If short n’ sweet shows are your preferred method of entertainment, this could be quite the change of pace. The Obie-winning company Target Margin Theater will be commemorating their 25th anniversary of making work by taking on Eugene O’Neill’s 1931 work Mourning Becomes Electra, and they’re doing it in a big, big way. Or rather, a long, long way. The production runs around six hours long, but don’t expect to sit for that entire time. Mourning Becomes Electra is technically a play cycle, consisting of three plays that serve as a modern retelling of Greek tragedy The Oresteia, turned into a Freudian family melodrama set at the end of the Civil War. So, the company is dividing Abrons’s Playhouse into different sections, guiding audiences between different portions of the performance space as the play cycle progresses.
If you’re still hesitant about committing to this behemoth endeavor, know that it also includes two intermissions and “a light meal.” Everyone loves a nice meal.
Wednesday With Westerns! Wednesday August 24, 7 pm at City Reliquary; $7.
The City Reliquary, a tiny, quirky wonderland of a museum, will be the location for this western art party this evening. Gallop amongst NYC memorabilia, but don’t get too distracted, as there will be plenty to do on the frontier. Selections include the chance to get your own Wanted poster painted by artist Omer Gal, experimental Japanese movement genre butoh done with a Texas twist, line dancing, a hog-tying contest, theatrical happenings, ghostly songs, wandering Western characters, and surely much else. If you have the gall to come in a Western-themed costume (god forbid nobody mistake you for a lost Republican on the way there), you’ll be greeted with a free shot of tequila or whiskey. As the cow/boy creature on the poster proclaims so proudly, “Be a REAL cowboy like me!” Darn tootin’.
Do Something Variety Show At Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg. 8pm. $5 suggested donation. More info here.
The wacky and humorous Jo Firestone co-hosts this bizarre-sounding recurring variety show of mostly comedic madness this Friday night. There will be poetry readings, tunes, comedy, and even something “wiggly and crazy.” Also someone/thing named Crimbo, who remains a mystery to me. Throw in some cheap drinks, and I am not sure one needs anything more.
January is theatre-fest time: there’s the always exciting COIL fest, Under the Radar at the Public Theater, and the opera-centric summit Prototype. But Theresa Buchheister– a founding member of Title:Point, the DIY production company that runs Vital Joint at the Silent Barn– thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce her own operation into the mix, The Exponential Festival, as a counterpoint to the usual. “Most of the festivals are very Manhattan-centric and exclusively feature artists who are well established–they’re already getting huge foundational support–some of them it’s their actual job to be an artist, which is that golden goose we’re all chasing,” she explained.
Several free festivals and absurd doses of comedy await you this week. Read on to get the scoop.
The Terrible Them
at The Experiment Comedy Gallery, 20 Broadway, Williamsburg. 8pm. More info here.
The Experiment Comedy Gallery, a newly opened waterfront space for offbeat comedy, brings this one-night-only play (previously seen at The Creek and The Cave in 2014) by Gonzalo Cordova and Nick Naney, inspired by the dramatic sci-fi horror of filmmaker John Carpenter. Created and performed by comedians but billed as theater in a satisfying collision of artistic disciplines, The Terrible Them tells the tale of a disgraced journalist who gets the chance to revitalize his career in the midst of an alien invasion. Featuring a large cast of funny folk, visual effects and an “original synth soundtrack” by Steven DeSiena.
“Biter (Every Time I Turn Around)” at Silent Barn (Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)
It’s hard to imagine how Title: Point productions crams not only an audience of up to 40 people into a tiny room (now known as Vital Joint, a black box theater) adjacent to the more familiar space at Silent Barn but also an entire cast, multiple sets, lighting, and crew. Well, things get a little creative. “They stuck me in a hole,” Spencer Thomas Campbell, co-writer of the current production, explained. “I spend the entire show in a hole.” But the challenges of a small space also contribute to keeping things interesting around here. I mean, at what other (serious) play is there a distinct possibility that the audience could get splattered with blood or maybe even puked on?