Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland’

Playwrights Local 4181 Launches New Playwrights’ Center for Northeast Ohio

October 7th, 2015 No comments

Playwrights Local 4181 Logo

Inaugural festival to be held November 6-7, 2015, at Waterloo Arts

(Cleveland, OH; October 7, 2015) — Playwrights Local 4181 announces its debut as Northeast Ohio’s first playwrights’ development and production center, marking its launch with a free festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Playwrights Local presents new plays written exclusively by area dramatists. It also offers classes and engages the community through site-specific projects. Playwrights Local is a home for novice and experienced dramatic writers to learn, create, and share their work.

“This type of organization has already succeeded in Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Cincinnati,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “We see this as a way of putting our under-recognized playwrights on the map, and of making their plays a bigger part of the arts conversation.”

Literary Manager Arwen Mitchell seconds the need for a space in Greater Cleveland dedicated to dramatic writing. “Other theaters support local playwrights to the extent that they can, but there’s no place focused on them exclusively,” Mitchell said. “Having an outlet like Playwrights Local is both amazing and essential.”

Playwrights Local 4181 welcomes the Northeast Ohio community to its inaugural Cleveland Playwrights Festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. All sessions in this event are free. (Online registration is recommended.) Dramatic writers of all skill levels can participate in workshops and discussions. Fans of live theater can attend staged readings of local works and take part in a recording of Mike Geither’s podcast play, Flame Puppy. Other offerings include a luncheon and post-show reception. The festival will be held at Waterloo Arts in Collinwood (15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110).

Information on festival sessions and registration is available at Tax-deductible donations in support of this new, locally focused arts organization also may be made at the site.

Harm’s Way, part 2, a continuation that shall continue on…

September 15th, 2015 No comments

Harm's WayScene Four is a triumph in hilarity. Isle of Mercy goes across the river to sell the watch and runs into a carny (CROW’S-FOOT) selling a crowd of people (Chorus) on purchasing a ticket to see the mysterious GUYANOUSA inside the carny tent. The description is something to read, my favorite bit being “a creature / So lopsided – with feet the longer on one / Side than the t’other—that it can graze / On the steepest mountain slope.” ‘Than the t’other.’ Must be a brogue. Everyone pays a quarter to see the marvelous beast, which mysteriously breaks free at the proper moment sending the crowd fleeing for their lives, except Isle of Mercy. She wants to see the Guyanousa, leading to some whopping lies by Crow’s-Foot and a back-and-forth between the two characters that’s worth a read. Throughout the exchange, though, Crow’s-Foot, tellingly, degenerates from a consummate barker and performer to a misogynistic slug that verbally abuses Isle of Mercy and convinces her (somehow) to be a whore for him.

The POP STAR interlude at Scene 5 is, by far, one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve ever read and I’d simply love to see it on stage. The Pop Star is a scarecrow stuck on a post in the ground, and who can only move his “head and hands” as he plays the enormous guitar he holds. His group of followers / fans / mindless inhuman machines (Chorus) do nothing but moan and sway, and “are mounted on short stilts, and they lean together, forming a kind of human tripod.” Throughout, the scene is punctuated by frozen tableaux at the stanza breaks in the Pop Star’s song. The song is dryly repetitive, mindless, and cliché. Into this walk Santouche and By Way Of (BW) seeming very like they are on a date. BW attempts to nudge Santouche into appreciating the music and enjoying himself; however a short series of conversational missteps ends with BW calling Santouche a “bum lay.” Ouch. Santouche doesn’t take kindly to that and the scene ends with him insulting the music, and By Way Of, and stomping off.

Santouche stomps off but soon stumbles into Scene 6, where the MAN “is standing in a waist-deep grave he has dug.” The Man turns out to be WILLIAM McKINLEY who has killed GROVER CLEVELAND because Cleveland would not bury McKinley alive. Being that Mac Wellman is from Cleveland, I get a kick out the references to an Ohio president, a city, and, somewhere, the Chagrin River. As McKinley was the Republican president following Cleveland, I can only assume there is some sort of political commentary here, but it’s gone over my head. However, there’s quite a bit of gunplay in the scene and McKinley was on the wrong end of a gun… So, Cleveland wouldn’t bury McKinley alive, so McKinley shot and killed him. McKinley then pulls his gun on Santouche, who is strongly encouraged by McKinley to talk Cleveland into rising from the dead and finishing what he wouldn’t the first time around. There also appears here the beginning of a running gag regarding Santouche’s inability to recognize “a stiff” when he sees one. Santouche puts on a fine show of talking to Cleveland: he uses some fancy words and some delicate phrasing that’s just real fine to hear. Alas, it is to no avail, but Santouche manages to take the gun from McKinley and, after a brief argument, Santouche buries McKinley alive (in spite of the protests McKinley now makes).

Scene 7 breaks from our episodic journey with Santouche and returns to Isle of Mercy, who is sitting on a rock gazing at the moon while the Chorus as FIRST CHILD and SECOND CHILD sing a short song about Isle of Mercy. The Children then engage Isle of Mercy in a discussion. The discussion is filled with the moon, the stars, a rock with a face on it, and ghosts, and thus is very Fairy Tale/Nursery Rhymish. The children claim “We borned ourselves / Out of rocks.” The discussion turns from this to a “where do babies come from” conversation that is interrupted, at just the right moment, by Crow’s-Foot, who has come to turn Isle of Mercy out for the first time. Crow’s-Foot and Isle of Mercy argue about whether or not IM will whore herself. Crow’s-Foot wins when he threatens to lay into her with another one of his speeches (presumably similar in kind to that about the Guyanousa).

At this point in the play I have been struck at thinking on the journey of Isle of Mercy versus that of Santouche. Isle of Mercy is kind (as her name would imply) and extremely pliable. She is not stupid, so it is stupefying why she makes the choices she makes—even in light of her explanation later in the play (which I’ll discuss). Isle of Mercy is acted on by the world. Santouche on the other hand is not kind and acts on the world, usually with highly adverse consequences. This I’m sure, has Wellman poking holes in sex roles, as compliance and malleability are qualities traditionally associated with women, whilst men thrust themselves into the world a la Camille Paglia. Santouche, acting out of perpetual rage, is unable to see himself (recognize himself) and destroys and misunderstands everything he encounters. Santouche manifests, almost, like a broken Odysseus—having no compass or direction at all. Santouche is dashed against the rocks of fate or chance and has no greater vision than the consequent moment. Wellman, here, is pointing to something very terrible in our society—this nihilism we exude.

To be continued….

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