Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Hail Mary Pass" -- THIS WEEK


Our friend Patrice Hamilton is presenting a one act play, The Hail Mary Pass, at The Manhattan Repertory Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 2nd at 9:00 PM and Saturday, Feb. 12th at 5:00 PM.
Tamara is marrying Curtis Thompson, who manages mutual funds for Langdon Financial Advisors, and it is the day before the wedding. Tamara is sitting in bed sneaking a cigarette and talking to Curt on her cell when her ex-boyfriend knocks at the door pretending to deliver room service. He knows of Tamara’s upcoming marriage and is determined to stop her from making a mistake. He overpowers Tamara and ties her hands together. When he discovers Curt is on the cell, he devises a game: If Curt can answer three of the eight questions right, Jake will concede defeat and leave them alone. Curt agrees and the game is on. At first, Jake’s questions seem insignificant, but as the play progresses, the game becomes more sinister. Eventually, Curt and Tamara are forced to acknowledge how little they know one another. When Curt finally ends the game, he’s got a score to settle with Jake and some questions of his own for Tamara.
Presenting at:
Manhattan Repertory Theater
303 W 42nd St # 3
New York, NY 10036-6908

FOR TICKETS, CALL: (646) 329-6588

Friday, January 28, 2011

throwing up the hands

The idea -- I think -- is that we want more representative theater and film not because it's ethical, or reparations for past sins, or because it's a good business decision -- the argument I like to put forward is that more diverse stores simply make better stories.

So I find it to be a bit counter-productive when works featuring white casts are re-made with minority casts, as though (a) minority audiences couldn't understand the lines when they're read by white people, or (b) the stories from one group are basically interchangeable with the other group (although maybe you need to tweak someone's day job here or there).

Photo-negative racial remakes argue simultaneously for an exclusionary and universal principles that I find unpersuasive -- even if they weren't mutually contradictory.

And then we get this:
Will Smith, Jay-Z team to remake "Annie"

Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith are partnering with Jay-Z to release movies.

One of the first projects they're discussing is a remake of the Broadway classic "Annie," in which the Smiths' daughter, Willow, 9, would star.
You know that scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Paul Newman is kidding-but-not-kidding about seducing Katharine Ross on the bicycle while Robert Redford's sleeping, and then Redford catches them, and is all like What are you doing? and Paul Newman figures he might as well be honest and says Stealing your woman, and Redford scratches his ass saying Take her...take her and walks away?

Yeah, I'll kinda feel like that if they make a black Annie. Whatever, black Hollywood people.You're terrible.

[Of course, maybe they just need to make an all-minority Butch Cassidy because I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT WHITEY IS SAYING.] (Happy February, America!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

batman mash-up

Would love to see Kate Beaton's submission to the Brick. Can we make this happen?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"The Hail Mary Pass" -- NEXT WEEK


Our friend Patrice Hamilton is presenting a one act play, The Hail Mary Pass, at The Manhattan Repertory Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 2nd at 9:00 PM and Saturday, Feb. 12th at 5:00 PM.
Tamara is marrying Curtis Thompson, who manages mutual funds for Langdon Financial Advisors, and it is the day before the wedding. Tamara is sitting in bed sneaking a cigarette and talking to Curt on her cell when her ex-boyfriend knocks at the door pretending to deliver room service. He knows of Tamara’s upcoming marriage and is determined to stop her from making a mistake. He overpowers Tamara and ties her hands together. When he discovers Curt is on the cell, he devises a game: If Curt can answer three of the eight questions right, Jake will concede defeat and leave them alone. Curt agrees and the game is on. At first, Jake’s questions seem insignificant, but as the play progresses, the game becomes more sinister. Eventually, Curt and Tamara are forced to acknowledge how little they know one another. When Curt finally ends the game, he’s got a score to settle with Jake and some questions of his own for Tamara.
Presenting at:
Manhattan Repertory Theater
303 W 42nd St # 3
New York, NY 10036-6908

FOR TICKETS, CALL: (646) 329-6588

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

whose form is it anyway?

At Parabasis last week, 99 Seats continued what I find to be a perplexing argument over crumbs at an otherwise bare table; to wit -- how to add minority voices into the mix of live theater:
We need muscle and courage, on all sides of this. We need productions, not awards and honors. The black artists I know are chomping at the bit and aren't waiting for diversity programs to find them anymore. And they shouldn't be. There's an audience that needs them, needs their stories. If the larger institutions want to conect to those audiences, as they continually profess they do, they have to start competing. Otherwise, they're going to get left behind.
But if the problem is that minority playwrights are underproduced, the question is -- left behind by whom? Live theater must continually scramble to assemble any kind of sustainable audience.

I don't believe in racial essentialism, nor do I believe in the rational market. The race of the performer/playwright and the race of the audience do not have to match in order for there to be comprehension. And the most expensive tickets are not necessarily to the highest-quality shows.

And so long as Ibsen can speak so persuasively to a brown person like me, I'm not willing to argue that changing the last name of the playwright's being produced is the short road to better theater.

Monday, January 24, 2011

some words about you kids and my lawn

(Actually, no, it's about the adults behind the shows aimed at kids.)

What's less surprising about the MTV Skins controversy is that anyone expects anything but the worst bottom-feeding instincts from the same network that has brought...well, basically scan the entire TV Schedule on any given day and find the most offensive item that fits your spectrum of outrage. Even without manufactured controversy, it's all blandly awful.

But expected. As David Carr notes,
objectifying teenage pathology, along with teenage bodies, is a complicated business — and the business that MTV is in.
So why are we outraged that flesh peddlers are fulfilling their job description?

PS: Dear Knicker-Twisting Parent Groups -- Please don't call works of entertainment 'dangerous', especially works that I would otherwise like to criticize. It puts me in the unenviable position of having to defend crap, or take your side on something.

Friday, January 21, 2011

don't send us your money. yet.

We know that you've been clamoring to fill our coffers, but just hold your horses.

We're about to unveil a new campaign, and we'd love to make your efforts a part of it. so fold your wallets, put them in your pocket, and edge the mouse away from the 'donate' button ... nice and slow ...

(Of course, if you can't help yourself, we don't want to stop you...)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Undeclared History" TOMORROW


Our friends at Oracle Theatre Inc are at it again. Join us tomorrow night for a new work by playwright Isaac Rathbone. Details below:
Join Oracle Theatre Inc. for our bi-annual PLAYWRIGHT'S FORUM. This month's featured new work is UNDECLARED HISTORY, by Isaac Rathbone.

Based on historical events, testimonies from alumni, and media from the time period, UNDECLARED HISTORY follows the experience of Hofstra University during the politically explosive "Vietnam Era" of the late 1960's. The piece explores the division between protesters and veterans, students and administration, and the truth and the myths of America's most difficult time period. UNDECLARED HISTORY uncovers what was hidden beneath the innocence of youth and what shaped a generation of Americans.

A talk-back with the playwright and a small reception will follow the reading.

UNDECLARED HISTORY
By Isaac Rathbone
Friday January 21st @ 7:30pm

The Bridge Theatre @ Shetler Studios & Theatres

244 West 54th Street, 12th floor
$5 suggested donation


For more information visit: www.oracletheatreinc.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

look over your shoulder starting now, Assange.

Julian Assange was mistaken; it wasn't when he was leaking military secrets, or diplomatic cables that he was in the most danger. Now that he's releasing tax avoidance strategies of the rich? Yeah, if he hadn't hired a food taster yet, this might be the time:
[...] the WikiLeaks founder today pledged to make public the confidential tax details of 2,000 wealthy and prominent individuals, after being passed the data by a Swiss banker who claims the information potentially reveals instances of money-laundering and large-scale illegal tax evasion.

In a carefully choreographed handover in central London, Rudolf Elmer, formerly a senior executive at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, based in the Cayman islands, said he was handing the data to WikiLeaks as part of an attempt "to educate society" about the amount of potential tax revenues lost thanks to offshore schemes and money-laundering.
The biggest surprise about the leaks to date is, of course, that there's very little at all surprising about them: it's assumed that the American military mistakenly kill non-combatants, and that a nuclear Iran scares the hell out of pretty much everyone. But while we all know intuitively that the rich use Switzerland as a tax haven, the prospect of naming names? Yikes. Duck and cover, folks.

[The Guardian]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

new podcast episode

A new episode of the COI podcast is ready for download, as we present the first in a series of live podcast recordings -- Katie McKenna presenting part of her memoir, "How To Get Run Over By A Truck."

As always, there are three ways to listen:

(1) Stream the episode below
(2) Visit our podcast page and listen online: conflicttheater.podOmatic.com
(3) iTunes users can click this link



Friday, January 14, 2011

You can fool some of the people...

Don't know what it is about my Hollywood obsession these days; it's not like I have any remote chance of working there.

Anyway, the WSJ chats with Paul Mazursky:
Q: So are you disheartened by the state of Hollywood today?

A: In a strange way, I think television is doing stuff more like what I did. They’re braver now. But not the movies. They’re really nervous; they want to play in 3,000 screens and they want to reach everybody. They even want the cats and dogs to like them.
[WSJ]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

call for submissions [BoCoCa]

Another week, another summer festival looking for submissions. Our now-familiar summer stomping grounds, the BoCoCa Arts Festival -- where we presented The Third Seat and the COI podcast (live) in years past -- is looking for some new friends:
Calling all Theater, Music, Visual & Performing Artists!

Husky Dog Productions is accepting Applications to the 2011 BoCoCa Arts Festival! HDP is seeking innovative and energetic participants for the Festival whose works will be staged in unconventional venues located within three of Brooklyn's most unique communities. Artists from all locations and disciplines are encouraged to apply for this collaborative effort to bring exceptional life to their work! Apply now at www.BoCoCaArtsFestival.com!
[Festival Site]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Postlethwaite Post-Script

Vanessa Thorpe's tribute to the Everyman Theatre in the Guardian this weekend was a timely reminder of what it is we're trying to build here, and that even if we fail, the benefits from the effort roll down through the years. She notes that Postlethwaite rubbed shoulders with Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Antony Sher, Alison Steadman and Julie Walters, and worked on pieces conceived by Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale:
The emergence of talent is not inevitable. It takes money and a supportive community to enable an artistic flowering and, if the theatre had stalled then, these stars would not have enjoyed their influential moment together.
A good short read that's worth two minutes.

[The Guardian]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

read it twice

This paragraph tells us more about how our political system does or does not work more any any random act of violence:
By managing her image almost exclusively through Twitter, Facebook, a reality television show and appearances on Fox News, Ms. Palin has managed to become both ubiquitous and insulated, and to emerge as one of the most formidable Republicans considering a presidential run next year.

[NYTimes]

InGenius 2011 -- Starts This Week


Don't forget -- COItc's all over the upcoming InGenius 2011 Short Play Festival, January 12-22 at Manhattan Theatre Source:
Wed. – Sat., January 12-22 at 8pm
Sat. matinee, January 22 at 3pm

Manhattan Theatre Source
177 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10011
Betw. Waverly Place and W.8th St.
(1 block north of Washington Square Park)
A/C/E, or B/D/F/V to W. 4th St.

Tickets: $18 at www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/797075
Featuring/directed by/written by Annalisa Loeffler (Wrestling the Alligator, Other Than Emily) and Leah Bonvissuto (COItc Managing Director of Stage), and Greg Oliver Bodine (??? wouldn't you like to know -- stay tuned!).

Buy tickets! See you there!

Monday, January 10, 2011

a long history and a long future


Two salient points on the horrific assassination of Judge John M. Roll and attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
  • This event was the inevitable fruit of the politics of rage that have been employed by both political sides (but more prevalently the right) in this country;
  • Violence permeates American politics -- indeed it lies at our very genesis.
Everyone is hungry for a quick villain to blame, but the truth is that the Congresswoman was a casualty of our lack of imagination. In the NYTimes, Matt Bai's otherwise excellent thumbnail of this moment and its violent antecedents betrays a need on the part of Americans for narrative and clearly marked characters; after a very even-handed recap of the past year, and a hat-tip to the bubbling violence of half a century ago, he nevertheless closes with the thought that this shooting "will either be the tragedy that brought us back from the brink, or the first in a series of gruesome memories to come," despite his proving just a few lines before that violence in American politics is a cycle that never really ends.

A further point nestled in Bai's analysis is that without this incident, Americans can't see the connection between rhetoric and action, even though such actions litter our past. Tragically, someone had to be assassinated for our current vituperative collective discourse to be paused -- and possibly only that. It wasn't enough that someone might take violent action in response to violent rhetoric -- action can only be taken once someone did. (Of course, today's talk radio programs will show if anything changes at all.)

But on another tack entirely, do we expect better? Do we expect more from a state where ethnic studies were declared illegal? Where those with the wrong color skin are expected to carry documentation at all times to prove their citizenship status? While the denigration of the national debate reduced a human being to a set of crosshairs on a map, in the interest of simple solutions to complex problems, the state itself restricted political and educational discourse to a medieval level. Why isn't violence the only option in this climate? What other alternatives are there?

Sounding a note that in any other context would reek of unjustified American exceptionalism -- except that in this case it is justified -- former Supreme Court Justice (and Arizona resident) Sandra Day O’Connor said that
it sounds like something that might happen in some place like Afghanistan [...] it shouldn’t happen in Tucson, Ariz., or anyplace else in the United States.”
In other countries, the identities of judges are kept anonymous, because the administration of justice often puts the lives of families and the judges themselves in danger. We like to think that we're different, but the assassination of public figures is a fact of life that lies not far from our reality with two centuries of democracy, or a nation with only one election under its belt.

We celebrate the lack of tanks on the streets on inauguration day -- and the lack of a police riot when the President's motorcade is hit by debris -- not because we only believe that to be exceptional, but because  it is.

Early on in the hours following the judge's assassination, experts filling airtime as cable news networks scrambled for updates quickly labeled the shooter a lone madman. It's essential for our self-image that the extremists are immediately disowned as mad -- beyond the pale. Our need to put this act beyond the realm of possibility -- in his statement, the President called it "unthinkable," despite the fact that it had happened, and that we were all thinking about it -- makes us make strange twists of logic. While describing the gunman as a loner and alienated, it has nevertheless been ascertained that he tried to enlist in the armed services:
A military official said Sunday that Mr. Loughner had failed a drug screening when he tried to enlist in the Army.
Although this might be a far more damning indictment of how far away from the mainstream we as a society place the armed forces: an alienated lone gunman saw the only two avenues for his violent thoughts armed service or murder. (Giffords, it's been noted, is the only member of Congress to be married to someone actively serving in the armed forces.)

"Only a lunatic opens fire on a crowd of people at a supermarket, and he doesn’t do it out of a failure to appreciate nuance and metaphor," writes Mediaite's Tommy Christopher -- but he's only half-right. After all, we certainly wouldn't call the American soldiers who fired on Iraqi civilians and Reuters reporters in 2007 insane; they were merely following orders. Barring a Clinton-esque parry over what, precisely, "reload" means, is it that far a stretch to see how Jared Loughner was doing the same?

[image via gawker]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

London theatre troupe to perform play on Afghan history for US military

London theatre troupe to perform play on Afghan history for US military: "

Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre will take The Great Game to Washington to show to American soldiers

The world's most powerful military machine, bogged down in Afghanistan, is to seek help from a troupe of actors, directors and playwrights from a small north London playhouse.

The Pentagon has asked Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre to perform The Great Game, a series of plays, interspersed with extracts from interviews, covering 150 years of Afghan history. The idea was taken up by America's top brass after the plays were seen by General Sir David Richards, head of Britain's armed forces, earlier this year.

Richards, who took a group of Sandhurst cadets– future officers who will be sent to Afghanistan – to watch the three-part, seven-hour production, said: 'The Ministry of Defence as a whole, and certainly the armed forces desperately want to understand the country well, and this series of plays – if I had seen it before I had deployed myself in 2005 for the first time – would have made me a much better commander.' Richards headed the international security force in Afghanistan.

The Great Game covers the Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th century, the Soviet occupation of the country, US support for the mujahideen fighters, and the rise of the Taliban.

Lieutenant Commander Ryan Perry, a spokesman for the US joint chiefs of staff, said interest in the production was sparked by several officers, including Brigadier General John Nicholson, who saw The Great Game during its US tour in September. 'They felt it could serve as a learning tool for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of Afghanistan,' he told the Washington Post.

Nicolas Kent, co-director of the production with Indhu Rubasingham, said: 'Despite Obama's Afpak policy hardly featuring in the November US elections, the recent Tricycle Theatre tour there taught us that there was a huge hunger for knowledge about Afghanistan and the current conflict from both the public and the military in America.'

The lecture theatre in the huge Pentagon complex was too small for the production so the Pentagon has booked Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall to show the play to the US military over two days next month.

The production is sponsored by the British Council and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which was set up by an ABC television journalist who was badly hurt while covering the Iraq war to support wounded soldiers and veterans.

Special accommodation will be made in the theatre for the expected large number of disabled theatregoers. 'We've talked a lot about that with the department of defence. We're going to extend invitations to those hospitalised and receiving outpatient treatment,' the Woodruff Foundation's executive director Rene Bardorf told the Post, referring to troops recuperating at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Centre. 'For the young warrior, certain parts of the play[s] would make very good sense,' she said.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

"

Friday, January 7, 2011

a vital medium

For completely selfish reasons, we are obsessed around these parts with contemporary audio drama. As we branch out (with fits and starts, mostly fits) into multi-character scripted podcasts (you'll hear them someday, we promise...) any news about radio dramas created after 1960 fascinate us.

Which makes our belated discovery into the Archers, BBC Radio's 60-year-plus-long serial all the more shocking on multiple counts. To begin with, Anglophiles though we are, we had no idea this existed. Additionally, their bombshell of an anniversary program has come across as a bit of a damp squib:
We were promised controversial storylines that would "shake Ambridge to its core" for the 60th anniversary double-length episode of The Archers.

Flabbers, we understood, would be well and truly gasted, as the world's longest-running soap finally revealed the plot developments in the fictional village of Ambridge that had been so carefully guarded against spoilers or leaks.

Speculation was rife on Facebook, Twitter and the programme's messageboard about possible twists and shocks. Some fans had a lighthearted wishlist of maddening characters they would like wiped out or abducted by aliens.

But most sieved through clues and likely red herrings in the weeks leading to the landmark episode of Radio 4's most popular non-news programme, and came up with some core-shaking likely options: a fraternal shoot-out between the Grundy brothers; a devastating fire or building collapse; the death of Helen Archer or her donor IVF baby during labour; the demise of stressed Tony Archer, possibly under a tractor like his eldest son, John; or the wiping out of one of the key couples in the rural drama. In the end, a woman had a baby and a man fell off a roof.

Online discussions instantly roared "Is that it?" and it was hard not to concur.
That's even more shocking. Yes, it's amazing that you're still on the air -- especially since here in the states radio drama fans have been reduced to Suspense reruns on satellite radio or execrable contemporary content.

But the fact that people are outraged, let alone paying attention? There's some life in the old filly yet.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

finally...


This is not a drill. I am not lying. New COI podcast episodes start next week.

It's queued up. Every two weeks. Through the summer. You're welcome.

Watch this space for an announcement...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

InGenius 2011


We're very excited to highlight the upcoming efforts of COI's core, alums, and future alums alike in the upcoming InGenius 2011 Short Play Festival, January 12-22 at Manhattan Theatre Source:
Wed. – Sat., January 12-22 at 8pm
Sat. matinee, January 22 at 3pm

Manhattan Theatre Source
177 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10011
Betw. Waverly Place and W.8th St.
(1 block north of Washington Square Park)
A/C/E, or B/D/F/V to W. 4th St.

Tickets: $18 at www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/797075
Of special note are works featuring/directed by/written by Annalisa Loeffler (Wrestling the Alligator, Other Than Emily) and Leah Bonvissuto (COItc Managing Director of Stage), and Greg Oliver Bodine (??? wouldn't you like to know -- stay tuned!).

Buy tickets! See you there!

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Still on the Road" -- TONIGHT [UPDATED]


Tickets are STILL on sale for Sara Wolkowitz's documentary about The Acting Company:

What: "Still On The Road"
Where: Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
When: Monday January 3rd at 8pm
Twelve actors travel across 28 US cities on a seven month journey to bring classical theater to America. The Acting Company, a classical touring ensemble founded by John Houseman and Margot Harley, started with members of the first graduating class of the drama division of the Julliard School. Kevin Kline recalls Houseman’s motivation being, “We couldn’t just let them go out there and do garbage.” In the Company’s 37th season, twelve actors spend seven months on a cramped bus, lose a leading man, play 71 roles, and learn to work in spaces that won’t hold their set. Throughout, they reconnect with their passion for performing, receive a great review in the New York Times, and teach high school and college students a new way to look at Shakespeare. As we follow the actors on tour and watch insightful conversations with Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson and Harriet Harris, we learn that with the exception of Xbox and Wi-Fi on the bus, not much has changed – and that is just as it should be. 
Congrats to Sara on this spectacular achievement!

[Film Society at Lincoln Center]

YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

UPDATE: Read this interview with Sara in the NYTimes and then buy your tickets -- what more do we have to do to convince you?

Pete Postlethwaite (1947-2011)


Pete Postlethwaite has died. The possessor of a ubiquitous face, behind which hid considerable skill, he will be sorely missed.

[image via]