KRAPP'S LAST TAPE, SCENES FROM IRAQ and More Set for Fort Point Theatre Channel in 2014
The eclectic nature of Fort Point Theatre Channel's 2014 programming is a direct result of the creative forces that drive FPTC's 15 artistic directors. These artists are rooted in Boston's only arts-centered neighborhood and resident in a building that is now experiencing a tenant-to-owner momentum. FPTC celebrates its 7th year amidst this surge of artistic development specifically within their Midway neighborhood, an especially exciting place to be at the moment.
For 2014, FPTC offers a mixture of new and treasured works, a combination of plays and other performance art work, with inspirations as varied as Samuel Beckett, the Iraq War, and Mothers & Daughters (bohemian style).
Opening in March [runs March 27-April 12]:
Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, directed by Marc S. Miller, leads the double bill entitled Reel to Reel. Actor Steven Barkhimer performs this play for one actor and a tape recorder. On his 69th birthday, Krapp consumes bananas, listens to "the stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago," and reflects on happiness, a woman, and writing.
To accompany Beckett's one-act play, FPTC engaged in a nation-wide search for a new woman-centered play as a counterpoint, only to end up finding the appropriate piece written by a local author. The winning play, The Archives, is by Skylar Fox, who is artistic director of the Boston-based Circuit Theatre Company. His play, directed by Tasia A. Jones, explores an encounter with Krapp's tapes many years later. Fox has crafted a play about human memory, digital memory, memorable regrets, and how we try to fit pieces of our hearts into things that will live after we die.
Opening in June [runs June 20-28]:
With Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq, FPTC continues its collaboration with the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences and the Joiner's artist in residence Anne Loyer of the Odysseus Project on the project Tamziq: Scattered and Connected. The partners are joined this year by the Center for Arabic Culture in a production directed by Marc S. Miller.
This world premiere by Iraqi playwright Amir Al-Azraki explores diverse Iraqi points of view about the events leading up to and following the U.S.-led invasion of their country in 2003. Al-Azraki dramatizes the problematic lives of Iraqis and the tricky situation before and after the war. In its exposition of truth as rooted in perspective, Waiting for Gilgamesh challenges the one-sidedness of our way of thinking. "The spectators are nowhere to find ready-made answers," Al-Azraki has written, "but are left with a clash of voices, each cudgeling his views."
During the first years of the Iraq War, Al-Azraki, born in Basra, taught English drama at the University of Basra and also worked as a fixer and translator for such international news outlets as The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News, later working for Al Mirbad TV and Radio run by the BBC World Service Trust. Among his plays are Stuck, Notorious Women, Lysistrata in Iraq, Home Woes, and Judgement Day.
In conjunction with Waiting for Gilgamesh, FPTC has commissioned a companion piece entitled Reconciliation (Working Title). This counterpoint, by the American writer, playwright, and director Charles Dumas, will explore various U.S. points of view about the conflict in Iraq. A reading of this new play will take place in conjunction with the performances of Waiting for Gilgamesh and the Joiner Institute's annual Writers Workshop.
Dumas, who recently retired as professor in the School of Theatre at Penn State University, is also senior professor at the University of the Free State in the Republic of South Africa. He has been a company member of Negro Ensemble Company, McCarter Theatre, Shakespeare at Folger, Pennsylvania Stage, and Main Street Theatre.
Opening in the Fall [specific dates to be determined]:
FPTC will conclude 2014 with a rarely performed story of mothers and daughters In the Summer House, by Jane Bowles, directed by Caitlin Lowans. For many years, Jane and Paul Bowles represented the quintessential bohemian couple. She wrote this classic in the early 1950s, just before the modern feminist revolution would open new vistas for women. Set in the late 1940's on the border between Mexico and California, the play offers an oftentimes surreal look at what could be construed as a tragic mother-daughter relationship.
When Lincoln Center revived In the Summer House in 1993, The New York Times called it an "unjustly neglected piece" that "finds its life in the free spin of characters and language." Truman Capote wrote of the original production: "I cannot sit through most plays once, nevertheless I saw In the Summer House three times . . . because it had a thorny wit, the flavor of a newly tasted, refreshingly bitter beverage." Said Tennessee Williams: "It is not only the most original play I have ever read, I think it also the oddest and funniest and one of the most touching."
FPTC's "extracurricular" activities for 2014:
Fort Point Theatre Channel has built a loyal following based not just on its major presentations but just as much on its informal, audience-friendly presentations of new short works. Entitled Exclamation Points!, these eclectic evenings present a mixture of arts, centered on a single theme or genre, often with dozens of performers of all types.
For 2014, the twelfth of these very special events will be an unusual look at other bohemians, past and present, in conjunction with the spring publication of Bohemians: A Graphic History, edited by Paul Buhle and David Berger. Led by FPTC co-artistic director Nick Thorkelson, who contributed to the book's chapter on bebop, this FPTC project will ponder the disciplines of dance, film, animation, song, and much more.
Also being planned is an evening of performance art, inspired by and performed in and around an artistic installation. Coordinating this project and creating this installation is FPTC co-artistic director Rick Dorff.
Finally, mutually inspired by their several past collaborations, FPTC and Contrapose Dance are engaging with a number of local dancers, choreographers, and dance companies to create a unique, movement-based evening.
That's 2014 - except for the occasional spontaneous event created by FPTC as the spirit moves them.
Further Background on FPTC: Fort Point Theatre Channel is dedicated to creating and sustaining new configurations of the performing arts. FPTC brings together an ensemble of artists from the worlds of theater, music, visual arts, and everything in between as a forum for collaborative expression while enriching the Fort Point community, Boston, and beyond.
FPTC artistic directors are: Mario Avila, Olivia Brownlee, Jaime Carrillo, Rick Dorff, Mary Driscoll, Christie Lee Gibson, Tasia A. Jones, Anne Loyer, Marc S. Miller, Sally Nutt, Hana Pegrimkova, Nick Thorkelson, Douglas Urbank, Daniel J. van Ackere, and Mark Warhol. For more information, visit www.fortpointtc.org.