Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

I Like Ike

 Republican admirers coined the phrase "I like Ike" (referring to "Ike", Eisenhower's nickname) in the spring of 1951 as a symbol of their hopes. The "I Like Ike" slogan was created when Peter G. Peterson of Market Facts (he would be Secretary of Commerce for Nixon), did research for the campaign and found out more people wanted to talk about how they trusted and felt comfortable with Ike, but didn't like to describe their views on all the issues. Thus, 'I Like Ike' went on all Ike paraphernalia.

Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaign was ground breaking in that it was the first political campaign to air television ads. Not only that, but his campaign song was written by Irving Berlin and Walt Disney Studios made one of his campaign ads. Not too shabby for a guy who had to be arm twisted into running in the first place! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What the heck is manioc?

There are so many jokes in On the Verge about the tasteless food called manioc that I had to look it up. Manioc, probably better known as cassava, tapioca, or yuca (but not yucca), is a woody shrub native to South America.

From Wikipedia

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and corn. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of dried cassava.

Cassava is classified as either sweet or bitter. Like other roots and tubers, both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava contain antinutritional factors and toxins, with the bitter varieties containing much larger amounts. They must be properly prepared before consumption, as improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication, goiters, and even ataxia or partial paralysis. The more toxic varieties of cassava are a fall-back resource (a "food security crop") in times of famine in some places. Farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Iko Iko!

Here's a little ditty inspired by the ladies of On the Verge.

Wikipedia has a pretty interesting story about the origins of the story: 

"Iko Iko" (/ˈk ˈk/) is a much-covered New Orleans song that tells of a parade collision between two "tribes" of Mardi Gras Indians and the traditional confrontation. The song, under the original title "Jock-A-Mo", was written and released as a single in 1953 by Sugar Boy and his Cane Cutters that failed to make the charts. The song first became popular in 1965 by the female popgroup The Dixie Cups, who scored an international hit with "Iko Iko". In 1967 as part of a lawsuit settlement between "Sugar Boy" James Crawford and the Dixie Cups, the trio were given part songwriting credit to the song. In 1972, Dr. John had a minor hit with his version of "Iko Iko". The most successful charting version in the UK was recorded by Scottish singer Natasha England who took her 1982 version into the top 10. "Iko Iko" became an international hit again twice more, the first being the Belle Stars in June 1982 and again with Captain Jack in 2001.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On the Verge: Meet the Playwright

Eric Ellis Overmyer was born in Boulder, Colorado. He spent most of his youth in Seattle and eventually earned a B. A. in Theatre in 1973 at Reed College in Portland. Aside from On the Verge, his plays include The Heliotrope Bouquet, In a Pig’s Valise, Don Quixote de la Jolla, Native Speech, Mi Vida Loca, and In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe. Mr Overmyer writes extensively for television, including for St. Elsewhere, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire and Law & Order, and has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. He received an Edgar Award for the television feature Rear Window. Overmyer was also a co-creator of the HBO series Treme, about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans. More recently he’s written for and executive produced Boardwalk Empire, executive produced The Affair, and written and produced Amazon’s new series Bosch, based on the popular novels by Michael Connelly.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

On the Verge: Meet the Design Team

Karen Altree Piemme (Director) is an accomplished director, actor, dramaturg, workshop facilitator and acting instructor, specializing in social justice theatre and community access to the arts. Ms. Piemme is the Director of the Red Ladder Theatre Company, a nationally-acclaimed, award-winning company, which empowers marginalized populations in our community by helping them develop positive life-skills through the art form of theatre. Ms. Piemme spent 21 years with San Jose Repertory Theatre, where she was the Director of Outreach and Resident Dramaturg.  As a theatre professional, Ms. Piemme has directed productions for both youth and adults, taught classes and conducted workshops locally, nationally and internationally for nearly thirty years. Ms. Piemme also serves as the Associate Director for 2nd Stages at Dragon Productions Theatre Company, and the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Foundation where she produces the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She teaches in the Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre at San Jose State University, and serves on the Theatre Services Committee (the advisory council) for Theatre Bay Area. Ms. Piemme is the recipient of the 2011 Champion of Arts Education Award, awarded by the Mayor/City of San Jose and the San Jose Arts Commission, and in 2012 she was named one of the 35 Faces of Theatre Bay Area. Ms. Piemme is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Chrissie Schwanhausser (Stage Manager) Chrissie is delighted to make her stage management debut at Dragon Productions. She has worked as a theatre professional in the Bay Area for the past two years with California Theatre Center where she has served as a youth educator, backstage manager, and more recently Tour Coordinator for their 2015-2016 school series productions. Previous stage management credits include Crossroads at Cal Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and Antigone at California Theatre Center’s Advanced/Intermediate Conservatory. She’d like to thank the audience for supporting live theatre.

Maria Costello (Assistant Stage Manager) is delighted to be returning to Dragon Theatre, this time to help backstage! She was recently in Dragon Theatre's 2016 season opener, U. S. Drag. Other credits include Beyond Therapy (Shelton Theater). She is a film actors program graduate from Shelton Studios in San Francisco. Maria is also experienced at doing stage work in French. She has performed at Théâtre du Vide-Poche in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she studied French at the University. 

Jesse Ploog (Scenic Designer & Properties) A year into being a professional theatre artist, Jesse has been able to add quite a bit to her list of accomplishments. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2015 with a degree in Theatre Production/Scenic Design, she moved out to the Bay and immediately began working with Dragon again after interning with them the summer before. Since moving, Jesse has been able to Stage Manage/ASM, Set Design, and be a props master for many shows with Dragon - and in April of 2016 she had the opportunity to join the amazing team here at Dragon as the Associate Production Manager of 2nd Stages. In her time here she has also had many amazing opportunities at various other South Bay theatres to Stage Manage and work as a Scenic Artist. Jesse is so happy to be able to be a part of the Bay Area theatre community and to be so involved with this wonderful theatre!

Charles McKeithan (Master Carpenter) has been working in Bay Area theater for over ten years now as an actor and a carpenter and is happy to be back with the Dragon for another round of fun. His past works include Voice of the Prarie at the Dragon, Walls of Jericho at the Pear, Collosus at SF Playhouse, and countless productions with Ron Gaspernetti under the guise of Thrust Scenic Design.

William Campbell (Lighting Designer)

Natalie Barshow (Costume Designer) is excited to make her Dragon Productions debut. Recent costume designs include On Clover Road (SF Playhouse), The Tempest (Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Dead Man Walking (San Jose State University), Fuddy Meers (SPOTLITE Stage Co.), and several short films. Her assistant designer credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Cal Shakes), Anne Boleyn (Marin Theatre Company), and The Tempest (Cal Shakes). Natalie is currently the Wardrobe Coordinator for ODC/Dance and the Wardrobe Lead for Cal Shakes. Upcoming projects include The Jungle Book (Marin Theatre Company), Two Sisters and a Piano (Contra Costa College), and various ODC/Dance productions. She is a graduate from San Jose State University, holds her B.A. in Theatre Arts, and is currently a freelance costume designer, assistant, and wardrobe person for theatre and film around the bay area. More information available at

Brittany Mellerson (Sound Designer) is a recent graduate of Point Park University’s conservatory program with a BFA in theatrical lighting and sound design. Some of her recent credits include lighting design for Absolutely Fabulous (Royal British Theatre Company) and The Birthday Club (San Francisco Fringe). Others include Playhouse Jr’s Huck Finn, The Alchemists’ Lab (Sound Design), and Dark of the Moon (Assistant Lighting Design), Chess, Yo! Vikings (Audio Mixer), and Do Me! Date Me! Dumb Me! (Lighting Design) at the Rex Theatre. She’s extremely grateful to be working with such an incredible team of creative minds and helping hands

Friday, October 7, 2016

On the Verge: Meet the Cast

Tom Gough (Man) Tom is tickled to be reprising one of his favorite roles, having previously performed On the Verge at the Bus Barn Stage Co in 2000. Tom's previous Dragon credits include Leon, etc. in last season's Voice of the Prairie, Charlie Conlon, etc. in Stones in his Pockets, Thurston Wheelis, etc. in Greater Tuna and Henry Harry in Brilliant Traces and Anatol, etc. in Rich & Famous. Most recently, Tom has appeared as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Los Altos Stage Company, Chief Swenson in The North Plan at Renegade Theatre Ensemble, Ross in The Elephant Man at City Lights Theatre Company (where he is former Artistic Director) and Orsino in Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Tom is also a founding and active member of ComedySportz-San Jose. A graduate of Santa Clara University and UC-Davis, Tom is currently on faculty of the Theatre Arts Department at Foothill College. Thanks for choosing to support live theatre tonight/today.

Meredith Hagedorn* (Fanny) has been acting in the Bay Area and all around the US for over 30 years. As Executive Artistic Director and Founder of Dragon Production Theatre Company, she is committed to finding more amazing stories to tell – especially those where women are the stars.  She is thrilled to be able to join three of her absolute favorite actors in this magical story. She most recently appeared on stage as Allison in RX in 2014 and directed The Voice of the Prairie in 2015. Meredith would like to thank all of you for joining us at the theatre today and James for being the most loving and supportive husband anyone could ask for.

Maria Giere Marquis (Alex) has been acting in the Bay Area since 2008, and is a theatre and voice actor, as well as corporate trainer committed to making work less boring. She most recently appeared as Edna Pontellier in the Breadbox's world premiere adaptation of The Awakening and as Gabrielle in When the Rain Stops Falling right here at Dragon. You may have also seen her at City Lights Theatre Company, The Pear Avenue Theatre, Custom Made Theater, and Impact Theatre where she was a company member specializing in Shakespeare. Learn more about her at You can also find her audiobooks on

Doll Piccotto (Mary) is pleased to be making a return to the Dragon after appearing as Maria and Lady Davenant in last year's production of OR. A professed Shakespeare nerd, Doll can usually be found indulging her bardolotry in productions like Silicon Valley Shakespeare's Julius Caesar where she played Cassius. Other favorite roles include Oberon at City Lights Theatre Company and Caliban in the Tempest at Pear Street Theatre. She is incredibly grateful to not only participate in a play that is so unique and lusciously written, but also to be on this adventure with such a daring, talented and uplifting cast. I can honestly say I haven't laughed this much in rehearsal in a long time. Thank you, Fellow Sojourners. It's an honor.