East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House

Written & Performed by Edgar Oliver

Directed by Randy Sharp

February 12 - 28, 2009

Thursdays - Saturdays at 8PM
Adults $20; Seniors/Students $15

Axis Company presents EAST 10TH STREET: SELF PORTRAIT WITH EMPTY HOUSE, a new play by and about Downtown performance icon Edgar Oliver and directed by Randy Sharp. This look at a life on the fringes of New York's Lower East Side comes on the heels of what could be Oliver's breakthrough role in the upcoming film from Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess, Gentlemen Broncos (opposite Sam Rockwell), as well as a national advertising campaign for mobile phones in Ireland that has become a cult phenomenon.

In EAST 10TH STREET: SELF PORTRAIT WITH EMPTY HOUSE, long-standing, downtown theatre icon Edgar Oliver takes the audience on a fantastic voyage through the strange rooms of the apartment house where he has lived since his first years in New York. Inhabiting the dark, mysterious halls of an East Village tenement building are a dwarf Cabalist, a possible Nazi, the landlord's former wet nurse who apparently lives in a nest of rags, and many other memorable persons. Edgar leads the audience up to the final room, his own, at the top of the derelict stairs, wherein lie the secrets of his own family and the unbelievable odyssey that brought him there. This incredible cast of characters illuminate the sad, funny, brilliant and deeply personal story.

Georgia native Edgar Oliver started performing in New York at the Pyramid in the mid-1980's alongside artists including Hapi Phace, Kenbra Pfahler, Samoa and playwright Kestutis Nakas. As a playwright, many of Oliver's plays have been staged at La MaMa and other downtown NYC theatres, including The Seven Year Vacation, The Poetry Killer, Hands in Wartime, Motel Blue 19, and Mosquito Succulence. As a stage actor, he has performed in countless plays including Edward II with Cliplight Theater, Marc Palmieri's Carl the Second, Lipsynka's Dial M for Model, and numerous productions at Axis including A Glance at New York (Edinburgh Festival & NYC), Julius Caesar, USS Frankenstein, Hospital, and Seven in One Blow. Edgar is also one of the most beloved story tellers at The Moth. His film roles include "That's Beautiful Frank", "Henry May Long" (directed by Axis' Randy Sharp) and "Gentlemen Broncos". His published works include A Portrait of New York by a Wanderer There, Summer and The Man Who Loved Plants (published by Panther Books).


director: Randy Sharp
stage manager: Marc Palmieri
light design: David Zeffren
assistant light design: Amy Harper
sound design: Steve Fontaine
light technician: Edward Terhune
website & graphic designer: Ethan Crenson
publicity/pr: Ron Lasko/Spin Cycle
photographer: Dixie Sheridan
box office: Britt Genelin

AXIS COMPANY
artistic director: Randy Sharp
producing director: Brian Barnhart
executive producer: Jeffrey Resnick
production manager: Ian Tooley



For Mr. Supter, Frances, Donald, Edwin, Freddie, Helen and always for Jason.

This production is made possible by a generous grant from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation.

Purchase East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House by Edgar Oliver | Published by Dramatist's Play Service.


  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan
  • Edgar Oliver - photo by Dixie Sheridan




“... sweet and sinister … a judiciously austere production directed by Randy Sharp… Mr. Oliver is a living work of theater all by himself…”
—Ben Brantley
The New York Times
“Nowhere do the lines between legend and history, living and haunting, so noticeably blur … you’ll want Edgar Oliver to tell (the story)…”
—Backstage - Critics Pick
“... Edgar Oliver('s)... guileless and charismatic weirdness is pretty irresistible ... a taut and utterly involving hour. It is very funny, and also oddly touching and affecting. It makes us hungry for more ...”
—Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com
“... heartwarming and heartbreaking, the production masterfully captures the idiosyncrasies (of) city living ... Oliver's sweetly off-kilter delivery ... his nostalgia for the past, combined with his focused engagement with the present, make (him) a masterful storyteller.”
—OffOffOnline
“Oliver delivers his tale with grace and honesty; the show seduces as an artifact of a New York that is endangered, if not extinct.”
—Show Business Weekly
“… a cast of unforgettable characters and so, so many comedic … and sharply bittersweet moments … see this show.”
—Theater Is Easy