Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Check out David Ian Lee's SLEEPER this weekend!

David Ian Lee's play SLEEPER (along with Flux's recent production of Midsummer Night's Dream) has made the short list of plays that I am enthusiastically going to see TWICE!

I went on opening night, and it is one of the most intelligent and beautifully performed original plays I have seen in ages. The run is very short, so book tickets now! I am going back with friends to see the play on the 5th.

The play is an impossibly complex study of an Afgan hostage situation, the events leading to the abduction and the emotional aftermath. The play never condescends to the audience and presents mesmerizingly intelligent characters grappling with extreme and unresolvable dilemmas. There is a sequence in the second act-- presented as a taping of a right-wing TV talk show in counterpoint to the downward spiralling emotional journey of the man taken captive by terrorists, that is some of the finest and most haunting writing I have ever seen on stage. Bravo.

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy a ticket for the 5th and find me after the show to discuss.

A new play by David Ian Lee
Directed by Nat Cassidy
July 20-22 & August 3-5
Manhattan Theatre SourcePurchase tickets now by visiting: https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/60282

For reservations call 212-501-4751

Handcart Ensemble's Reading of Adam Kraar's EMPIRE OF THE TREES

UPDATE: Adam emailed me to let me know that the play is set in New Delhi, not New Calcutta. Oops. New Calcutta apparently only exists in my imagination, alas.

Caught the Handcart Ensemble reading of Adam Krarr's EMPIRE OF THE TREES yesterday. This play placed second in their playwriting contest. Mary Fengar Gail, who is friends with Adam, invited me and met me there.

This was a very evocative and rich script set in the early 196os in Calcutta. An American journalist (Carl) and his wife (Deborah) are living an isolated life abroad. Deborah is trying to recover from a miscarriage and becomes increasingly withdrawn and disappointed with the men in her life, finding refuge and romance with an untouchable book peddlar/beggar who comes to the house selling possibly stolen books. Adam developed the play at the William Inge Theatre Festival in Kansas earlier this year.

The lead actress, Catherine Eaton, did a suberb job with the play, I thought. She was playing a very meek and overly-polite southern woman of the sixties, but the actress' naturally forceful personality and passion spilled out of the character at unexpected moments-- created a compelling portrait of frustrated desire and longing for adventure. Also Ben Masur, who played her husband, lifted his character from what might have been a moustache-twirling melodrama villian into a fully human and almost sympathetic figure. Also Ed Hajj, who played roles as various as JFK, Indian servants, animate trees, and an oustanding Robert-Duval-from-Tender-Mercies southern patriarch, really stole the reading.

Went to the Zipper room afterward with Mary Fengar Gail, Adam, Ben, and Lorca Peress-- the artistic director of MultiStages, who produced a stunning and gorgeously realized version of Mary's play THE JUDAS TREE a few months ago. It is wonderful to go out with theater people and have long, wide-ranging discussions about the state of theater and trends in playwriting. Quite an enjoyable evening.

Back to Blog

I am a roach amongst blogsters, I know. Was my last blog entry really in April? Ouch. Many thousands of apologies. I will do my best to be better.

During my blog absence I have been rewriting plays like crazy getting ready for this Fall's production of the Angel Eater trilogy by Flux Theatre Ensemble. We will be at Wings, a little proscenium stage on Christopher Street in the West Village for the production. I hope to see you all there. I will post a lot of promotional material, and probably hit most of you with an email when we get closer to the show.

My production of San Merci was canceled by Maieutics due to lack of funds. That was a bummer. I have the script out a few places, so maybe it will pick up a production for next year.

My play RATTLERS will be produced at STAGEStheatre in Fullerton, CA, in November. It will open there on November 8th, about a week after it opens in New York, and run for 8 performances in rep with and on the set of THE DINNER PARTY. I am hoping to some see it-- RATTLERS on the set of THE DINNER PARTY is not to be missed in my opinion. Plus, the STAGEStheatre people are my favorite people on the planet and that is worth a plane ticket to LA. It is being directed by David Campos, who hid in a baby's basinet and made lizard/alien noises back in 1998(?) when STAGEStheatre produced the 15-minute one act version of my play THE MIRACLE OF MARY MACK'S BABY, starring myself and the wonderous Patti Cumby. Ah, good memories. Good times.

RATTLERS will also be party of Gallimaufry Performing Arts' first annual New Works Festival and receive a staged reading in the Pageant of the Masters Complex in Laguna Beach in the first or second weekend of November. Hoping to catch it and the STAGEStheatre show on the same weekend if I can. While not missing the trilogy's opening weekend in New York, of course.

Started an acting class with Austin Pendleton, who is wonderful and amazing. That is on Saturday mornings at HB Studios in the West Village. Loving that.

Will post something on what I am seeing later. Glad to be back!