Monday, February 15, 2021

"Savory Taṇhā" at Cleveland Public Theatre

Brian Pedaci
There is currently a NYC-based theater artist named Cheryl Bear who is tearing through all of my short plays on New Play Exchange in reverse alphabetical order. I am stunned and delighted. 

I don’t even know who this person is. You can register as a playwright on NPX and post your work, and read and recommend the work of others. 

You can also register as a reader, which is less expensive (neither is expensive, not for the motherlode of material that is available to you) and Bear is one of those.

While I had already noticed she had been reading and recommending an awful lot of material written by others recently, this is something different. I have no idea why she is doing this, but I can only imagine it speaks well for my work, right?

As of today, she has read all my short plays from W (I haven’t yet written short plays that begin with Z, Y, or X) to M. That's almost 100 scripts! That also means she has already read and recommended several scripts that are included in Savory Taṇhā, which opens this Wednesday at Cleveland Public Theatre.

Some of Bear's comments:
  • SKETCH Things are more than surface level as we learn there may be more behind the faces and the artist drawing them in this intriguing encounter.  
  • STEPS The intoxicating secret moments of risky intimacy vividly portrayed with anticipation.
  • SKINNY DIP The apprehension to just live in the moment and be free perfectly captured.
Zyrece Montgomery
She’s also reminding me of plays I wrote and posted and then haven’t thought about since, and it’s breaking my heart. Little pieces of me, strewn into the great ocean of the internet. And now someone is recovering them, one moment at a time.

I can’t under-state what she’s doing by reading and commenting on all of these, it’s truly affecting.

Savory Taṇhā is a truly beautiful undertaking, one made possible by the current circumstance. Listen to this, this is what I would do, if I could. I’d have a stack of my short, two-person plays. A company of actors would read them, and become familiar with them. They wouldn’t need to memorize them.

A stage manager would have them in a stack, set a timer for one hour, and call actors out to perform them, entirely at random. And go, they would perform them, script in hand, for the audience. When the hour was up, the show would be over.

The culmination of my life’s experience creating original, non-traditional theater. Short honest plays. And all of these scripts are from my soul, they’re who I am. They’re what I think. They are me. 

It's also like a Guerrilla Theater or Dobama's Night Kitchen show, made up entirely of my own writing. Which is also an entirely appropriate thing to have happen.

Hillary Wheelock
Anyway, that was the original idea. But we’re in a pandemic. So, instead, we have a company of five actors, my favorite actors, folks I have known from thirty years to twelve months. And they’ve been turning these plays back and forth, each of them performing in most of the plays, in most of the roles, interpreting each with their own life experience.

Directed by Caitlin Lewins, with original music (performed live!) by Molly Andrew-Hinders and animations by Emma Chu Wolpert, this is a fully-realized production. I am so excited to be presenting a new work for audiences to enjoy.

I should invite Cheryl Bear to see it.

Cleveland Public Theatre presents the Zoom Premiere of "Savory Taṇhā (sixteen short plays performed by a rotating ensemble)" featuring Anne McEvoy Zyrece Montgomery,  Zach Palumbo, Brian Pedaci & Hillary Wheelock, February 17 - March 6, 2021.

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