Six performances - January 24, 25, 31 February 1, 7, 8 2009
Ticketing by Theatermania.com - 212-352-3101 or 1-866-811-4111 @Penny Templeton Studio, 261 W. 35th Street Suite 304 NY NY
About this production
These STRESS AND THE CITY plays were all written to be read, initially at an NYCPlaywrights' meeting. (Although this show is produced by my company Mergatroyd Productions.) Here's a little background about each play:
This production is very low tech, for a couple of reasons. One is of course that as of this writing (December 2008) we are in a world-wide financial recession and things are tough all over, especially in the arts. Low-tech is more affordable. But there are also very good aesthetic reasons for the low tech, and I want to quote Thornton Wilder on the subject. Wilder, you probably know, wrote Our Town, which many people, including me, consider a masterpiece. But here is a segment of the theatre world that disparages OUR TOWN, thinking it's sentimental and old-fashioned. They could not be more wrong. But many of these are, I suspect, people who think that theatre isn't valid unless somebody is getting his eyeballs sucked out, or some little girl is being crucified, both of which have been portrayed on the New York stage recently. These people, in my opinion, would be better off spending their time at a monster truck rally than theatre, so thuggish and petrified are their sensibilities. Fie on them, I say. Anyway, back to Wilder, who said in the Preface to a collection of his plays:
The novel is pre-eminently the vehicle of the unique occasion, the theater of the generalized one. It is through the theater's power to raise the exhibited individual action to the realm of idea and type and universal that it is able to evoke our belief. But power is precisely what nineteenth-century audiences did not - dared not - confront. They tamed it and drew its teeth; squeezed it into that removed showcase. They loaded the stage with specific objects, because every concrete object on the stage fixes and narrows the action to one moment in time and place. (Have you ever noticed that in the plays of Shakespeare no one - except occasionally a ruler - sits down? There were not even chairs on the English or Spanish stages in the time of Elizabeth I.) So it was by a jugglery with time that the middle classes devitalized the theater. When you emphasize place in the theater, you drag down and limit and harness time to it. You thrust the action back into past time, whereas it is precisely the glory of the stage that it is always "now" there. Under such production methods the characters are all dead before the action starts. You don't have to pay deeply from your heart's participation. No great age in the theater ever attempted to capture the audience's belief through this kind of specification and localization. I became dissatisfied with the theater because I was unable to lend credence to such childish attempts to be "real."
My play The Helicopter is a 9-11 play. But the focus is on one woman and her tragedy, and her co-worker's reaction. In spite of the big important historical international meaning of that day, my play actually focuses on something that happens every single day on this planet. Like Wilder, I'm trying to make a connection between the very specific and the very general - not verisimilitude but reality.
- N. G. McClernan
Fox Force Five
Is Emily New York enough to get into Fox Force Five? Maybe crazy coked-up Jackie can help, in her own way.
Mellow Jesus and Angry Jesus answer prayers - that are mutually exclusive. Only the power of a Zen koan can help them now.
Two people. One sane, one not. A bench in Central Park. A story about a Bear of Very Little Brain. A parody of a classic American play.
Stephanie's Mom has come along to a concert with her, which is bad enough, but then Mom wants to relive the Clash's 1981 London Calling tour by diving off the stage.
The B Word
Gerry and Sandy bicker about the dangers of city playgrounds and prejudice until some bad kids come by and steal their skateboards.
Mr. Black has vowed to protect all abused creatures on Earth. His girlfriend is concerned where this will lead.
Kelly has had a crush on Ted, a cartoonist, for a long time. Now she has a chance to tell him what Hannah, his wife has been up to when she was supposed to be rehearsing.
Helen and Bob are so intent on learning who will be promoted that they don't pay attention to the unfolding tragedy downtown until Helen learns her daughter is involved.