Cocktails with FELT LEFT OUT Director Gabrielle-Renée

Martini à la Colette: Very dry and a little dirty
Good evening, dear readers! 
As my Facebook followers know, Tuesday night is PUB NIGHT; however, tonight the "pub" will be my balcony! Since I'm staying in this evening, I have a special Tuesday edition of  Cocktails with Colette, with an extra-special guest.

Tonight I am thrilled to introduce you to a talented actress, playwright, and now Director. She also happens to be an amazing muse

Please raise your glass to Gabrielle-Renée, who is here to tell you about how she became involved in her latest project, the play she will be directing next month at the Strawberry Theatre Festival in New York, Felt Left Out. Also, you can check out the behind-the-scenes video diary here
As anyone who has seen The Producers knows, plays need backers! So if you have ever "felt left out," perhaps you would be willing to show your support.
~Colette


Felt Left Out is a dramatic parody written by my good friend and fellow actor Brett Crandall. In it, the main characters from a certain PBS children’s show are reimagined from puppet to person and given real issues to deal with: addiction, sexuality, violence, and guilt.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/felt-left-out-a-new-play-at-the-strawberry-theatre-festivalSet in New York City in 1969 (the year the TV show originally aired), the play opens just before the Stonewall Riots with “Burt” and “Earney” meeting for the first time. Other introductions quickly follow suit, and the story played out upon the stages finally answers those questions we all pondered as we grew up: “Why does that guy live in a trash can?”, “What’s up with the little red guy’s voice?”, and—most importantly—“Are those two roommates or roommates?”.

My friendship with the playwright aside, after my first reading I was immediately drawn to directing this play. Gay rights is a cause I have always believed in and have worked for since my early teens. Back before the legalization of gay marriage anywhere in the States, before Prop 8 came about trying to prevent such things—hell, before Ellen DeGeneres had a talk show—I was a simple sophomore trying to get a chapter of the controversial club Gay-Straight Alliance established at my high school.

I’d helped found other clubs at the school (I knew which forms to fill out and which counselor to submit to) and had found no resistance to The Comic & Anime Club or The Arabic Club so when approached by a fellow student asking assistance in starting the GSA I naïvely thought it would be just as simple.


Silly me for not watching more of the local news. Had I been more informed, I would have known such an endeavor had already been attempted that very same year at a neighboring high school by an openly gay student and that the very idea of such a club starting had resulted in student and parent protest and even a sort of riot.

Discovering this didn’t deter me in the slightest. If anything, it made me more determined to see this club—one that pushes no other agenda than acceptance—safely set up at my school. I started a petition, garnering as many signatures as I could from the student body saying not that they were gay or even that they supported the club but, simply, that they wouldn’t protest or revolt if the GSA came to my school.

These signatures—as well as some pressure from the local news team—were enough to convince the administration. The GSA, and my unbending support of the gay rights movement, were firmly established.

Of course, for the rest of my high school career I was an assumed lesbian, which rather confused me. After all, I had helped start two other clubs and neither a comic book character nor Arabic, so why would I have to be gay to start the GSA? I suppose it’s just one of those misguided beliefs, like all feminists are female or all members of the NAACP are African American—many people seem to think that for a cause to really matter to someone it needs to be their own.

This is not the case. Human rights are just that: every human has the right to be who they are and live without compromising their true selves. Unfortunately, the prejudices and preconceptions of the world at large can make this more than a little difficult. It take an inordinate amount of courage for a person to live an open and honest life.

This is the moral of the play.

Felt Left Out is more than just an origin story or parody. At the heart of it, this play tells us all to come out of the closet: to stop worrying what the world may think of us and be authentic people, to find the pluck and confidence of a pigeon!

As the main character, Burt, says “Pigeons will come straight up to you with no fear at all.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be so brave?
I think so.

Felt Left Out, a new play by Brett Crandall, is currently in rehearsals and makes its world premiere at The Riant Theatre’s Strawberry Theatre Festival in New York City this February with two performances on Thursday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 22nd at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at TheRiantTheatre.com

As with PBS, this production is made possible with generous donations from readers like you! Contributions can be made on Indiegogo.com. Just search “Felt Left Out”.

You can also check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @FeltLeftOut!

About Gabrielle-Renée

Actress, playwright, director Gabrielle-Renée studied theatre with Southeastern Louisiana University and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. A Louisiana native, she currently resides in Manhattan and has traveled extensively throughout Europe in pursuit of theatre. Gabrielle-Renée is a co-founder of Southern Girl Press, as well as Common People Theatre with playwright Brett Crandall and actor Michael Deyoe. Felt Left Out will be her New York directorial debut.

You can follow her on Twitter @Briesiana.



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