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Check out the buzz for Stolen Chair's "The Man Who Laughs"

"The Man Who Laughs" Cast - Stolen Chair TheaterThanks to all who came out to see Stolen Chair’s “The Man Who Laughs; A Silent Film for the Stage”, it was a great success! Based on the Victor Hugo novel and famous 1928 film, “The Man Who Laughs” recreated the silent completely black and white sets, projected intertitles, and live piano accompaniment. The New York Times called the production “ingenious” while the Huffington Post called it “inspired stagecraft.” Below are some of the press clippings about my performance.

...He performs in a stage caravan with Dea (a winning Molly O'Neill), a blind woman he rescued when she was an infant.”
                 -The New York Times

The top acting honors, however, go to Molly O’Neill, whose role presents multilayered challenges. As Dea, Gwynplaine’s blind adoptive sister, love interest, and sideshow performance partner, O’Neill must not only convey myriad deep emotions without words but also express her character’s sightlessness, which she convincingly accomplishes through enthralling wide-eyed gazes. As playing blindness typically relies on acute responses to onstage sounds, in this “silent” production O’Neill must somehow make us “hear” the noises that motivate her behaviors. In addition, in the show-within-a-show scenes Dea sometimes plays a marionette. Working in the antiquated acting style the cast emulates throughout, along with physicalizing her character’s disability, O’Neill then persuasively takes on the limp-muscled, loose-jointed qualities of a puppet.

The highlights of the evening are the scenes between Dea and Gwynplaine in which they poignantly flirt with one another or comically enact their silly shows. The chemistry the two actors manage to muster within the expressive confines of the silent screen conceit is remarkable.”
                 - Backstage

Molly O'Neill as Dea in "The Man Who Laughs"

Dea, the girl (Molly O'Neill), is now a beauty. She and Gwynplaine share a special bond. He yearns to be more than an object of comedy or ridicule. Ironically, because she cannot see him, her love is pure. Their marionette routine is magical, and one of the evening's highlights... The cast is uniformly wonderful; Droxler and O'Neill evoke great chemistry on stage and imbue their roles with an aching tenderness.”
                 -The Huffington Post

The cast is an incredibly talented bunch and you could cut chemistry between them with a knife. […] Rescued by Gwynplaine as an infant, Molly O’Neill is uncannily convincing as the blind Dea. Her love for Gwynplaine shines in a pas de deux surrounding a hair comb and her turn as marionette in the play-within-a-play makes clear her physical comedy chops.”

The cast of six actors does a marvelous job of communicating their story using only physicality. Each moment is clear and defined without any confusion. The show within a show performance that Dave Droxler (Gwynplaine) and Molly O’Neill (Dea) create of a marionette romance is breath-taking to watch; painting a picture that is both comical and heart-wrenching.”
                 - Show Business Weekly

O’Neill manifests blindness without mugging- not an easy feat under these circumstances. Sentiments flicker across her face subtly. Her low key ingénue glows.”
                 - Woman Around Town

The leads are sublime... Dave Droxler and Molly O’Neill all have us cheering for them and feeling their moments of pain.”
                 - Times Square Chronicle


Molly O'Neill as Dea and Dave Droxler as Gwynplaine in "The Man Who Laughs"

The acting in The Man Who Laughs is excellent, every actor completely embodies the over the top stylized movement associated with old silent films and embraces the stereotypes that would have been highly recognizable to people of the time period.

[…] Some of the best scenes in the play are between lovers Gwynplaine (Dave Droxler) and Dea (Molly O’Neill) as they go through their morning rituals, stretching, eating breakfast, and brushing Dea’s hair. Their timid flirtation is precious and hilarious though also painfully heartbreaking at the same time, as Gwynplaine feels himself not fully worthy of Dea’s beauty with his ugly mouth, though she is the only one who doesn’t grimace or laugh at him, because she can’t see it.”
                 - New York Theater Review


"The Man Who Laughs" - January 31st - February 24th

The Man Who Laughs Promo

Come see me as Dea, the blind beauty, in Stolen Chair's The Man Who Laughs: A Silent Film for the Stage, performing January 31 through February 24 at Urban Stages.

The Man Who Laughs hasn't even opened and press is already rolling in in anticipation!

Martin Denton, of &, is excited for the return of The Man Who Laughs, including it his preview of the upcoming theatre season in The Villager. On the original production, Denton wrote "This bona fide tour de force of theater has the real capacity to tug at something inside of us and make us feel in a raw, spontaneous and very essential way."

Playwright Kiran Rikhye & director Jon Stancato, each are People You Should Know! Read about what excites Kiran and Jon about creating The Man Who Laughs.

First performed to critical acclaim in 2005, The Man Who Laughs transforms silent film into live action, taking us back to a time when performers didn't need to speak to pull on our heart strings and tickle our funny bones.Based on Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs, the play is performed in the style of a silent film, complete with live piano accompaniment, projected title cards, and a vibrant black-and-white set.


Written by Kiran Rikhye | Directed by Jon Stancato | Dramaturgy by Emily Otto | Music by Eugene Ma | Makeup by Jaclyn Schaefer with Stephanie Cox-Williams | Costume Design by Julie Schworm | Lighting Design by Daniel Winters | Set Design by Michael Minahan | Stage Management by Colin Miller | Props & Graphic Design by Aviva Meyer | Featuring Raife Baker, Dave Droxler, Jon Froehlich, Molly O'Neill, Noah Schultz and Rebecca Whitehurst

Where: URBAN STAGES, 259 West 30th Street btw 7th and 8th Avenues | When: JAN 31 - FEB 24 Thurs - Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm & Mon, Feb 4 at 8:30pm | Tickets: $30 Adults, $25 Students/Seniors, $20 in 1920s Costume, SmartTix 212-868-4444 | Show runs approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission. | Free Popcorn! 

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