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Ryann Weir | May 27, 2015
Photo by Steven Schreiber

Two years ago, I met Amanda Szeglowski through a short-lived but incredibly exciting writers group called Smith + Tinker. The group supported artists who collaborated to create work across genres and disciplines. At the time, Amanda was working in marketing while starting a piece with her dance/theater company cakeface (Jade Daugherty, Jeso O’Neill, Ayesha Jordan and Julia Smith-Eppsteiner). Amanda is cakeface’s self-appointed “Global Paradigm Architect” and has a background in both business and dance, which she wields with the power of Xena Warrior princess. Back then, Amanda and cakeface were beginning to create a new piece called Harold I Hate You.

Harold, I Hate You. is a split-screen story, which flips back and forth between a boy in a camping tent and a group of adult-women-eagles-scouts collectively fantasizing about the things that keep them up at night. The boy, hidden inside his tent, reads aloud from his diary. He’s wondering about a boy called Harold – the one his Grandmother said would come and eat his dinner if he didn’t finish it. Who is this Harold? Does he eat Werther’s Originals? What does he want with our food? On the other side of the stage, the adult-women-eagle-scouts move through choreography and speak in synchronicity like a Greek chorus. They are afraid too. But they are afraid of dying alone, freezing their eggs and getting raped by an attacker who climbs up fire-escapes and gets in through the window. Luckily they’ve got AC units in there to bide their time.

The piece swirls dance, theater and humor together to truly hypnotizing effect and seduces the audience into considering the nature of their own terrors.

After two years of development, Harold I Hate You is finally in production. And I think you should go see it! So, in celebration of cakeface, Amanda, and their pithy, joy-filled, business-minded work, behold….(drumroll) a listicle!

Eight Reasons cakeface’s Harold, I Hate You Is Your New Favorite Downtown Dance/Theater Piece (You’ll never believe number 5*!)

1. It’s Hilarious!

For fans of comedy interested in dance and fans of comedy interested in theater, this might be your in. Laugh with cakeface as they figure out why redheads and twins cannot be trusted. Hear them regret how their moms stole their thunder at birthday parties by spraying whipped cream into everyone’s mouths.  And generally laugh so you don’t cry about how scary things can seem. Think Monica Bill Barnes for the Amy Schumer Generation.

2. It’s Everywhere!

Yes, they’ve performed downtown at HERE Arts Center and Dixon place but now cakeface is expanding to new boroughs (!) and moving above fourteenth street (!) Harold I Hate You just completed a successful run at Triskelion in Williamsburg and will move uptown to Ars Nova this Summer as part of ANTFest. Tickets are available here: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10006069

3. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves!

Don’t let the Eponymous Harold or the Eagle Scouts outfits fool you, cakeface is a group of fierce, funny, talented women bringing humor to the daily indignities and debilitating terror of being a woman. One gal’s last date got sober when she was 2. The other gal got broken up with but got an Hbo Go password in the breakup so….things are going pretty well. Through online dating, aging and short shorts, Amanda and her cohort bring levity to lady business.

4. They Take You Camping!

The set design for Harold, I Hate You is complete with AstroTurf, camping tent and even a campfire (smell included). Adult-Sized Eagle Scout uniforms with pops of neon color are designed by Elle Chyun and give a Wes Anderson by Pinterest vibe that should transport you mentally to upstate at least.

5. Pigs Fly!*

6. It’s Short, Sweet and to the Point!

Run time: 40 minutes. All the highbrow/brilliant cache of the downtown experience without a bullshit double-intermission. Harold, I Hate You packs a punch and entertains every step of the way.

For more information on cakeface and their work, check out cakefaceart.com.

See the original article here.