Monday, June 25, 2007

New York Theater Review 2007 Book Readings and Signing, and Student Film Confessions


Am a week late in posting about the New York Theater Review 2007 book reading and signing that happened at the Drama Bookstore last Friday. This is an anthology of plays and commentary edited by former Orange County critic Brook Stowe.
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The format of the evening had us spending an hour or so in the theater downstairs listening to excerpts from the plays and essays in the book and then going upstairs for a reception. I thought this was an inspired way to preview the book, it was like attending a theater lecture series and I came away very excited to open my copy of the review and finish the articles and plays that I got little teaser samplers of. That Brook Stowe is a marketing genius!
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Adam Szymkowicz' Food for Fish was the first play excerpt and featured cast members and the director of the New York premiere from Sanctuary Playwrights Theatre. This was adorable and deftly handled. Made me bitter that I did not live here when the play was produced in NY and moved from LA before it opened there. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Especially loved the references to the father's casket being in the living room for more than a year and group lament over the lost New Jersey. And the guy who played Barbara was freaking hysterical, even just reading it.
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We also got to see excerpts from Anne Washburn's I Have Loved Strangers featuring original cast members. I thought these actresses were wonderful and the scene was a gripping terrorist/spy identity reveal quiz that made me very interested in reading the whole play. And, boy, did that Pultizer nominating committee get it right with Quiara Alegria Hudes' Elliot: A Solider's Fugue! One of the actresses from Adam's reading did a single monologue from the play and I fell eternally in love with the script. I am going to memorize the monologue for auditions I decided, even though I am totally wrong for the role. Luckily you don't have to be cast for audition monologues, you get to pick those.
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Garett Eisler (aka The Playgoer) gave a reading from his essay on the Rachel Corrie/New York Theater debacle. He managed to make the topic relevant and about larger issues even though it is no longer topical. And it was sort of cool to sit back and listen to him. It was like reading his blog, only you didn't have to go online and do the work of reading it. I think he should hire out and go to people's houses and read his daily bloggings out loud. It was cool. Like being at an 18th century lecture on the state of drama, only on modern topics and delivered by a prolific blogger. Retro and cutting edge all at the same time. He is really charming in person, too (well, you probably weren't expecting him to be an ogre or anything, but for the record- quite charming, I thought). Alan Lockwood also spoke about Beckett and his article is extremely detailed and intricate. Not sure I am smart enough to make it through that article when I sit down to read the book, but it was very impressive to hear an excerpt.
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Brook and I got to chat about old Orange County days at the reception and that was fun. Also talked about all the cool things he has been up to since moving to NY. Met Anne Washburn and she was really nice. Bought multiple copies of the book to give to friends. Was disappointed that they didn't make all the contributors sit at a table and sign books, but that is apparently not the way the Drama Bookstore set things up. Also chided the staff at the Drama Bookstore about not having a monthly book group for reading plays and am flirting with idea of offering to organize one for them. But that sounds like work, so I am still thinking about it.
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Did a Columbia University student film last night called All Night by Greg Kershaw. I played "WAITRESS" and had one line ("Thank you"). I don't think I am in frame for my one line. I think you just see my hand putting a check on the table and hear my line (well, Meryl Streep had to start somewhere, too!). I am glad you don't see me though because my diner waitress outfit was yuck unflattering. It was fun to do, though. Molly Pearson (co-Ad at Partial Comfort Productions) asked me to do the role after I volunteered at their fundraiser. They were nice people and I was especially entertained by the NYU student PAs who gossiped about their classmates and told a cute story (very seriously and somberly) about a classmate who "found out Danny was cheating on her on Facebook." They could not understand my mid-30s delighted laughter.
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Going to the Chris Shinn workshop this weekend. Have finally stopped complaining to people that I have to take a sleeping bag and am looking forward to it now. Also drew the next prompt for my novel, Creatina, and have to work in a bottle of spray starch as an intregal prop. Hope to do that this week.

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