Check out Freeline Productions’ haunting original novels

Koby the stray kitten longs for a home. (Graphic designed by Sherrie Smith).

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions is the source for original fiction novels by author Michael W. Freeman, which reflect the anxiety, turbulence and often harsh realities of life following the Great Recession.
His novels “Bloody Rabbit” and “Koby’s New Home” were both written at times when the author found himself downsized from the volatile field of print journalism, searching for his next opportunity. The lead characters in both books, R.T. Robeson and William Grabinski, struggle to cope in these frustrating, emotionally demoralizing times when all that’s left is the new part-time “gig” economy. They’re living on the margins, like so many others.
At the same time, these novels are not simply about economic dislocation. In a deeply chilling way, the novels take the reader into a nightmarish existence where social norms appear to be breaking down, and a collective anger among average workers has created a hostile environment where outbursts of violence can happen at any second. Everyone is on edge, and losing control seems dangerously easy. Both Robeson and Grabinski, two mild-mannered and discrete men, find themselves living in a half-dream state where old realities have faded away. Their sense of alienation grows. Humanity is omnipresent — and oppressive and corrupting. Suddenly it’s as if the entire world was made up of James Joyce’s Jesuits, ranting about the horrors of the grave. Continue reading

Community theater is a part of Freeline’s mission

"Murder Sleep" will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

“Murder Sleep” was performed in May 2016. (Photos by Scott Sharky Hodges; poster designed by Jim Cundiff.).

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions started in 2008 with an original play simply called “Hooked.”
Playwright Michael W. Freeman had written the darkly comic play in the mid-2000s, and submitted it to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in November 2008. It was accepted, and “Hooked” had its premiere at the Orlando Fringe, the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States, in May 2009. Along the way, Freeman created Freeline productions as the artistic vehicle to produce the play.
Since then, Freeline Productions was expanded to become a full service freelance writing and editing business, but it remains a vehicle for Freeman’s passion for community theater, and will continue to produce original plays in the Orlando area. Continue reading

During Fringe, Mickey Layman will take us back to the music of Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman Fringe

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From… Ethel Merman” is a musical extravaganza coming to the Orlando Fringe Festival in May.


ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
Actor and singer Mickey Layman, a veteran performer at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows, was at Fringe 2016 playing the role of R.T. in Freeline Productions’ show “Murder Sleep.” This year, Mickey is back — and he’s bringing Ethel with him.
Merman, that is.
“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From … Ethel Merman” is a 60-minute musical extravaganza that pays tribute to the Broadway and film star remembered fondly for shows like “Gypsy” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” As Mickey noted, “This hilarious show explores the ABCs of survival in the adult world by following the wisest Diva of them all: Ethel Merman!”
But there’s a serious side as well to this one-man-show, featuring plenty of memorable showtunes. As Mickey noted, it’s also about what it was like to grow up gay in a Pentecostal household in the Bible Belt. His saviors: community theater, an old record player, and the vinyl recordings of Broadway’s greatest diva.
In-between rehearsals of some of Ethel’s best known songs like “You’re The Top,” “I Got Lost In His Arms,” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Freeline Media checked in with Mickey to learn more about the show. Continue reading

Phantasmagoria heading back to Fringe with Wickedest Tales of All!

Phantasmagoria Fringe

The Phantasmagoria troop is returning to the Orlando Fringe Festival i n May. (Photo by C. A. Bridges).


ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
Coming back for a return engagement is John DiDonna, the veteran actor, director, playwright and theater professor at Valencia College, who is bringing with him the critically acclaimed Victorian Horror Troupe “Phantasmagoria.” The long-running series, about a circus-like group of performers who recount classic tales of terror, are presenting “Phantasmagoria’s Wickedest Tales of All.”
Phantasmagoria started out as a Halloween season show at the Orlando Shakes, but grew in popularity and has since made several Fringe performances, while DiDonna has also taken the show on the road for performances in other states. “Wickedest Tales of All” will be performed in the Orange Venue (The Margeson Theater) and will include the troupe’s familiar mix of horror stories and dance, live music, stage combat, and large scale puppetry.
This production will recreate Charles Dickens’ “A Madman’s Manuscript,” the Hindu “Tale of the Churel,” the old ghastly Nursery Rhymes from “Gammer Gurton’s Garland” and Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Masque of the Red Death,” among others.
Freeline Media caught up with John to find out what other goodies are in store for the Phantasmagoria gang this year. Continue reading

Peter Michael Marino urges audiences to “Show Up” for his solo show at Fringe

show up Orlando fringe

Peter Michael Marino brings his solo performance “Show Up” to the Orlando Fringe Festival in May.


ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
The award-winning solo performer Peter Michael Marino is returning to the Orlando Fringe with “Show Up,” which uses his decades of solo performance to, as Peter notes, “turn the often vilified clichés of the genre on their clichéd heads.”
Peter is the creator/co-producer of SOLOCOM, which has launched more than 400 comedies at The People’s Improv Theater, including his acclaimed solo comedy “Desperately Seeking the Exit.” In “Show Up,” Peter said he plans to exploit “an arsenal of Post-it Notes to compile and transform the challenging and enlightening real-life audience experiences into a single vibrant life-story that’s daring and unique each time. Chance elements are increased as audience members are engaged to cue sound, design the set, and direct.”He promises Fringe audiences a “wild, unpredictable ride” that also comments on social anxiety, depression and performance challenges.
“Ultimately,” he said, ” ‘Show Up’ demonstrates that the value of truth in autobiographical performance is totally subjective. And there’s a party.”
Freeline Media reached out to Peter and learn more about his show. Continue reading

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