Sunday, September 15, 2013

Preview: ERS' Arguendo @ The Public

The fabulous Elevator Repair Service has taken a break from their American Lit plays to present a little gem of a show called Arguendo

The premise of Arguendo is a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case, Barnes v. Glen Theatre, brought by a group of go-go dancers who claimed a First Amendment right to dance totally nude.  The case examines an Indiana law that banned public nudity. At oral argument, the Justices attempt to define dance, ponder nudity in opera houses vs. strip-clubs, and ask whether naked erotic dancing is artistic expression or immoral conduct. 

Arguendo is a staging of Barnes v. Glen Theatre’s entire oral argument, verbatim, interspersed with bits of real interviews with the justices, the lawyers and an exotic dancer who traveled all the way from the Déja Vu Club in Saginaw, Michigan to listen to the argument at The Supreme Court. It all culminates in an operatic dance frenzy, complete with some nudity. 

If this all sounds a little dry, rest assured that the usual ERS inventions are all present including hilarious sounds effects and dazzling video work highlighting legal case citing. What becomes most interesting are the supreme court justices own hangups and humanity while trying to sort through the facts of the case with questions like: Can dance express something? Would nudity be more acceptable in opera? Why is the establishment where the woman are dancing called a "bookstore"?  What is a public place?

This is a smart and entertaining 80 minutes.

The Public Theater presents
Elevator Repair Services'

Through October 6, 2013

For tickets and info: click here

There are several talk-backs scheduled which will probably be fascinating, as this is a show that definitely makes you want to talk afterwards:

Sunday Sept 15 @ 7pm – Bill Araiza
Sunday Sept 22 @ 7pm – David Lat
Wednesday Sept 11 – Mark Fleming
Sunday Sept 29 @ 7pm - Christopher Fairman
Wednesday Oct 2 - World Famous BOB

Saturday, September 14, 2013

PREVIEW: Mildred Fierce

Boston's GOLD DUST ORPHANS will make their long-awaited NYC debut this fall with MILDRED FIERCE by Ryan Landry.  Based on Joan Crawford's Oscar-winning Mildred Pierce, this musical parody stars Varla Jean Merman in the title role and will play Theater 80 from October 5th through October 27th.

For about fifteen years, the Gold Dust Orphans have producing their original parodies in Boston and Provincetown, such as Pussy On The House, Silent Night Of The Lambs and Mary Poppers. They launched a very successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Mildred Fierce to New York - appropriately enough to the venue that for years was a movie revival house.

Good Luck Girls!

For tickets: Click Here

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PREVIEW: Shakespeare's Sister (or La Vie Matérielle)

La MaMa, ETC will present Irina Brook's Shakespeare's Sister (or La Vie Matérielle) at the historic Ellen Stewart Theater from September 20th through October 3rd, 2013. Adapted and directed by Irina Brook, daughter of legendary director Peter Brook, Shakespeare's Sister (or La Vie Matérielle) is based in part on both a Marguérite Duras’s collection of essays on daily life, La Vie Matérielle, and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, set at a fantasy dinner party where five women prepare the cuisine while singing, dancing and discussing their place in the world.

The cast includes a diverse group of female artits: OBIE Award winner Winsome Brown as Virginia Woolf, novelist and former French Vogue editor Joan Juliet Buck (Julie and Julia) as Maugerite Duras, actress Nicole Ansari (“Deadwood," Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll), concert violin soloist Yibin Li and British singer/songwriter Sadie Jemmett.

This looks to be a unique experience. A video preview of the French production is below. 

La MaMa, ETC presents
Shakespeare’s Sister 

(or La Vie Materielle)
Adapted and Directed by Irina Brook

September 20 – October 6, 2013

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PREVIEW: Life and Times: Episodes 4.5 & 5

We love Nature Theater of Oklahoma, so we could not be more excited to see the next episode and a half of their LIFE AND TIMES at Florence Gould Hall.  The latest in the life saga of Kristin Worrall takes up through high school and Worrall's first sexual experiences.  Apparently, these episodes veer away from performance with Episode 4.5 being 30-minute animated film and Episode 5 being a medieval illuminated manuscript with sexually-explicit, hand-drawn illustrations, given to each audience member along with a flashlight. 

Can't wait!

Nature Theater of Oklahoma
Life and Times: Episodes 4.5 and 5

Fri, Sept 20 and Sat, Sept 21, 2013 at 8pm

FIAF, Florence Gould Hall
Part of the Crossing The Lines Festival
For tickets and info: Click Here

In addition, each night at 11:57pm in Times Square you can see Nature Theater of Oklahoma deconstruct three minutes of one of Worrall's home movie, retracing it by hand, image by image and broadcast over fifteen of the largest digital signs in Times Square.  Learn more about Midnight Moment HERE

Monday, September 09, 2013

PREVIEW: Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play

Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play is now playing at the invaluable Playwrights Horizons. With music by Michael Friedman and directed by Steve Cosson, Mr. Burns might just be the most unusual show you see this season. The play begins in the not-too-distant future after some sore of catastrophe. Survivors band together, trade names of people they've met who are still alive in hope of hearing about loved ones, and recount episodes of The Simpsons. The play jumps forward seven years in act two, after a brief pause, as society begins to rebuild and our group of survivors are staging Simpsons episodes (complete with commercials) as entertainment, including pop song production numbers, for others in what appears to be a thriving business enterprise. Act three jumps 70 years further into the future, where these Simpsons recreations have taken on mythical, operatic stats where we are treated to a full production of what this entertainment genre has become.

We suggest a fresh (or first time) viewing of the Simpsons episode "Cape Feare" if you are planning on seeing Mr. Burns. It will definitely enhance your experience. Suggestion to Playwrights Horizons: have this playing in the lobby pre-show and invite audience to come early! 

You can view the episode online HERE.

This is a show that will stick with you.  It's thought-provoking and smart and visually exciting.  Look for a lot of good reviews. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rituals of Rented Island Exhibit Coming to The Whitney Museum

We are really looking forward to a new exhibit opening in October at the Whitney Museum called Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980

Organized by Jay Sanders, Curator and Curator of Performance, this exhibit will look at the radical period of 1970s performance art that flourished in downtown Manhattan, or what filmmaker and performance artist Jack Smith called “Rented Island,” that still remains largely unknown today. Working in lofts, storefronts, and alternative spaces, this group of artists, with backgrounds in theater, dance, music, and visual art, created complex new forms of performance to embody and address contemporary media, commercial culture, and high art. 

The exhibit open on Oct 31, 2013 and will run through February 2, 2014.

For more info: Click Here.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Fringe Encores: PENINSULA

We went back to see PENINSULA last night.  We'd caught it during the initial run as part of The New York International Fringe Festival and it has now been picked up as part of Fringe Encores where it is getting additional performances at The Players Theater.  The play has been ever-so-slightly re-staged for the new venue to excellent effect but everything we liked about it the first time is still intact. 

PENINSULA very deservedly won a Fringe Excellence Award for Outstanding Ensemble who not only work so well as a whole, but also each give complex individual performances that struck deeper on second viewing: funnier, sadder, more dangerous, more helpless, more honest.  Nadia Foskolou's fluid almost dance-like direction is like watching choreographed filmatic cross-fades.

Playwright Nathan Wright has created a play that is complex, dark and funny that rings more true than you may like.  Some of the poetic passages and motifs may be used too often but this is a minor quibble for what is easily one of the best plays in NYC right now.

Remaining performances:
Tuesday, September 24    8pm
Saturday, October 5          9pm
Sunday, October 13          7pm

Tickets $18

Players Theater
115 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012

For tickets and information:

Friday, September 06, 2013

Kiss The Hole Goodbye!

We received an email this week announcing the closure of The Collapsable Hole, the scrappy artist-run space in Williamsburg. Run jointly by the people of Radiohole and The Collapsable Giraffe, it's probably amazing that it lasted 13 years. But it is still sad news. In January we mourned the loss of Horse Trade's Red Room and The Living Theater's space on Clinton Street. 

Of course there are a few new spaces to celebrate: JACK and the new space that Theater For A New Audience will open shortly, albeit on a different scale than the spaces mentioned previously. 

As CultureBot and The Brooklyn Commune Project have been arguing - things are broken and a new model is needed. 

There will be one final party/memorial service on Saturday, September 14th at 8pm - BYOB. 


Monday, September 02, 2013

14 Things To See: Fall 2013


Catch the latest episode and a half of the life story of Kristin Worrall.  With Episodes 4.5 + 5, Nature Theater of Oklahoma embraces animation and visual art in a live performance devoid of actors. Episode 4.5, a 30-minute animated film, begins with the end of high school and the search for love. The saga continues in Episode 5 with high school air bands, secrets, and finally the first sexual experience, graphically remade in the form of a medieval illuminated manuscript with original organ music played live by composer Daniel Gower.

FIAF: Florence Gould Hall (part of Crossing The Lines Festival)
Friday, Sept 20 and Saturday, Sept 21 at 8pm


The US Premiere of Wallace Shawn's brilliant and insane play, first produced at London's Royal Court is described as a disturbing and anomalously beautiful play that explores the role of human beings in nature and the role of nature in human beings, sexuality being as Shawn says, “nature’s most obvious footprint in the human soul.” The play’s central character is a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind. This has unexpected consequences. Grasses of a Thousand Colors tells a story about the doctor, his wife, and his lovers, that is also a story about human beings and animals and the planet we live on.

Public Theater (in co-production with Theater For A New Audience)
October 7 - November 10


From the company that created the wonderful MISSION DRIFT comes a duet in which  actresses Kristen Sieh and Libby King tackle two American icons of masculinity: Theodore Roosevelt and Elvis Presley. On a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland, the spirits of Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battle over the soul of Ann, a painfully shy meat-processing plant worker, and what kind of man or woman she should become. Set against the boundless blue skies of the Great Plains and endless American highway, RoosevElvis is a new work about gender, appetite, and the multitudes we contain.

Bushwick Starr
October 9 - November 3, 2013


Miguel Gutierrez' not-quite-a-solo-performance about sex, desire and objectification that incorporates movement, video and music. myendlesslove is a performance about love, sex and desire cumming and going, going, gone. The piece unravels as a search for the poetics of gay sex, exploiting time-honored clichés about sentimentality, longing, and how we look beyond ourselves for love.

Abrons Arts Center/Underground
October 9, 2013 - October 19, 2013


Conceived at the height of the European economic crisis, A (micro) history of world economics, danced explores our collective economic history over centuries of time. Created by Pascal Rambert with and circulating around the lives of anonymous, locally sourced performers – a ballet of raw bodies share their own histories in the larger history of economics – tall, short, young, old, of different ethnicities and ancestry on stage as one community to make meaning of a crisis.

La MaMa (co-production with PS122; part of Crossing The Lines Festival)
Oct 11 – 13, 2013


The Riot Group’s Adriano Shaplin will join The Bats, the resident acting company at The Flea, in a radical re-telling of the events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials. The play is described as "five girls in the woods, two families at war, and a village on the brink. Blood feuds, praying Indians, and time travel collide in this magical portrait of an uprising in Salem."  Rebecca Wright directs.

The Flea Theater
September 24 – October 27


The eyes of the court are on her, and nothing good can come of it in David Adjmi. They used to love Marie just the way she was. But now change is in the air and things are about to be different for France’s isolated young queen. Things are about to be different for everybody. Aren’t they?  The fierce cast includes David Greenspan, Jennifer Ikeda, Steven Rattazzi and Marin Ireland in the title role (he first time back at Soho Rep since the incredible Blasted). Rebecca Taichman directs.

Soho Rep
October 9 - November 3


Julie Taymor's first directing gig since the notorious Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark brings her home to Theater For A New Audience for the inaugural production in their new Brooklyn home.  The press material says, "Taymor’s vision will be a fantasia of light and shadow. The stage will breathe with the miraculous charms and powerful illusions of love."  There will be original music by Elliot Goldenthal and will feature Tina Benko as Titania, Max Casella as Bottom.  Here's hoping no one gets injured!
Theater for a New Audience
October 19, 2013 - January 12, 2014


Theater Reconstruction Ensemble will present a new devised work, directed by John Kurzynowski, which is described as "Experimentation in the form of realism."  Based on their previous works, The Three Seagulls and Set In The Living Room of a Small Town American Play we have great hopes for this new effort.

Here Arts Center
October 24th - November 9th, 2013


One of Tennessee Williams' trippy one-acts set in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Christmas Eve in the mid-20th century.  A chorus of misfits and freaks sing a carol about life on the fringes of society and tell the tale of two mysterious women whose strong bond of friendship overcomes their constant and vicious quarreling. Mink Stole and
Penny Arcade star in this production that will come to NYC after premiering at the
Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.


New Ohio Theater
November 1 - November 24, 2013


Leigh Silverman directs Madeleine George's brilliantly witty, time-jumping, loving tribute (and cautionary tale) dedicated to the people – and machines – upon which we all depend.  Watson: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning Jeopardy! champ; amiable techno-dweeb who, in the present day, is just looking for love.

Playwrights Horizons
November 17, 2013 – December 29, 2013


Subtitled "A Bunraku Puppet Pop-Opera" La Divina tells the love story of Rose and John, a dog and her master, through two re-incarnations set in Lee’s metaphoric Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. La Divina Caricatura is based on autobiography, puppetry bio-mechanics, and a piercing examination of cultural evolution, as evidenced through novels, music, art, film, and dance. The script, which equally alludes to Dante’s Divine Comedy and to 17th century playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, is a multimedia, multi-day epic that unveils Lee Breuer 's unique voice as a writer searching for spiritual revelation through the written word.

La MaMa (co-production with St. Ann's Warehouse)
December 6, 2013 - December 22, 2013


Featuring three of Beckett's short plays Act Without Words, Play  and Breath this evening will incorporate puppetry by director Bob Flanagan. We would never pass up an opportunity to see a first class production of Play.

Irish Rep
October 16th- December 1st, 2013


In what may be one of the weirdest mash-ups in recent theatrical memory, Mandy Patinkin, Taylor Mac and Susan Stroman conspire to bring us the end of the world as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves us with only two people on Earth, who discover their common language is song and dance. Together they chronicle the rise and fall and hopeful rise again of humankind, through music that runs the gamut from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, R.E.M. and Queen.

Classic Stage Company at Abrons Arts Center
begins December 14, 2013