Cigarette Addict Holes Himself Up in the Age of Bloomberg in Chain Smoker, Aug. 9-23

News   Cigarette Addict Holes Himself Up in the Age of Bloomberg in Chain Smoker, Aug. 9-23 Timely as today's headlines, which tell of smoking being banned in New York City restaurants, bars and now even on stage, The Hermitage of an Exiled Chain Smoker will be seen in the New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 9-23.

SMOKE LIKE A PROductions & Terry Jackson Theatrical present the new work by Liz Blocker and Michael Cyril Creighton at The Ground Floor in Greenwich Village.

Carl Andress directs writer-actor Michael Cyril Creighton.

"Smoking is banned and lives are ruined," according to production notes. "From behind his heavily reinforced apartment door, one neurotic New Yorker fights for the freedom of all cigarettes. He'll never leave again, but he's a hero. A hero with asthma. Viva la Revolution! From a demonic mother to unrequited love affairs to alphabetized furniture, join Caleb as he dives into the milestone smokes of his past and tries to combat this cruel injustice. This wheeze-inducing comedy owes its creation to Mayor Bloomberg and his smoking ban; the playwrights thank him from the bottom of their smoke-filled little hearts. At all performances the role usually played by real cigarettes will be played by herbal ones. Unfortunately."

Creighton (performer/co-author) most recently understudied John Kuntz's solo show Starfuckers,  Off-Broadway. Michael has appeared in readings of Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn's Lysistrata Jones and The Drama Dept. Company Picnic Talent Show. Other credits include the national tour of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries, The Burden Of Sunflowers (FringeNYC 2000) and the independent film "Fake ID."

He is a member of The Back House Ensemble and was the 2001 recipient of The Carol Burnett Award at Emerson College. Liz Blocker (co-author) is the author of Breaking Down the Armani Couch, which was produced as a staged reading in the 2001 Emerson New Works Festival and in New York The Theatre Reflective. Her play Newsprint was produced by Backseat Productions in Boston and will premiere in Brooklyn this year. Other works include The Selfish Giant (Papermill Theatre, New Hampshire).

"I am a smoker," Creighton told Playbill On-Line. "It's a nasty little habit, I am aware of that, and hopefully by the time I am 30 I will quit. But for now, I have a really good excuse to keep on smokin': Character research, if you will. The play really wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the smoking ban, that is true. But without my 'habit,' I'm not sure it would be possible either.

"The play is the brainchild of Liz Blocker and I. The character is based on a monolouge Liz wrote for me a while back. Some point this year, we sat around wondering how we could expand this chain smoking asthmatic neurotic ball of energy into a longer show. Then the smoking ban was announced! Perfect. We thought to ourselves, 'How would this man, this awkward, crazy, chain smoking man react to the smoking ban?' The answer was clear. He'd lock himself in his apartment and never leave again. I'm really lucky to have Liz as a writing partner. She writes so well for my style of acting and she's just so funny. We did share the writing, but she really focused my ideas and fine tuned them. It's been really fun."

Carl Andress (director) appeared in the 2002 Fringe festival in his play, It's Not My Fault, It Was On Fire When I Got There. He made his Off-Broadway debut directing and co-starring in Charles Busch's Queen Amarantha and most recently directed John Kuntz's Starfuckers at the Ohio Theatre and Busch's award-winning Shanghai Moon for Drama Dept.

Designers are Laura Grace Brown (sound) and Shelly Sabel (lighting).

The staging includes voiceovers of Sheila Head.

SMOKE LIKE A PROductions/Terry Jackson Theatrical "is dedicated to producing creative, funky, slightly neurotic material for the stage and screen where creativity shouldn't have to cost a million dollars—just look like it does."

Performances of Frinbe shows are on scattered dates and times. The Ground Floor is at 312 W. 11th Street between Hudson & Greenwich. Tickets are $15. For information, visit www.FringeNYC.org or call (212) 279-4488.

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To view Playbill On-Line's story about the banning of cigarette smoking on New York stages, click here.