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Flux Sunday. March 9th

Saturday, March 29, 2008 Leave a Comment

Flux Sundays has been growing steadily, and we have now had to change our invitation structure so that new folks come for three sessions only - giving us a chance to know them, and vice versa - with the potential of future revisits after all on the waiting list have had a chance. However, those invited before this strange set of rules was put in place still have permanent invitations; and that is very happy news in the case of Kate Marks, a director/playwright who did both (and even acted!) in her Flux Sunday debut. (The picture to your left is an image from her production of The Odyssey at LookingGlass - can you spy a different Flux Sunday regular?)

All our plays this particular Sunday dealt above all with power, and that was especially true with David Ian Lee's post-Sleeper play, The Dog Show. I played Edward (the guy with the power) and Jason Paradine played Frank (the one, allegedly, without it), and Cotton Wright, a powerhouse herself, directed. Having had too many family members who took too much pleasure from the power they held over others, it was an uncomfortable if familiar skin I slipped into, torturing Jason's character by 'helping' him seek revenge on a common enemy. We were all buzzing about what will come next, as David laid just enough mysterious land mines down in this first scene that we're all wondering who will be blown to the moon.

Jeremy Basescu's A Wonderful Wife reached its shattering climax. Angela, the 'visitor' who took broke apart June and Carl's marriage, has found a shared love of beauty and female power with June even as she is (or was) Carl's lover. Her power over them both is pulled out from under her by sketches drawn by June and Carl's son, Max. Max has tracked down Angela's daughter and drawn her nude - drawn her so beautifully that Angela's poisonous hold is broken, and husband and wife enjoy a blissful, if brief, reunion. Candice Holdorf's stunned reaction to being dethroned was one of the finest performances of a stage direction I've ever seen at a Flux Sunday. Both Rob Ackermen and Anja Braanstorm captured the beauty and fear of having their blinders finally ripped painfully off. And Isaiah Tanenbaum continued his excellent direction of Jeremy's work.

The first scene of Kate Mark's play Bird House was a zany yang to the gin yin of David's Dog Show. The birds in question are Lousiy and Syl, two roommates and friends bound to each other to fill the boredom of their days with silly songs and kukcoo bird watching. Almost like a Godot staged by Jim Henson, the characters try to entertain themselves in a darkly whimsical world where murmurs of war and death darken their play. Though fun was had by all, particularly capturing the earnest craziness of the play was Nancy Franklin's Louisy.

Kate directed this lovely set of scenes from Katherine Burger's play that I am currently obsessed with, and in these scenes, sex and power have a messy hook up. Andrew, our East Coast liberal mild mannered expert on Asia, falls under the spell of his boss, the Texas-sized social Darwinist, Bo. On their trip to Thailand, Bo slips a teenage prostitute into Andrew's room; and while Andrew at first attempts to get the girl out, the scene deepens as the complexity of both their needs are revealed. Claire, Andrew's wife, is obsessed with having a child; and Andrew cannot seem to give it to her; and as a result, their sex has become clinical. Feeling lonely and powerless, Andrew makes a mistake he cannot soon forget. In contrast to that difficult marriage, Bo and his ferociously Christian former cheer-leader of a wife Sally, attract with the vitality of their love even as the cruelty of their opinions repel.

In sum, a powerful Sunday.