Blasted heath in an unspecified future world where endless war has perhaps finally ended war. At an abandoned desert outpost, a mix of military male camaraderie, hallucinations from home, and sexual violence. Some of the setup could use more definition to strengthen main scenario. Several strong performances. Audience not implicated enough.
Here comes year two of New York’s newest theater festival.
After a banner first year featuring Lucy Thurber, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s ambitious and exciting Theater:Village Festival is back for more. For 2014, the festival has moved from August to September.
“Theater:Village presents annually a series of new plays in several prominent West Village theater, based around one playwright or common theme. The goal is to involve the collaboration of many producing partners, deepening community engagements and audience experiences. Theater:Village signifies a major shift in the ways theaters work. It challenges the assumptions that we must cut back and compete more fiercely with each other in order to survive as nonprofit arts institutions, and promotes collaboration and community-conscious programming to expose emerging audiences to essential new work they would not otherwise be able to see.”
Music and Lyrics by Randy Sharp & Paul Carbonara
TO THE BONE
by Lisa Ramirez
Cherry Lane Theatre
I LIKE TO BE HERE: JACKSON HEIGHTS REVISITED, OR, THIS IS A MANGO
By Camilo Almonacid, Jenny Lyn Bader, J.Stephen Brantley, Ed Cardona Jr., Les Hunter, Melisa Tien, and Joy Tomasko
New Ohio Theatre
JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology
Conceived and created by Theater Mitu
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Last year Rattlestick Playwrights Theater started an ambitious but dearly needed new summer theatre festival in the West Village. The concept is to do a series of plays by the same playwright – or on a shared theme – and run them all simultaneously at multiple theatres within quick walking distance of each other.
And for 2014, who will it be?
Hunter seems to be boxing himself into a bit of an artistic cul de sac. Kitchen sink realism, no theatricality, meager story. Misuse of long silences adds little. The down and out trucker who is a literary lion, the awkward teenage genius with frenetic mannerisms – these feel like manufactured types.
Five plays. One playwright. Four venues. One month (or so).
Welcome to Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s new summer theatre festival in New York’s West Village.
theater:village is to be an annual event where multiple plays by the same playwright (or organized around a similar theme) run simultaneously in different Village venues.
This inaugural year it’s Lucy Thurber’s gritty and deeply felt cycle of plays about growing up in rural western Massachusetts, and the lingering impact of where you’re from on later life.
For diehard theatre fans the chance to see two or even three shows by the same playwright on the same day sounds pretty exciting.
And indeed, this welcome new event is one of the most vibrant and energetic undertakings in recent memory. It makes perfect sense and should quickly become a major item on the summer calendar in New York.
Old timers will recall New York’s beloved SPF, a summer festival at Theater Row that mysteriously died cold several years ago. Since that time, summer in New York has often been an in between time for exciting, off Broadway theatre.
Not any more.
Because theater:village is on the scene.
Rattlestick’s incredible logistical undertaking to get five plays by Lucy Thurber going on four different West Village stages at the same time looks to be a major success so far.
Though shows won’t open until September 5, based on preview performances of three of the five plays, this first version of the new festival promises to be challenging, rewarding, and exciting live art. With tickets around $25, the festival is also a great value.
2003. The girl, here a 19 year old college student all over the map in her own sexuality, returns home on fall vacation. Local friends stuck in dead end routines of work, weed, and wild nights. Superb comedy leavens the dark as all try to figure out who she is.
2009. They come back. The girl, here a late 20’s academic named Elizabeth in New York City, opens the door to find a nightmare from her rural past. Interesting surreal tone as the strands of violence and delusion twine together. The past is endlessly replayed. Or is it the future?
1992. The beginning. Rachel, the girl who will reemerge in variations throughout the Hill Town Plays, is about 11 and along with brother Billy lost in a violent, alcoholic home in Western Mass. An effective and frightening portrayal of what early imprints on kids can do. Raw, rocking soundtrack. Bleak.
In a brand new, ambitious undertaking, New York’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is inaugurating a summer theater festival. This year, Theater Village will feature THE HILL TOWN PLAYS – five plays by Lucy Thurber.
The shows run concurrently in August at four different Village venues (Cherry Lane Theatre, Axis, Rattlestick, and The New Ohio Theatre), allowing viewers to see up to three different plays a day.
For 2013-14, New York’s ever innovative Rattlestick Playwrights Theater has announced a season of six world premieres as well as Theater: Village, a new annual summer festival that will feature five plays by the same playwright or focused on a similar theme, running simultaneously in five different West Village venues.
This year’s installment of Theater: Village is THE HILL TOWN PLAYS by Lucy Thurber, and runs August 14 – September 28.
Season world premieres are by Lucy Thurber, Charles Fuller, Halley Feiffer, Ken Urban, Craig Lucas, and Samuel D. Hunter.