Just Do Art! Week of April 24, 2014

Photo by Jim Chow Crawford M. Collins and Dan Haft, in Armand Ruhlman’s East Village Chronicles play, “Resistance” — part of the East Village Theater Festival.

Photo by Jim Chow
Crawford M. Collins and Dan Haft, in Armand Ruhlman’s East Village Chronicles play, “Resistance” — part of the East Village Theater Festival.

THE FIFTH ANNUAL EAST VILLAGE THEATER FESTIVAL
“Everybody talks about the weather,” quipped Mark Twain, “but nobody does anything about it.” The same might be said for the general sense of loss that comes with each devolutionary shift of the Lower East Side’s demographic plate. Clayton Patterson leaving town and A Gathering of the Tribes closing down? Nobody can say what the ongoing residential and creative exodus means for the neighborhood — but at least somebody’s hard at work, year after year, making sure there’s a public record of their contributions.

Currently at the tail end of a season dedicated to exploring the theme of “Justice,” the Metropolitan Playhouse has always had our admiration for calling attention to forgotten American plays of the past. So it’s worth noting that once a year, their East Village Theater Festival documents the “ever-vital life and lore” of a neighborhood whose identity may be changing, but whose artistic spirit is still very much alive.

Now through May 4, short plays and monologues will depict past and present life in the East Village, accompanied by a lobby exhibition of neighborhood photographs by Lower East Side native John Milisenda. The festival brings into alignment two series currently celebrating their 10th year: The East Village Chronicles and the Alphabet City Monologues. “Resistance” is one of the six short “Chronicles” plays. Written by East Village resident Armand Ruhlman and set in the early 2000s, it’s still-timely theme concerns an eccentric group of artists and offbeats “feeling threatened by the predatory nature of New York.” The “Alphabet City” monologues are derived verbatim from conversations with local residents and performed by the interviewers. This year’s crop of six includes Sari Caine as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, Crystal Field and Amar Srivistava as L.E.S. Prepatory High School teacher Rian Keating.

Through May 4. Mon.-Sun. at 7pm, Sat./Sun. at 1pm & 4pm. At the Metropolitan Playhouse (220 E. Fourth St., btw. Aves. A & B). Tickets are $20, $15 for students/seniors, $10 for those under 18. To purchase, call 800-838-3006 or visit metropolitanplayhouse.org

—Scott Stiffler

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