Curtain Critic: The First Annual Book burners is a dark humor delight

Image courtesy of Space 55.

By Serena O’Sullivan
September 27, 2018

Despite its fiery title, no books were harmed during the two-hour runtime of Space 55’s “The First Annual Bookburners’ Convention.”

Director Dennis Frederick’s performance of “The First Annual Bookburners’ Convention” is an offbeat delight full of thoughtful philosophy, intriguing character dynamics and cleverly dark humor.

Continue reading “Curtain Critic: The First Annual Book burners is a dark humor delight”


FilmBar owner reflects on seventh year downtown

Image courtesy of Sierra LaDuke, Downtown Devil.

By Serena O’Sullivan

February 16, 2018

On Feb. 10, FilmBar turned seven years old. While some theaters might hold festivities for the milestone, FilmBar spent the day like any other.

“We didn’t have any celebration,” founder Kelly Aubey said. “I think at ten years we’ll celebrate. But now, there are certain milestones in my head, and I don’t think we’ve reached them yet.”

FilmBar first began as Aubey’s dream to offer Phoenix more diverse films. “There’s no proper art house in this city,” he said.

Continue reading “FilmBar owner reflects on seventh year downtown”

Curtain Critic: ATC’s ‘La Mancha’ lights up the Herberger

Image courtesy of Tim Fuller, Arizona Theatre Company

By the time the stage lights faded and the cast of “Man of La Mancha” gave their final bow, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my hands were numb from clapping.

The Arizona Theatre Company knocked it out of the park so well, the ball rocketed away to Wonderland, much like Don Quixote, the famous literary character at the core of this play. The “Man of La Mancha” begins when a poet-turned-tax-collector is thrown into a prison full of cynics who have been condemned by the Spanish Inquisition.

Continue reading “Curtain Critic: ATC’s ‘La Mancha’ lights up the Herberger”

Curtain Critic: “Chapter Two”, Herberger Theater’s start to the new season


Watching two people fall in love has never been more charming or comical.

The Herberger Theater Center opened its new season with “Chapter Two,” a play written by Neil Simon about his second wife, Martha Mason. Mason herself serves as the director for this performance.

After the recent death of his beloved wife of twelve years, George Schneider (David Mason) shrinks at the idea of dating again. After his well-meaning but bumptious brother, Leo (Ben Huber), sets him up with three girls who wear electric dresses, smuggle TNT across borders, and bear the name Bambi, respectively, the flame of romance in his heart has all but fizzled out. He doesn’t want to call any of the girls Leo tries to set him up with, despite Leo’s pleas that the final girl he’s found is the one for George.

This article was published on October 11, 2017. Read the rest of my review on the Downtown Devil website!

Curtain Critic: The powerhouse performance of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Image Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre

Prepare your ears, but don’t bring earbuds: if you do, Hedwig might be tempted to stroll over and pluck them out before reprimanding you in a cheeky German accent.

Throughout the show, Hedwig interacts with the audience and references Phoenix culture, enmeshing her world with the audience’s so that it’s easy to forget she isn’t a real rock star touring throughout the United States. “Hedwig” is a bold, brilliant and fiercely creative play, with an incredible story and songs to match.

Read the rest of this theater review on “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on the Downtown Devil’s website!

This article was originally published in the State Press on Sept. 26, 2017.

Trans* allyship requires more than mere acceptance

Photo by Nancy Stone | Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

Embracing abstraction empowers students to explore gender variance

When Caitlyn Jenner revealed that she is transgender, I was too young to understand the gravity of her transition. It was the first time I’d ever even heard of Bruce Jenner, let alone the concept of being trans*.

I had no idea of the importance of the trans asterisk, for example.

“I’m really committed to that star, that asterisk,” said Jack Halberstam, professor of American studies and ethnicity, gender studies and comparative literature at the University of Southern California.

Read the rest of this opinion column on gender variance and the Trans* event on-campus on the State Press website!

This article was originally published in the State Press on April 4, 2017.

Political weariness weakens your potential to incite change


Student engagement is the key to unlocking your power as an American citizen

When I walked into Downtown Phoenix’s Westward Ho building on a crisp evening in late February, there was a spring in my step, fueled by my own self-confidence and pride.

I was walking into a forum of ASU faculty and students, ready to engage in a discussion of constitutionality and recent laws, and I was completely assured of my ability to understand, and even contribute, to the discussion.

Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, hosted the “What is Constitutional?” event, a group discussion on the Constitution and recent executive orders.

Read the rest of my article at the State Press website!

This piece was originally published March 15, 2017.

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