It’s relatively common for people to write plays that are autobiographical, and then perform in those plays. Less common is an autobiographical play performed in the same neighborhood where events took place that led the play to happen, and produced by the very person that runs the theater where the writer used to squat. If this sounds a little convoluted, it is. But it’s also the very true nature of J.Stephen Brantley’s new play The Jamb, about two queer punks in their forties: one gone straight-edge, one stuck in the wild days of his youth.
There’s a singular, surreal, and very memorable moment invoked by Carlos Dengler in his new solo stage production Homo Sapiens Interruptus (the last performance, part of the FringeNYC festival is tonight, 9:30 pm at 64E4 Underground in the East Village).
America is replete with music festivals (especially this summer, New York). There are so many it could make your head spin, causing you to momentarily lose sanity and fall into a killing spree.
That’s not exactly what happens in Jared Saltiel and Toby Singer‘s new musical South By South Death, but it’s close—the show is about a group of friends who head south to attend the infamous “Didgeridoo Music Festival,” conveniently set on a remote island. At the festival, pop star “Ciley Myrus” is headlining, but there’s something darker afoot. Someone in a Myrus mask begins killing everyone and documenting the carnage. Through selfies, of course. As more and more people die, there’s another disaster looming, this one of the natural variety: Hurricane Beyoncé.
August 17, 7 pm at Judson Memorial Church: FREE
Judson Arts Wednesdays, a series of free music, dance, and theatrical-readings twice a month, wraps up the season with this final play reading.
Blind Crest was inspired by the true story of Ronnell Wilson and Nancy Gonzalez, this work by Monet Hurst-Mendoza is take on a “boy-meets-girl” story where a black man on death row and a newly-appointed corrections officer make a connection and plan to have a baby.
Loose: A Comedy Show
August 11, 7 pm at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: $10.
The always-effervescent Jo Firestone hosts this monthly evening of chuckles at the equally warmhearted Housing Works. But Firestone’s no ordinary comedy show host, no siree– she’s the brains behind ventures like Punderdome 3000, that oh-so-thrilling pun contest that’s either your worst nightmare or best dream come true.
Whatever medium you work in, it’s hard to be an artist. Barely anyone pays attention to anything you do, so keeping self-motivated can be tricky when you’re consistently weary from day jobs, keeping track of your 1099s and W9s, and closing down that bar you performed at to ensure you grip that sparse handful of wrinkly cash you so rightfully deserve. In the midst of all this noise, it’s easy for all those half-baked ideas to slip into some dark, far-away box at the back of your mind, and potentially never see the light of day.
Luckily, there are some folks out there who are willing to nudge you in the direction of productivity. Here are two upcoming opportunities to inspire artists, both visual and performance types, to get out there and do their thing.
The Annotated History of the American Muskrat
Continues through July 16 at the New Ohio Theater, 154 Christopher Street, West Village. 7pm. Tickets are $18 ($15 students/seniors). More info here.
Originally developed in Boston, this play-slash-experiment was written by John Kuntz in collaboration with the show’s original cast of performers, and now will have a short run as part of the New Ohio Theater’s annual Ice Factory Festival. It follows a group of 8 people who must prepare and give a presentation about muskrats if they would ever like to sleep. American muskrats, specifically. Yes, these guys. Will you learn a lot about the muskrat? Will you learn anything at all? Is this really happening to these people or is it all some sort of wild rodent dream? Find out all this and more at the theater…
Snippets From Sparkleberry
At The Annoyance, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 8:30pm. $10. More info here.
A ragtag gang of particularly zany folk come together to present this supposedly long-awaited public showing of some of the citizens of Sparkleberry’s theatrical creations, a town full of kindred spirits who also happen to be incredibly dumb. Needless to say, such a combination will probably make for some engaging material. The production features Eliza Hurwitz (who has also created a show that is dedicated to her love of Duane Reade), Steven DeSiena (the Music Man in recurring cartoon/puppet/sketch show Cartoon Monsoon), and Bardia Salimi (who I meant to see in a backyard comedy show in May but he spent too long getting an ice cream.) With a team like that, what could go wrong?
Musicals are often full of emotion, especially during moments of song. When a woman sings of wanting the people who irk her “slain,” it’s usually not a threat to be taken literally. But in Ambition: The Female American Serial Killer Musical, now playing as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity in the East Village, such musical stylings do indeed foreshadow death.
Ambition is written by Asian-American playwright and performer Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, who is also the co-creator of a web series called 2 Girls 1 Asian and helps produce and curate a bimonthly performance series called Undiscovered Countries, which is how we met. Since then, we’ve performed in each other’s respective variety shows and I’ve generally kept tabs on her work. When I heard about this project I knew I had to check it out, as I am the type who spent many childhood years up late combing through the Wikipedia pages of people who have done awful things. People, but largely men.