For Pielli and his co-host Lynn Bixenspan, it was family and love life woes that ultimately inspired the innovative idea behind their show, wherein each night a group of performers share their relationship stories, after which a licensed therapist analyzes one performer on stage.
“We were both going through breakups at the time, and dealing with issues with our family,” he said. “We started talking and decided this would be a good avenue to try out this premise.”
Both lovers of storytelling, Pielli says he and Bixenspan were drawn to the memoir-esque quality of the format, as well as the diversity it allowed.
“People immediately assume it’s romantic relationships, but we make a point not to just do dating stories,” he said. “It can be family issues, issues with a pet. It covers a wide range.”
Hearing people’s stories night after night, Pielli says the show has a been cathartic experience for him and other performers, even when they’re not sharing.
“Hearing other people talk about these problems they’re having, you can say ‘Oh, I’m going through something similar,’” he said.
He said one performance, when a man discussed his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), particularly resonated.
“OCD is something I struggle with,” he said. “Afterwards we talked at length about how we approach it. It’s really nice to have people open up like that.”
Relationsh*t will play at Astoria’s QED (27-16 23rd Avenue) on Friday, July 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.