In the Age of Smokeless NYC Bars, an Exiled Chain Smoker Rebels, Oct. 8-Nov. 1

News   In the Age of Smokeless NYC Bars, an Exiled Chain Smoker Rebels, Oct. 8-Nov. 1 The Hermitage of an Exiled Chain Smoker, a 2003 New York International Fringe play that was a pulse taking of a modern smoker's life, gets another run in Manhattan, Oct. 8-Nov. 1.

Performances of the play by Liz Blocker and Michael Cyril Creighton play Off-Off-Broadway's Arthur Seelan Theatre, the space at Drama Book Shop.

According to the new announcement, "Smoking is banned and lives are ruined. From behind his heavily reinforced apartment door, one neurotic New Yorker fights for the freedom of all cigarettes. 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 of REAL cigarettes will be played by HERBAL ones. Unfortunately."

The new production is produced by Back House Productions & Terry Jackson Theatrical. Carl Andress directs.

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 was seen in the New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 9-23.

"From behind his heavily reinforced apartment door, one neurotic New Yorker fights for the freedom of all cigarettes," according to production notes. "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." Creighton (performer/co-author) most recently understudied John Kuntz's solo show Starfuckers,  Off-Broadway. He 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 over the summer. "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.

Performances of Hermitage play 8 PM Wednesday-Saturday. For information, call (212) 352 3101. The Arthur Seelan Theatre is at 250 W. 40th Street. in the Drama Book Shop.

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

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Back House Productions (producer) is the resident theatre company of the Drama Book Shop and a not-for-profit entity.  Back House has worked with and fostered new works by Jules Feiffer, Donald Marguiles, David Finkle, Robert Lewis Vaughan, Anne Nelson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alice O'Neill.  Back House "is committed to producing new work that fosters new voices within the community that often finds itself without a voice."

Terry Jackson (producer) is the production manager at Drama Dept. where he's worked on The Dark Kalamazoo, Shanghai Moon and Mondo Drama. He has worked with STREB-Action Heroes, Blue Man Group, The Real Live Brady Bunch  and Starfuckers. He has been associated with the New York Fringe Festival every year since its inception, including fives years as Festival technical director. His is also the author of two plays, Jim Darby and Can We Have S-E-X On The Table?,  that will be produced in  Spring 2004.