Let’s Put On A Show: The Women Behind Blogologues
3:30 pm, January 25th | by Sarah Devlin
Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula met in college at Yale, and both moved to New York City to pursue careers in theater. Along the way, they created the internet variety show Blogologues, featuring content curated exclusively from the web — Texts From Last Night, Is It Normal? and the odd WordPress blog entry feature heavily in their performances. We had the chance to attend a performance of their latest Blogologues show, “Kale In Me Softly,” which featured all manner of bizarre health and fitness diaries from different corners of the internet, and sat down to ask Jen and Allison about some of the challenges of creating their own show.
While Jamula and Goldberg were auditioning for plays, they also wanted to create something of their own. They started with a blog in which they interviewed strangers on the subway (Y R U On My Train?), which grew out of a fascination with the fact that “everyone can reveal their deepest darkest secrets online, anyone has a voice, anyone can be heard,” Goldberg said. While they were hunting for material they came across the McSweeney’s piece “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers.” “I was like ‘Jen, this is a monologue!’” Goldberg said.
They have since put together 11 shows, several of which were performed during a six month residency at the Under St Mark’s theater in the East Village, a great opportunity that came with a punishing schedule — Goldberg and Jamula wrote scripts, rehearsed for two weeks and performed a new show every month. Now they continue to rent the space for Blogologues shows, which have covered religion, technology, and a Spooky Election Special in October 2012.
Many creative people living in big cities will recognize themselves in Goldberg and Jamula, who have to fit in time to put their shows together along with other, more financially lucrative pursuits. Goldberg tutors in her free time, Jamula teaches yoga privately, and both women are starting public speaking classes through their company, Lively Productions, that aim to help people punch up their pitches and presentations who don’t have the benefit of performing for audiences regularly.
Running their own show gives Goldberg and Jamula a tremendous amount of freedom, but they are also responsible for promoting it and keeping it self sustaining. They have found that the response from the tech community in particular has been invaluable in promoting the show — Goldberg said that executives from Tumblr, Reddit and Texts From Last Night have all reached out to them to say that they love the show. Jamula and Goldberg agreed that the eventual goal is to turn the show into a profitable venture, although both admitted that much larger sponsorships would be essential in order to do so. As for the sponsors they have now? “We’ve just kept our eyes open,” Jamula said, emailing small companies they admired, who have responded enthusiastically and generously. Goldberg and Jamula also hope Blogologues might find a bigger audience through performing for colleges and at company events.
“In theater, it’s as hard as they say,” Goldberg noted. But that hasn’t deterred Jamula or Goldberg from hoping for the kind of hands-on, individually driven and off-the-beaten-path careers enjoyed by the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig. And while they have carved out a space for themselves in the comedy world through Blogologues, they are also hoping to change the scene from the inside — Goldberg noted that in many improv and sketch comedy troupes the group is almost all male, with one token girl. “We decided to flip that on its head and include one token guy.”
“Kale In Me Softly” is currently at the Under St. Mark’s theater for one more weekend. You can buy tickets here.