By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Apr 16, 2007 at 5:26 AM

It'll be a mixing of cultures and crowds this weekend at Moct Bar as the bar morphs its main room into a makeshift theater for Bad Soviet Habits' performance of Kurt Hartwig's "Who I Was Yesterday."

"We kind of take over their space for an hour and a half," Hartwig says. "While we're there, we're really big and loud. (After we're done) everything tucks back in and life resumes as a bar and club."

The combination of bar and theater came about as Hartwig was looking for ways to get different audiences to see the performances.

"Talking to people during the development of the show, I was running to people who were interested in theater in theory, but never go to theater," he says. "So I wanted to do a performance that is not formal; so people don't feel like they have to dress up. They can get up during the performance and wander over and get a drink."

He describes the experience -- for the audience and cast alike -- as a form of street theater done inside.

"If someone goes up and orders a martini, and the bartender starts shaking ice, we just have to deal with that," Hartwig says.

"Who I Was Yesterday" tells the story of a pair of twins trying to escape their mother, who's actually a monster called a Manticore. Although the performance is part puppet show, Hartwig cautions that it's not a children's show. It is set in a bar, so proper identification is required.

"The story is written on the structure of the fairytale -- a modern, urban fairytale. There are grandparents who are otherworldly. They're on stilts and are like eight feet tall," he says. "There's a pair of twins who are acted out by one actor with two masks, one of which he wears and then shifts from side to side depending on which twin is talking. There's a monster Manticore chasing the twins, which is the primary conflict. Most of her stuff is recorded sound."

Hartwig says that "Who I Was Yesterday" has a fair number of puppets, but the production is visually low-tech and complimented with large-scale design aspects -- a move to better accentuate the characters.

As he was looking for a space for his production, keeping in mind that a theater wasn't an option, Hartwig says that Moct was very accommodating and generous. The bar already showed an interest in the arts with nstallations hanging on the walls. But the entire process has been ever evolving.

"We're performing for four weekends, so it's not technically a one time event. But with the amount of effort and work it's not going to repeated any time soon," Hartwig says. "It's a unique event. Go to any company and you can see bits and pieces of what we're doing, but this is a unique performance."

Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.