Monday, March 22, 2010

Tonight: Flux's ForePlay Begins! (Climax to Arrive Later This Spring.)

I was hoping to write up and post my thoughts on Vampire Cowboys' latest, Alice in Slasherland, today, but realize I first need to bring your attention an event that's taking place tonight.

To kick off Flux Theatre Ensemble's upcoming new show, Jacob's House, a modern retelling of Jacob wrestling the Angel, the company is presenting ForePlay: Divine Reckonings, a play reading series where 16 playwrights (Yours Truly included) re-imagine eight stories from the Old Testament.

Tonight's theme is Secrets & Lies, which features two short plays (by Johnna Adams and Kristen Palmer) focused on the story of Queen Esther and two (by Brian Pracht and Yours Truly) on the story of David & Bathsheba.

All four shorts will be directed by Jordana Williams. You may know her as the person who directed such pieces of awesomeness as Viral, Mother Sacramento and Hail Satan. I know her as the lovely lady that tolerates our inane shenanigans over at my sister & Marc's place during our Bad Movie Nights, mercifully chooses not to punch me when I stroke her pregnant tummy, and offers to bake us cookies when Nosedive co-pilot Pete Boisvert suffers weird, hospital stay-inducing seizures.

And also, of course, as the awesome director of awesome shows.

Secret's & Lies goes up tonight at 7:30 at Judson Memorial Church on 239 Thompson Street.

Below are the details of the entire reading series.

The ForePlay Schedule - Divine Reckonings

Monday, March 22nd at 7:30PM
Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson St)
Secrets and Lies
focusing on the stories of Queen Esther and David & Bathsheba
Featuring works by
Johnna Adams, James Comtois,
Kristen Palmer & Brian Pracht
Directed by Jordana Williams

Monday, April 5th at 7:30 p.m.
Irondale Center (85 South Oxford St, Brooklyn)
focusing on the stories of Abraham & Sarah and Ruth & Naomi
Featuring works by
Rob Ackerman, Jeremy Basescu,
Bekah Brunstetter & David Ian Lee
Directed by Angela Astle

Monday, April 19th at 7:30 p.m.
Irondale Center (85 South Oxford St, Brooklyn)
I and Thou
focusing on the stories of Moses and The Binding of Isaac
Featuring works by
Leila Buck, Christine Evans,
Michael John Garces & Bill George
Directed by Heather Cohn

Monday, May 10th at 7 p.m.
Access Theater Gallery (380 Broadway, 4th Floor)
An Awesome God
focusing on The Creation Story and The Rebellion of Korah
Featuring works by
Erin Browne, Fengar Gael,
Mac Rogers & Crystal Skillman
Directed by Michael Davis

So, I will be attending this tonight. Tomorrow, I will write about Alice in Slasherland.

Always accepting baked goods,

James "Biblical Scholar" Comtois

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Blogger DPS said...

More like Biblical Squalor.



4:02 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...


Yes. After doing this for 10 years, we can safely say that we're a mature theatre company.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous RLewis said...

Good work last night. About as enjoyable as a reading can be. Made me wonder though: what happens next to all this work?

I can't imagine all that writing and development for short pieces to end there. Was it just a writing exercise for you, or is there any future for all/any of these plays?

Did you write it for a reading to be its Finish, or did you write it with a future full production in mind even though that may not be in the current plan? (Some things work in reading that don't on stage and vice-versa.)

I don't write for the practice of it or just to keep my skills up, so I'm intrigued, but maybe others do. Did you get everything out of it you wanted, was it worth all the time and effort, and are there any other expectations for the work?

12:09 PM  
Blogger macrogers said...

RLewis, I'm in my third year of writing for the Flux foreplay series, and I always seem to end up really gunning it for them because I know they mount their readings with care. A lot of time I write for short play fests for the practice and the particular challenge, but my previous two pieces for them are ones I'd really like to bring back. I was really proud of both of them, and wanted them to be performed at least more than once.

That said, it's hard as a producer to get excited about mounting an anthology show. It requires coordinating multiple rehearsal teams and is a marketing nightmare. "Robots take over the world" I can sell. That's a certain specific thing you can come and see. "An Evening of Short Plays by Mac Rogers"? Even *I'm* already brainstorming my excuse not to go.

I will say, even if nothing else comes out of it, writing short plays makes your next long play better.

2:20 PM  
Blogger macrogers said...

Oh - also wanted to say - I agree with you: last night was as good as watching readings gets. Great scripts, great team.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Thanks, guys! Yeah, it was a lot fun. Glad you dug.

I don't really know how to answer your questions, Ralph (and I definitely can't answer for the other writers). This was a piece that I wrote specifically for Flux for this evening because, well, they asked me to. They gave me the story (David & Bathsheba) and the deadline, so here we are.

So, what's next for this piece? Most likely nothing. I'm a notoriously lazy and shitty submitter of my work (one of the side effects of being a self-producer, I guess), so unless I get an email from a company saying they're seeking new short works based on stories from the Old Testament, that may be it for "Formalities."

3:13 PM  
Anonymous RLewis said...

Thanks, guys, for the fine responses. I find it an interesting part of the playwrights work.

Funny that Mac should mention "anthology shows" cuz, whether it's Don Quixote, early Off-Off, or even Judson where the reading took place, they are a big part of what my company does. I can imagine a whole building filled with repeting biblical works, and audiences going from room-to-room every 15 minutes, seeing them all in different orders. It could be Exciting.

Flux is lucky to have you writers, but I'm sure that they've earned that bond and mutual respect. Thnx again.

12:50 PM  
Blogger August Schulenburg said...

Hey all,

Just stumbled upon this chat about the ForePlay series. Ralph, it's a very good question about the future of these excellent pieces. Some have gone onto more: Sheila Callaghan's contribution to our 1st ForePlay, The Dream Project, ended up turning into her full length play, FEVER/DREAM. Corey Ann Haydu's short RUNAWAY LOVE for Poetic Larceny (our 3rd FP) was later fully produced and published in The Ampersand Review. Crystal Skillman's contribution to the same, GEEK, was also recently published. My play LIPSTICK AND WRENCHES was later read by New Ground, and I'll be turning it into a full length.

That said, maybe there's more Flux can be doing to perpetuate the life of these plays. I'd love to see FORMALITIES have more life, and Mac's play last year, a re-imagining of the Hansel and Gretyl story, was really powerful and had full length legs.

And yes, Flux is very lucky to have you both as writers! Lucky, and grateful:)

3:43 PM  

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