Regional Round Up: A study that gets muddy
by Kippy Winston
A recent study conducted by the National Endowment of the (f)Arts finds that new plays and performing arts are, in fact, alive and well in cities and regions beyond downtown Manhattan and unaffordable parts of Brooklyn. Early estimates show that about 30% of what can be considered “new” and “interesting work” happens outside of New York City.
The study, titled “The Regions: Forgotten Landscapes?” shows that young artists are moving to such cities as Austin, San Francisco and even Omaha.
“We’re shocked,” says Ted Mayberry, director of NE(f)A art studies. “We had been under the impression that this wasn’t the case. Turns out we were wrong.”
Not everyone would agree with Mayberry’s assessment. Many New Yorkers are furious that the NE(f)A would suggest that culturally impotant (wink!) performance is happening beyond the boroughs. Frank Boudreaux, a Texan by birth but New Yorker by spirit, was outraged. “Unbelievable!” he bellowed, throwing his head into his hands in the lobby of Dixon Place before a recent Little Theatre. “I mean I know theatre ‘happens’ elsewhere, but the good stuff happens in Gotham. Damnit! Fuggedaboutit.”
One artist, who couldn’t be reached for comment, told a Radish insider, “I moved back to the ‘Ha [Omaha] because I felt like I didn’t have a cool enough wardrobe, or haircut, to live in Williamsburg. Now I’m able to work at a coffee shop and make my art.” The artist self-identifies as a playwright, poet and art historian. “Plus, I get to see my parents for dinner on Sundays and that feels not only wholesome but also civilized.”
Brian Rodgers, artistic director of the Chocolate Factory in Queens, could not be reached for comment. Neither could residents of Staten Island and the Bronx but an anonymous tip to The Radish tells us that contemporary theatre also happens in these realms. Just not in Long Island.
It’s Curtains…for the pre-show curtain speech
By Kippy Winston
A consortium of more than ten theatres, including Clubbed Thumb, HERE Arts Center and the New Ohio, has banded together in an effort to eradicate the pre-show curtain speech. The ban is set to go into effect starting January 1st.
“We just feel like… shut up already,” says Clubbed Thumb’s artistic director Maria Striar with a toss of her hair. “At this point, if you don’t know to turn your cell phone off or put it on airplane mode then maybe you shouldn’t even be seeing theatre.”
“I’m just so tired of hearing artists try to come up with clever ways to tell me how to exit in case of a fire,” says HERE’s artistic director Kristen Marting. “I know it’s a safety thing—but I’m willing to risk it.”
The Curtain Speech Ban Talks took place in the PAX at 520 8th Ave. “At first it just looked like a bunch of artistic directors who had run into each other and were eating overpriced brownies,” a source tells The Radish. “I was on my way to an audition at Ripley Grier getting a tea when I heard Robert Lyons say, ‘Can’t we just put a stop to these endless speeches?’ I was so rattled after that that I didn’t get the part.”
While the ban is set to go into effect in the new Julian Calendar year, one theatre that plans to buck the ban trend is Dixon Place. “Our curtain speeches are some of the finest around,” boasts Ellie Covan, founder and artistic direct of Dixon Place, between bites of edamame. “These speeches not only draw people to our space; they prime people for our adventurous programming! We feel like the curtain speech is a chance to express our personality. It’s also chance to make nice with the crowd an opportunity to drive people to drink at our bar, which boosts revenue big time.”
Media Beet: So Many Mediums to the Message that We’re Getting a Headache
by Shaina Cohen-Jones
It’s the Theatre Information Age. Between Playbill.com, HowlRound, HowlRoundTV, Time Out New York, the Village Has a Voice, the Brooklyn Rails, American Sneeter magazine, and Culturebot, not to mention Twatter, there’s almost— much like the Prelude festival!—too much to process. But what about the stories behind these media stories? If the Gray Lady has Jill Abramson it’s clear that theatre has many more. Here are some of the juiciest items on (and under) our radar.
- 2amt to officially become 2pmt. “I need my beauty rest,” said the O’Neill’s senior tweeter and literary manager Anne Morgan peering out beneath a sleeping mask.
- Watch her Work or Nap? It was unclear during a recent Watch Me Work episode on Howlround TV whether or not the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks was dozing. One thing’s for sure, she wasn’t working. Howlround TV issued a statement that the three named playwright was having an issue with her contacts but Parks told The Radish, “Daydreaming is important.” C’est vrais.
- Isaac Butler will finally announce what a “Parabasis” is. He recently announced via his Twatter feed. Whether or not Broadwayworld.com will issue a repurposed press release remains unclear.
- Playbill Turns Off the Lights. Playbill’s new adults only outlet, Playbill After Dark, will exclusively feature photos of Billy Magnussen shirtless.
- We Want Helen! A petition started by former Brooklyn College alumni is circling around the internet demanding more Time Out New York reviews by Helen Shaw. The petition begins, “It’s not because she’s good. It’s because she’s great.”
- Hilton at the Hilton. The Hilton Hotel franchise recently announced it will sponsor a talk show hosted by Hilton Als. “I am touched,” the lead theatre critic of the New Yorker said. We can’t wait!
- Please Take It with You. To bring more awareness to the classics, like Broadway-bound You Can’t Take It With You, producers have taken to Twatter with the hashtag #OldPlay.
From Volume 1, Issue 1 October 2013 of The Radish!
Elevator Repair Service to Adapt New and Old Testaments!
The group tackles its literary white whale
The 22-year-old ensemble is unstoppable. Known for adaptations of such literary classics as “The Great Gatsby” (Gatz), “The Sun Also Rises” (The Select: The Sun Also Rises) and “The Sound and the Fury” (The Sound and the Fury: April Seventh, 1928), the group has decided to tackle the Bible, new and old.
“We figured the new and old testaments were the most epic literary forms available to us,” says artistic director John Collins, between bites of pumpkin brown-butter spice cake, baked by actress main-squeeze Kristen Sieh, currently starring in the TEAM’s RoosevElvis at the Bushwick Starr. “The Bible has kind of been our white whale, over the years.”
No doubt, the tentatively titled EmBible: The King James Edition will combine elements of slapstick comedy, hi and lo-tech design, literary and found text, as well as the group’s signature style of choreography. Mover and shaker ERS ensemble member Susie Sokol has begun researching ancient Mesopotamian and Babylonian dance moves on YouTube. “There’s a lot of good stuff out there, you just have to dig,” she says with wild gesticulation.
Typical development cycles for ERS shows include 4-6 intensive rehearsal chunks within a 2-year period, which concludes with work-in-progress showings. But for EmBible the group plans to take its time. “Why rush the Bible?” says ERS actor Kate Scelsa with a shrug. “We want to give these texts the attention they deserve,” confirms actor/sound designer Ben Williams.
Scott Shepard, an ERS actor and linchpin of Gatz, declined to comment for this article after suffering from a urinary tract infection due to the millionth hour he logged while performing Gatz. An inside source tells The Radish that that ERS is in healthy competition with Nature Theatre of Oklahoma vying for longest run time/most epic theatre piece, but when asked to confirm this Collins demurs, finishing off the last of the pumpkin spice cake.
EmBible, which is slated to have a running time of six days, will give audiences and performers bathroom, meal, and sleeping breaks. “On the seventh day we rest,” says Collins with a wink.
To view ERS’s most recent oeuvre check out Arguendo playing now through Oct. 13 at the Pubic Theater.
WANT TO READ MORE NEWS? We’re not going to stop you…!