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Flux Sunday, January 11th

Saturday, January 24, 2009 0 comments


Every once in a while, Flux Sundays will have a lightening strike day. All the scripts are tight, the actors connect with the roles, and each scene passes some essential undroppable thing to the next. It doesn't happen often, but boy did it happen on January 11th, and with all of us seated, no less.

Rob Ackerman brought in more of his kinetic comedy, Volleygirls. It's always good to start the Sundays with this play, because the energy and shared laughter brings the whole group together and gets us breathing in rhythm. Matt Acrhambault continued his duel with Jason Pardine for the laurels of the role Coach, and Drew Valins returned after a long break with his passionate Russian referee.

We next read the first few scenes of a new play of mine, Stepping; a welcome diversion from me finishing the 60's play! Following a brother and sister with unusual powers stepping through alternate Harlems, I enjoyed especially Ken Glickfeld's Druncle and Gretchen Poulos' scrappy Saffire, the bewildered best friend trying to keep up with her new blood sister Bahiya. With 60's done, I hope to bring more of this play to our Sundays, as it is eager to be written.

Johnna Adam's epic hexameter farce about a professional lickspittle, buttonholer and go between exiled to the Napoleonic court picked up some heat as their French female counterparts, a not so Simple French Boy, and Napoleon himself battle for supremacy of state and end rhyme. Highlights included our once Oberon Michael Davis crossing gender to play a very different Eglantine, Becky Kelly as the subversive haiku spouting French boy, and Brian Pracht's continued perfection as Peder Pars the Lickspittle.

The zanies of Jeremy Basescu's The Will continued their power struggle for inheritance of an eccentric tycoon's fortune as Jane Taylor's Eleanor nearly seduced David Ian Lee's Richard into breaking his lawerly judgement. As always, Aaron Michael Zook's Victor was a hapless triumph. I won't soon forget watching him, even before his character entered, watching the action as Victor, with the hopeful simpleness that makes this character so much fun.

We had more Rob Ackerman as he brought in an older plays of his, Loon Island Picnic. A family has returned to their unchanging summer haunt only to find they've changed more than they'd like to admit. Nancy Franklin's defiance against time as Phylis played beautifully off Richard Watson's cantankerous honesty; and Katie Hartke's Marcy was perhaps pleasantly suprised by some unusual admissions from her tongue tied cousin Ben.

The gentle regret of Loon Island Picnic became a violent defense of older values in David Ian Lee's Long Sought, More Perfect. David Crommett's Rodney tried to reason some values of the 60's into Christina Shipp's mockingly post-PC Heather; as a battle for social right masked a deeper battle for inheritance. An almost unwitting act of violence sears the end of this scene, and send another battle for a will into high gear.

Six very different plays caught fire in one of our hotter Sundays in some time. Read the full story

Flux Sunday, January 4th

Saturday, January 17, 2009 1 comments


And so do we, to our weekly workshop Flux Sundays. And the first FS of the new year featured the return of playwrights Erin Browne and David Ian Lee, both of whom had been too long absent. These returns were all more welcome than the eagle's hungry return to Prometheus haunting Aaron Michael Zook's We Are Burning, nor the other homecomings featured in many of this Sunday's scenes.

Aaron's scene tore even further the wall previously separating the mythic from the mundane in his play of love, Greeks and fire, We Are Burning. Our misbegotten lovers Will and Lucy continued their dance around each other as Prometheus and Io drew ever closer to their everyday world.

Birds of a different sort came to roost with the first scene of David Ian Lee's Long Sought, More Perfect. Nora Hummel played the fiery and haughty activist daughter come back to claim a mighty inheritance, only to be attacked from all sides by Richard Watson's bourbon laced developer B.J., David Crommett's cool as ice lawyer Buchanan, Ken Glickfeld's warmly evasive estate steward Rodney, and Corey Ann Haydu's hilariously indifferent daughter Heather. David's themes of power and ownership of identity, so well explored in Sleeper, return here in a more stately (so far) key, though the white gloves did begin to come off near the end.

A very different home coming was portrayed in Erin Browne's latest scene, where old friends who may have been lovers linked by a violent past try to negotiate a visit full of old regret and desire. Christina Shipp's Antonia and Rebecca McHugh's Julie found the human longing in the slipstream of Erin's stream of consciousness monologues, and awkwardly self-conscious scenes.

In different happily keys, we read a rewritten scene from Rob Ackerman's kinetically funny Volleygirls and a new scene from Corey Ann Haydu's darkly comic Wife.

2009, all right. Read the full story

A few more best of 2008 lists to check out

Saturday, January 10, 2009 4 comments

If you've already checked out Patrick Lee's Best of 2008 list at Just Shows To Go You, go and check out Aaron Riccio's list at That Sounds Cool, James Comtois' at Jamespeak, Zack Calhoon's at Visible Soul, and Elizabeth Vincentelli's at The Determined Dilettante. Whatever the challenges of making theatre in this difficult city during a hard recession may be, these five lists are reminders of how lucky we are. Great work is being done and finding a passionate audience.

If I had to find to make a non-Flux Top Ten list for myself, it might go something like this:

10. Hal Brook's claustrophobic (and yet somehow mythic) staging of Ariel Dorfman's Widows at Reverie Productions.
9. The timing and chemistry between Jessica Kaye and Lucas Kravner in Jerry Ruiz's direction of The King is Dead by Caroline McGraw.
8. Jon Levenson's tortuous journey from good humor to violence as William Brown in Michael Rau's version of The Great God Brown.
7. John Hurley's surprisingly terrifying direction of my short play 19 Words, my contribution to Gideon Production's Blueprint Project. A selfish pick, yes, but I wish there had been more than four performances, and I will never forget how he staged the awakening, nor the simplicity of the end of the world, so beautifully played by Cotton Wright.
6. Patrick Shearer's performance in A Colorful World at Nosedive Productions - an understated performance of an enigmatic super hero that boiled over with menace and power.
5. Scott Ebersold's evocative and nostalgia-drenched direction of The October Crisis in the Fringe for Packawallop.
4. The design team of Blasted - an astonishing and terrifying accomplishment (my feelings for the play itself are very different, however.)
3. April Yvette Thomspon's playing her father as if possessed by his spirit in NYTW Liberty City.
2. Karen Sternberg's emotionally wrenching performance as Teri in David Ian Lee's Sleeper. Her character's pain and hope were stunningly present and transparent.
1. APAC's reading of Johnna Adams Sans Merci, directed by Jessi D. Hill. Yup, I know, I'm a huge Johnna Adams' fan, and is it really fair to call this a non-Flux pick after staging three of her plays? That I don't know. What I can say is that in a church gym in Astoria, three actors picked up her play after only a few hours of rehearsal, and I wept with gratitude for the pain and beauty of this play; wept in a way I have not since seeing A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Any other year-end lists to recommend? Post 'em in the comments! Read the full story