Monday, May 21, 2007

Reverie, Peculiar Works, Flux Last Week

Got a wretched cold last week. I should have expected it, since flying to Atlanta and Kansas City exhausted me so completely. I am rarely sick, so it took me by complete surprise. I remember that the first year I moved to Orange County I was sick several times that first year. It may be just exposure to new New York germs. Am left with a lingering cough. Yeech.

Well, in addition to spending four days in bed and not leaving my apartment last week I managed to take in the Reverie Productions' reading of Peter Snoad's The Boiling House, Peculiar Works Fundrasier for their summer walking tour of the East Village, and Flux Theatre's reading of Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia (which I coughed miserably throughout, but refused to miss).

Reverie's reading of Peter's The Boiling House was fascinating. It was prefaced with a curtain-raiser one-act called The Raft by Jean Butterfield. The Raft is a modern meditation on Gericault's The Raft of Medusa. A young couple faces a relationship crisis whil examining a modern art installation called "The Wall of Toast" that purports to be a modern response to Gericault's The Raft of Medusa. I loved the use of the art imagery and the well-expressed debate on modern and classical art inthe piece. It was about a 40 minute play, that I think might have been better told in 20-30 minutes-- but I don't have any real other complaints. I was so intrigued by the exploration of The Raft of Medusa, that I feel like writing my own artistic, playwriterly response to the art work-- the themes are so amazingly rich. Then, The Boiling House, had a very successful reading. The Boiling House concerns a haunted boiling house in the ruins of a West Indies sugar plantation. A collection of broken tourists at a bed and breakfast face a hurricane that may in fact be the conentrated anger from the lingering memories of tortured slave rebels. Gorgeously imagined scenario. With some magical and delightful writing. I need to write Peter an email with my feedback-- I think this play is one draft away from being magnificent.

Peculiar Works' BANG for your Buck fundraiser to raise funds for their East Village Fragments tour was Tuesday. This is the night that I started to get a tickle in the back of my throat and was sort of sickly. It was an interesting evening that I have not had enough theater education to fully appreciate. The night was filled with luminaries of the early 60s and 50s Village theater scene. Judith Malina participated in one of the readings and that was wonderful to see. I did know enough of her history to fully appreciate what I was watching for that three minutes of the presentation. There was also a tribute to Robert Dahdah-- but I didn't know enough about him to fully appreciate it. He ran Cafe Chino for a number of decades and gave a lot of actors and writers their start-- that is all I know. I cleaned up at their silent auction and raffle. Curiously, Kay went with me, and although neither of us are at all big spenders we took home two of the three silent auction prizes- out of more than 100 attendees. I got tickets to Coram Boy, the Second Stage Uptown Series (2 plays), tickets to 10 Million Miles, a copy of the new translation of Don Quixote (which I have never read), a haircut at Soon Salon, and a little thing of milk choclate candy that I can't eat being vegan.

Flux Theatre's reading of Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia was held in the downstairs theater at the Drama Book Store. I was at the other end of my dread sickness for this reading and coughing uncontrollably throughout. Oops. Sorry, Fluxers. Dreamlandia is an adaptation of Life is a Dream that reimagines the story at the Texas/Mexico border. I thought the language was unbelievably gorgeous and the concept was inspired. But the adaptation fell down for me where every adaptation and the original always fall down for me-- I find the central character Segismudo-- so completely unlikeable I just can't care about the story. I am not sure whether Octavio or a slightly over-the-top actor are to blame for that. His central character was almost more likeable than previous versions I have read. But, I still can't love it.

Am going to some Audubon events this week. Nothing like a brisk walk through Central Park listening to bird song when you are just recovering from being ill. Hopefully it won't trigger a relapse. I am going to a class called "Distinguishing Birds By Their Song" -- I think I may be able to turn the class into a play. Something about learning the language of birdsong and how that is like learning the emotional language of grief-- still working it out in my head. And also going to a "welcome to the Audubon society" bird watching walk. Unless, I make myself sick again.

Planning on going out to see Jenny Schwartz' God's Ear this weekend if I can. Might also try to write a bit.


Michael said...

Congrats on cleaning up at the Peculiar Works auction. They are a terrific company. Their previous production, "Off Stage: The West Village Fragments," was one of my favorite shows last year.

Johnna Adams said...

They just won an OBIE grant because you and I are not the only ones who think they are brilliant! My friend Kay is going to direct a show in the next tour in June. I can't wait! The readings I have been to are fascinating. They are really inspiring me to take an interest in theater history.