Winding Down 2011- Projects! Projects! Projects!

Wait, it’s December already?  When did that happen?  Oh, it happened while I was busy with stuff and wasn’t paying attention?  Okay.  I think everyone can attest to experiencing this yearly phenomena.  The way the end of the year lurches forward with the unreliable thrust of a street fair amusement ride.  I’m one of those people.  Sometime around October, as I was perusing through my Google Calendar, looking onward to December, I noticed how much blank space there was.  And then I made the big mistake. I said out loud (or maybe I just thought it) “Wow, I’ve got nothing going on in December.  Sweet.”  As soon as I said that, four small projects came crashing through the ceiling of my Astoria apartment and I felt much like how Prior Walter felt at the end of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.  The Angel hovering high above me saying “The great work begins.”

And so it begins.

Project 1:

Write a short piece for the Ma-Yi Secret Santa Stunt show.  The stunt was we all had to submit a real secret and a fake secret and then out of that list of secrets, we had to choose one to write about.  I chose “I like to look at feet.”  Which I really don’t. I think they are tremendously ugly.  But I thought the secret made for a good short play.

Photo by Nora Chau

Now, what I’ve learned from doing many many short play festivals is this.  Be funny. People like to laugh.  So that’s what I did.  I envisioned actors sucking on other actors toes.  Then I thought “I don’t want to be the asshole that makes some poor actor who’s not getting paid to do this suck on another poor actor’s toes.  So I decided to write in sock puppets. Brilliant solution.  Of course, this was before I saw Hand to God, the EST blockbuster hit that just ended an successful run in New York (love the poster by the way).  But brilliant nonetheless, because now the sock puppets can suck on the actor’s toes, and that’s totally doable.  Of course I think I went a little too far with the jokes and it ended up being entertaining but not comedy gold.  Oh well.  You can’t win them all.

Chatyse hard at work on his play at the weekend retreat

Project 2:

Directing a short piece for the 52nd Street Project Two on Twos.  This consisted of an adult director (me), two adult actors (Felix Solis and Joe Paulik) and a young playwright (Chayse Pena).  About a month before the show opened, we (directors, young playwrigthts, staff) drove to Stoneyridge NY for a weekend retreat where we dramaturged the playwright’s work, shared pages, ate amazing food, and rollerskated.  Then we came back and rehearsed in the city for a few weeks and then we opened!

This was a popular hangout amongst both the kids and adults at our weekend retreat
At our final dress (52nd Street Project)
The Light grid above the stage (52nd Street Project)


Getting ready for the Pack Lounge Series

Project 3:

Directing a short excerpt of The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens by Kari Bentley Quinn for The Pack.






Bonna as Mary Cracker-Nog in "The Elf Manifesto"
Me and Taimak. I felt so giddy.

Project 4:

Wrote a monologue about a disgruntled elf for Holiday Stucco, an evening of one acts written by members of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group.  This gave me a chance to work with my pal Sherri Barber.  I joke that deep down she really wants to be Asian and she jokes that deep down I want to be Jewish.  We call ourselves “Kosher Stir Fry.”  I think the monologue came off well, but the biggest most awesome thing that happened was Taimak was in one of the pieces.  Yes, the Taimak from The Last Dragon.  He played Bruce Leroy.  If you’ve never hear of Taimak or the film, then shame on you.  Go watch it now!  I’ll wait.