SEAGULL (THINKING OF YOU) Plays PS122's COIL Festival, Now thru 1/19
As part of the eighth edition of the COIL festival, Performance Space 122 (PS122) and the New Ohio Theatre present the world premiere of Seagull (Thinking of you) from Tina Satter and her company Half Straddle. This heartfelt, both comedic and dark work uses Chekhov's The Seagull as a jumping off point to reconsider the success and failure of performance and love.
Performances of Seagull (Thinking of you) will take place tonight, January 9-19, 2013 (see schedule above) at New Ohio Theatre. Critics are welcome as of January 11 for an official opening on January 15. The running time is approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. The New Ohio Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street in Manhattan. Tickets, which are $20, are available online at ps122.org/coil and by phone at 212.868.4444.
Seagull (Thinking of you) is written for and draws upon the performers in the piece, who each play a "character" from Chekhov's The Seagull. In casting, Satter focused not on gender, but on the personalities of her actors-Jess Barbagallo as Treplov, Eliza Bent as Masha, Becca Blackwell (Young Jean Lee's Untitled Feminist Show) as Sorin (Peter), Emily Davis as Nina, Julia Sirna-Frest as Polina, and Susie Sokol (Elevator Repair Service's Gatz and The Select) as Arkadina-as the oddly resonant counterpoints and matches to Chekhov's Seagull characters. The original score, by Chris Giarmo, is inspired by contemporary Russian folk-metal.
In creating Seagull (Thinking of you), Satter took the themes of Chekhov's original-as well as the archetypal characters, the language, and the feeling of the language-to create a new work that contains about a quarter of Chekhov's play. The remainder of the language draws on Chekhov's letters, quasi-historical details of early Russian productions and Chekhov's own perverse comedic approach. Satter's goal is to reveal both the beauty and darkness found in Chekhov's 1895 work. Seagull (Thinking of you) considers anew what makes us human, what makes us love, and why we bother trying to say anything out loud.
Led by artistic director Tina Satter, Half Straddle was founded in 2008 when incoming Brooklyn College playwriting grad students Satter and Half Straddle regular Jess Barbagallo began meeting in a church basement to develop The Knockout Blow, a piece about a melancholic werewolf. Over the course of the year, with the addition of performers Eliza Bent and Julia Sirna-Frest, composer Chris Giarmo, and lighting designer Zack Tinkelman, The Knockout Blow was curated into seasons at the Incubator Arts Project and HERE Arts Center, and Half Straddle formed their core group. Several performances followed, cardboard icebergs fell over, sequined costumes collapsed, and enduring collaborations emerged with additional performers Erin Markey and Emily Davis. Now in its fifth year, Half Straddle has garnered more and more attention for its work featuring original text and music - from critically acclaimed, full-length shows (including In the Pony Palace/FOOTBALL and FAMILY), to the singular artists and performers they work with, to recent side projects including a rap song and video. In 2011, Satter and the company were named "Off-Off Broadway Innovators to Watch" by Time Out New York. Upcoming projects include commissions by Soho Rep and Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players.