Back in the Saddle and Labfest

First time back in the classroom this week with the K-12 set.  I have been under the weather which makes it harder, but I still managed somehow.

I am reminded of what a hero the classroom teacher is, how they truly set the tone for great learning, safety, humor and creative exploration.

This is also a crazytown theater time.  I just had the good fortune of catching the closings of my friends’ plays–Ooh-rah! by Bekah Brunstetter and Thunder Above, Deeps Below (yes, again) by A. Rey Pamatmat.  It was a good reminder of what I reach for in writing–truthful moments, compelling and charismatic characters, and something about the blow at any moment.  Both, so lovely.

And now, here comes Ma-Yi Theater Company’s Labfest.   As you see, I’m closing this sucker.  So I have a little time to finish this here little play that is, eh, not quite done yet.

Labfest III
First-look readings of brand new full-length plays from
the next generation of Asian American playwrights!

Labfest 3 The Ma-Yi Writers Lab is the largest resident company of Asian American playwrights ever assembled.

This, its third LABFEST, will be the largest collection of brand new full-length plays by Asian American writers ever presented in one stand, anywhere in the universe throughout the history of recorded time.

Labbers have been known to write about things like space aliens, moustaches, salmon canneries, Darfur, calculus, cheesecake, and Scooter Libby – we make no promises about the content of this year’s crop, but we can promise that they will be brand new, first-look readings from the next generation of Asian American playwrights.

The person who attends the most readings wins a cash prize of one hundred million dollars.*

All readings are $5, available at the door.  To make reservations, email Mariah MacCarthy at mariah.maccarthy@ma-yitheatre.org, or call 212-971-4862.  All readings will be at Theater for the New City, at 155 1st Avenue (btwn 9th/10th St).

Monday, October 5 at 7pm
Heartbreak/India
by Kyoung H. Park

Tuesday, October 6 at 8pm
Garba Griha: Womb-House
by Michi Barall

Thursday, October 8 at 7pm
Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them

by A. Rey Pamatmat

Friday, October 9 at 7pm
Infinitude
by Sung Rno

Saturday, October 10 at 3pm  
The White Knight

by Mrinalini Kamath

Saturday, October 10 at 7pm  
Growing Up For Dummies

by Nora Chau

Sunday, October 11 at 3pm  
How to Get Rid of the Wife: A Political Romance

by Nandita Shenoy

Sunday, October 11 at 7pm  
Jesus In India

by Lloyd Suh

Monday, October 12 at 7pm  
We in Silence Hear a Whisper

by Jon Kern

Wednesday, October 14 at 6pm  
The Kimono Project

by Patricia Jang

Thursday, October 15 at 6pm  
A Voice in the Wilderness

by Eugene Oh

Thursday, October 15 at 8pm  
Particles of Pakistan

by Rehana Mirza

Saturday, October 17 at 12noon  
Microcrisis

by Michael Lew

Saturday, October 17 at 2:30pm  
Sharksucker

by Dustin Chinn

Sunday, October 18 at 2pm
The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness
by Carla Ching

*payable in installments of $1 every 10,000 years

Thunder Above and the Saloon

You’ve got to see Thunder Above, Deeps Below.  I have said that Rey is the Asian American Tony Kushner of our time.  Go see why.  He’s taken Pericles and dropped it down into Chicago with three homeless kids trying to head west before the winter hits.  It is charming, irreverent, surprising, and best of all, theatrical.

Also witnessed the most packed Saturday Night Saloon ever.  Almost didn’t get in.  Everyone has amped their game up this year.  You have to wait until October for the next installment, but I recommend showing up early for some really good stuff from James Comtois, Mac Rogers, Crystal Skillman, Dustin Chinn, Jeff Lewonczyk and Brent Cox.  I would try to explain, but it’s difficult to encapsulate that which is the Saloon.  Genre-smashing, ingenious, speakeasy theater.  There.

Clowns Finding a Home in Harlem

This is a profile on Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, two wonderful TA colleagues at the New Victory Theater and clown partners in the group The Acrobuffos.

The story is amazing for two reasons.

It talks about the incredible work that they do in war torn countries to bring their art and joy to young people.  To help people to dream, to express, to heal.

They also found a way to buy their own home and make it a place where they can work and live, which for me, as a Teaching Artist, seems sometimes like a faraway dream.  Now I know it’s possible, so that makes me hopeful.

The future of the Ohio

kanoa lambretta by kanoa.

I was talking with a fellow theatermaker who just closed a show at the Ohio Theater with Clubbed Thumb about what a special space it is–it’s height, it’s depth, it’s location and it’s history of really wonderful projects that’ve run through there.  I saw Sung Rno’s wAve there some time back and they carved a river with running water down the side of the stage and then simulated the landing of a helicopter.  I saw Target Margin’s beautiful and strange Ten Blocks on the Camino Real there.  The first play I was ever paid to write was put up there. 

And there has been the talk of it closing, but it seems they’ll be able to be open for one more year.  One of the last, great downtown theater spaces.

We were mourning for it before it was even gone.

Now we can love it for a little longer.

Alexis Clements interviews Robert Lyons, head of Soho Think Tank/The Ohio Theater about the organization and the stay of execution.  Oh, and the tantalizing Ice Factory.

The Highline

It’s open. I’m speechless.  Maybe these photos can speak for me.  In this very crowded city, it was a wonder to get a little breathing space to think.  Maybe even dream.  And see other people not pushing past each other, but strolling alone or with people they like.  Not in a hurry.  Just…wandering.  Except some crazy guy who decided to jog through there.  But nevermind him.

And the best part is getting to see to see the neighborhood from views I’d never seen it from before.