THE PEARL THEATER COMPANY
555 w. 42nd Street
Watch for Brooke, my niece!!
I’ll be at the opening on July 8.
THE PEARL THEATER COMPANY
555 w. 42nd Street
Watch for Brooke, my niece!!
I’ll be at the opening on July 8.
Imagine Antonya Nelson or Julie Carr or Wendy C. Ortiz reading your work! Wow!
LOUISA MEETS BEAR
By Lisa Gornick
Louisa Meets Bear: A Novel: Lisa Gornick: 9780374192082: Amazon.com: Books
After wowing us with Tinderbox and Private Sorcery, Lisa Gornick had given us Louisa Meets Bear, ten linked stories which can stand alone, each so firmly that they have won awards, such as Distinguished Short Story in Best American Short Story anthology.
Each is a story of passion. Luisa, daughter of a geneticist, meet Bear, a plumbers son, and they plunge (no pun intended) into a stormy affair that affects their choices for years. In other stories a daughter stabs her mother when she finds out the truth about her father. A psychotherapist/wife/mother finds her teenage son in bed with a girl and a man dead on her office floor. A mother who has been separated from her son finds out that he has helped a blind woman learn to play the piano. Gornick paints each character with both unnerving truthfulness and compassion. Just as in the reruns of Law & Order that I compulsively watch, even the most minor of Gornick’s characters have personality. In Instructions to Participant, a mother who studying Social Work goes to a tenement to find a woman she’s supposed to interview. No one answers the bell. A boy sitting on a stoop has just blown his gum into a green bubble. “The boy darted his tongue in and out to gather the gum back into his mouth. ‘Bells don’t work,’” he tells her.
The stories take you around the world—Italy, Russia, Guatemala and are grounded in world events—Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Kent State, the shooting a black teen by a policeman. There is danger pulsing through each story.
What’s most striking is the way Gornick makes time leaps in the story and also between stories. A story’s main character can turn up in a later story as a minor character or the child or lover of that character. As you read, you think to yourself, Hey, don’t I know this guy? just as you do when you run into someone in life.
Writers will want to study the way she describes gestures, bodily sensations. She always stretches for an image. “My head throbbed at the thought, dissolving like a drop of colored water into a pool of oil…” For a literary writer, Gornick keeps you in suspense. Each chapter ends with a quiet wham! Each of her carefully composed sentences is a unit of drama. With masterful asides, she encapsulates a chunk of back story or the dynamics of a relationship. And what a sense of humor! “Despite her Arabian pants and embroidered Mexican blouse, Mahanna looked to Marnie like a girl from Short Hills who needed electrolysis.”
Gornick’s fiction is not only worth reading, but worth studying too. You can learn a lot about writing from her and even more about life.
Read top-notch poetry, flash fiction, short story. They nominate for Pushcart Prizes. (Not all magazines can.)
THE NEW GROUP presents THE SPOILS
Written by and featuring Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by Scott Elliot
Meet Ben (Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network, Zombieland and also costar and writer of The Reivisionist) who, like Dennis in This Is Our Youth, is one of those rich New York kids who live off their parents. But Ben has an apartment to die for—a terrace that you worry various characters are going to jump from. The set, designed by Derek McLane features wide, comfy couches that I heard people in the audience sigh over. “I had couches like those,” or “I wish I had them.” But Ben, having been kicked out of grad school, is one of those lonely braggarts who believes he will make the great American film. Of course, the only thing he’s done so far is hector his sincere and endearing Nepalese roommate, Kalyan (Kunal Nayyar of The Big Bang Theory) and alienate Kalyan’s ambitious girlfriend, a doctor named Rashma (Annapurna Sriram (The Happiest Song Plays Last). When an old high school friend Ted, an investment banker (Michael Zegan of Bad Jews, Boardwalk Empire, and Girls) looks him up, Ben, who is hostile to every ethnic group, dismisses him as a Jewish banker. But when he finds out that Ted is about to marry Sarah, the girl he’s had a crush on since grade school, (Erin Darke of Still Alice), who gives a delightfully wise and nuanced performance, the already wired Ben hatches a plot to win her back. There are hysterical moments in The Spoils, but ultimately, unlike Dennis in This is Our Youth, what spoils the play is that Ben remains an unsympathetic hero.
The New Group, in association with Lisa Matlin.
NOW THROUGH JUNE 28
At THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE CENTER
for THE ALICE GRIFFIN JEWEL BOX
480 W. 42nd St. New York, 10036, NY
Tuesday-Friday @ 7:30 pm
Saturday @ 2pm and 8pm
Sunday @ 2pm
Wednesday matinees @ 2pm on 6/10 and 6/24
Sunday evenings @ 7:30pm on 6/7 and 6/21
TICKETS may be arranged at www.thenewgroup.org or by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, or in person at 416 W. 42nd St. (12-8pm daily).
In A.R. GURNEY’S play, WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER, we find the fourteen year-old protagonist and star, Charlie (NOAH GALVIN of The Real O’Neals, Promised Land) jumping out of his skin and out of his bathing suit to moon the babysitters on shore while forced to stay in an upscale vacation colony with his mother and sister. His father is away at war as most of the men are. Charlie is so out of hand and opens such a mouth to his mother (CAROLYN McCORMICK of Equus, Private Lives, The Dinner Party) that she gives him a crack across the face. But nothing can force Charlie to be cooperative like his big sister Elsie (KATE McGONICLE who will be in Woody Allen’s Irrational Man). Elsie not only helps her mother with groceries and other chores, but collects money for Bundles for England. She’s reading War and Peace for her summer reading while Charlie is eating up all the butter rations and failing Latin with his summer tutor just as he had at school. There is an onstage battle for who is really the star of the play. Even Bonny (JULIET BRETT, off Broadway The Jacksonian), the fourteen year-old girl next door that both Charlie and his friend, Ted, woos, wonders if she’s the star.
Besides the war and how it impacts the family, social class is also a theme. Charlie’s family is well-to-do part of the tennis and sailing club set, while Ted (PICO ALEXANDER of Punk Rock, and A Most Violent Year) is a Canadian whose father is a keeper of the grounds in this vacation getaway for the wealthy of Buffalo. He remembers as a child being treated like all the other kids who summered there. But now that he’s seventeen, girls’ parents shoo him away. “A poor Canuck,” he calls himself. Anna Trumbell (KRISTINE NIELSEN of You Can’t Take it With You, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) a wildly spiritual art teacher, half-Indian, and former mistress of a town doctor who kept her hidden in the country, used to be part of the upper crust, but lost her fortune along with the desire to live straight-jacketed by conformity. Poorest in the area, she is in some ways the richest for living as a free spirit without regard for what others say of her. And talk they do! Ted keeps remarking, “Is it true she doesn’t wear underpants?” Her character exists as a symbol of how isolated and broke someone will become if he or she wants to be an artist rather than taking a safer route, which, in this play is the death of art. And that’s the choice Charlie has to make when Anna tries to stretch his mind by teaching him art and introducing him to radical ideas about life.
What I Did Last Summer is directed by JIM SIMPSON. The design team includes Michael Yeargan (Scenic Design), Claudia Brown (Costume Design), Brian Aldous (Lighting Design), Janie Bullard (Sound Design), John Narun (Projection Design). Donald Fried is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company, William Cantler, CSA. James Houghton is Signature’s founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin the Executive Director.) Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. )
Supplemental programming has been set for What I Did Last Summer. There will be post-show talkbacks on 21, 26 and June 2. Talkbacks brought to you by American Express. These events are free and open to the public. No reservations required
Signature recently announced programming for its 2015-16 25 Anniversary Season. To purchase subscriptions for next season, as well as tickets for all Signature productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit signaturetheatre.org.
Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature productions at THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE THEATER (480 W. 42nd St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. ) in the IRENE DIAMOND STAGE are $25, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable and accessible tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
About SIGNATURE THEATRE
Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. By championing in-depth explorations of a playwright’s body of work, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award®.
Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects to host Signature’s three distinct playwrights’ residencies and foster a cultural community. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its founding Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency One, a first-of-its-kind, intensive exploration of a single writer’s body of work. Residency Five, the only program of its kind, was launched at the Center to support multiple playwrights as they build bodies of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature’s 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies back for productions of premiere or earlier plays.
The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City’s cultural landscape and provides a venue for cultural organizations that supports and encourages collaboration among artists throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café, bar and bookstore. Through the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, Signature has also made an unprecedented commitment to making its productions accessible by underwriting the cost of initial run tickets, currently priced at $25, through 2031.
Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, Athol Fugard, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. In addition to the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature’s productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions.
For more information, please visit www.signaturetheatre.org.
Terrific article by writer-friend Lisa Gornick, a psychoanalyst who decided she had to leave her analytic practice for writing and why. Her novel, Tinderbox, won many awards and her new book of short stories, Luisa Meets Bear , will be out June 9th. The advance reviews are raves.
I remember a New Yorker cartoon, maybe twenty years ago, of a guy covering his nose as he ran across a bridge, smokestacks billowing black clouds into the soot-dense air. The caption was, “Houdini escaping New Jersey.”
Well, New Jersey is HAPPENING. Not only their universities, seaside wonders which are recovering from Sandy, restaurants, shopping, but Art. Art in Jersey City. Check out MANA Contemporary, a museum that invites artists from all over the world to work in studios inside the museum, network with each other, and the U.S. art scene. It’s a collaborative community that brings together art, music and dance.