Daily Archives: July 7, 2010
|BEOWULF ALLEY THEATRE
Three Playwrights, Three Directors, Three Plays
|Three Tucson playwrights, three directors, more than a dozen actors and a very busy technical team are presenting three unpublished plays for public viewing at Beowulf Alley Theatre. After several weeks of work, we’ve transferred their words on the page to a place on the stage. From Wednesday to Sunday with evening and matinee presentations through July 18, ensembles with lighting, sound effects, props, costumes and minimal sets, have created an intimate environment where their words are the focus and the audience is a part of the process. Plan to spend time following each presentation engaging with playwrights, directors and actors. Let them know your thoughts about what you just observed.
You have the opportunity to see one or more plays, pack all three into a single weekend or spread them out over the next two weeks. And, just for fun, you can support our new program by making a donation to our “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,”fun-draiser to help us develop seed money for this program.
|David Greenwood prefaced the opening of the new summer event with this blog entry:
Beowulf Alley is by far the most prolific theatre in town in terms of sheer activity … this summer they are producing three brand new plays. I won’t say they will be full productions…I don’t think they are designed to be that…but they will be a step or two or maybe three beyond a staged reading for example. The emphasis or concern will still be limited to the structure and content of the written script I imagine, and its potential for eventually becoming the basis of an actual real deal spectacle. Whatever and however they manifest, to me they are another welcome and much needed project in Tucson. As a community as a whole we are lacking this new play element just as we are lacking solidified and well prepared acting ensembles. So Beowulf’s summer new play projects are an alert, a signal.
(Read David Greenwood’s blog in its entirety)
|Let the Show Begin, Chuck Graham’s Arts review site, followed the openings with:
PAGE ON THE STAGE IS A PLATE FULL OF THEATER
The offerings are varied and the quality is good. Each play has its own unique appeal. The productions are complete. Though the stage sets are minimal, the actors are well-rehearsed and the ideas presented in all three are worth talking about afterward.
Lovers of language will find lots to love in Gavin Kayner‘s new play, The Language of Flowers … Words flow at an elevated level from actors caught up in surreal situations performed on a dimly lit stage, which adds to the nightmare quality of [the play]… Layers of metaphors seem to fill every scene. “You don’t know if you love it or you hate it – but you definitely respect it,” said one playgoer at intermission. By the time you get to the ending with its blaze of light, you will definitely love it. The Language of Flowers is highly recommended for those who thrive on fine theater.”[Directed by Steve Anderson, cast includes Kristina Sloan, Robin Van Auken, and Brian Taraz}
Jonathan Northover takes a different, ... entertaining, approach with his new play A Work of Art ... We see how money, as well as beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder ... Northover can't resist toying with the idea of false realities ... if some guy's oil painting from 250 years ago is considered high art, why isn't an exact copy of that painting also considered art? Is art all about timing? Where is the talent in that? Why should the first person who dreams up a particular set of shapes and colors applied with a certain type and number of brush strokes get all the credit? ... A Work of Art is a play about language we can all appreciate.[Directed by Lydia Borowicz, the cast includes Chelsea Bowdren, Cynthia Jeffery, Sean DuPont, Steven Frankenfield, and Steve McKee]
There are lots of ghosts from the war in Vietnam floating around. One of the ghosts that doesn’t get much attention … is the subject of John Vornholt['s] The First Third dramatizing the night of Dec. 1, 1969, when the fate of the nation’s young men was decided by Fate itself … Vornholt catches the feeling of five guys who are college seniors, hanging around in front of a black-and-white TV with a bunch of beer and a bowl of chips, to see if their birthdays are among the first third of the 366 birth dates drawn (Feb. 29 was also included). Those in the first third were guaranteed to be drafted into military service. They knew they were definitely going …The First Third becomes a dramatization of conflicts that will inspire some timely thought afterward. Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.[Directed by Dave Sewell, cast includes Ryan Amstutz, Sukhdan Baron, Michael Guyll, Jeff Scotland, Joshua Silvain and Royce Sparks]
Call Charlie the real McCoy. For real! People saw how he invested in Tucson. They knew his story. Knew the way that he felt about homeless women. How he had to do something after he saw an old woman defecate behind the bushes right up next to the one-way windows of Ma Bell and in plain sight of the employees working there. The way they gawked changed him forever and was why he bought the Paradise Motel. Every morning Charlie woke up, as he often said, determined to wash a few more dirty feet. But did his wife believe in his dream? Did Shelly still love him?
On the surface Charlie and Shelly appeared happy. They obviously had some things going for them. There was Charlie’s stubbornness and Shelly’s submissiveness, which started to untangle when she finally put her foot down and put a halt to their roaming the country. She had had it after their old Volkswagen bus broke down near Nowhere Arizona. Tucson or Phoenix? At that point she didn’t care and told him that she hated cactus.
“Then I’ll make it up to you.”
“Yes, you do that,” she said.
At times he truly missed the East too. But he hadn’t been that unhappy and most of the time didn’t feel stuck. Charlie had his dream, two dogs and his golf.
She’d ask him what he was thinking.
He wouldn’t tell her the truth.
Would plead with him to talk to her.
The only thing he’d talk about was homeless people. So sometimes she wished that he were dead. Occasionally she’d take the next step and try to think where she’d stash his body.
For sure all was not right with them, but there was enough in Tucson for Charlie. Many of his dreams in fact were centered there. With the help of his wife he built a home in a cactus field. And Shelly hated it.
When he wanted a mate Charlie grabbed one. He wasn’t wise enough to know better. Shelly was too good to be real, and from the beginning he was afraid she’d eventually leave him.
She grew up a Smith of Cleveland Ohio. She burned her bras to stay alive and graduated at the head of her class. They’re saying Shelly’s parents cherished dreams for their daughter that seemed unfulfilled. She married that so-and-so who plopped her in the middle of a cactus field and expected her eat giant tacos for Thanksgiving. Smile and keep smiling. Be the perfect wife. No wonder she wanted to run home to mamma. Cleveland defined by a lake: my, how she missed water. And when she complained Charlie threw her the keys to the bus and told her to keep driving and she’d eventually get to Tucson’s beach and that would just make her madder. And madder.
By the time he found Charlie, George thought he wasn’t long for this world. It was already after noon, and he’d almost had a stroke. “If I were dead and this was paradise,” he thought, studying the motel, “I’d think I’d made a mistake.” At least he ran into it in time. He could see through the screen door that there was a real person inside the office, sitting in a big padded chair. Yes, he’d made it, but because he could no longer think he didn’t know if he could tell the guy his name. He knew that if he hadn’t gotten out of the sun that he would’ve ended up in heaven instead of the Paradise Motel.
The office, though fairly modest, was covered with plaques. For a moment the two men tried to size each other up. Perhaps even then Charlie sensed that there was something strange about George…something different and something he couldn’t put his finger on. Call it uncanny, but Charlie somehow knew from the beginning that this stranger, though peculiar…now wait a minute…not from the beginning…no doubt he had an opinion about George from the beginning. Call it curiosity. Something. There was something about George’s manner that disarmed him, something that he couldn’t quite explain. And Charlie prided himself on his ability to judge people.
“I had my theory about him,” he later said. “I think I knew from the very beginning…peculiar. But it would’ve been hard to know for sure. Now what were the first words or word that came out of his mouth? ‘No!’ That was it. ‘No!’ And that was a lie. Then how did I know from the very beginning that I could trust him? And a damn Texan! Or was he?”
George repeatedly assured Charlie that though then strapped for cash he had a sizable income.
“A sizable income! Lord mercy, who was he trying to fool? With a suitcase like that? And I’ve been around the world and met a few people. Well, friend, as you know, I’ve known a homeless person or two.”
“Were you right?”
“Of course not.”
George guzzled the water, as Charlie thought, “He’ll be sorry.” Imbecile!” But George didn’t throw up.
Then George said, “I’m looking for an apartment.”
“I see that you need a place, and I understand that.” And Charlie wondered why George continually smiled and was afraid that his own words sounded hollow, empty, and insincere. Maybe he’d been in business too long. “Right now we don’t have a vacancy.” Liar. “I’m sorry that we don’t.” Liar. ”We just haven’t gotten around to taking down the vacancy sign.” Liar! Lying.
George hadn’t seen the vacancy sign and didn’t know what Charlie would say.
“I figured that,” continued George, without getting angry.
“That you wouldn’t rent to me because you’d figure I’m lying.”
“A Texan, hey,” Charlie said, changing the subject.
“Lived in Dallas; born in L A.”
“Are your folks in oil?”
“Were. My folks are dead. They were into mustard and salad dressing. Before that the movie business.” Gone With the Wind, George could’ve told him more about his father. And Miss M, someone he was in love with. About trembling when Miss M kissed him. He was then old enough to know right from wrong. “Don’t let my suitcase fool you. I simply didn’t anticipate my expenses.” With that his confession died from paralysis.
“I told you we don’t have a vacancy. Wait! It might pay to wait for my wife. She often has ideas when I run out of them.”
Yes Shelly would apologize, apologize and pull the wool over his eyes. When she grew up she was going to marry a rich Texan, a prince on a roan, a decent fellow with huge arms. He’d protect her and provide for her. Yes, Shelly would apologize. And Charlie knew when she was going cry. The first day after she said goodbye to her parents she cried and he stopped and put his head on the steering wheel. Trapped in the van he had no choice but to console her. Goodbye Cleveland, goodbye.
Yes, Shelly would apologize. She always apologized for not giving Charlie what he wanted. She looked over from her side of the van. He was laughing and shaking his head, given the situation laughing seemed a strange thing for him to do. Charlie came with money. Shelly grew up with money, so money wasn’t the problem. Or was it? And it was nice to hear him say how much he loved her. But that made her sick. Yes, she would apologize that too.
Are you still expecting a miracle?
No, something lean for lunch.
And all of the fish that was in the river died; and the water stank; and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Let my people go!
Sing Mine Eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord,” while slaves sing We Shall Over Come. Two sides vocally battle for the spotlight. The magician only can conjure up are modern-day plagues.
What’s happening to the frogs may happen to humans next year. Our scientific sense should tell use something, when frogs multiply and come into our houses and into our bedrooms and into our beds, and into the houses of our servants and our relatives, and when they come into our ovens and pollute our food, what do you think?
Frogs. And what would you think if all those frogs died?
That wouldn’t bode well.
It should have been.
Musically: You must shout out! Hope soon he’ll hear us. That’s where the frogs come in. Millions of frogs. Hope, letdown, and the strain of uncertainty. Who in his or her heart doubts the power of God? Sing Let my people go!
Draw nearer to God, since if you don’t it seems like you’ll meet with misfortune.
The people try to contemplate what God will do next. The people like to think that they are in charge, until lightening strikes. More Mine Eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord and We Shall Over Come. Musically: transition from frogs to lice to swarms of flies.
A good plan given these circumstances is patience.
Patience is strictly necessary but irritating.
We couldn’t eat for the flies. It was an abomination.
We can recall how we toured the coast to the sound of wild music. We had the top down and were driving about hoping to steal a little fresh air. A perfect day, but, on the face of it, we shouldn’t have expected so much. The perfect spot. We pulled over. Anyhow, somehow and somewhere, we found the perfect spot for a picnic. Me and my girl. And let us bring out the fresh bread and a hunk of cheese and eventually start thinking that life couldn’t be better when out of nowhere came a swarm of flies. Dirty flies turned a perfect day black. More “We Shall Over Come.”
Let my people go!
Sing Nobody Knows de Trouble I See. Musically: as hapless as people can be. Duly fatigued they weep laughing, they smile hating, they wait impatiently. I bet they used their best cosmetics off their vanity table, but can’t cover it up. What’s that! A zit! No, no, it’s a boil. That’s what? Boils! Smiling hating, crying laughing. May you never see me in this condition. I don’t care what others think. To adore oneself in the mirror and find one’s face covered with boils. Find the shades and weep.
Stoke a huge furnace; and from the furnace handfuls of ashes.
And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall become a boil breaking forth with swelling upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
Draw the shades!
What’s the matter?
I hold the secret from the world. Oh, vanity, vanity, what can I do?
I swear to you that I’ll keep your secret.
Let my people go!
Sing Go Home to My Lord and Be Free. Musically: more pestilence. God smites them and cuts them off from the earth. A display of God’s power, lightening, thunder, rain and very grievous hail. The underpinning of civilization is shaken and threatened.
Ever so sorry. We really are.
Musically: Chimed N-B-C. 1960. The theme songs for the “Bugs Bunny Show/Bugs Bunny,” “Road Runner Hour,” “Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show,” “Search for Tomorrow,” and “Scooby-Doo.”
How awful! Such misfortune. Hoof and mouth disease. All the horses and asses and camels and oxen and sheep. Recoil. Television brought it home. Our eyes demanded that we pay attention. And carcass bonfires blazed everywhere. When they set fire then so many hopes gone. Gone. All gone. Disaster was a common thing. Then it was the Lord’s own day for hail, such as has not been seen before, and the request for a full explanation was put forth. A time to weep because hail struck everything throughout the land and destroyed everything. It looked like a battlefield. Only in Goshen was there no hail. Intreat the Lord, for hadn’t people suffered enough? Pity the cattle. Would you care to know the cost of the loss of barley, rye, and wheat? The scenes, replayed over and over on television, was never to be forgotten, the carcasses and the destruction everywhere. And the grasshoppers. How much more? Like a great mower, they devoured and devoured, stealing our living. And they covered the earth, and you couldn’t see anything. Nothing. Nothing escaped with one still sadder circumstance. Suddenly we didn’t have any electricity and we were caught in the dark. Pardonner!
Sing Let my people go.
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
ARIZONA LGBT STORYTELLING PROJECT
The Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project is a Pan Left Production/a Jamie A. Lee Project
The Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project, launched in October 2009, is Arizona’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender archive. The purpose of the Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project is to record and commemorate the voices, images, and memories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people living in the state of Arizona. Our goal is to develop and build on the historical record of the diverse LGBT individuals and communities here in Arizona, capture memories of historical moments and movements; reveal our struggles, triumphs, healing, and beliefs; as well as share knowledge with future generations.
The Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project: Communitiy Histories is currently being housed digitally and streaming through the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies and their iTunes University site.
Links about Storytelling Project & public launch:
Below SNEAK PEEKS, click the names to be directed to iTunes University where you can view the streaming podcasts.
Special thanks to: the Alliance Fund of Southern Arizona, Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), Pan Left Productions, the University of Arizona Institute for LGBT Studies ad its Oral History Cluster, Eithne Luibheid, Adela C. Licona, Gregory Anderson, Penelope Starr, Wingspan, Wingspan’s Senior Pride, Odyssey Storytelling, and all of those who have volunteered to tell our stories and those who are learning to use the digital video equipment to gather our stories.
To participate in front of or behind the camera, please contact Jamie A. Lee, Director of the Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.