Thursday, September 28, 2006
I got into Advanced Playwriting @ Brown, being taughts by Bonnie Metzgar. She is a sorta rock-star-vibe kinda presence. When I found out that she was teaching the course I really wanted to be sure I didn't miss out on the chance to study with her. She's got us reading and talking about some interesting and diverse work.
We started off with The Pillowman. What a trippy play-world that is. What a start to our work. Last week we read THE ADDING MACHINE, and this week we're reading DANUBE by Maria Irene Fornes.
We're also writing each week -- each day -- on one play. We will be turning in a full-length play in November. Each class we bring in ten or so new pages in addition to whatever previous weeks has produced.
I'm working on my ARIADNE AND THE ISLAND play idea. I'm taking a chance, because it could easily be dull. There's no fun stuff, no manic energy, nothing falls out of the sky... it's just four characters that have to hunker down and have compelling reasons to talk rather than kill each other.
It's the hunker-down-edness of the venture that scares me. But becuase it scares me, I thought this might be the right place to try it.
Time. Will tell. Eh?
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
2 weekends ago.
I saw some incredible readings of new plays. Not ordinary plays, mind you. These were Bake-off plays.
They were modeled on Hippolyta/Hercules/Wonder Woman myth/legend/comic.
They were awesome.
Especially amazing (get it -- "amazing") was my buddy Greg's play. Not just cuz he's my buddy, but because his play took the perameters of the exercise and delivered a story that spoke to my soul. It was wierd, and a little perverse, and it made me fall in love with it. He called it THE AMAZON. It wa a story within a story structure. It made me view man vs woman dynamics in a whole new way.
Bake-offs are amazing (get it -- amazing). All of the plays had interesting, engaging styles and huge energy.
All of them wound up funny -- and yet -- all of them found a way to get into my heart and squeeze.
Bake-offs rule! The Brown MFA playwriting program rules! Woo-hoo!
You gotta check out these pays some day.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Emily Young as Anya, and Phyllis Kay as Lovey
This past Saturday I took in THE CHERRY ORCHARD @ The Trinity Repertory Company in Providence. I had a very good time.
This production has a lotta punch and wit about it. The new translation by TRC's Arististic Director Curt Columbus is lean and bright, and lets the pathos move through it like a deep vien of ore that is mined by the observer rather than plodded through.
This one hundred-year-old-plus play sparkled with relevance as Lovey, played by Phyllis Kay, and her family struggle against future change, choosing instead to pretend that all will be well in the end. Of course, in this Russian landscape, we know that all will not be right. Through history's lense we know truths that the playwright did not, and yet, the play is full of prescience. This production made me feel like I ws sitting in the mind of Chekhov, a witness to Russia slipping away, like seeing through his eyes and saying, "Look! Look!".
I also saw a mirror, revealing us, America, pretending that there will always be enough oil to run our SUVs and the environment will right itself and and and... the list goes on.
The cast is a great ensemble, a mix of company actors and Brown/Trinity students. It works.
Also, the design of the show hums. It is fluid space, with just enough concrete textures, like door frames and benches to keep us grounded, but enough air to remind us of the expansiveness of the house, of the landscape, of Russia herself.
I highly recommend seeing this Cherry Orchard. It's a good night of theater that will stick with you. It's worth the trip.
Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard opens the Trinity Rep’s 43rd season. The brand new translation is by Artistic Director Curt Columbus, who also directs. The show is playing now through October 22nd in the intimate Dowling Theater.
“Privilege, politics and family collide in the Russian master's final work. The household is simmering with anticipation with Lovey's return to her Russian country home after five years away in Paris. She must face what the others know all too well: The money's spent. All that remains is the cherry orchard.”
Tickets are on sale now at the Trinity Rep Box Office at 201 Washington Street, by phone at (401) 351-4242, and online at TrinityRep.com.