A Pest Control Affair

Photographer: Bret Brookshire with Hyde Park Theatre, Austin, Texas

No cockroaches were harmed in the taking of this photograph. Or, all the cockroaches were harmed and we’re simply not telling you!

Rehearsals began this week for “A Pest Control Affair,” and over the next 30 days, I will be introducing you to each member of this production, the director and the cast, through personal interviews I’ll be doing with each of them.

The proposed schedule looks like this (and scroll towards the bottom of this post to read highlights on each person):

  • Meet our Director, Jonathan Young: 1/12
  • Meet Rupert Reyes and Roxanne Schroeder-Arce: 1/22
  • Meet AJ Reyes and an ABC guest entomologist: 1/30 post
  • Meet Bryan Headrick and Stephanie Slayton: 2/2 post
  • Frontera Fest 2023: 2/3 or 2/4 post on whether we make it to Best of Week

About the Play and about Fringe Theatre:

Based on the true story, Hook vs Pest Control, the production, “A Pest Control Affair,” goes live on Thursday, February 2nd 2023, 7:30pm, as part of the 28th annual Frontera Fest put on by Scriptworks @ Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, Texas.

Synopsis: Shortly after marrying, an entomologist finds out his wife secretly ordered pest control for their home to combat the Texas tree roaches that keep showing up in their living room. This scientist’s disgust at such blatant insectile infidelity may prove too much for his purist’s perspective, until his wife gives him an ultimatum. Friends inadvertently solve their dilemma, while the husband makes one final demand of his wife.

As the writer and producer, I was fortunate enough to assemble a director and cast to bring this story to the stage during Frontera Fest, which normally offers a Long Fringe (90 minutes) and a Short Fringe (25 minutes). For 2023, there will be only the short fringe and a Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV).

The Austin American Statesman wrote that Frontera Fest was “The fringe theatre event of the Southwest.” According to my five-minute research, there is a fringe event in Dallas and one in Houston, neither of which are the breadth and length of Austin’s Frontera Fest which spans across four weeks.

About Frontera Fest, Short Fringe: Jan 17th to Feb 18th 2023

Frontera Fest will run for four consecutive weeks with (5) five productions at 25 minutes each. ‘Thrilled’ was my reaction to landing a Thursday evening performance, mostly because those recovering from holiday food and booze comas are more likely to shower and leave the house on a Thursday evening than say a Tuesday evening. And given Hyde Park Theatre’s small theatre atmosphere, you want the person sitting next to you to have showered!

About “A Pest Control Affair”:  Feb 2nd, maybe Feb 4th, maybe more

Depending on the performance on February 2nd, the production could be chosen to play again on Saturday, February 4th, even a third time the week of February 14th. These two subsequent dates, though, are dependent upon the judges and audience votes on the night of February 2nd.

I’ll write this only once: please, no pity votes. Vote for the best production. The legit judges are there to make sure that the best theatrical productions move forward. Audience votes do count in selecting which ‘audience favorite’ might move forward to Wild Card night. There is so much more to write about the intricacies of Frontera Fest and Scriptworks and Hyde Park in general and I’ll cover that in a future post.

About the Production Members for “A Pest Control Affair”:

  • DIRECTORJonathan Young, Assistant Professor of Drama at Austin Community College and accomplished Director, Actor, Voice artist via Audible. More on Jonathan in the Jan 12th blog post.
  • THE WIFE:  Stephanie Slayton, experienced theatre and IMDb actor most recently seen in 2022’s “My Soul to Keep”. More on Stephanie in the Feb 1st post.
  • THE HUSBAND, Hook:  Bryan Headrick, local theatre actor, singer, voiceover artist often seen in Texas-based commercials. More on Bryan in the Feb 1st post.
  • MANNY the melittologist:  Rupert Reyes, Founder of Teatro Vivo with a recent stint in Tulsa Kings that featured Sylvester Stallone. You can also see Rupert in the most recent Texas COVID commercial. More on Rupert in the Jan 25th post.
  • BEVERLY the botanist:  Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Associate Professor of Theatre & Dance at UT Austin and accomplished actor, playwright, director. More on Roxanne in the Jan 25th post.
  • PEST CONTROL, Phil:  AJ Reyes, actor, podcaster, and Youtuber, AJ recently finished performing in Junie B at the Austin Scottish Rite Theatre. More on AJ in the Jan 26th post.

PRODUCER/WRITER: Rosemary Guzman Hook, Writings By Rosemary dba, is an Advisory Board member for St. Edward’s University’s School of Natural Sciences and the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (just saying that I’m not against bugs per se!). I am also the steward of the heart-driven Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund. This is my third Frontera Fest production, and my second as playwright and producer. And if you’ll let me promo a little (because Gatita is dead and she usually fills that role for me), I am also a two-time Moth StorySLAM winner, London 2022 and Houston 2020. In addition to storytelling and writing essays, I am finishing my first book, “In the Land of Oz,” about the love of my life and all the quirky stories that come from being married to a selectively-social scientist.

About ABC Home & Commercial Services:

A Texas cockroach-sized THANK YOU to ABC Home & Commercial Services aka ABC Pest Control for their sponsorship of this play-from-the-heart. When I reached out to ABC about this true story, they asked for my address, possibly to confirm that my pest control story was true and possibly to double-check if I needed another treatment to combat roaches.

I sold the Hook house in 2017, though, and have regretted it ever since if only because the temporary new owners put about $10k worth of upgrades in it then sold it four years later for twice what they bought it from me. That value jump took fourteen years for the previous owners to receive, but there was too much sadness for me attached to owning Hook’s home. And, I did not enjoy being a landlord to that house or my previous home, mostly because Homo sapiens treat rental houses about as well as they treat their offspring. #Yikes

ABC’s willingness to sponsor the play, though, was generous simply because it is a one-act play and not a full featured production. Although I am grateful to ABC, I feel certain that Hook would have balked at having his name attached to a pest control company, the same as he recoiled in real life when he found out that I had the audacity to order pest control.  How dare I want to live a cockroach free existence inside my own home!

And that my friends is what “A Pest Control Affair” is all about so come out and see it!

3 thoughts on “A Pest Control Affair

  1. Hi Amy! So good to hear from you. I’m actually not acting in this production like I did in my last one. I hired a director + a cast so that I could remain the Writer/Producer and to shadow the Director so that I could learn from him (so that I can direct my next, third play).

    I hope to record the play, A Pest Control Affair, when I’m in the audience but not for public consumption only for critique so I’ll know where to edit for the next go round. Live theatre doesn’t translate to film very well because you cannot get the close-ups, the volume is usually too low because black-box theatres typically have a limited sound system.

  2. Where can I see your last performances? Are they on YouTube? This is such exciting news!!

    Your Polish neighbor,
    Amy P

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