The second part of our 2010 magical mystery tour is our upcoming collaboration with playwright Felipe Ossa. Leah will direct and I'm working on the program notes. The production has submitted a proposal to the Brooklyn Arts Council for grants, and hopefully we'll have a few different venues to tell you about once it all comes together.
This is a bit trickier than yesterday's news, since I can't tell you the name, the cast, the plot, the setting, or pretty much anything else. Like All's Fair (Six Western), we're building as we go. What I can tell you is that Felipe and Leah Bonvissuto are a fierce creative pair. They've already teamed up on this past summer's huge hit Monetizing Emma [seriously, take a minute to check out that website] at the Planet Connections Festivity, and they walked away with pretty much every major award afterwards. It ran to packed houses every night, and was a runaway smash. I can say all this because I know it firsthand: I got to do an uncredited voice-over role backstage, and from top to bottom that was one of the most mutually supportive, happy, good-vibe casts I've ever gotten to watch.
Monetizing Emma imagined a time in the not-too-distant future when hedge funds pair high school students with private investors who underwrite the students' education in return for a future investment on their earnings. The play follows on Jane-Austen-obsessed, socially shy teenager as she becomes the belle of the ball ... right up until the clock strikes midnight.
They staged that play in June of 2007. That's right: just as the shit was hitting the fan about derivatives, gold-plated wastebaskets and all the rest of it, they had a play ready to go about the next logical step. That's killer marketing, my friends.
They attract good people and make good work, that Felipe and Leah. So I'm happy to tag along for the ride.
I wish I could tell you more about his next play, but every time we sit down and have a discussion about it, about a thousand different avenues open themselves up. Having read a few, and worked in depth on two, I think I can tell you a bit about his plays: they are painfully funny, sharp, authentic, and timely.
It's really quite remarkable to think, when you consider how long it takes to write, revise, and stage a play, that his topics tend to be spot-on with contemporary issues. There's only one of two ways to read it: he's either really lucky, or really good.
Leah and I can both vouch that it's the latter.
More news as it comes...