LIFE or THEATRE?

2018. Director: Carly J. Bales | Writer: Carly J. Bales from the work of Charlotte Salomon


Life or Theatre? explodes the work and subconscious of the 20th century expressionist painter Charlotte Salomon on stage, fusing her autobiographical prose and expressionist painting with classical music, cinema, and theatre into a singular expression of her self – a demand by a young woman to exist in a world that demanded otherwise.

A daring, experimental work of visual and aural bravado

Baltimore Jewish Times

You would be a fool to miss this!  This is the most engaging, provocative piece of performance art I have seen in some time.


Stunning and achingly beautiful, timely, relevant, poignant and poetic- this production will haunt your soul for days.

Baltimore Independent Theatre Review

 

Red Death

2017. Performer | Director: Cricket Arrison | Writer: Lisa D'Amour

 

I starred in this strange murder mystery cum bureaucratic nightmare designed for a roving audience of only twelve members per night.

A lifeguard embarks upon an obsessive quest to find the origin of hate, the root of denial, and the basic human weakness that causes us to fear death - and finds it in Michigan.



Taut, hilarious, and ultimately disquieting, Red Death delivered one of the most satisfying—and in the ways the buried past comes up to upend the present, uncomfortably prescient—plays of this still young year. BMORE ART

The Tempest

2017. Performer | Writer: William Shakespeare


I performed the role of Trinculo in this beautiful rendition of Shakepeare's The Tempest. A ship wrecks on this island that rests between galaxies – somewhere between the rational waking world and the magic dream world. Inhabitants from both these worlds collide as a sorcerer is now forced to confront their past life and conquer their deep-seated lust for vengeance.

 

"Most entertaining of all is the drunken partnership formed by Margulies’ Stephano and Bales’ Trinculo"

 "Bales’ physical comedy is spot-on" "

[Bales and Marguiles] elicit laughter in every scene they touch."

1-800-MICE

2016. Co-Writer, Performer | Director: Sarah Jacklin | Writer: Carly J. Bales and Sarah Jacklin from Matthew Thurber's 1-800-MICE


I co-adapted this expansive and psychedelic comic series into a free-wheeling, anti-capitalist satire seeped in dream logic and inspired by the aesthetics of exploitation film and the Theater of the Ridiculous. I also performed the role of Aunty Lakeford, a new-age megalomaniac bent on cultural dominance and immortality.


 

 One part American wholesomeness, one part latent oblivion, and two parts holyfuckingshit. [...] This play may be as close as some of us will ever come to seeing a Jack Smith theater/performance piece in the flesh.

[Bales’ performance] rides the knife’s edge that separates the deadly serious from the utterly preposterous, where you laugh at reality’s absurdities to keep from flinging yourself under a bus.

BMORE ART

Stupid Ghost

2016. Director: Carly J. Bales | Writer: Savannah Reich

 

I directed this world premiere from Chicago-based playwright, Savannah Reich. Walking the knife's edge between comedy and horrific tragedy, this piece was heavily inspired by teen melodrama films of the 1950's - 1980's, screwball comedies, and the different ghosts that haunt each of our lives. Featuring ghosts, doomed girls, dance numbers, possessed mothers, and the 1985 hit song, Head Over Heels.
 


 

The Ghost lived in the woods, Minding Her Own Business and definitely Not Haunting Anyone, until one day she saw a Pretty Girl and followed her home. It totally wasn’t even a thing. The Girl was probably not even going to notice.
 

Stupid Ghost is a dark comedy about ruining the lives of the people you love.

Cleveland

2016. Director: Carly J. Bales | Writer: Mac Welman

 

I directed the sold-out run of this dark, genre-bending comedy. Part after-school special, part sci-fi horror, the play was like riding the waves of late-night television straight into outer space. 

 

 [Carly Bales is] our DIY theater’s most go-for-broke performer, who appears to have encouraged the cast to reach for the preposterous—and then see what might lie just on the other side of that.
Baltimore City Paper


 

Awards
2016. #1 Play | Top Ten Stage of 2016 | Baltimore City Paper

Flatland

2016. Performer | Adapted from Edwin Abbott

 

 

I was a multiple-role performer in this ensemble-driven theatre piece that careened through an extra-dimensional adventure spanning from the humble two-dimensional home of a hexagon to the farthest reaches of the multiverse. 

This indictment of the absurd and arbitrary justifications for oppression used by those in power drew on contemporary theories of quantum mechanics as well as the physical interplay between the show's three-dimensional ensemble.


A multisensory delight for math-phobes, mathematicians, and every other dimension of theatergoer, the production expresses the beauty of mathematics and the necessity of new perspectives—and the inevitable resistance by the old guard.
Baltimore City Paper

The Maids

2015. Performer | Adapted from Jean Genet

I co-starred in this warping of Jean Genet's classic, spinning a whirligig of S&M power plays, bloody rituals and a copious bouquet of fake death.


We don’t even know what has become of Genet’s play. We’ve lost the plot. The code to interpret the games our maids play has been rubbed smoothed by supplicating hands. Details from the game Genet set in motion have been washed away by the eternal repetition performed in a single room, in a single act. Genet’s “whirligig of being and appearance” has spun out of control, pieces of his text have flung away like accessories in a manic cosplay, and the remembrance of the outside world is failing. Gone is the milkman, the monsieur, and perhaps even the madame herself. Most disturbing of all, the maids remain. Unable to exit through death or imprisonment, the maids continue to act out their roles of servitude to a master who has long departed, leaving a power system forever rippling in the wake of her train.

The World is Round

2015. Performer | Director: Lola Pierson | Adapted from Gertrude Stein

 

I performed and collaborated on this play which combined Stein's non-linear narrative and playful lyricism into a new ensemble-driven piece with original music from Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner.


[A] wildly dynamic ensemble cast.

 

Awards
2015. Best Adaptation. Baltimore City Paper
2015. Top Stage of 2015. Baltimore City Paper
2015. Top Stage of 2015. Baltimore Sun

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

2015. Performer | Director: Maggie Villegas | Adapted from the television series
 

 

I starred as the titular character in this bizarre soap opera adaptation, a meditation on consumerism, media saturation, and feminine despair.

 

 

A big plus in this venture is the spot-on performance of Carly J. Bales in the title role, so memorably created by Louise Lasser. It's not so much an imitation as it is a similar case of character absorption. Bales has what it takes to be Mary Hartman, through and through, and her portrayal is bound to get even more telling as the show's run continues.
Baltimore Sun

 

Bales nails the role, effortlessly moving from jittery good cheer to faux product placement asides, from strained intimacy with Tom to chatty denials about Grandpa Larkin with the police.
BMORE ART

 

[Bales] does wonders throughout the play to convey both Mary’s strength and fragility, oscillating feverishly between nervous timidity and tireless resolve.
Baltimore City Paper

White Suit Science

2014. Performer | Director: Jessica Garrett | Writer: Shawn Reddy

I think the photo is self-explanatory enough.  

Condo Condo Condoland

2013. Performer, Producer | Director: Maggie Villegas | Writer: Liz Maestri


I starred as Jillian in the debut of this manic, darkly comedic dystopian tale. It was the first, and sadly last, time I got to wear a Snuggie on stage.


Dan and Jillian have it all: good jobs, fiscal stability, a beautiful luxury condo in an up-and-coming neighborhood, a food processor... yet they can't help but feel that something is missing. Holed up in their condo on a government-mandated staycation, Dan and Jillian live out their domestic routine until a mysterious stranger forces them to decide what they value most.

NIGHT SWEATS

2012. Performer, Producer | Director: Elissa Goetschius and Rachel Lane | Writer: Cameron Stuart, Joshua Mikel, Dan Caffrey, Rachel Lane


I performed in and produced this multi-level, immersive theater piece dragging audiences into a nightmarish dream world of irrational fears. The piece featured a children's puppet show gone horribly wrong, a flesh-eating swamp witch, girl scouts, and an experimental dance collective dressed as vultures, among other things. What more do you need? 

GENESIS

2012. Director: Maggie Villegas and Carly J Bales Derived from the works of Eduardo Galeano

A multi-disciplinary performance and gallery show inspired by the writings of Eduardo Galleano. Audiences were able to wander through performances and installation work throughout the course of the night. The work was presented in two cities over the course of the month.

Featured at

Baltimore, MD - EMP Collective
Washington, DC - The Fridge

© 2020 by Carly J. Bales

All rights reserved.