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A Position of Relative Importance

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Opening 26A Position of Relative Importance tells the tale of Frank Truman. Frank has a Masters in philosophy from NYU, lives at home, and boasts “barista of the month” as his greatest professional achievement. His attempts to climb the corporate ladder are thwarted when potential employers do an Internet search: his name has been co-opted by the Opening 13Scantankerous retiree Joseph Silverman, author of a controversial blog. When Frank tracks down Silverman and begs him to adopt another nom de screen, the old man offers a different kind of help –  a job interview at a mysterious company. It’s then we see how far an ambitious young man will go to land a job he knows nothing about. Mistaken identity, mystery, and misplaced ambition fill this contemporary comedy with sly wit and wry Opening 20Sincisiveness.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. with one 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on May 17. Tickets are $22 or $11 for students with proper ID. Opening night May 1 is “pay what you will” and Thursdays are “buy one get one half off”. Tickets may be purchased online at www.theatreconspiracy.org or by calling 239-936-3239.

Read below for announcements, news, articles and reviews about this production.

 

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‘Position of Relative Importance’ boasts strong cast, strong characters (05-09-15)

Opening 03SA Position of Relative Importance continues tonight at Theatre Conspiracy. Audiences will be delighted to find that the show boasts a strong cast of characters who have been invested with pithy dialogue, hilarious lines and opportunities in which to display their acting acumen in a range of subtle-to-farcical situations and emotions.

The lead is played by Trevor Beauvois-Kinney. He plays the role of job-seeking Frank Truman is Trevor Beauvois-Kinney. Previously seen at Theatre Conspiracy as Ezra Chater in Arcadia, Trevor’s Opening 25Scharacter, Frank Truman, is the ethical and idealistic college grad who serves as the perfect foil for the antics of the other characters as he pursues a good-paying job handicapped by a useless degree and woeful lack of job experience and employment skills.

Jim Yarnes excels as Joseph Silverman, a crotchety 80-something former business executive who is now operating a controversial blog under Frank Truman’s name that poor Frank’s prospective Jim Yarnes 01Semployers find so reprehensible they immediately toss his job application and resume in the cylindrical file on the side of their desks. Yarnes, in particular, clearly enjoys the lines he’s been given by debut-playwright Hal Borden. He masticates each work with the gusto of a dieter who is sitting down to the special at a five-star eaterie.

Now celebrating 35 years on stage, Yarnes has enjoyed many great shows, starting with the Gulf Coast Opera Company, Cultural Park Theater, Broadway Palm Dinner Theater and Theatre Conspiracy. His favorite Opening 14Sshows include Pirates of Penzance, Music Man, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom, Barefoot in the Park, and his recent role as Erie McMichael in Theatre Conspiracy’s recent production of Swell Party.

Without question, the funniest character in this show is Trevor Stevens brilliantly played by Thomas Marsh. Stevens is hoping to transition from his present dead-end position to a job in which he will travel the world enjoying five-star accommodations as the quality-control officer of an international hotel chain. Can you Opening 16blame him for being enthusiastic about making the change? One problem. He has a family member with a cocaine problem that could derail his new employment plans. As a result, he has to keep one foot in the closing door where he currently works, and to do that, he has to enlist the cooperation and active participation of hapless Frank Truman in fobbing off fellow job applicant and uber-qualified Audrey Banks.

Marsh was last seen on the Theatre Conspiracy Opening 22stage as Stevie in Good People. He feels fortunate to be back on stage so quickly, and looks forward to future roles with the company no matter how big or how small. Based on his performance in A Position of Relative Importance, local audiences will be disappointed if Marsh doesn’t get his wish.

FSW theater student Chelsea Salmon plays the role of Audrey Banks, an overqualified job applicant who is going through the interview process for the experience even though she has just accepted a promotion to a better-paying and more prestigious job in marketing at Chelsea Salmon 02the Guggenheim Museum. Much can be said of her role metaphorically as the painfully less qualified men in the company use artifice and subterfuge to convince this clear and present threat to their job (in the case of Trevor Stevens) and job application (in the case of Frank Truman) to withdraw her application and go quietly on her way.

Salmon was a costumer for Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Jane the Plain and is making her stage debut in this show. Audiences will be looking forward to even bigger roles from Chelsea in the future.

Opening 17Dale Hoover plays Roger Billingsley, who serves as president of the company to which Frank Truman is applying for employment. Billingsley has been created by playwright Hal Borden in the image of Jacopo Peterman (Elaine’s boss) from Seinfeld, and in the context of A Position of Relative Importance, he has the final say about whether or Opening 18not Frank Truman gets the job. Toward that end, he devises a series of hysterical interview questions and tests that culminate in allowing Truman to win the position if he can successfully choose which of three white boxes holds a letter accepting his job application. Hoover resists the temptation to overplay the part and lets the absurdity of the questions and situation do the work of reducing the audience to peals and tears of laughter.

Talk Back 12SHoover is a professor of humanities at Florida SouthWestern State College. He has played roles in Neighborhood 3, Amadeus, The Government Inspector, On Golden Pond, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When not performing on stage, he can be found performing in the classroom.

“All of the characters are exaggerations,” noted playwright Hal Borden during the Talk Back Talk Back 07Sfollowing the play’s opening. “It won’t surprise you to know that I sort of identify with Frank even though I’ve worked in the same place for a very long time now. But there’s a little piece of me in each of these characters. I have given them my worst qualities. But none of them are modelled after anyone I know.”

Borden’s a lawyer, so what else would you expect him to say. But the truth is, there’s something of Talk Back 08Seach of us in all of these characters, and all of us have known someone, or many someones, who resemble them to varying degrees. Part of the fun in attending this production is figuring out who the Joseph Silvermans, Trevor Stevens, Audrey Banks, Roger Billingsleys and Frank Trumans are in our own lives.

See above for remaining play dates, times and ticket information.

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Spotlight on ‘Position of Relative Importance’ star Trevor Beauvois-Kinney (05-08-15)

Frank Truman 02SA Position of Relative Importance continues tonight at Theatre Conspiracy, and playing the lead role of job-seeking Frank Truman is Trevor Beauvois-Kinney.

Trevor was first introduced to theater at the age of seven, when he attended a Cape Coral Cultural Park summer camp. “I decided I loved theater,” Trevor says, reflecting back on the experience, which prompted him to take acting, singing and dance lessons and take theater and art classes at the Center for the Arts at Cypress Lake. But life got in the way and, after performing several roles in local productions, Jack Opening 02Stook a hiatus from performing that lasted much too long for his tastes. He ended last August when he starred in Lab Theater’s production of Mr. Marmalade.

“I’d been away from the stage so long, I wasn’t 100 percent sure how I’d feel,” Trevor conceded at the time, while simultaneously expressing hope that his performance as Mr. Marmalade would serve as the springboard for future roles at the Lab Theater and elsewhere. His performance as the abusive, cocaine-addled workaholic imaginary friend of a four-year-old Opening 03Schild was so strong he landed the lead in this production as well.

As Frank Truman, Beauvois-Kinney plays a somewhat rudderless job applicant whose quest to parlay his Masters Degree in philosophy and accolades as Starbuck’s barista of the month for four consecutive months into a good-paying career are scuttled by 80-something Joseph Silverman, who is running a controversial and opinionated blog under Truman’s name. In his ensuing encounters with Silverman, interviewer Trevor Stevens, fellow job applicant Audrey Opening 08SBanks and company president Roger Billingsley, the Truman’s ethics are compromised, his idealism eroded, his view more jaded, metaphorically expressing in the course of a single job interview what most college graduates experience over the course of their first full decade in the workforce following their matriculation. While Beauvois-Kinney traverses this downward character arc with deadpan incredulity, what he does best is serve as the perfect foil for the antics of the other characters. In that sense, he does what the lead character in any fiction is supposed to do. He makes it easy for the audience to Bows 03Sidentify with, and root for, him.

Trevor has previously been seen as Ezra Chater in Arcadia, as Benny in Monet Sends Love from Topeka with SOOP production company, and as Jamie in The Last 5 Years with Teller’s Theatre Company.

See above for remaining play dates, times and ticket information.

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Realistic dialogue, situational comedy thrill ‘Position of Relative Importance’ audiences at Theatre Conspiracy (05-07-15)

Opening 03SA Position of Relative Importance continues tonight at Theatre Conspiracy. The play tells the tale of Frank Truman, a young man who has a Masters in philosophy from NYU, lives at home, and boasts “barista of the month” as his greatest professional achievement. He attempting to establish a real career for himself, but his job search is being thwarted when potential employers do an Internet search. It seems that Frank’s name has been co-opted by the cantankerous retiree Joseph Silverman, author of a controversial blog. Frank tracks down Silverman and begs him to adopt another nom de Opening 26screen, but the old man sends him instead on a job interview at a mysterious company. It’s then we see how far this ambitious young man will go to land a job he knows nothing about.

Mistaken identity, mystery, and misplaced ambition fill this contemporary comedy with sly wit, wry incisiveness, true-to-life dialogue and Opening 14Sstrong characterizations.

“The dialogue in this play is some of the best I have heard in a very long time,” said one audience member who attended the play’s opening. “And some of the funniest, too. It’s the kind of play everyone can relate to in some way or another since we’ve all applied for jobs. My hat’s off to [playwright Hal Borden]. It thought it was just phenomenal.”

“I think we’ve all fudged a resume or job application,” echoed another opening night attendee. “I know I have. Opening 09The dialogue is right on target. It’s the way people talk. It’s dialogue we understand. It’s the way real people speak. That’s what caught me.”

“The dialogue was delicious, just delicious,” added someone else as they were leaving the theater.

“Each character has such good lines,” enthused another audience member. “Good lines weren’t the domain of just one or two characters. They all had good lines, which the actors delivered well, and there was a lot of comedy in the play without any words being said.”

Opening 18In addition to true-to-life dialogue packed full of jokes, A Position of Relative Importance also sizzles with situational comedy. The scenes and set-ups that playwright Hal Borden builds into the plot and sub-plots of the play are smart, fast-paced and hilarious on their own merits.

“I love the situations and subtle twists, and the kooky, wonderful characters, and yet they are real people,” added another audience member. “They have depth. They have dimension. Quirky but real.”

All performances take place in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts. Remaining performances are tonight and May 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and on May 17 at 2 p.m

 

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Director Stuart Brown predicts crackling jokes, sprightly dialogue will make ‘Position of Relative Importance’ fan favorite (05-01-15)

Stuart Brown and Hal Borden 02SA Position of Relative Importance opens at Theatre Conspiracy on Friday, May 1. A world premiere comedy written by Philadelphia copyright lawyer Hal Borden, the production will be performed by a cast of five under the direction of Stuart Brown.

The protagonist, Frank Truman, has a Masters in Philosophy from NYU, but what can you do with that? So his first job out of college is working at Opening 25SStarbucks, where his greatest accomplishment is being named barista of the month for straight months.  “The play is a comedy that borders on farce,” notes director Stuart Brown, so playwright Hal Borden can be forgiven for indulging in a bit of exaggeration here. Plenty of kids matriculating with degrees in far more employable disciplines over the past ten or so years have found their sheepskins utterly worthless too.

“Now he’s trying to find something that’s a little Opening 13Smore substantial,” Brown continues. But  his efforts are being thwarted by an opinionated curmudgeon who is operating a blog under the name of Frank Truman that prospective employers ascribe to him when they do a Google search after receiving his resume.  “So he tracks down this blogger and asks him to quit using his name, but instead the blogger arranges a job interview for him with the company he used to work for, and Opening 16we’re off and running.”

A Position of Relative Importance has had half a dozen staged readings, winning first prize at the 2013 FutureFest Festival of New Plays in Dayton, Ohio, top honors at Penobscot Theatre’s Northern Writes Festival, and being chosen as a finalist in new play contests at the Abingdon Theater (NYC), Bloomington Playwrights Project (IN), and Tangent Theatre Tivoli (NY), and The Neil Simon Festival. But what impressed Brown most was that Opening 22it was chosen from a field of more than 300 applicants by the audience in Theatre Conspiracy’s recent new playwriting contest. Tonight’s opening represents the world premier for the play.

“It’s easy to see why,” remarks Brown, who teaches and directs theater at Florida SouthWestern State College form more than 20 years. “Borden has an excellent sense of comedy. He’s a very fine comedic writer. The jokes are packed in there, close together, so it’s quite funny. In addition, he has a good ear for dialogue and is quite skilled at it. I very much enjoyed the play when I read it Opening 18for the first time. It was among the strongest of all the new play candidates.”

The playwright, Hal Borden, is a Philadelphia trademark and copyright lawyer who has a degree in film writing. “This is his first full play, and he’s coming down to see the production on Friday and Saturday so he will be on hand to participate in the Talk Back that follows each performance.”

Brown believes that the play will resonate on many Opening 03Slevels with audiences of all ages. “The play touches on the fact that we all lie and project a persona that’s different from the person we really are. Frank Truman is scrupulously honest, but finds that doesn’t serve him well in his job search so there’s this tension between representing himself the way that’s likely to get him a job and the actual facts of his life.” The play further underscores that many of us settle for jobs and careers that don’t necessarily stir our passions or creative juices in order to make a living.

In addition to sprightly dialogue, crackling jokes and Stuart Brown and Hal Borden 03Stimely themes, Brown also expects Theatre Conspiracy audiences to respond to the delightful mix of actors who form the cast of Position of Relative Importance. “We had the odd circumstance of having an actor with the same name as one of our characters,” adds Brown, honing in on some comedy behind the comedy. “Every time I’d say the name Trevor, I’d have two heads turn in my direction. I’ve never had that occur before and we had to resort to the Stuart Brown and Hal Borden 06Sconvention of addressing everyone by their stage names in order to keep it all straight.”

Stuart Brown holds a Master of Fine Art degree in directing from the University of Texas at Austin and a BFA in design from Florida State University. Stuart’s career includes credits in feature film, documentary, theatre and advertising. Stuart’s work has been recognized in numerous awards including two Wolfson Awards for Best Documentary. Stuart teaches full time at Florida SouthWestern State College and has done so since 2008. He also remains active professionally in both theatre and film.

See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Theatre Conspiracy’s ‘Position of Relative Importance’ is award-winning show (04-17-15)

A Position of Relative Importance comes to Theatre Conspiracy in May. The play shared first prize at the 2013 FutureFest Festival of New Plays in Dayton OH, won top honors at Penobscot Theatre’s Northern Writes Festival, and was a finalist in new play contests at the Abingdon Theater (NYC), Bloomington Playwrights Project (IN), and Tangent Theatre Tivoli (NY), and The Neil Simon Festival. The opening at the Alliance for the Arts’ Foulds Theatre on May marks the play’s world premier.

The first two performances of the show will be followed by a talk-back with the playwright.

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Meet ‘Position of Relative Importance’ playwright Hal Borden (04-18-15)

Hal Borden 01Hal Borden’s A Position of Relative Importance comes to Theatre Conspiracy in May. It is Borden’s first play.

Borden earned a MFA in Screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, where he won the Hal Kanter Comedy Writing Award. Besides writing, he practices trademark and copyright law. With an emphasis on trademark clearance, enforcement, and prosecution, as well as licensing agreements and other corporate transactions involving intellectual property assets, Hal Borden 02Borden represents a diverse group of clients in industries such as computer software, drug development, fashion, and food and beverage. He has coordinated multi-national trademark clearance and registration projects involving several dozen countries, and has advised public and private clients on intellectual property issues in mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and financings. Mr. Borden also counsels clients on domain name matters, including registration programs and arbitration proceedings, and is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA)

 

 

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