|this is how my brain feels|
Wednesday night, an extremely handsome pal took me to New York Theatre Workshop as his plus-one. I am a fortunate girl. We went to see The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley. I've never seen one of Marcus' plays and I've long wanted to. The fact that this play is inspired by Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba made the evening even more attractive to me. I'm reminded that there should be more revivals of Lorca around town...
Gardley's play reimagines Lorca and sets his story in 1836 New Orleans, at a time of upheaval for free people of color. The more lax French rule is dying out and the more repressive American ideas are coming into play. The House That Will Not Stand deals with all sorts of freedoms and the loss of freedoms; using music, magic and lots of humor, Gardley presents six strong women of color with terrifically interesting characters. Daughters want freedom from their mother, their mother wants freedom from her dead lover, their aunt wants freedom from her madness, and their servant just wants her freedom and is willing to do anything to get it.
I enjoyed The House That Will Not Stand - the performances were excellent and the dialogue was beautifully insightful. And I am always on board for a play that has such strong characters to be played by women of color (especially the characters for women of color of a certain age - these women were fierce!). I will say, however, that I did find the play to be a bit too long and I could've used even more of the magical realism throughout. There are two exquisite scenes (in my opinion) and they both take advantage of the New Orleans idea of voodoo and spirits. Those scenes, for me, were the most exciting and boldest combination of Lorca and Gardley. I really wanted more of that excitement, though that could just be me. I hope this production gets good reviews so that a more diverse crowd will want to see it.
Oh, I also have to mention: New York Theatre Workshop may want to go in with a hammer and nails to fix their armrests. My handsome pal's armrest fell off and one of the handrails nearly toppled over as a person with precarious balance was walking down the steps. That really is a lawsuit waiting to happen...
Thursday night, I went to a production of Waiting for Giovanni, produced by TOSOS (who produced the divine Street Theatre), and written by Jewelle Gomez. Everything I said above about being grateful for a play with strong characters of color can be echoed here. I did a reading of this play a few years ago and I was so happy to hear it was going to be produced at the Flea (so I guess that means you could take my affection for the show with a grain of salt). This was my first time in the new Flea Theatre space - the particular theater that Waiting for Giovanni is in is very small, but that only adds to the feeling of connectedness and occasional despair. We were all a real part of what was happening.
Waiting for Giovanni imagines the crisis of conscience that author James Baldwin went through as he wrote Giovanni's Room. He is a bold man and bold writer, yet still reticent about certain aspects of his life. When he confides in fellow artists Lorraine Hansberry and Richard Wright, he struggles to see their point of view about what he must write about his race against his own desires.
|photo credit: Mikiodo|
Finally, on Saturday afternoon, I went to a preview of the new musical This Ain't No Disco at the Atlantic Theatre. I believe I pointed out that I bought a subscription for the current season because they were doing plays by two of my friends. So this was my last flex coupon of the season. And my, this was quite an experience! Put together by people who had a hand in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Peter and the Starcatcher and the group The Wallflowers, This Ain't No Disco is described on the Atlantic's website thus: "Part rock opera, part impressionist tone poem set in the nightclubs and art world of 1979 New York City, This Ain’t No Disco interweaves the stories of strivers, dreamers and drifters searching for their place at Studio 54 and Mudd Club, the art scene and downtown lofts. In their uptown/downtown quest for revelry and kinship, this disparate group, in different stages of becoming and falling apart, find themselves and each other in a city on the verge of a massive cultural shift."
|photo credit: Ben Arons|
But hey, who am I? I did have fun, so...why complain? I even went to Wikipedia after the show to do a little research on Steve Rubell and Studio 54, because why not? The show is pretty well-sold already, but if you're into watching scantily clad amazing kids dance and sing their hearts out, well, this one could be for you. Oh, and when you walk into the theater, there's a disco ball on stage just waiting for you. Seriously. They had me at the disco ball.