Stage Buddy


June 26, 2014

The Bullpen, written and performed by Joe Assadourian and directed by Richard Hoehler, is an endearing and hilarious one-man show full of heart and humility. The play, which recently opened at the Playroom Theater, is produced by Eric Krebs in association with The Fortune Society — a nonprofit organization which helps those who’ve been incarcerated to regain their footing in society after their release. In The Bullpen, the protagonist’s life is turned upside down after he is arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in a NYC club. Once “on the inside,” Joe inhabits a cast of bullpen characters that range from street-wise African-American hustlers to cross-eyed white stoners to his inarticulate public defender. It should be noted that one of the highlights of this show is Mr. Assadourian’s ability to switch between each of the diverse and idiosyncratic characters with such speed and ease.

Theatre Is Easy


June 22, 2014

We arrive at the courthouse’s bullpen. It is not the ordinary courthouse that we know. The bullpen is the temporary holding cell for prisoners waiting for their trials. Joe Assadourian recalls the time he spent there, bringing alive amusing caricatures of the people he met inside and outside the bullpen. In this play, which he wrote and performs, he seamlessly flows from character to character in conversation, from a stoner, a transvestite, a guy from the hood, a guy who speaks English so fast that it sounds like Spanish, to the impaired-speech defense lawyer, an impatient judge, and many more. Assadourian had never seen a play before writing this one and working with director Richard Hoehler. He was released from prison in 2013 after serving 12 years of a 25 year sentence for attempted murder. Hoehler met Assadourian two years before his release, when Hoehler volunteered in an acting workshop at the Otisville Correctional Institution in upstate New York.

Stage And Cinema


June 28, 2014

In telling his true-life tale about being convicted of attempted murder and released following a hefty prison term, Joe Assadourian is proof that you can be a crook and still be a tremendously talented actor. And, really, I don’t suppose anyone should be surprised at this idea. Acting is merely the art of foolery raised to the level of beauty; crookery is somehow similar, though with baser motives. Assadourian’s ’s self-written solo show is a perfect example of a comic piece that allows one to see aspects of life which your typical audience member will hopefully never have to face outside the theater. On the other hand, Assadourian’s dexterously twisty performance as the 18 characters in The Bullpen is so cunning and appealing that you might care to commit a crime of your own so that you too can create a delightfully social experience like this one.


July 3, 2014

Strap yourself in for one wild ride when you take your seat at Joe Assadourian’s insanely entertaining and thought-provoking one-man show The Bullpen, now running at the Playroom Theater. In a near breathless 70 minutes, he delivers a performance so strong that missing it ought to be a crime. Assadourian came to the theater while serving time for attempted murder at Otisville Correctional Institution. There, he reluctantly became involved in a theater group led by actor and director Richard Hoehler. Together they came up with an eight-minute sketch that evolved into this blisteringly funny and superbly performed play, which Hoehler also directs, about the absurd world of the justice system.


July 2, 2014

I don’t know for sure what kind of man Joe Assadourian is. After all, he’s served 12 years in prison for attempted murder. But I can say that he’s one terrific actor, and a very good playwright as well. That much is clear throughout his solo show, The Bullpen, which takes an extremely funny look at a particularly dreadful situation. In the play, which grew out of a theater workshop for inmates at the Otisville Correctional Facility in New York, Mr. Assadourian spends only a small portion of the 65-minute running time recounting his arrest and subsequent conviction. Instead, the bulk of the show transpires inside the title area, a large holding cell where detainees are kept as they await arraignment or transfer.