Stray [2014-2018]

Brutal and beautiful, Stray is the true story of a girl who runs away and finds herself.

Stray is a meta-memoir based on creator Tanya Marquardt’s experience as a sixteen-year-old runaway and BDSM model, and a New York transplant writing about this earlier stage of her life. A punk show with references to Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe and David Wojnarowitz, the show begins on November 1, 1992, the day Tanya runs away from home, and each song careens you through the chaotic years that follow – life with Tanya’s father, a travelling vacuum cleaner salesman, her first attraction to a girl and witnessing her self-cutting, being underage in a BDSM bar, a writing teacher’s praise, which saved her from suicide, and, how art sustained her throughout, poetically describing the pleasure of writing, “a left hand scuffing across the page like a club foot, or a piece of bread smeared in delicious sauce.”

Co-created with Tim Carlson and director Mallory Catlett.

Stray features performer Tanya Marquardt, musician and Conspiracy artistic producer Tim Carlson, and musicians Jon Wood (guitar/bass) and Ed Goodine (drums).

Stray premiered as Duets for One at Club PuSh 2014. Theatre Conspiracy presented new scenes from Stray at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) in New York in Oct and Nov, 2014, part of CANADIANS ARE MEAN, curated by MELANIE JONES (2013/15 BAX Artist In Residence). Stray was presented at The Tank in New York, USA in July 2018 and SummerWorks in August 2018.


“One of the great joys in seeing Off Off Broadway theater is when you come across a work of dazzling ingenuity and raw self expression that hasn’t been edited and refined and dulled the way larger, pricier productions often are. Stray is one of those works, in which writer-performer Tanya Marquardt adapts her memoir of the same title into a performance piece by merging music and spoken word. … Bottom Line: This compelling combination of memoir and music creates a truly one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. – Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre is Easy

“The accomplished musicianship often recalls the purposefully jagged tones of The Ramones, The Clash and early Blondie. … In addition to performing on guitar, Mr. Carlson also composed the music to Marquardt’s lyrics for the credible original songs. “Fucking Love Letters,” “The Paddle Song” and “The Thesis Song” are some of the titles. … Stray is patchy, spirited, marked by creative aspirations and succeeds on its own terms.” – Daryl Reilly, TheaterScene


  • SummerWorks Festival at The Theatre Centre | Toronto, Canada – Aug 10 & 12, 2018

  • The Tank | New York, USA – July 18-21 & 25-28, 2018

  • Excerpts at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) | New York, USA – Oct - Nov. 2014

  • Club PuSh 2014 (premiered as Duets for One) | Vancouver, Canada – February 2014