Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Exhilarating Diversity of OOB

It was an exciting year for Off-Off-Broadway and the 2014 nominees represented the kind of exhilarating diversity that is being produced on intimate stages all over New York City. We are very proud to celebrate the work of this community. Each day for the last two months, we have featured a different nominated production and talked with the artists about their inspirations and process.

The New Stage Theatre Company's production of Cosmicomics   Photo by Lee Wexler

The 59 nominated productions by 56 different organizations represented an eclectic group of theatrical creations. Subject matter ranged from stories of teenage angst and self-discovery, such as in Kim Katzberg’s Darkling or Kate Gersten’s First Love, to exploring epic questions about life after death as in Gideon Production’s Frankenstein Upstairs or Vincent Marano’s Lights Narrow; from intimate family dramas like Ann Napolitano’s Within Arm’s Reach to cosmic journeys that questioned the nature of God like La MaMa and the Lone Wolf Tribe’s production of The God Projekt.

There were productions that had international inspirations such as Theatre 167’s Pirira, which takes place during the civil unrest and riots in Malawi and Group.BR’s staging of the work of one of Brazil’s most famous poets Vinicius de Moraes in Infinite While It Lasts. While others like Lenore Wolf’s April March, Fragments from an Unintegrated Life focused on a story of an East Side artist or Nora Woolley's Hip which is set in Williamsburg. Many nominated productions addressed hot button social issues such as Aizzah Fatima’s Dirty Paki Lingerie or Buran Theatre Company’s Magic Bullets, which examined healthcare. And Take Wind and Soar Productions believe that they produced the first all African American production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

    Magic Bullets by
Buran Theatre Company                                              And To the Republic by The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project
     Photo by
David Pym                                                                         
      Photo by Debby Goldman Photography

Some productions utilized traditional theatrical techniques such as the shadow puppets in the New York Neo-Futurists’ Mute or the mime techniques used in At First Sight (and Other Stories); while others like Gyda Arber’s FutureMate broke ground by incorporating text and phone design elements. And other productions like Yara Arts Group’s Fire. Water. Night explored the juxtaposition of nature and modern technology.

Many of the productions were original works like Flux Theatre Ensemble’s Jane the Plain or Ground Up Productions’ Rubber Ducks and Sunsets while others were classics like Metropolitan Playhouse’s A Man’s World which was written at the turn of the century or Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s production of Shaw’s Don Juan In Hell. And of course there was a healthy dose of deconstructed and reimagined Shakespearian productions like Three Day Hangover’s R+J: Star-Cross’d Death Match and The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project’s And to the Republic.

These posts provide a more in-depth look at this exciting work.

No comments:

Post a Comment