Friday, September 25, 2009

Performing Arts City

Ok, as promised, more today about New York's Performing Arts season.

Going backwards a bit, last night Cory and I went to the new Anna Deavere Smith show at Second Stage - it's in previews and therefore still under construction, but it's already a brilliantly developed piece in Anna's signature vein: an amalgam of characters she interviewed herself and embodies live on stage. These people range from the famous (Eve Ensler) to the very famous (Lance Armstrong) to the not famous at all (Anna's aunt) and Anna of course inhabits them amazingly: physically, vocally, holistically. Eve Ensler has a riff about women who do or do not live in their vaginas - good stuff, funny and telling. Along those lines, it's fair to say that Anna lives and works in her whole body. Which can be a deceptively difficult thing to do, and most actors aspire to get better at it. I know I do.

I could go on and on about this show, but I have a lot of ground to cover.

Last weekend, I did the 4 shows in 3 days thing. Love it. So, to continue the backward path...

Sunday night Cory and I met with Richard, a director I've worked with a few times, and a couple of his friends to see a Fringe show called Powerhouse. It was about the life and work of Raymond Scott, who wrote the piece of music that shares its name with the play, and which was featured in tons of Warner Brothers cartoons you've probably seen. It featured some pretty well-worn notions but also some interesting staging and puppetry, and a shout out is due to Eric Wright for some good voice acting and puppet skillz.

Sunday afternoon was a show on the good ol' Broadway with my dayjob co-worker Kendra. We caught After Miss Julie, which is Patrick Marber's new take on Strindberg's classic set in post-war England. It's also in previews (and making good use of them, I hear) and offers up some Star wattage in the form of Jonny Lee Miller (whom you may know from the brilliant Trainspotting movie) and Sienna Miller (whom you probably just know, but if you don't, check out Factory Girl.)

Less well-known to movie audiences is the fantastically talented Marin Ireland, whom I saw earlier this year in Reasons to be Pretty and who burned it up in this show too.

Yay for you!

Saturday night was dance-y theater (or theatrical dance) at BAM. In-I, which was conceived and performed by Akram Khan with Juliette Binoche. Also worth mentioning is the score by Phillip Shepard. He's a composer/educator/musician who scores bunches of films and viddies and events and rocks an electric cello.

Before the show, we'd been to early dinner at the delicious Olea and had some fab java at Tillie's (both of those = yum yum yum!) as well as a long walk in Manhattan and a brunch with a friend of Cory's. It was a GORGEOUS late summer weekend and we tried to make the most of it.

Lastly/firstly - on Friday night I was at the Brick in Billyburg to see my friend and colleague Brad Fraizer in a clown show called Schaden, Freude and You. It was part of a larger clown festival and it was, as promised, very funny. I ran into a guy I know from the show I did with Brad, so that was a plus; and we got to see some good clowning. You may not think you like clowning, but remember that when I talk about this I'm not usually talking about some guy in whiteface with a red nose, but a more universal brand of physical comedy. And let me tell you guys - to do it really well is hard. And funny.

So there that was. Another weekend starts now. Tonight I'm gonna rock it.

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