Volume 20, Number 42 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 2 - 8, 2011
Collage creation by Christy Brigg. Photo by Piotr Redlinski
Love comes in many flavors: “Feeder: A Love Story” — featuring Jennifer Conley Darling.
In theaters, no need to beware the Ides of March
Groundhogs predict six more weeks of fresh outrages
BY TRAV S.D.
A peculiar thing happened this past month. It seems the groundhogs (of both Punxsutawney and Staten Island fame) came out of their holes, took a look at all the international and domestic turmoil, turned right around and went back into…a Downtown theatre! In doing so, they showed uncommon wisdom for rodents. For in the theater, at least the violence and discord are make believe — and the surprises are harmless.
That established, might I recommend you start your month-long escapist junket by catching a little confection called “The Argument” — which purports to be a “multimedia theatrical experience” depicting “the issues raised nationally by the Katrina disaster” as well as “how we deal with death in America.” Okay, so it doesn’t sound like a barrel of monkeys, but it does sound interesting. Audience members will move amongst a live jazz band, a cast of 20 actors and video projections. It’s being produced by the Attic Theater Company at the Downtown Community Television Center (which usually isn’t a theatre at all, but a not-for-profit TV studio). The production will be up March 4 through the 13. Info and tickets: theatticpresents.org.
If “multimedia” is too 1999 for your tastes, Terranova Collective’s new production “Feeder: A Love Story” is promising a “transmedia” experience. What precisely is a transmedia experience? According to James Carter, the project’s writer, the show comes complete with an online prequel consisting of a blog starring the play’s two main characters (available for viewing even now at jessennoel.blogspot.com). The play itself features live video from an onstage webcam. Given that the show concerns a couple who meet online through a web site catering to those in the thrall of the titular food fetish, the techno bells and whistles seem neither gratuitous nor pointless. And even if they were, think of all the run-of-the-mill shows out there that are both boring and have no techno-gimmick! Percentage-wise, it’s most of them! “Feeder” will be at HERE’s mainstage from March 6 through the 26. Tickets and info: terranovacollective.org.
Don’t get me wrong. Nothing wrong with gimmicks. Shakespeare put everything but the kitchen sink into his “Macbeth” — ghosts, witches, madness, blood and gore. A joint production of the Scottish play by White Rabbit Theatre and Red Shark productions called “Macbeth 2011” sounds like it gets the right idea. The producers have set the production in the 1930s, drawing from movieland’s aesthetics of the era: glamour, film noir and Universal Horror — thereby promising “terror” and “bloodlust.” No wonder the title reminds me of “Death Race 2000.” The show is at the Wings Theatre from March 10 through the 27. Info: macbeth2011.com.
If you’re the type who likes your Shakespeare dubious, Classic Stage Company, of all places, is presenting a famous literary hoax (unless it’s not one). Lewis Theobold’s 1727 play “Double Falsehood” purports to be based on Shakespeare and Fletcher’s lost play “Cardenio” (itself based on a section of “Don Quixote”). Believe it or not, modern critical consensus trends toward finding this play the genuine article — an adaptation of a lost Shakespeare work and, thus, an important work indeed. The play is up March 11 through April 3. Tickets and info: classicstage.org.
If the Bard is too highbrow for your tastes, then there’s always “Things at the Doorstep” — a tribute to the Poet Laureate of Pulp Horror and one of my personal guilty favorites: H.P. Lovecraft. I confess I read Lovecraft chiefly for camp value (his writing is more purple than Glenn Beck’s blood vessels). But his chosen beat — graveyards, crypts, attics full of ghosts, laboratories of mad scientists, etc. — are arenas of pure pleasure, and as close to watching a Universal horror film as you can get on the printed page. Playwrights Greg Oliver Bodine and Nat Cassidy have adapted some of his work and crafted (should I say LOVEcrafted?) them into two theatrical monologues being presented at Manhattan Theatre Source, March 14 through 22. Keywords: “Midnight,” “churchyard” and “discredited archaeologist.” More info at Gregoliverbodine.com.
Here’s a fun prank: invite your conservative out-of-town friends or relatives (hopefully religious ones) to attend a night at the theatre. Then take them over to the UNDER St. Marks to catch Little Lord’s production of “JEWQUEEN” — an adaptation of the biblical Book of Esther, which appears to have a couple of biological women and several hairy drag queens. Playfulness runs rampant here. Not only are we dealing with both kinds of queens, but the production photo shows the entire cast dressed like a certain kind of “princess” — the kind who spends more time on Long Island than in the Levant. It’s all in keeping with the company’s mission to “manipulate classic texts, pillage faulty nostalgias and celebrate the homemade as a means to create vibrantly bawdy, offbeat, intelligent, queer, funny (and often musical) theater.” Their fresh outrages will be committed March 17 through April 2. More info at littlelord.org and frigidnewyork.info.
The biggest “queer theatre” opening of the month will undoubtedly be “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures” — Tony Kushner’s 2009 play receiving its New York premiere at the Public Theater following a successful run at the Guthrie out in Minneapolis. The title, a cleaver mash-up of works from Shaw and Mary Baker Eddy, concerns a longshoreman who summons his family in order to have them vote on whether or not he should commit suicide. How that squares with the show’s title is a question that will probably best be answered by watching the play. It is on the boards March 22 through June 11. Info and tix: publictheater.org.
This one has me curious: “Buried Up to My Neck While Thinking Outside the Box” announces that it is “a one-man performance piece…that explores the mind of a man trapped inside a body of trash.” As someone who has a MIND full of trash, I can’t help wondering what it would mean to have a body to match. And why do sea gulls seem to follow me wherever I go? These and other questions may be answered in George Emilio Sanchez’s solo piece at La MaMa, March 25-March 27. Info: lamama.org.
Also at La MaMa this month, please allow me to recommend a little thing I like to call “Trav S.D.’s Tent Show Tetragrammaton” — a bill of four absurdist one-act plays by yours truly, running March 17 through April 3. Freaks! Mummies! Witches! Zombies! And that’s just in the lobby! Joining me onstage will be James Habacker of the Slipper Room (a.k.a Mr. Choade and Mel Frye) and a gaggle of my frequent cohorts from past productions. An experience calculated to blow your mind. If you don’t have a good time, at least I will. More details: lamama.org.
See you Downtown!