The Perfect Play Wednesday, December 21 at JACK, 7 pm: $15
Not much seems perfect in 2016, especially in these last few moments. However, at Clinton Hill art space JACK, experimental performance ensemble Banana Bag and Bodice will summon a crop of luminaries of the downtown theater and performance world in a grand attempt at perfection. If a pursuit of flawlessness makes your eyes roll into oblivion, let me clarify that what these folks are actually doing is staging their fourth annual adults-only musical weirdo version of the classic Nativity story. You know, the perfect child, the virgin birth, etc.? Perfect. There’s certainly a lot to unpack here. Particularly the virgin birth– I still have a lot of questions about that. But I trust that this merry gang of creators, who have also dreamt up concoctions like a Beowulf musical and an experimental piece on political prisoners scored by a soundscape of found objects like fishbowls and license plates, will do the whole thing justice. After the formal show, stick around for drinks and “special Christmas musical maneuverings.”
Elliot Crown is an actor who likes the political, an activist who loves creativity. Mash that together and you get one of New York’s only political puppeteers. His puppets have been widely covered, but people rarely see the man behind the mask. Aside from his political theater, Crown also works “about 14 jobs, like all actors in New York” and appeared in the movie Isn’t It Delicious. Crown, who has been “45 for quiet a while,” shares his East Village apartment with many of the papier mâché masks he created – like the Donald Trump with $-eyes or Hillary Clinton’s Pinocchio nose.
Next Tuesday at The Connelly Theatre puppetry meets philanthropy as some of NYC’s top puppeteers perform a “one-night only puppet variety show” in support of Matt and Nora Brooks, who some might recall lost their entire livelihoods in the March 26 gas explosion. The performers are all friends and colleagues of Matt Brooks, a former Jim Henson master puppet maker.
“They all just wanted to help out,” said organizer Craig Mingus, a seasoned fundraiser, talking with us over phone about the performance that will see all proceeds going to the Brookses. Mingus got involved after Emmy nominated Noel MacNeal and James Wojtal, both former Henson puppeteers, reached out to him for assistance. “In total we’ve got a cast and crew of around 28 people, all donating their time for free,” said Mingus.