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Flux Sunday. March 9th

Saturday, March 29, 2008 0 comments

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. Read the full story

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Only two more weekends left to see Christina Shipp in "Winter's Tale"!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008 0 comments

I was lucky enough to catch my friend (and Associate Member of Flux) Christina Shipp as Perdita in The American Globe Theatre's The Winter's Tale a few weeks ago. This is one of Shakespeare's most beautifully written, yet enigmatic plays, shifting from desperate tragedy to pastoral comedy in the blink of a bear. As Perdita, Christina is ebullient, fresh and effervescent--you can see why everyone falls in love with her.

The show runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm through April 5. Read the full story

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Isaiah's film is going to be on TV!

Wondering what to do until the benefit on April 14th? Wish you could see more of Isaiah? Well, who wouldn't? So why not catch my television broadcast debut this Saturday night at 10:45 pm on PBS Channel Thirteen?

"Window Shopping," a short I starred in, was chosen as a finalist for this week's "Reel 13" program, which sandwiches a classic film, an indie short, and an indie feature together for a long Saturday evening of excellent cinema. Window Shopping won the poll, beating out two other strong films, and will air this week between Billy Wilder's classic "One, Two, Three" and "The Delicate Art of Parking," which looks like quality, judging by its trailer. The whole evening starts at 9; Window Shopping will air at 10:45.

If you don't feel like staying up to catch it on television (or, like me, you'll be out of town), the film will remain up on the Reel-13 website, at http://www.thirteen.org/reel13/shorts.html for I don't know how long (forever, hopefully), so you can stream it onto your computer.

You should also be sure to check out "Rue" alumna Laura Walczak as a hilariously drunk woman, stood up on her date and vowing to take revenge, in "Loaded," which was a previous week's finalist entry.

I'm going to be out of town for Food/Soul, but I'll see you at the benefit! Bring your smiley faces, I'll have my camera 'round my neck. Read the full story

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Racism in the United States: Seeing Things Not Just in Black and White

I am sorry to say that I am blogging about two shows that have already closed, but at least if you see a theatre presenting of one these, you'll know to check them out for yourself. A few weeks ago, I caught the LAByrinth Theater Company's production of Brett C. Leonard's Unconditional, which ran at the Public Theater through March 9, and The Barrow Group's production of John Ahlin's Gray Area, featuring the comedic talents of one of the stars of Flux's Riding the Bull, Will Ditterline.
The former focuses on the lives of 9 New Yorkers as they struggle with biracial couplings, loneliness, betrayal and revenge in contemporary New York City. The play starts with quite a bang, languishing in several agonizing minutes as we watch a lynching victim, standing on chair, noose around neck, bound and gagged, beg for his life as his torturer enjoys a smoke and a whiskey while circling his prey. Finally the proverbial chair is kicked from under the man and thus commences a patchwork of scenes, à la Crash which features the lives of various scumbags, lowlifes and gangsters interwoven with one or two characters of relative honesty--showing that racism and prejudice exist not only within the white culture, but within black and Hispanic cultures as well. Overall, I was drawn to the characters with some real vitality and complexity, especially Elizabeth Rodriguez's Jessica and Trevor Long's Daniel (the two have a somewhat absurd and touching scene where they connect late at night via telephone through an online dating service). While the rest of the cast does their best to bring to life these characters, many of them were not as fully fleshed out as I would have liked and a few were, I felt, somewhat miscast. On the plus side, I was completely drawn in by Mark Wing-Davey's direction and Mark Wendland's scenic design, with it's sliding doors and screens, offering us a murky view of who these people really were, as well as providing a sense of why we choose to stay within locked views of race, sex, marriage and loyalty. Mr. Leonard is a promising playwright and I look forward to what he and the LAByrinth have to offer next.
And now for something completely different, we have John Ahlin's Gray Area, which ran at the Barrow Group through March 16. This was a sharp and hilarious deconstruction of race relations as played through a game of Confederate vs. Union wits. A retiring NY theatre critic, known for his ruthless opinions and arrogance, makes a crack at the expense of Civil War reenactors. When a group of proudly Confederate reenactors read this in the paper, the leader of the group (playwright John Ahlin) decides that the best revenge is to kidnap the man from his comfortable Northeast home and bring him south of the Mason Dixon to teach him a lesson in war camp life. What ensues is a study of century old prejudices turned on their head (the first being that Southerners are stupid, backward, racist, trailer trash) and ends in intelligent battles, such as a vocabulary bee, Civil War trivia, debates and theoretical musings, such as what it would be like to be saved by the super heroine, Eve of All Battles. Will Ditterline is wonderfully on point in every moment as the sweet (but somewhat slow to catch the point) Horse. In fact, the entire cast creates a wonderful ensemble and the set, complete with forest and dirt, really captures the essence of backwoods Mississippi (or was it Alabama--or Georgia--gotta check out the play to know for sure!!!).
Both plays had some great ideas to offer and forced me to take a look at my role at perpetuating unfounded prejudices in my society. And that is why I believe in the necessity of theatre--so we can have a civil and peaceful forum to examine the ugliness within our culture and hopefully emerge having discovered a bit more beauty.

Read the full story

Support Flux: Buy a Raffle Ticket!

Saturday, March 22, 2008 0 comments

We hope that you are able to attend our 2008 Spring Benefit for our production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on April 14th - starting at 6:30pm at The White Rabbit (145 Houston Street). If you are unable to come, you can still participate in our raffle! The money made from the raffle will go directly to financing our upcoming production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". We would greatly appreciate your support.
Raffle tickets are $3 per ticket, $5 for two tickets or $20 for 10 tickets!

There are several ways to purchase raffle tickets:

  • Buy raffle tickets with PayPal HERE
  • Buy them at our April 14th benefit - details HERE

  • If you would rather not participate in the raffle, you can send your tax-deductible donation HERE.

Prizes this year include:

Scavenger tickets from Watson Adventures! www.watsonadventures.com

Discover the secrets and best sights of museums, historic neighborhoods, parks, and beyond while solving witty, tricky questions. Watson Adventures has been acclaimed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, ABC News, the Boston Herald, and numerous other media outlets.

Tickets to The Daily Show with John Stewart
"I heard Dennis Kucinich say in a debate, 'When I'm president...' and I just wanted to stop him and say, 'Dude.'" --Jon Stewart

A Gift Package to The People's Improve Theater (aka "The PIT")

"The Best Improv Lessons in New York" - New York Magazine.
The Peoples Improv Theater is dedicated to the instruction, performance, and development of original comedy. The PIT strives to entertain and educate the community about the comedic arts in a safe and nurturing environment.

A Gift Certificate to Devin Tavern in Tribeca.
"Bliss." - The New York Times
Devin Tavern located in the heart of TriBeCa is open for dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch. Unique among New York City destinations , Devin Tavern should be experienced firsthand.

Logitech QuickCam Webcam
Enjoy sharp, vibrant images in any light with RightLight™2 Technology. A glass lens provides more lifelike images, and the high-performance sensor captures detailed photos—up to five megapixels* (software-enhanced).

Tickets to "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Pearl Theatre
by Oscar Wilde
Previews begin April 15th
Opens April 27th

Tickets to New York Theatre Workshop's production of "Sound and Fury".
Created by Elevator Repair Service, a theater ensemble, that has been appearing on New York’s downtown performance circuit since 1991. The ensemble's body of work combines elements of slapstick comedy, hi-tech and lo-tech design, both literary and found text, found objects and discarded furniture, and the group’s own highly developed style of choreography. New York Magazine has called ERS “the best experimental theater group in town.”

Blatt Custom Pool Cue with case!

Built over 4 generations, Blatt Billiards is today considered to be the finest custom pool table manufacturer and restorer in the world

A beautiful nefertiti necklace from Olia Designs (retail value $216!)
Olia Designs features jewelry from the heart by Olia Toporovsky. All the jewelry is hand made with love, right here in New York. Olia is all about love and happiness. "The intention of Olia is to manifest love and happiness in my life every day and in the lives of people around me." Today Olia's designs are being carried by over 30 stores. Her business is flourishing and so is her creativity.

Two (2) tickets to LAByrinth Theater Company's production of "Little Flower of East Orange" co-produced with the Public Theatre.
LAByrinth Theater Company and The Public Theater join forces to reunite the powerhouse writer/director team behind such groundbreaking urban dramas as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train. Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and Director Philip Seymour Hoffman bring us their latest collaboration, featuring Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Canavan, Liza Colón-Zayas, Arthur French, Gillian Jacobs, Ajay Naidu, Howie Seago, Michael Shannon, Sidney Williams, David Zayas.
Read the full story

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The Great God Brown, Columbia Stages

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 0 comments

When I was a younger man oh hell let's say when I was a boy, I loved Eugene O'Neill as a convert loves the polish of his new found religion, I was blind off the shine of him; my inclination to drink, already strong and stronger for wanting to lose myself in everyone else, found in O'Neill's artistic journey proof it was more than mere cowardice, but rather the necessary apprenticeship of genius. To drink, to go to sea, and I had already been there so I could focus my energies entirely on to drink, and I was, drunk; six nights out of seven and all seven straight if I was trying. Funneling half a case of Busch is no way to spend a night but it's a great way to lose one; and that was the way I lost many, or rather to my mind then, gained the experience necessary to quote Baudelaire and mean it.

And the play of all plays in that time of life was O'Neill's Great God Brown. A meditation on how those who are good at living are often terrible at Life, told through masks and perhaps the most obviously poetic language of O'Neill's career:

"Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid of love, I who love love? Why am I afraid, I who am not afraid? Why must I pretend to scorn in order to pity? Why must I hide myself in self-contempt in order to understand? Why must I be so ashamed of my strength, so proud of my weakness? Why must I live in a cage like a criminal, defying and hating, I who love peace and friendship?
Why was I born without a skin, O God, that I must wear armor in order to touch or to be
touched? Or rather, Old Graybeard, why the devil was I ever born at all?"

This is Dion Anthony, the mocking artist, in the moment where he first removes his mask and reveals his sincere self. Those first years of school, those words ran through my blood like mercury, I was mad for them. I myself was engaged in the construction of a rather crude and unconvincing mask, and Dion and Eugene's fit so much better.

You would not hear those words, if you'd seen Michael Rau's production at Columbia Stages, nor would Dion remove his mask; for in this production, there are no masks and there is little Dion. To take the central stage language of O'Neill's play away and expect the story to stand is bold; to remove much of the text of the primary antagonist (Dion) is to risk rewriting the play entirely. But Rau's vision, while not O'Neill's, is a fascinating, well-thought riff on it; and I was excited to see the play this different light.

Rather than masks, much of the action takes place behind glass screens, obliquely hinting at the role-playing and distance between public and private self that O'Neill made explicit. When Brown takes on his murdered best friend's persona now, he does not adopt his mask, but rather his shirt. In all these changes, what emerges is a story of one man's obsession for another man's life, and with the excellent Jon Levenson as Brown, it makes for exciting theatre.

There is quite a bit of dissonance between the awkward, rough and passionately original play and this leaner, sleeker, simpler version Rau has staged; but this dissonance adds to the disconnection at the heart of this production. Brown, good at everything in life, resents the love showered on his friend Dion, who is terrible at living and yet is possessed with an undeniable Life. For this, Brown murders him, and tries to become him, until he is consumed by him.

As for O'Neill's uncut masked version, it presents so many challenges in tone and style, that I doubt I will ever have the chance to see it well-staged - I wonder if it even can be. And Rau's version caught enough of the tormented heart of this play to be worth watching.

Also exciting was the chance to see the excellent Catherine Gowl as Cybel the earth mother prostitute; and Sarah Schmitz standing out in an Ensemble role. Both of these actresses, and the eerily present Levenson, are actors I hope to see more of. Read the full story

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There Will Be Blood

According to my count, Shakespeare uses the word "blood" some 41 times in Macbeth. I sat down last night, by candlelight, with a rustic copy of the First Folio and circled, with quill, every "blood"and "bloody" that I could find. Actually, that's not true: I found an electronic version of the play online, did a simple "control F" on my keyboard and did a quick count. Much easier.

I've seen quite a few versions of Macbeth on stage and screen but I don't think I've ever seen a version that embraced the blood and magic as much as the version I saw recently. The play was co-directed by Aaron Posner, co-founder of the Arden Theatre in Philly and Teller, the silent half of the famous Philadelphia-native magic duo, Penn & Teller. Billed as "a horror show", this production certainly lives up to its word in regards to violence and spectacle. Before the show even begins, the woman giving the curtain speech is interupted by a sword-carrying goon who stabs her in the back with a viscous-looking sword (handmade for this production I learned from a cast member afterwards). We see the sword go through her body, she screams, there is a blackout and the fun begins.

This production has it all: great fight sequences, a floating dagger, actors vanishing before your eyes, optical illusions, haunting percussions, bloody swords, bloody hands, bloody daggers, blood squirting from bodies - even some very realistic (and bloody) baboon innards. For any production of Macbeth to be successful, it is imperative that the theatricality of illusion and horror be embraced. This production finds the right moments for that important ingredient - particularly in the embodiment of the Weird Sisters who are chilling.

Most importantly, this Macbeth is a lot of fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously and it was refreshing to see a Macbeth that doesn't only focus on the tragedy and misery of the play but rather the magic, wonder and theatricality.

Though some of the actors had trouble finding an emotional connection within the text at times, solid performances by Karen Peakes as Lady Macduff, Ian Merrill Peakes as Macbeth and Paul Morella as Banquo move the play along with a steady and thrilling pace. Special kudos goes out to Eric Hissom for his fantastic portrayal of a Weird Sister, the Porter and the Doctor. Hissom is one of those actors that constantly lives in the present onstage. It's a rare and exciting thing to be able to watch his journey (in this case, journies). I also must mention the great fight choreography by Dale Anthony Girard. This was some of the best stage fighting I have ever seen and the physical skill of Ian Merrill Peakes certainly didn't hurt!

Macbeth is playing at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC until April 13th. If you happen to be in DC, check it out though tickets are nearly impossible to get unless you know someone on the "inside".

Did I mention that this is my first posting on the Flux Blog? Thanks for reading, it was fun! Read the full story

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Flux Sunday, March 2nd

Monday, March 17, 2008 0 comments

I am so late posting about Flux's developmental adventures! I would be ashamed if I had time to be ashamed! Instead, I will do penance by making every sentence in this post end with an exclamation point!

Or no, that would make all suffer. No one likes an unnecessarily exclamation. (I think!?!?)

Ah, reader, but we've had a good run of Flux Sundays since March 2008 became a part of our lives. Let me tell you about the first.

We began by reading through the second half of my short play for Gideon Productions, 19 Words. For those of you who know, imagine Jane Taylor reading this monologue, and then imagine me profoundly happy with the happy-sad:

Shh, listen, you’ll like this.
I was thinking about how I met you,
And him, for the first time; and I just knew
One of you was going to change everything
For me; suddenly I became aware
That my body was an adult body
Or close enough, which meant it was going
To get sick like my Mom’s body was sick,
Die like all my fucking grandparents did,
(All four of them dead by then, no damn fair);
I felt my skin turn into something that
Could and would get sick and die; so then why,
Looking at the pair of your teenage grins,
Did I feel something wonderful begin,
Something so beyond anything I’d dreamed
That in that moment I couldn’t tell which one
Of you I’d fallen in love with, first sight;
And then I blinked and realized, oh, right, him;
But Fred, what if I just blinked the wrong eye?
Setting aside the fact you were attracted
To little kids and so that wouldn’t have worked;
And now you’re dead and can’t hear me at all;
(FRED moans.)
Thanks for moaning, sorry this is so long;
But I’m just trying to say in that blink
Our entire life together was lost forever;
And that’s how we go, blinking along, losing
Entire lives with every lowered lid;
So that when my husband died, when you die,
And me, a million blinking lives go, too;
A field of fireflies dark all at once;
And once dark, like they never lit at all.
I know that. What I don’t know is why I
Want to say the sentence so fucking bad;
Why the end of the world feels so much like
Looking at a pair of teenage boys grinning;
Because, Fred, now I know the final word,
The nineteen words that end the world, I know;
And so even though I know that ending
Even one blinking life is tragedy,
Two boys are grinning and one of them’s mine.
Shh, Fred, I’m going to tell you a secret.

We then read-through the first scene of Rob Ackerman's play about an acting teacher at a military school, most memorably brought to vividry (not a word, and probably shouldn't be) by the happy return of David Crommett and his performance as the drill seargent.

Once on our feet, we staged 8 pages of David Ian Lee's Sleeper, which have the proportional weight of 3 pages of a normal play. Especially exciting was the introduction to the group of Jason Howard, of whom I've heard such wonderful things (especially in the legendary Universal Robots production) as Bobby; and his dirge for his daughter.

We also approached the climatic confrontation in Jeremy Basescu's A Wonderful Wife, as Angela's malevolent hold on the once hapless marriage of Carl and June is shaken by the arrival of drawings with too much beauty for anyone's good. Especially exciting was Ken Glickfeld's righteous helpless and hilarous wrath, and Isaiah Tanenbaum's continued impressive work as a director (he will go on to earn his Flux Merit Badge in Directing and pull into the lead of Flux badgery.)

Now, if I'm you, and according to Walt Whitman, I might be, I know what we're thinking; why did we use that picture of Caitlin Kinsella from Have Another at the start of this post? Well, if you've read this far, that means you should be rewarded with that very knowledge, and you must therefore know that as Sally, the Texas cheerleader/decorator/land shark from Katherine Burger's marvelous play, Texas Toast; Caitlin broke through into major Flux Sunday player status. This coveted status was earned by her Sally cavorting like a bull made of sunlight through a particularly delicate china shop; perhaps best immortalized by her spanking herself in delight at just how bad she was being. The scene was Sally's 'friendly' visit to Claire's home. Claire, an East Coast transplant brought to Texas by her husband Andrew's work, is ill-prepared for the hurricane of judgement, peer pressure, and aggressive kindness that Sally brings.
While Claire is being overwhelmed by Sally, Sally's husband Bo is performing a similar dominance of Andrew (Claire's husband). And as we learn that on their business trip to Thailand Bo has persuaded Andrew to do some darker things; the bottom drops out of the play's antic humor; and becomes about a working marriage of two delightfully morally bankrupt vitalists (Sally and Bo) trying to dominate the failing marriage of the well-meaning but guilt-ridden Andrew and Claire.
Also exciting was Amy Fitts' first Sunday as Claire, and her subtle and nuanced work was truly lovely. Read the full story

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The Lifeblood, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble

Thursday, March 13, 2008 0 comments

I was especially excited to see Phoenix Theatre Ensemble's production of The Lifeblood because:

A. They are a true Ensemble company, with several members having worked together over decades.
B. The play is written by Glyn Maxwell, a poet, in heightened language.
C. The play deals with the trial of Mary Stuart, in that endlessly interesting time of English history.

So off Ensemble-headed, verse-nerd, Elizabethan geek me went to see my first show at the Phoenix, accompanied by marvelous Midsummer dramaturg, Ingrid Nordstrom. Once there, we bumped into friendly actor types like Kelli Holsopple, Amy Fitts and Tony Moore; confirming that Phoenix attracts good people.

The show itself was fascinating, with Phoenix founder Elise Stone carrying the show through her quick witted and open hearted portrayal of Mary Stuart. Also strong were fellow founder Craig Smith as the eternally loathsome Walsingham and Jason O'Connell as Sir Thomas Gorge, his ambivalent ally in Mary's destruction. The play is at its strongest when Mary, through sheer force of will and sheen of wit is able to pry Gorge's allegiance away from Walsingham; though history is the stronger persuader and Gorge follows through with its dread command.

When Maxwell's nimble verse is batted back and forth by these able players, the play is at its strongest. When the story approaches the trial, however, Maxwell's play falters, perhaps because we already know the outcome; or perhaps because Maxwell so clearly makes Mary a pure-hearted martyr, and Walsingham, such an irredeemable villain. Moral and historical clarity (even if justified) here rob the drama of its texture and tension. The scenes that follow after, where those responsible for Mary's death grapple with their guilt, also lacks the fire of the earlier scenes.

But that is a small textual quibble for a very enjoyable evening of theatre. Throughout the play, the Ensemble performs with the passion and connection that I hope such long term collaborations can create. My verse-nerd self was well sated, my Eliabethan-geek left happily quibbling, but my Ensemble-headed self left the play happiest of all. Read the full story

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Liberty City, New York Theatre Workshop

Thursday, March 6, 2008 0 comments

Rattler's actor and friend Richard Watson and I took in Liberty City at New York Theatre Workshop on a Thursday or so ago, and I have been wanting to blog about it ever since. Thankfully, Aaron Riccio has said many of the wonderful things I'd like to say here. It is a lovely and hard play about the decay of a community through the prism of a fascinating family, and you should see it.

What I can add is my ongoing wonder at the mystery of possession: that rare moment in a theatre where you so accept the reality of the actor-in-character that there is no distance between them. This is something more than suspension of disbelief, something grander than just good or even great acting; and while a strong plot is often the engine for revealing this possession, something else is at work. It is as if, for a moment, the rule of one body per life are suspended, and you see the miracle of metamorphosis before your eyes. When April Yvette Thompson plays the character of her father, that shape-soul-shift happens, and it is made all the more shocking because she is a young woman, and her father, allegedly one character of many.

This was especially neat, because before we went into the theatre, Richard talked about wanting to put the role of Everett (his role in Johnna Adam's Rattlers) on like a suit and walk through the city wearing him. For those readers who were at the Flux Sunday where he read Everett for the first time, you will remember this itself was the beginning of a possession. I look forward to seeing it through. Read the full story

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Flux Sunday, February 24th

Directing at Flux Sundays can be a dangerous event. Why, if you're not careful, Members like Cotton Wright might bring you to an organic beer and local foods bar in the East Village, tie you down to a chair on a stage, and then give your brains a thorough washing with her drill.

(photo:Marnie Schulenburg, play: Adam Szymkowicz, director: John Hurley, victim: Jake Alexander).

Thankfully, Cotton resisted the ample temptation of my direction, and we all survived another Sunday. The highlights and lowlights follow, as best my unwashed brain can remember them.

We began the Sunday with a reading of the first 6 pages of a short play the lovely folks of Gideon Productions asked me to write for an upcoming short play festival. Their Diabellic idea is ingenious - give the same plot to different playwrights and see what variations ensue. I won't give away the plot, but will certainly post the details of this event when I have them. All you need to know is I treated myself to casting Jane Taylor, Richard Watson and Candice Holdorf to listen to them wrestle with my verse (because very short plays deserve verse). More anon.

Member and blogger Isaiah Tanenbaum returned with a new scene from his farce about the death of Fidel Castro, Viva Fidel! The hungry jaws of farce demanded props, slamming doors and silly accents, and Isaiah, directing his own work, delivered the goods, with hilarious work from Gregory Waller, Jason "Jefe" Paradine, Gretchen Poulos and Ken Glickfeld, who thought he was showing up late just to watch, only to discover Isaiah had more sinister intentions. I will not soon forget the dictator of Cuba brought back to life by a car battery.

David Ian Lee's passionate political play about The Good American kidnapped by fundamentalists in Afghanistan crept one scene away from its conclusion. Now that I know this play may soon see the light of stage, I will try to avoid spoiling, but this scene brought us more of the delightful doubling Candice Holdorf as religious fundamentalist Kadir/left wing radical Teri; Brian Pracht's subtle and human Mahid; and Jane Taylor's continued fiery portrayal of right wing talk show host Rachel. More posts will describe this potent play in full.

Melissa Fendell returned with new pages from her Marriage Play, so memorably last played by Kitty Lindsay's torch song torching the institution. In this scene, Cotton Wright and David Ian Lee deftly navigated a dangerous attraction between friends that finds safe refuge in a comically political plot against the state. Or at least, that's what Melissa was nice enough to let my attempt.

There's no snappy 'or' title for this lovely haiku of a play from Rob Ackerman. Rob has been bringing short plays lately, a form he does exceedingly well, but this was by far my favorite. One one level, the play comically pits two new employees at a 50's style burger joint against their well-intentioned boss, dubious co-workers, and a mad rush of tourists. And then our heroine Dierdre sweetly tells us she'll be dead in two months. Tim, her fellow teen and secret crush, hears her aside even as he is trapped in the past-as-present. He tries to find a way to make the future-as-now better even as he deals with all the silly details of our daily lives. It reminded me very much of one of Thorton Wilder's, that flint of wit sparking over darkness. This was a great turn for Jake Alexander, Ali Skye Bennett and Nancy Franklin. Read the full story