Call us crazy, but we like site-specific theater. There’s something about being in a place that’s the same as the place where the show you are watching is taking place. (Say that ten times fast.) One of our favorites in the genre was the now-defunct En Garde Arts’ production of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, which starred Fiona Shaw and was nothing short of amazing. Fiona Shaw performed the famous poem in a theater that was literally falling down around you as the show went on. Easily one of the more amazing pieces seen in New York in the past 20 years, largely because of the setting.
This show is a little different. Instead of a great British actress, you’ve got a cast of 50 (-choke-), 14 directors (-double choke-), all visiting theatrical landmarks in the West Village. As they say in the press release, “OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments” long-term mission is to persuade the city to install permanent plaques at each historic Village location in order to commemorate its artistic legacy. “It’s impossible to stop all the change,” notes PWP’s Co-Artistic Director Ralph Lewis. “The reason you have to do these sorts of events is to remind people that when you do change, don’t forget that there used to be these important places and events here. It’s also a way to draw attention to some of the material that influenced our desire to be part of this community as well as to draw attention to all of these old spaces that no longer exist.” Sounds good to us. Full press release, with a lot of info about the company, Peculiar Works, is after the jump. September 21 through October 7, check out our new calendar page for the start date of these and other shows.
PECULIAR WORKS PROJECT
presents a site-specific multi-venue theater production
“OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments”
FEATURING A COMPANY OF 50 ACTORS, 14 DIRECTORS,
and VISITING A DOZEN THEATRICAL LANDMARKS
IN HISTORIC GREENWICH VILLAGE
SEPTEMBER 21 through OCTOBER 7
THREE TOURS NIGHTLY—THURSDAYS thru SUNDAYS
OFFICIALLY OPENS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Peculiar Works Project (Co-Artistic Directors Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter, and Barry Rowell), founded in 1993, will present an exciting site-specific multi-venue production that will travel along historic Greenwich Village streets entitled “OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments,” featuring a company of 50 actors, 14 directors, and visiting a dozen theatrical landmarks. Performances will begin on Thursday, September 21 and run through Saturday, October 7. There will be three evening tours each performance day at 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00 p.m. The official opening night will be the performances on Sunday, September 24.
Tours will start near the Jefferson Market Garden, 6th Avenue and West 9th (exact location will be given upon making a reservation) and will end at Judson Memorial Church (Washington Square South) where there will be a reception at the end of each and every tour. As the tour proceeds, short scenes from over a dozen landmark Off-Off Broadway plays will reawaken the actual sites where they premiered. There will also be original performances between the stops. Peculiar Works promises this to be a special treat for lovers of theater and the history of Greenwich Village. The production is equally recommended for New Yorkers and tourists alike and is suitable for ages 13 and up.
Playwrights and plays will include: Kenneth Brown (The Brig); Diane di Prima (Monuments); Rosalyn Drexler, with music by Al Carmines (Home Movies); Maria Irene Fornes (The Successful Life of 3); Paul Foster (The Recluse); Robert Heide (The Bed; West of the Moon); William M. Hoffman (Goodnight, I Love You); Claris Nelson (The Rue Garden); Robert Patrick (The Haunted Host); Richard Schechner and The Performance Group (Dionysus 69); Sam Shepard (Red Cross); Gertrude Stein, with music by Al Carmines (In Circles); Doric Wilson (And He Made A Her); and Lanford Wilson (The Madness of Lady Bright).
Stops will include the site or location of the following: Caffe Cino, Provincetown Playhouse, Washington Square Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Church, Circle-in-the-Square (Downtown), Cherry Lane Theatre, Sheridan Square Playhouse, and Jefferson Market Garden (Women’s House of Detention).
The acting company of 50 will include: Ben Beckley, Janet Bryant, Lindsey Carroll, Siobhan Dougherty, Patricia Drozda, John Grace, Erik Gratton, Liz Gutman, Steve Hauck, Andrew Hurley, Derek Jamison, Alex Lane, Shawn Mahoney, Jerry Marsini, Jason Martin, Belinda Mello, Gretchen Michelfeld, Chris Mirto, Catherine Porter, Patrick Taylor, Michael Tomlinson, and Max Woertendyke.
The 14 directors will include: Tim Cusack, Mark Finley, Julie Hamberg, Jillian Harrison, Jeff Janisheski, Anna McHugh, Casey McLain, Chris Mirto, Elaine Molinaro, Renee Philippi, Gabriel Shanks, David Vining, and Miriam Weiner.
All tickets will be $15.00; $10.00 for students and seniors; TDF accepted. Tickets for all performances will be available by calling 212-529-3626, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on “OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments” and Peculiar Works Project
In 2000, PECULIAR WORKS PROJECT (www.peculiarworks.org) created and produced an acclaimed large-scale performance, The Judson House Project, which represented PWP’s first effort to enlist collaborative teams to create new works around a single theme (the legacy of an historic building). They followed this up with 3 years of work with over 100 artists and performers from across disciplines to adapt Miguel Cervantes’ classic novel, Don Quixote, culminating in the summer of 2004 epic site-specific performance, In Praise of Folly, throughout the entire 13th floor of the Merchant’s Square Building in Lower Manhattan.
In 2005, PECULIAR WORKS embarked on a yearlong journey into the plays and venues that most defined the origin of Off-Off Broadway. It set its sights back 50 years ago when a spark of revolution turned Greenwich Village into a hot spot of artistic experimentation. This fall a multi-venue traveling performance through historic Greenwich Village will take three tours per night (at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.) on a 2-hour “performance heritage trail.” Along the way, audiences will experience an original multidisciplinary performance punctuated by short scenes from over a dozen landmark plays at the actual sites where they were originally performed.
Born of the Pass-the-Hat circuit, Coffeehouse Theater, and Anti-War Protest actions, the Off-Off Broadway movement found its heart and soul in Greenwich Village. Over the past few years, some important downtown theater venues, such as Circle in the Square, Sullivan Street Playhouse, Variety Arts, Perry Street Theater, Gene Frankel Theater and the Provincetown Playhouse, have been demolished or are targeted for destruction. With “OFF Stage,” PECULIAR WORKS will voyage into the birth of NYC’s alternative theater movement: Off-Off Broadway. And in that voyage will draw attention to the hidden secrets behind the incredible spaces that New Yorkers walk by everyday—important sites that have supported so many significant plays and colorful characters.
“OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments” long-term mission is to persuade the city to install permanent plaques at each historic Village location in order to commemorate its artistic legacy. “It’s impossible to stop all the change,” notes PWP’s Co-Artistic Director Ralph Lewis. “The reason you have to do these sorts of events is to remind people that when you do change, don’t forget that there used to be these important places and events here. It’s also a way to draw attention to some of the material that influenced our desire to be part of this community as well as to draw attention to all of these old spaces that no longer exist.”