Contributed by Amanda Feldman
In grade school during in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we were taught to make a list of what we are thankful for. I know I have said it before but I am thankful for the downtown theater community – which for me is really an extension of family. Of course, the best part about my Indie Theater family is how inspired and moved I am by the really wonderful plays that they produce.
Personally when I go to the theater, what I’m especially drawn to is really interesting stories told in unique ways. In additional to the shows that I produced, which of course I’m biased to love, the two productions this year that felt did an extraordinary job were The Honeycomb Trilogy by Mac Rogers, produced by Gideon Productions and Pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill produced by One Year Lease.
On the surface, The Honeycomb Trilogy, which, yes, I know is technically three plays, tells an epic story of an alien invasion. The reason Mac is a genius is not because he was able to craft a fascinating sci-fi story (although he does brilliantly), but because Mac tells a beautiful story about family. The relationships throughout all three pieces of the play are all so vivid, heartbreaking, and real, that they stay with you long after the curtain comes down. I think I mentioned to Sean Williams, one of the producers and an actor in the first play, the only thing I didn’t like about the play is that Mac had to kill off so many characters from play to play that I was sad when the actors didn’t reappear in the next installment of the trilogy. For me this epic adventure, directed flawlessly by Jordana Williams, is everything good theater should be.
One Year Lease’s production of Pool (no water) was exceptional for a very different reason. The story was fairly simple; group of quote/unquote friends get together, there is an accident, and then there is the slow and painful recovery. As often occurs with a group of struggling artist "friends" when one achieves success beyond the others, there is jealously, anger, and resentment. What is so incredible about this production is how it was almost a choreographed dance piece. Using only a few coffee table-like set pieces and the actors’ physicality we were transformed from one location to the next. As the play was told from memory, there was a ton of “he said/she said,” but in part thanks to Ianthe Demos’s incredible direction you were never lost or confused. It was captivating story telling at its best.
To conclude, I am thankful that I got the opportunity to see so much great theatre last year. I am especially thankful to my husband who successfully put my daughter to bed on the nights I was at the theater. And as always I’m looking forward to another wonderful year of theater.
Amanda Feldman produced The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew, Theives by William Yellowrobe, Jr, Lake Water by Troy Deutsch, Prison Light by Austin Flint, HOTEL PLAYS, The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos by Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell, and Olives And Blood by Michael Bradford. She is the Managing Director of CollaborationTown, A Theatre Company and a Producer with Neighborhood Productions.