Monday, July 28, 2008

FringeNYC on nytheatrecast (#2)

Sometimes I just can't believe who turns up in my office.

We recorded our second FringeNYC Preview Podcast last night -- we do them in our office; a soundproof studio would just be too fussy -- and the assemblage really blew my mind.

Representing Too Much Memory were playwrights Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson (Meg is also directing), along with actors Peter Jay Fernandez and Laura Heisler, plus producer Daniel Talbott. I had actually gotten to meet Keith and Meg a few days earlier, at Daniel's current production Don't Pet the Zookeeper. Nevertheless, I was bowled over that they agreed to be part of our podcast for FringeNYC. Their play is an adaptation of Anouilh's Antigone; Heisler plays the title role and Fernandez plays Creon. Wait til you here what these folks have to say about this piece.

Steve Hayes, who I loved in The Penguin Tango a couple of years back, was on our show with his co-star Tom Cayler. Their show, Parental Indiscretions, sounds like a hoot!

FringeNYC super-veteran Vinnie Marano came on to talk about his 2008 show La Vigilia, which is inspired by postwar Italian film comedies (among other sources). If you don't know Vinnie's work, you should: I believe he's been in every FringeNYC save one since 2002 (and in one of those years he had 2 shows).

We had two productions of Shakespeare. Guerrilla Shakespeare Company's Julius Caesar--represented on our podcast by director Jordan Reeves and actor Jacques Roy -- sounds like it will be timely and compelling. They've stripped the text to 90 minutes and they're staging it with only a few props -- oil drums. I was very impressed with these young theatre artists, who are recent Brown/Trinity Rep grads. The other FringeNYC piece with a script by the Bard is Moonwork's Bound in a Nutshell, which is a recontextualization of Hamlet. Director/co-adaptor Gregory Wolfe came on the podcast to explain what that means, and he brought a few actors along to give us some examples.

Another classically-themed show on the podcast we did last night is Performance Lab 115's Mourn the Living Hector. We met director Shira Milikowsky and actors Rebecca Lingafelter and Jeff Clarke. I am very excited to see this play, which is by the excellent writer Paul Cohen and combines a modern story of an Iraqi War soldier on leave with a tale of Hector and the Trojan War.

Sara Thigpen, who was one of the first winners of a New York Innovative Theater Award for acting, is directing a FringeNYC musical this year, Nudists in Love. Book writer Shannon Thomason accompanied her for a discussion of this show, which is not as light-hearted as it might sound (but, they assure us, is still very much a comedy). Sara and Shannon have signed on as FringeNYC reviewers as well--thanks, ladies.

Continuing the "naked theme," we invited playwright Larson Rose and some of his actors to be on our podcast, talking about their show The Naked Dead Elephant in the Middle of the Room. I saw an earlier version of this funny play at last year's Fresh Fruit Festival and so I was delighted to get to meet Larson and his cast members. (You can read my review of last year's production here.)

The podcast commences with a song and a scene from Robert Attentweiler's FringeNYC contribution, Kansas City or Along the Way. Rebecca Benhayon and Adam Grove are the actors; they work wonders with Robert's remarkable poetic dialogue. (Robert's play ...and we all wore leather pants, which premiered right after last year's FringeNYC, is in Plays and Playwrights 2008.)

So there you have it...quite a lineup, and quite a night. By the end of the this week, you'll be able to hear them all for yourself--the podcast is scheduled to debut on August 1. Enjoy it. Trav S.D., as usual, is our host.

And if you haven't heard our first 2008 FringeNYC preview podcast, give it a listen. It's got nine other FringeNYC shows represented on it--giving you great insight into what this year's festival is going to be like.

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