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Hearts Like Fists Photos And Thoughts

Thursday, September 16, 2010 Leave a Comment

(Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum. Pictured: Tiffany Clementi, August Schulenburg, Christins Shipp, Cotton Wright)

Thanks to everyone (around 100!) who came out for our sixth Food:Soul, Adam Szymkowicz's Hearts Like Fists. This was a special Food:Soul for us, as our first Food:Soul was Adam's Pretty Theft. It was also our second partnering with Judson Memorial Church's Bailout Theater series, a relationship we're hoping to deepen.

(*Remiss in our first posting was including a thank you to the businesses that provided food, including John's Pizzeria of Bleecker Street, NoHo Deli and Juice Bar, and Norwich Meadows Farms, provider of the Judson Church Community Supported Agriculture program.)

It was also our first event after our 5th Annual Retreat, and so was the first chance to test out our newly articulated Core/Aesthetic Values and Mission in action. Part of that mission is to treat our audience as partners in our process, so if you were there, PLEASE share with us your thoughts in the comments section below. What were you favorite parts in the play? What worked at the event, and what could we do better?

To inspire you, here are some beautiful shots of the reading, all courtesy of Isaiah Tanenbaum.
(Christina Shipp as Lisa and Jason Paradine as Peter)
(Amy Staats as Nurse and Tiffany Clementi as Jazmine)
(Christina Shipp as Lisa, Cotton Wright as Sally)
(Jill Knox as Nina, August Schulenburg as Dr X)
(Christina Shipp as Lisa)
(August Schulenburg as Dr X)
(Cotton Wright as Sally)
(Christina Shipp as Lisa)
(Amy Staats as Nurse, August Schulenburg as Dr X)
(August Schulenburg as Carson, Jason Paradine as Ed)
(Jill Knox as Nina)
(David Crommett as the Commissioner)
(Tiffany Clementi as Jazmine, Cotton Wright as Sally, Jill Knox as Nina)

A happy cast...

..and a happy audience!

Thanks again to everyone who made this possible - now share your thoughts in the comments below!


  • John said:  

    very impressive and great casting. even though it was a reading having the same benches for the beds and also for the doctor's office and for the operation created an unnecessary burden on the script to define each situation. a colored piece of cloth might have given more definition. the fight scenes could have been done in slow-mo to make them more prominent.
    general comment is that it maintained an even pace throughout, and maybe in and environment where you have no control over lights or set you may want to modify or vary the pace

  • August Schulenburg said:  


    Thank you for commenting! With our Food:Soul staged readings, we always negotiate a balance between how much we stage and how much we read. For Hearts Like Fists, our amazing director Keith Powell really focused on the text, which not only led to some fascinating new takes on character arcs (Dr X being almost normal in his origins scene; Lisa not finding her full power until her training scene with the Crimefighters), but also a reworked ending from Adam. I wouldn't trade that work for anything!

    What may have happened, however, is that because of laughs, pace, and acoustics, some of the stage directions that indicated place may have been lost. In a staged reading, the script MUST define each situation, and all our staging can do is give a sense of physical movement and feel of the play. 15 hours of rehearsal and no set budget can only go so far...

    Furthermore, if you check out our Aesthetic Values, you'll note we value transformational staging, where a set piece can play many roles through the course of the play, accruing layers of meaning. We may not have been successful with this reading, but using a single piece in this transformational way is part of the work we like to do.

    Finally, I really appreciate your comment on pacing. Hearts Like Fists is a deceptively challenging play: there is a sweet spot between the heightened comic rhythms and grounded human yearnings of the characters that is difficult to strike. Part of that is finding the base tempo of the play, then finding the places where it speeds up and slows down, and we may not have been able to get there in our 15 hours.

    Again, thank you for seeing the play, and for leaving a comment behind! It is truly appreciated.

  • Matt A said:  

    Props to Amy...I'd never seen her before, but she's built for Szymkowicz. Bravo!