumultuous.

On the day of The Attacks, I walked across the 59th Street Bridge back to Queens, feeling like a refugee, with what must have been hundreds of thousands of people.  Fortunately, there was someone waiting for me on the other side.  Years later, on the day of The Blackout, I again found myself surrounded by thousands of people in the streets but this time there was no panic, no fear.  It really felt like a big party, like all of the best parts of a New Year’s Eve celebration.  It was cathartic, for me at least. I ran into so many people I knew.  I was reminded of how good people can be.

In August 2004, I unwittingly made the shift from actor to producer with a play called Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal, which I produced at FringeNYC.  I was also bartending at the time and one night I walked in to work late because I was rushing from one of the shows.   A handsome stranger from England was sitting there so I introduced myself with a shot of tequila and three days later the words “You’re going to be my husband” flew out of my mouth and into the face of said stranger.

I don’t particularly remember August 14, 2005 but eleven days later I was at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall getting married.   Some people may have assumed I was pregnant; most people thought we were crazy.  Maybe we were a little crazy, but we’re still married and we did eventually get pregnant.  For my piece, I was interested in exploring the way two people who love each other argue.  To prod the way emotions can flare to anger then fizzle and the next thing you know you’re in an embrace discussing what you’re going to have for dinner.

The Noughties taught me many things but these are some of my favorites: New York City is really just a very big small town; a well-groomed man could be a metrosexual; there is a fine line between a hipster and a bohemian; no matter how busy we are, we always have time for the people we need to make time for.

Get to know…Sorrel Barnard.

A Look Back at the Noughties–Episode 1

The Noughties were an interesting decade for me for sure.  It was awesome to survive that whole Y2K scare and to be enjoying singlehood in the city.  But like all good things, it didn’t last long.  Apart from the fact that I didn’t like our new president (sorry Dad, although I’m sure you knew this),  I felt really ripped off with how it all went down.  Not long after was the most devastating tragedy to come to our generation and I really don’t have or need words to express the depth of that.  What followed was a fog of muck and mire that included the Patriot Act, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, etc., etc., etc….

Technologically, the world was moving faster than a William Gibson novel.  CDs became relics as our entire collection could now fit on one tiny little machine that we could bring with us anywhere.  Our phones became mobile, computers became mobile.  In a transient city, we could finally cut the tether and we embraced our transient devices.

On a personal note, I did lay eyes on a devastatingly handsome stranger across a crowded room.  Okay, it was a smoke filled gay bar and there were frozen cosmos and ABBA involved, but that’s merely set dressing.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then after a full moon, 6 centimeters of dilation, an epidermal and a Liev Shrieber sighting, I welcomed my Jackson Miles Moran to this nutty, nutball world.  He was named after 2 great improvisors and I have no doubt that he will continue to make this world a better place.

I chose to explore the blackout of August 14, 2003 because although I watched the events unfold from an air conditioned home in the Jersey Shore with a margarita in my hand and secretly loved getting to call in sick to work and take an extra long weekend with my family, I was moved by the camaraderie that surrounded the events and the dozens of amazing stories that I heard from that weekend when I finally made it back to the city.  I think that finding out that there were no terrorists behind that gave people the giant sigh of relief that they were holding on to for 2 years; the sigh we wish we could have had on September 11, 2001.  I wanted to explore the intimacy that exists between people in the face of events that are so large.  I wanted to look at the great divide that I remember so well post 9/11: the die hard NY loyalists and the folks that felt ready to cash in their chips.  

I’m still here in this city, although in Brooklyn and living a life so completely different than the one that began that decade dancing on a table top in a Belgian restaurant that has since become an apple megastore.  Being on the other side of the Naughties has been good to me.  I am grateful for the decade that earned me my family, a collection of amazing friends, a broader view of the world and a soft spot for an “I ♥ NY” t-shirt.

Get to know…Melissa Moran.

A Look Back at the Noughties

To celebrate the opening of FringeCENTRAL, we thought it might be fun to launch a little series we are calling, A Look Back at the Noughties.  What better way to get to know your neighbors than learning the stories behind the stories??  Check back for regular episodes between now and opening night!

A Look Back at the Noughties…

Or is it the Oughties?  What do you call the decade just past that begins with ’00?

How did ‘The Apartment’ get to be ‘a play with four sides?’  It began simply enough with four writers who agreed to write separate stories that take place in the same apartment.  The rules were simple: no more than two main characters, no more than twenty pages, etc., and things like subject matter and time period were wide open to the whim of the individual writers.  We hoped that some common themes might emerge and we would be able to somehow weave the stories together.

When we submitted our pieces to each other, it was immediately apparent that none of us had the same apartment in mind and the “etc.” above is proof that none of us had paid much attention to the ground rules either.  We had for the most part, written four stories, each with two characters involved in some sort of relationship, but there wasn’t necessarily one unifying theme.  We didn’t really know what the story might be about but we found it interesting that two of the pieces included the topic of the September 11 attacks in such very different ways.  And love was represented in each of the pieces – lost love, found love, old love, new love, the fight for love.

As our insightful director pointed out early on in the development of the piece, we have reflected back on most decades, but have had little opportunity to reflect on the most recent one.  Stay tuned for musings from the writers about what made “The Noughties” so remarkable and so memorable…
–Sorrel Barnard

Get to know…The Apartment.