Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Now is the Time

Written by Michael Levinton, Laura von Holt, & Little Lord
Directed by Michael Levinton
Produced by Little Lord in association with Abrons Arts Center 

Nominations: Outstanding Costume Design & Outstanding Innovative Design, Karen Boyer; Outstanding Lighting Design, Marika Kent; Outstanding Performance Art Production

Photos by Kelly Stuart

About the Company: Little Lord is a Brooklyn-based company that develops and produces smart, lively, and unexpected performances. Ransacking the traditions of camp and pillaging faulty nostalgias in order to create a false sense of comfort and security for audiences, Little Lord’s work ultimately seeks to uproot the familiar – simultaneously celebrating the ridiculous, while exhuming troubling truths underneath the glee. In exploring this darker underbelly of the human condition – rough edges, visible seams, et al – Little Lord holds a funhouse mirror up to our shared cultural memories in order to subvert, challenge, and delight audiences with the possibilities of the theatrical form.

About the Production: New York City, 1809: an older gentleman of questionable mental health goes missing. Now, over 200 years later, Diedrich Knickerbocker has reemerged in the Catskills, hiding out in the decayed ruins of a once legendary Borscht Belt resort. When his anxieties finally manifest themselves as terrifying garden gnomes, and his vengeful liver-eating bird-woman of a wife crashes through the ceiling, our modern/ancient hero is thrust from the mundane into the mythic. Inspired by Prometheus Bound, The Book of Ecclesiastes, Dirty Dancing, Borscht Belt memoirs, and the writings of Washington Irving, Now is the Time was an epic treatise on trying to leave one’s mark on a world that never stands still.

Producer Morgan Linsey Tachco and Nominees Karen Boyer and Marika Kent talk about creating this abstract work about sanity and legacy.


What first attracted you to this Now is the Time?
Karen: I had worked with Michael and Little Lord previously and was interested in their collaging of different texts and imagery, as well as the combination of personal and fairly local (Catskills) history.

Marika: I feel very at home in devised work. Different companies do it differently, but they're typically game to bring designers into the earliest phase of the workshop and rehearsal process, which is special. The intersection of that kind of process, and these specific artists is pretty irresistible.

Morgan: Little Lord is kind of like a dream come true. It's an art project in and of itself.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Karen: I loved the over-the-top characters and costumes, especially the same/harpy! And of course working with such a fabulous group of performers, designers, people.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Karen: This was the first piece I've worked on where masks are worn for more than a bit-the entire show. It took lots of tweaking to land on something the actors could move in and work comfortably with.

Marika: The Underground is limited in it's inventory and availability of power, so the biggest challenge was the beg/borrow/steal hustle. Going into tech I felt like I had assembled a bunch of lovable misfit toys, which was really exciting and also a little terrifying. The staff at Abrons and my Master Electrician were really game to help me MacGyver together what became more of an installation than a plot, so once everything was in hand the process was painless.

Morgan: Fundraising and making art during election season 2016.

What was one of the weirdest things about working on this production?

Karen: The underground at Abrons is a strange, wonderful, and mysterious place...

What did you want the audience to walk away with after watching Now is the Time?

Morgan: As artists, we succeeded at putting ourselves in the position of maker: "here is what it is - develop your own perceptions." That was also my favorite part of making it. The penultimate moment of the piece was a list of questions asked by Rip Van Winkle, played by Lisa Clair. No matter what feeling folks walked out with, they had no choice but to confront their place in the space and the universe. It was polarizing, and we love that. No one walked out neutral. Success.

What made this experience special for you?

Karen: All the people! Hands down an amazing, positive, talented and creative group.

Marika: The company really used tech rehearsals to continue to devise the show. Our cast had great instincts for interacting with the myriad light sources installed in the set, which made for some cool discoveries during that week.

What was it like working with the nominees?

Morgan: Karen and Marika are just two of an all-woman design team that just killed it. I have never been part of such a smooth and productive tech process. Straight pros all the way.

Make sure to follow Little Lord on Twitter and Instagram @littlelordnyc

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