If you know MetroWize, you know that we aren't all that quick to cover theater. In the list of what might be considered hip, cool, hot or any other nightlife superlative, theater probably comes in toward the bottom of the list. The good folks at Studio 250 @ Off Market (aka Piano Fight Productions) are out to change this notion though and we think they just might be on to something. Cheap tickets, BYOB (yes that is bring your own booze), small venue and local playrights and cast make for a different night at the theater than one might expect. We caught up with founders, Rob Ready and Dan Williams, to get the skinny.
"Sorry, I'm feeling a little awkward," says Piano Fight Productions co-founder, Rob Ready. "Last night my friends thought it would be hilarious to shave off my beard while I was passed out drunk. I woke up this morning with splotches of facial hair along my chin and had to shave the rest off - I've had it (the beard) since college so I'm feeling a little naked."
Though Ready claims to feel awkward, he looks quite comfortable sitting at the bar of a dark pub when he orders a shot of whiskey, beer back. "There's the beard shaving bastard now," says Ready referring to another young man walking in the door. It's the other co-founder of Piano Fight, Dan Williams, who immediately apologizes for being three minutes late to our interview. "Very sorry, I had to pick up a little gift for my buddy here," as he hands Ready a bottle of aftershave and orders the whiskey/beer combo and our interview gets under way. Turns out these drunken shenanigans permeate more than just their personal lives. The words "brown bags encouraged" adorn nearly every piece of promotional material Piano Fight puts out and the theater that the company manages, Studio 250 at Off Market, is apparently a perfect place to knock a few back. "We like the idea, you know, that you can come down, be entertained for an hour or two, have a couple of drinks and walk away with a perfect start to the night, " Williams explains. Ready jumps in, "I always used to pre-game before I went to see some play in college one of my friends was in. There was no way I was sitting through fucking 12th Night dead sober." As Ready finishes the sentence with a grimace, Williams finishes the thought, "We wanted a venue where people could see a show they'd never seen or heard of before, laugh, think, drink and enjoy themselves - telling them to bring booze seemed to fit."
Currently posted on www.pianofight.com is, among other inventive marketing ideas, a drinking game tailored to their current show, "Cornucopia", whose world premier run in December did well enough to be extended through February 2nd. "We're lucky," says Williams, "We've got an amazing cast, and a great script." Penned by Bay Area native and former contributor to Metrowize, Theo Miller got hooked up with Piano Fight after answering a call for submissions on Craigslist. "I read a few things he submitted and thought, yup, this guy is going to work," Ready recalls, "But we couldn't figure out how to market them. So when Theo said he had a script set during Thanksgiving, we agreed to do it before reading it." Judging by the extension, that gamble has apparently paid off. "It's a comedy of manners that is fast, furious and funny, and people really seem to respond to it," says Williams. "That or the liquor," Ready cracks. You can catch "Cornucopia" every Friday and Saturday night between January 11 and February 2, in the Off-Market Theater, at 8:00 pm. And remember ... brown bags encouraged.
For more info visit www.pianofight.com
Studio 250 at Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission St.
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