New Works by John Guare & Neil LaBute Set for Nuyorican Poets Cafe Theater Festival
New dramatic works by Tony-winning playwright John Guare (House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation) and dramatist, screenwriter and film director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things and Reasons to be Pretty) highlight a three-night festival of new short plays and monologues at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 East 3rd Street). Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Cafe's literacy and afterschool programs, which serve thousands of students from disadvantaged communities.
Nine Signs of the Times, a sequel to the 2007 festival Five Story Walkup and the 2010 festival Seven Card Draw, runs April 11-13 at 7:00pm. Nine Signs of the Times showcases new plays and monologues by nine authors: LaBute, Guare, gothic monologist Clay McLeod Chapman, playwright and actress Halley Feiffer, bilingual dramatist Caridad Svich, playwrights Quincy Long and Laura Shaine, dramatist/librettist Daniel F. Levin and the festival's producer/creator, Daniel Gallant (director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe).
Collectively, Five Story Walk Up and Seven Card Draw (which featured new works by Guare, LaBute, Chapman, Long, Shaine, Levin and Gallant) raised tens of thousands of dollars for arts and education programs. All the short works that premiered during Five Story Walk Up and Seven Card Draw were subsequently published in installments of Applause Books' anthology series The Best American Short Plays.
Nine Signs of the Times features nine compelling new works about life transitions and the pivotal moments that shape our identities. John Guare's short play "Between" depicts a contentious meeting between a couple who tangle with memories and affections. In Neil LaBute's monologue "Old Boyfriend", a young woman recalls a complicated romance and its impact on her friendships. Caridad Svich (winner of the 2012 OBIE for lifetime achievement) contributes "This Side of New York," in which former lovers reunite after many missed connections. A short play by Halley Feiffer (who starred in The Squid and the Whale, He's Way More Famous Then You and You Can Count on Me) explores the faltering relationship between two alcoholics, one of whom tries to win the other's affection by blowing her a glass sculpture.
Celebrated monologist Clay McLeod Chapman (creator of "The Pumpkin Pie Show" and author of the books rest area, miss corpus and Homeroom Headhunters) will perform "The Wet Echo," a darkly comic work about a turn-of-the-century explorer who stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime: the female anatomy. The prolific Quincy Long (whose plays have been staged at venues including the Mark Taper Forum, the Atlantic Theater Company, E.S.T. and South Coast Rep) will premier a new short work during the festival. Laura Shaine (author of popular plays and memoirs including Sleeping Arrangements and Beautiful Bodies) contributes "iBaby," in which electronics probe deep into a young woman's intimate life and impregnate her with a phone. Daniel F. Levin (author of the New-York-Times-lauded holiday show Hee-Haw: It's a Wonderful Li_e and the musicals Spandex and To Paint the Earth) conjures "Alt-Visions," a dark sci-fi tale about a visionary inmate. And Daniel Gallant's "Diminished, then Augmented" follows a logician who is hired by the mob to track a turncoat.
Nine Signs of the Times will run for only three performances at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe; tickets are now available at www.nuyorican.org.
Photo by Walter McBride