Independent theater artist Madi Distefano is the founder and former artistic director of Brat Productions, a company dedicated to "caus[ing] a stir." Her memorable productions include several revivals of The Twenty-Four Hour Bald Soprano, in which Ionesco's classic hour-long play was repeated 24 times, on the hour, for audience members free to come and go, and the Center-supported Haunted Poe, an immersive journey from room-to-room of a 10,000-square-foot warehouse, where actors performed from Edgar Allan Poe's supernatural writings. Distefano's original quick-change comedy, Meanwhile..., challenged two actors to play all 12 roles, using stock characters from crime noir and mid-century pulp fiction.
Independent artist Madi Distefano used Center funds to research and workshop Meanwhile..., a two-person, quick-change comedy inspired by vintage crime noir. Having performed and directed several quick-change comedies, Distefano wanted to determine how stock figures from mid-century pulp fiction might function within the quick-change comedic genre. A story emerged from her research, featuring a prohibition-era Atlantic City night club owner, a cabaret singer with a mysterious past, a detective, and others. Distefano held a workshop of the piece, directed by Matt Pfeiffer, in the summer of 2010. Lee Ann Etzold directed the full production at the Ruba Ballroom in 2011. Two performers, Mary McCool and Sarah Doherty, played 12 characters. This work was Distefano's first attempt to write a play that wasn't based on her own life experiences and colored by her contemporary vernacular.