Monday, July 16, 2007

Flux, Eurydice, 10 Million Miles

I saw two plays (well, a musical and a play) and went to the Flux playwriting group this weekend. Also took in a service at the Unity church on 58th and the Bastille Day festival on E 60th.

My co-worker Mary and I went to see 10 Million Miles at the Atlantic theater, a new musical with music and lyrics from Patty Griffin and book by Keith Bunin. It closed this weekend, so my recommendation is coming late-- but I thought it was wonderful. The music was sublime-- sort of country/folk enfused ballads for the main part. Patty Griffin is a goddess, obviously. The book had a few missteps, sure, but it didn't really detract from the experience much for me. And when the book worked, it really worked well-- you were drawn into this blue-collar, unlikely love story in subtle and natural ways. Both Mary and I had the impression that they had gotten really, really close to something utterly unforgettable and with just a few dramaturgical nudges the piece would have been devastating, searing, life-changing, and able to defeat Voldemort in place of Harry Potter. It still acheived outstanding, touching, and lovely. Mare Winningham gave one of the finest performances I have ever seen. Loved it.

Playwright Pam Turner came into town to see Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice at Second Stage on Saturday and I joined her for that and dinner. She is at the Kennedy Center this week at their annual playwright's intensive (where we met last year) and we had a great time gossiping and catching each other up on what we are working on. I had already seen and loved Eurydice with at Circle X in Los Angeles. But I have to say that I preferred the Los Angeles production quite a bit to this one. Granted, I had a crappy balcony box seat at Second Stage (BB 1, the worst seat in the house, no one will argue) so that may have a lot to do with it. It is hard to fully appreciate the stunning visuals in the show from such a sharp, perpendicular viewing angle. And so much of the magic in that script is the surprise of things--so it is hard to go into a second viewing with exactly the same sense of wonder. But it was not what I remembered from the Circle X show somehow. Circle X had a much more intimate performance space and I really think that worked better for the show.

Went to the Unity church service on 58th Street and enjoyed it. Any church sermon that is mainly about Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey cannot fail to please a writer. Not sure if I am going to become a church lady-- although with the religious bent to all my scripts, I did find it very interesting from a playwriting material-gathering perspective. Went to the Bastille Day Festival afterward on 60th Ave and had some gazepacho. Kay went and had a little chocolate cake thing that she thought looked better than it tasted.

Then we went to the Flux Theatre Sunday writers workshop. Worked on pages 25-50 of Angel Eaters (which I finished on Friday). This section is a little too talky and could use a trim here and there. The story is taking off, but it was light on supernatural appeal. I think it will work though. Play is becoming more based in slippery plot points than I anticipated. We will see how well I sustain things. Want to finish the draft (am about halfway through) before I do any big revisions.

Isaiah directed this time because Enoch was not in these pages, and we had a whole new cast for Nola (played by Liz), Fortune (played by Jamie), Doc O'Malley (played by Will), and Joann (played by Erin). That was fun. Liz and Will are the cast members doing Gus Schulenberg's Riding the Bull in the Fringe Fest next month. Will also wrote an insanely clever play called William Shakespeare's Christmas Carol that we read the first part of and enjoyed outrageously.

Trying to keep this week quiet so I can possibly finish Angel Eaters and start work on the second play, The Cruel Kind, which gets bloodier and more awful everytime I think about it. It is definitely the darkest play in the new trilogy. Did I post a summary of the plays in the new trilogy? I will look back, and if I haven't, I will post that. I don't have a name for the trilogy, yet, so you readers can amuse yourselves trying to name it if you like. Later.

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