Dog Act Review: Jen Gunnels, The New York Review of Science Fiction

Saturday, July 30, 2011 1 comments

(Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum. Pictured: Becky Byers, Squish, Liz Douglas)

In this case, very much better later than never. Jen Gunnels for the New York Review of Science Fiction is only available in hard copy; perhaps apt for a play about what happens when the digital world disappears, and takes almost every piece of cultural memory along with it.

And this is the review you would want to survive the Flood (and all other impending plagues). The review goes into fabulous detail, capturing much of the play and contextualizing it within the post-apocalyptic tradition. It is four pages long, full of pictures and quotes from the play; with some beautiful writing, including this closing benediction:
"Dog Act presented a post-apocalyptic wasteland infused with hope and movement. Whether the two make it to the King of China's court is irrelevant. The goal is what became important. Vaudevillian wagon, subway, cab or feet - how one gets there is irrelevant. What matters is the going and the company you keep."
"What matters is the going and the company you keep." Amen.

To read more of Jen's work, subscribe to the NYRSF and check out her new blog here. Read the full story

, , , , , , , , , ,

Flux Sunday, July 24th

Thursday, July 28, 2011 1 comments

(What is Flux Sunday?)

Our last Flux Sunday before we leave on our 6th annual retreat was our biggest yet, and it's a shame to end that the momentum just as it was getting going (and yet, we're glad to go). We also finished Perse and Viva Fidel, two plays developed entirely at Flux Sundays.

Playwrights: Johnna Adams (Hued Moll), Havilah Brewster (Gary Indiana), Larry Kunofsky (Thanks for Having Me), August Schulenburg (Perse), Isaiah Tanenbaum (Viva Fidel)

Directors: Marielle Duke, Kitty Lindsay

Actors: David Crommett, Kathleen Wise, Ken Glickfeld, Kari Swenson Riely, Jen Kipley, Alisha Spielmann, Liz Douglas, Ryan Andes, Carissa Cordes, Gretchen Poulos, Becky Byers, Jane Taylor, Brian Pracht


-Brian brought the funny/sad to both Pablo in Viva Fidel and and Gary in Gary Indiana. He has the comic gift of taking things one degree too seriously, and brought it home with both roles.
-Kitty's direction found the perfect tone of Havliah's savage and lyrical absurdism in Gary Indiana (and David reminded us why he was so good in Johnna's play about terrible parents).
-Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ryan and Becky had some good chemistry in Larry's Thanks for Having Me.
-Kari and Jane dug into the painful end of Perse without shirking away, helping me find the moment of grace at the end of the play.
-The entire cast of Johnna's Hued Moll leaping whole-heartedly into accents, rhyming verse, and frantic disguises and reveals!

We ran over with all the material, so hopefully that will tide us until we're back two weeks from now. Until then, if you were there, what did you walk away with?

Read the full story

Letter to Bushra al- Maqtari

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1 comments

(Photo by Ali Seed. Pictured: Bushra al-Maqtari)

By August Schulenburg

As I write this blog post over my lunch break in the comfort of my office, Fatima Sale tweets from Yemen:

@tota770: #Breaking #Taiz: sound of heavy firing in the vicinity freedom square, close to Jamal St. #Yemen #YF

For those who haven't read the Times magazine on what's happening in Yemen, it is a must read. The article describes the city of Taiz as the heart of the non-violent, inclusive part of the revolution against Saleh.

One of the central parts of the story is Bushra al-Maqtari, the young woman pictured here to the left. She has become one of the leaders of the peaceful revolution in Taiz, and I found her courage and spirit profoundly moving. She has practiced non-violence even as her friends were murdered around her by regime soldiers.

She is also a fiction writer, and lover of the novels and letters of José Saramago, Jorge Amado, Milan Kundera, Henry Miller and Anais Nin. In a country known to America primarily for the presence of Al Qaeda, where our drones sometimes miss and kill civilians, it is important to see the complexity and humanity of the people who actually live there. This is especially true, given our government's relationship to the Saleh regime.

Artists need to speak out for each other, especially when they are specifically targeted for violence. At the risk of being foolish or worse, I extend this invitation to Bushra al-Maqtari: if you can send me any of your writing via email, I will have it performed publicly here in NYC, and encourage our network of artists and activists to do likewise.

If a larger action like this were successful, it would raise awareness in America as to the urgency of the situation in Yemen, and create empathy and support for the peaceful vision you and your fellow protesters have for your country. Proceeds might go towards a charity aiding those Yemenis suffering from the unfolding chaos and violence.

It is the nature of the narrative of our minds to latch onto single heroes when entire communities are acting heroically; and I also worry calling more attention to the courage of your movement might actually backfire. But artists must do what they can for each other, so I'm extending this invitation to you. If you believe this will help, and it is possible to send something, please do.

If artists do not stand up for the free creative expression of others, then our own creativity is hollow. Let me know what I can do, and if you have a connection to Maqtari, please pass this on to her.

Below is a bad translation into Arabic of the above - if anyone is more fluent than Google Translate, please write me and help:

بحلول شهر أغسطس شولنبرغ

وأنا أكتب هذا بلوق وظيفة خلال استراحة الغداء بلدي في الراحة من مكتبي ، تويت بيع فاطمة من اليمن :

@ tota770 : كسر # # تعز : صوت اطلاق نار كثيف في محيط ساحة الحرية ، على مقربة من اليمن جمال # # ش YF

بالنسبة لأولئك الذين لم أقرأ مجلة التايمز على ما يحدث في اليمن ، فإنه أمر لا بد منه للقراءة. مقالة يصف مدينة تعز بوصفها قلب الجزء غير عنيفة بما في ذلك الثورة ضد صالح.

واحد من الأجزاء الوسطى من القصة هو بشرى المقطري ، وامرأة شابة في الصورة هنا إلى اليسار.وقالت إنها أصبحت واحدة من قادة الثورة السلمية في تعز ، ووجدت شجاعتها وروح تتحرك بشكل عميق. وقد مارست العنف غير أنها ، حتى وقتل صديقاتها حولها من قبل جنود النظام.

وهي أيضا كاتبة روائية ، ومحبا للروايات ورسائل خوسيه ساراماغو ، خورخي أمادو ، ميلان كونديرا ، وهنري ميلر نين أنس. في بلد معروف لأميركا في المقام الأول عن وجود تنظيم القاعدة ، حيث لدينا طائرات يغيب أحيانا وقتل المدنيين ، من المهم أن نرى مدى تعقيد والانسانية للناس الذين يعيشون هناك فعلا. هذا ينطبق بشكل خاص ، نظرا لعلاقة حكومتنا لنظام الرئيس صالح.

الفنانون بحاجة إلى التحدث لبعضهم البعض ، وخصوصا عندما تستهدف على وجه التحديد للعنف. في خطر التعرض للأحمق أو أسوأ من ذلك ، أتوجه بهذه الدعوة إلى بشرى المقطري : اذا كنت تستطيع ان ترسل لي أي من كتاباتك عبر البريد الإلكتروني ، وسوف يكون عليه أداء علنا ​​هنا في مدينة نيويورك ، وتشجيع شبكتنا من الفنانين والناشطين في تحذو حذوها.

إذا كان أكبر عمل من هذا القبيل كانت ناجحة ، فإن ذلك رفع مستوى الوعي في أمريكا ، وإلى إلحاح الوضع في اليمن ، وخلق التعاطف والدعم لرؤية سلمية أنت وزملائك المحتجين لبلدكم. قد العائدات تذهب نحو خيرية تساعد أولئك اليمنيين الذين يعانون من الفوضى والعنف الجارية.

فمن طبيعة السرد من عقولنا لتحط على الأبطال واحد عند مجتمعات بأكملها يتصرفون بشكل بطولي ، وأنا قلق أيضا استدعاء مزيد من الاهتمام للشجاعة قد تأتي بنتائج عكسية حركتك في الواقع. ولكن يجب أن الفنانين يفعلون ما بوسعهم لبعضهم البعض ، لذلك أنا تمديد هذه الدعوة لك. إذا كنت تعتقد أن هذا سوف يساعد ، وأنه من الممكن أن ترسل شيئا ، يرجى القيام به.

إذا كان الفنانون لا تصمد للتعبير الحر والخلاق للآخرين ، ثم الإبداع منطقتنا هو أجوف. اسمحوا لي أن أعرف ما يمكنني القيام به.
Read the full story


The New Play Brain

Monday, July 25, 2011 2 comments

By August Schulenburg

After h/ting through Isaac to David Dower's heartfelt post on the New Play Blog (I'll wait for you to read them), I finally got around to writing a post I've been meaning to put together since the New Play Convening.

For those too busy to link-jump, the gist of both posts is the impossibility of the open play submission. Those at an institution who have time to read plays submitted over the transom (as the folksy saying goes) are exactly the people who have no ability to move a script forward at said institution. Arena got rid of their policy, forgoing a false inclusion for authentic limits.

I'm not sure what it says about the process (or me) that I would never even think of submitting a play to Arena or a similar sized organization; in the past year since I resumed submitting my plays, I've sent them to places that say they're actually looking (for a contest or festival), though both productions of my work this year (Riding the Bull in Seattle and Dream Walker in NYC) came through connections, not submissions.

The issue is bigger than Arena and certainly bigger than me; as Matt Freeman wrote in the comments of an earlier post on the subject, what is at stake is our faith in the idea of our field as a meritocracy. Studies reveal that this is patently false; women and artists of color are underrepresented, class presents barriers throughout a playwright's life, and a Masters from the right school can seemingly provide a faster track to success (such as it is).

This idea of a meritocracy, so fundamental to the American myth, is under assault in far more places than just the new play field. The growing gaps of income inequality, and the persistently corrosive effects of systemic gender and racial inequality, must be considered when we talk about inequality in theatre. One emerges from the other, and then sustains its progenitor by narrowing the stories we share on our stages.

This is an old ragged tune, and I don't need to sing every verse here. What I do believe is that a meritocracy is possible, and closer to achievable than we might think.

In neuroscience, our burgeoning understanding of the brain reveals that there are many divided areas of local activity that sometimes send information via transportation nodes to the brain at large. It is a system of systems, and it depends on vitality of activity at the local level as well as an effective means of sharing that activity across the whole.

The new play structure of these United States resembles a brain with dementia. The links between local activity and brain-wide communication are broken; and so information is lost, connections go unmade, and a great gyre of forgetfulness keeps the whole stumbling system in a fitful dark. Connections are top down: a play gets enough good reviews in a major city, and trickle down to theatres eager for a false legitimacy. This is not how a healthy brain works, and this is not how our new play structure should work, either.

We need a means of connecting local vitality through effective national hubs of communication, and the model for how this might works already exists. The New Play Map, created by Arena, is like a working brain that lacks consciousness. The connections are beginning to form, and now a will needs to emerge from them.

Every time that I read a play and love it, I share it with the rest of Flux; and if I'm particularly inspired by it, I'll advocate for it here on the blog and elsewhere. But without a context for that advocacy, it's difficult to achieve any momentum.

What we need is a Yelp-like database to emerge from the New Play Map that allows for participants to advocate for the new plays they read.

Here's how it could work:

-After reading a play that you feel confident in advocating for, you log-in to the platform (you've created an individual profile already). You ONLY use the platform for advocacy - this is not a reviewing platform. If you don't like something you read, it ends there.

-If someone else has already advocated for the play, you add your thoughts to the entry (each advocated play has a unique entry that links to a playwright's profile). If an entry doesn't exist, you create one, wiki-style.

-As you develop a history of advocating for plays, and others like or follow that advocacy, your opinion carries more weight, so that a regular participant's advocacy will rank higher than someone who is merely shouting out their friend's play.

-As the system develops, connections of affinity would develop as well, so that if you routinely advocated for the same plays as a theatre/producer you'd previously never heard of, that affinity would be revealed, and more possibilities for co-production and extended life would develop.

-Demographics would emerge in real time, so that if plays by women and artists of color were receiving less advocacy, we can see that in clear light of statistics and adapt as those statistics change.

-As trust between participants developed, a communal literary department would emerge, and plays that garnered passionate advocacy would no longer languish in the stacks. An agent's recommendation would only be one way for a playwright to pass through the gates of opportunity.

Of course, for this to work, it would take a large number of theatre practitioners to commit to sharing information that is frequently kept shrouded. Transparency and communal effort has not been a hallmark of our field.

But I do believe the new play field can come closer to a real meritocracy, if we committed to sharing our resources and advocating for the work we love freely.

Read the full story

Indie Theatre Week

Friday, July 22, 2011 1 comments

By August Schulenburg

It's Indie Theatre Week, the undisputable hinge upon which the whole year swings. The goals? To promote the Indie Theatre community and celebrate the work being done. So let's get promoting and celebrating, shall we?

Events (this list courtesy of Tim Errickson):

July 23rd at 1pm- 3rd Annual Indie Theatre Midsummer Classic softball game, sponsored by The Community Dish, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, and United Stages. See Tim "Sultan of Swat" Errickson hit home runs!

Throughout the week--Blog posts by a roster of Indie Theatre all-stars hosted on the NYIT website and blog and on Facebook, as people attend Indie theatre shows, talk to artists and audience members, and celebrate the community. Show your social media savvy by sharing these posts on Google +!

Wed 27th--release of new "Life Offstage" podcast Indie Theatre Week episode, featuring an interview with Susan Louise O'Connor. Light up your life by listening to the bedazzler of stages great and small!

Aug 1st at 7pm- NYIT Award Nomination Party. We make the red carpet blush.

The question that will be asked repeatedly during this week to both artists and audience alike is "Why Indie Theatre?" Have a great Indie Theatre Week!

Read the full story

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Flux Sunday, July 17th

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 0 comments

By August Schulenburg

Our second Flux after the end of Ajax in Iraq was a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of day. We took on a ton of pages from Perse, reaching the climax of the play; we neared the end of Viva Fidel, and we moved towards the middle of Now Comes The Night. Beginnings are exciting, and endings feel good, but this was a day of working the middles.

We also filmed some videos for TCG's I AM THEATRE campaign, so a special thanks to Anthony, Isaiah, Ingrid, Anna and Carissa for sharing their stories; and to Kelly for filming.

Playwrights: EM Lewis (Now Comes the Night), August Schulenburg (Perse), Isaiah Tanenbaum (Viva Fidel)

Directors: Heather Cohn, Marielle Duke, Kelly O'Donnell

Actors: Ken Glickfeld, Anthony Wills Jr, Carissa Cordes, Jane Taylor, Ingrid Nordstrom, Anna Lamadrid, Rob Maitner, Becky Byers, Jen Kipley

- Um, Becky Byers as the gangsta-Beiber Joey Berger in Perse? Unforgettable, especially in the scene where she and Carissa made up the blocking because we ran out of staging time. Yeah, improvised violence!
-Is there anything that quite compares in groan-inducing pleasure to Isaiah's Jeff/El Jefe wordplay in Viva Fidel?
-Newcomers Rob Maitner and Jen Kipley tearing it up as Michael in Now Comes the Night and Catherine in Viva Fidel respectively.
-Watching the video of Ek Ladki Ko Dekho with the Perse cast on my phone, and then trying to somehow stage that Bollywood magic at Judson (Ingrid and Anna spinning together=treasured memory).

If you were there, what do you walk away with?

Read the full story

, ,

The Money Horizons

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3 comments

By August Schulenburg

In my interesting comment dialogue with Randy yesterday, I touched on a feeling that I've been wanting to blog about for awhile.

There are two fantasies regarding theatre and money: 1.) That money can buy you quality, and 2.) that money has no impact on quality.

For the first, we have recent evidence that not even sixty-five million dollars can buy you excellence. For the second, the reality of producing on a shoestring budget with stolen hours is that every brilliant choice battles against the degradations of time, money, exhaustion and scheduling conflicts.

Money does increase the chances of a show being good, though it does not guarantee it. However, sometimes I suspect there is another boundary, where once crossed, every additional dollar actually makes excellence less likely. And this is because, once enough money is in play, a host of new adversaries to excellence arise. Every new dollar represents another opinion that must be fed, all risk and uniqueness are sanded down, and the play dies the death of second guesses from a thousand cooks.

It is possible to smuggle excellence across this moneyed border, just as it is possible to cobble it together from almost nothing. But as Flux creeps towards greater resources, this line is always present in my mind, especially as we try to pay our artists more. I think there is a territory where you have just enough resources to make beautiful and essential work without burning out your people; and if we ever cross that shifting horizon, I hope we can keep our balance and not race forward to moneyed death, nor fall back to burned out oblivion.

What has been your experience in finding that fabled land? Is there even a there there?

Read the full story


The Shakespeare Royalties

Monday, July 18, 2011 4 comments

From time to time, some degree of a moratorium on the plays of Shakespeare is considered. After seeing Much Ado About Nothing at Boomerang (a solid production that reminded me of what a profound accomplishment the character of Beatrice is) and Measure for Measure in the Park (an inconsistent production with a fantastic Lucio and a great concept for the Duke as a bumbling improviser enthralled by absolute personalities), I am even more grateful for every chance I get to spend with his plays. Unlike many others, I find even mediocre productions worth my time; every time I hear his words in motion, I discover something new.

All that said, Isaac was right to be concerned when (over a year and a half ago now) he pointed to a distressing reality in his post Our Shakespeare Problem (based on the data of TCG's Season Preview):
"By not looking at how much Shakespeare is done, we are leaving out a major piece of the puzzle of American Theatre.The numbers in this post are rough and have their issues, but that doesn't make them not-useful. What do you see? In the past decade, Shakespeare gets 1,163 productions, the next playwright down (August Wilson) gets 146. That's almost eight times as many productions! Yikes."
I suspect if the data were expanded to include all theatrical activity in this country, the numbers might be even more lopsided due to Shakespeare's dominance in theatre education.

Given that I can't bring myself to advocate for less of something I love so much, I wonder if there isn't a way to take advantage of the imbalance.

What if every production of a Shakespeare play paid a small royalty towards a national fund dedicated to supporting living playwrights?

If even half of the theatres producing Shakespeare opted into this program, and if the royalty payments were as low as $25 a performance, a sizable annual fund could still be created without placing a significant financial burden on participating theatres. The effort would of course need to be voluntary, as the last thing we need is even more financial/legal red tape on the creative process, especially with theatre's most central texts.

How to allocate the funds raised would be a more challenging question; I'd hate to see the money go through a traditional granting process, as so often those grants seem to support already relatively successful playwrights and theatres. As all playwrights are the inheritors of Shakespeare's artistic legacy, all playwrights should somehow be connected to this potential resource legacy.

Perhaps playwrights and participating theatres could each be given a vote in the allocation of the funds raised, with an online database used to tally and distribute the funds on a proportional basis. Such a voting process might be more likely to truly support the national breadth of playwriting activity then the more cloistered and mysterious process of traditional grantmaking.

But whether the funds be distributed through new or traditional means, the Shakespeare Royalties could go a long way to righting this imbalance in play production. Shakespeare theatres could produce our greatest playwright while at the same time helping to create opportunities for living playwrights, moving our playwriting ecosystem away from its Shakespeare-bound monoculture without throwing the Bard out with the bathwater.

Of course, theatres are unlikely to agree to something that isn't in their immediate self-interest unless there is a compelling wave of communal purpose. So, what do you think internet? Is it better to bar the Bard, or share in the Shakespeare royalties?

Read the full story

, , , , ,

Twitter as Conscience

Friday, July 15, 2011 1 comments

By August Schulenburg

An odd thing occurred to me several days ago. I had my Tweetdeck open, and was following a number of hashtags, including #MarriageEquality, #Iraq, #Afghanistan and #Women2Drive.

For those not Twitter-inclined, this means two things: streams of 140 character messages relating to those hashtags are updated in real time on my Tweetdeck platform, and some of those messages pop up in the right hand corner of my screen.

What this means is, while I'm working, tweets about #Iraq or the Saudi campaign for gender equality will appear. If I'm focused, I don't notice the tweets, but when I'm between thoughts or projects, they'll catch my eye, and if they seem important, I'll click on them.

While this may seem like inviting a restless three year old into your brain to poke at your mind, it actually functions as an odd sort of conscience. If you're like me, you pay lip service to caring about the consequences of our wars in #Iraq and #Afghanistan; in theory, you support gender and marriage equality.

But life moves fast, and it's all too easy to go weeks without thinking about these things, let alone doing something about them.

That is not possible with the tweetdeck open and the hashtags blazing. And so however absurd it might sound, twitter has become a part of my conscience, reminding me hourly of the pain of our wars and the hope of our recent human rights revolutions.

It is too soon for me to say what deep impact this will have: so far, it's upped my slacktivist signing of online petitions, and doubled my contact with my elected representatives. That's not enough, but it's more than I've done in a long time, and it wouldn't be possible without my Twitter conscience occupying an increasing space in my consciousness.

For all the utopias and dystopias Twitter has inspired, it remains a platform, a tool, an extension of and gateway to the human spirit. It can be used to the widen the circle of empathy and promote civic engagement; just as it can also bring out the gang within us, as we #hashstone those that displease or bore us.

All of this grows out of the feelings in my last post, You Must Enter The Theatre Through The World. Following up on that post, here are some more Flux-framed thoughts that my desktop Jiminy Cricket brought me:

Ajax in Iraq: Yesterday, I found two heartbreaking stories of soldier suicides: Jamie McMullin "He lost a lot of friends. He had 12 poppies tattooed on his right arm, and each one was for a friend that he had lost over there"and Ian McConnell. The picture of Sgt. McConnell shaking hands with the Afghan boy is especially moving, as is the determination of both families to share these stories to prevent this from happening again. As Pisoni says, "We should have paid better attention..."

But there is also this story of courage from Kabul, where women protested against the constant harassment they face in the streets. Whatever my feelings about the war may be, this kind of protest never could've happened under the Taliban. I was also heartened by these stories of amateur astronomers in Afghanistan, and UNICEF's use of comic books to communicate with illiterate Afghans (where there is a 28% literacy rate).

Deinde: I was very much reminded of Deinde by this story of how our minds have adapted to Google. Instead of remembering the information, our brains remember where we can find the information, hence the title, The Extended Mind.

Collaboration: I'm fascinated by this audience engagement measurement tool, though before we use it at a Food:Soul, here is a helpful corrective to letting crowdsourcing solve all our problems.

Joy: I was intrigued by the sound of Paul Bloom's book How Pleasure Works, and especially by this quote:
"If you look through a psychology textbook, you will find little or nothing about sports, art, music, drama, literature, play, and religion. These are central to what makes us human, and we won’t understand any of them until we understand pleasure."
I've written here about how the evolutionary advantages of pattern recognition became our sense of beauty, and it seems like his book explores similar themes. Flux book club, anyone?

Read the full story

, , , , , ,

You Must Enter The Theatre Through The World

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 2 comments

By August Schulenburg

"You must enter the theatre through the world."
-Joe Papp

This quote, shared by Todd London at the 2011 TCG Conference (and tweeted by me), has continued to stick with me, touching on a feeling I tried to put into words nearly a year ago in The Wider Frame.

As I wrote then: "Increasingly, I am seeing the problems that face the theatre as woven into a larger context; and I am coming to believe that we can't talk about the problems facing the field without also talking about that wider frame." I tried to explore those frames through our season of Dog Act, Ajax in Iraq and Menders.

That feeling has only grown in the past year, though I have been woefully bad at putting those feelings into action. Recently, that has changed, and as I've been taking more steps towards direct activism, that feeling of connection between making theatre and achieving social justice has grown.

I have come to believe increasingly in the words of Teresa Eyring's closing speech at the conference:
"...but there are some ideals we cannot relinquish; there are some dreams that we won’t let go. The ideal that every human being has a right to peace, freedom, and creative self-expression; the ideal that every community is sustained by that creative self-expression; and the dream of a global stage where the stories of those communities are freely exchanged; we hold onto these things, because without them, theatre has no meaning.

Because theatre does not exist in opposition to Facebook and Twitter; theatre is not in competition with television or film: all of these forms, old and new, are in service to the expression of the human spirit. When Twitter helps spark a revolution against an oppressive regime, that is a victory for theatre..."

To that end, and in hopes of reinvigorating the sometimes fading energies of this online space, I'm going to be letting the world in.

I will try to steer that engagement through the lens of our Core and Aesthetic Values, and the plays that Flux has produced or developed that have shaped our mutual experience. I will preface each piece of the world through one of those values or plays, to hopefully lend a coherency to this effort, and keep this from feeling like we're moving too far afield from more Flux-centric updates and musings (which will of course continue).

So, here we go!

Ajax in Iraq: The Marine Times reports on the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, and the HuffPo has some interviews with soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan who are not looking forward to the end of their tour of duties. This reminds me of many quotes from our recently produced play...and this petition is an easy way to help a soldier's family keep their home.

Dark Matter: The holographic theory of the universe is gaining adherents. For those not obsessed with cosmology and physics, this theory essentially states that our universe is a four dimensional projection of a five dimensional universe. Says physicist Kostas Skenderis:
"If we look forward to 50 years from now, we will see this period as a precursor to a time when physics is totally reformulated in the language of holography," he says. "Once the theory is properly fleshed out, we will be able to apply it to almost any problem."
Menders: I recently discovered this blog Gender Across Borders, which recently posted a penetrating look at the Saudi Women Drivers movement, #Women2Drive, and the movement's surprising lack of support from the United Nations' UNWomen.

Indie Theatre: The good folks of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards have reversed their new nomination party policy based on feedback from the community. Kudos to an institution being responsive and nimble enough to alter course and better serve their constituency - no easy feat.

Collaboration: Have you heard about Citizenside? This post explains how the crowdsourced citizen photo journalist project builds trust and engagement among its users. The quote struck home for some of my recent thinking about the challenges facing theatre:
"The traditional one-way vertical relationship from the mass media to the audience does not exist anymore. Indeed, the whole notion of audience does not exist anymore, as users are now taking an active role in the creating and distribution of media."
There is already some stir about crowdsourced dramaturgy in generating source material for plays, and I'm very interested in Flux exploring this.

So...that's a start. What world are you walking through to enter the theatre?
Read the full story

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flux Sunday, July 10th

Monday, July 11, 2011 4 comments

By August Schulenburg
(What is Flux Sunday?)

We're back! After an Ajax in Iraq sized hiatus, we returned to the friendly confines of Judson Memorial Church for some Flux Sunday action. It was a full day - we went over our 7PM limit - and everyone was really bringing it.

Playwrights: Fengar Gael (The Cat Vandal), EM Lewis (Now Comes the Night), August Schulenburg (Perse, The App of Paradise), Isaiah Tanenbaum (Viva Fidel)

Directors: Heather Cohn, Kitty Lindsay, Brian Pracht

Actors: David Crommett, Jane Taylor, Ken Glickfeld, Heather Nicholson, Kari Swenson Riely, Anna Lamadrid, Matthew Archambault, Ingrid Nordstrom, Vern Thiessen, Ryan Andes, Becky Byers, Leila Okafor, Carissa Cordes, Drew Valins

-Brian Pracht and Matthew Archambault found some really funny phone business in Viva Fidel, the play that routinely requires three times as many props as any other scene.
-Ken accidentally kicked my character's wounded leg in Now Comes the Night, and wow, that really helped my intensity the rest of the beautifully ravaged scene! Ellen said she might even keep it...
-No one gathered at this Flux Sunday will ever forget Ryan on the yoga mat as the cat-possessed Omar in Mary's The Cat Vandal. A supple kudos to Andes and director Heather.
-It was really cool to see two Perses and two Melindas in the long chunk of Perse we did - Anna/Becky and Heather/Ingrid each found completely different energies in the roles. I'm also unclear as to how they directed such a long scene so cleanly in so little time. Magic?
-Drew Valins was back! And he brought a real tenderness to Paco in The App of Paradise that grounded such an idea heavy short scene.

If you were there, what do you remember from the day? Read the full story

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New World Iliads, Part Two and Three

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 0 comments

(Photo: Anna Lamadrid. Pictured: Jelena Stupljanin, Jason Howard)

New World Iliads was an interesting ForePlay series for Flux. On the one hand, our benefit that kicked off the series was well-attended, and represented a high water mark for quality in the series.

The two that followed were both strong artistically, but due to the overwhelming pressures of producing Ajax in Iraq, we weren't able to bring in large audiences, and that was a shame.

On the plus side, this marked our first ForePlay that featured a cross-discipline collaboration. Our partnership with Carrier Pigeon was really fruitful, and I hope we can build on that for future ForePlays and beyond.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to work with Flux vets we'd been itching to reunite with, like Lynn Kenny and Carissa Cordes; and a chance to develop new relationships with artists we admire, like J. Holtham and Jelena Stupljanin.

Still, how to manage this series at the same level of attention now that our Membership is the smallest it has ever been is a serious challenge, and I expect we'll be relying more on our excellent Friends of Flux moving forward.

What follows are some pics from the event courtesy of the wonderful Anna Lamadrid, and some images from the Carrier Pigeon artists that inspired the playwrights.
(Art by Kristy Caldwell)
June 12th, 2011: Afghanistan
CSV, Flamboyan Theater - 107 Suffolk St
The Plays:
The Labyrinth of Enduring Freedom by Aja Houston
The War Museum by EM Lewis
By the Victors by Isaiah Tanenbaum
NEO by Mac Rogers

Featuring: Carissa Cordes, Ken Glickfeld, Lynn Kenny, Rob Maitner, and Kathleen Wise
Directed by Jordana Williams
(Art by Bruce Waldman)
June 21st: Bosnia
CSV, Flamboyan Theater - 107 Suffolk St
The Plays:
Slobodan Život Šimpanza (The Wild Chimpanzees) by Will Ditterline
All Apologies (or Ana in the White City) by J. Holtham
A Footnote by Brian Pracht
Book of Memory by David Ian Lee

Featuring: Kira Blaskovich, Jason Howard, Joshua Koopman, Anna Lamadrid, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., and Jelena Stupljanin
Directed by Heather Cohn

(Photo: Anna Lamadrid. Pictured: Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Jason Howard)

(Photo: Anna Lamadrid. Pictured: Jelena Stupljanin)

(Photo: Anna Lamadrid. Pictured: Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Jason Howard)

Read the full story