EMPATHY SCHOOL/LOVE STORY Opens Next Week at Abrons Arts Center

Abrons Arts Center presents the New York City premieres of Empathy School / Love Story, a program of two monologues, with video and original music, written and directed by Aaron Landsman.

Empathy School is performed by Jim Findlay, and co-created with filmmaker/composer Brent Green. Findlay is "Jim," a haunted, caustic rider who tells a story on an overnight bus ride through rural Illinois. Live music by Green and Kate Ryan, played on pump organ, guitar, drums, strings and loops, works under Findlay's portrayal, and Green's scratched filmic images. Ultimately Empathy School takes audiences through landscapes of memory, a reckoning with the mentors that misguide us, and possible ways to move forward. In this piece, we are always in two places at once.

"Displacement is a thing I come back to in a lot of my shows, from 2008's Open House, to 2013-14's City Council Meeting," says Landsman. "I'm interested in the way people belong somewhere, or don't." For Empathy School the audience is on the Playhouse's stage, looking out at the empty house. Love Story reverses that relationship, with audience facing the stage.

After a brief intermission comes Love Story a solo play about language, voyeurism, and anonymity in New York. Frank Harts, of HBO's Leftovers and Billions, plays a sympathetic stalker who knows every street in the city, because he has walked them himself. When he watches a couple's engagement at a Greek restaurant, he becomes more and more wrapped up in their story, eavesdropping, and finally intervening. A meditation on characters that occupy the margins of any city, the changing city itself becomes rhythmic heart of this piece. Love Story is set against a spare, allusive video backdrop created by Bill T. Jones' collaborator Janet Wong, with an original musical score by composer Todd Griffin.

Empathy School features Jim Findlay and is written by Aaron Landsman with music and film by Brent Green and additional performances by Kate Ryan and Todd Chandler. Love Story features Frank Harts and is written by Aaron Landsman with video design by Janet Wong and an original score by Todd Griffin.

Performance Schedule:
Wed Apr 20 at 7:30
Thurs Apr 21 at 7:30
Fri Apr 22 at 7:30
Sat Apr 23 at 7:30
Wed Apr 27 at 7:30
Thurs Apr 28 at 7:30
Fri Apr 29 at 7:30
Sat Apr 30 at 7:30

Abrons Arts Center is located at 466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street). F/J/M/Z trains to Delancey/Essex stop. B/D to Grand Street stop.

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