Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Focus on plays and playwrights: a blog post in four acts

1) Tuesday, June 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:Victor Lodato, author of Edgar and Lucy.

We've been talking up Victor Lodato since his novel Edgar and Lucy came out. Heck, we've been talking up Victor Lodato since his first novel, Mathilda Savitch came out.

Here's our buyer Jason Kennedy talking about the book: "This tale of grief and love is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Edgar. He loves the two women in his life, his mother, Lucy, and his grandmother, Lucy's mother-in-law. Lucy is really unaware of how to raise her son (and she has not really come to grips with her own past traumas), and the grandmother is the one who takes care of him. When Edgar's grandmother dies, there is a lot of growing up that both Lucy and Edgar have to do together. Can they? Of course there will be trials ahead for this relationship when Edgar goes missing and Lucy has to desperately find him as a bearded stranger in a green truck explodes from nowhere to throw this book into darker territory. Love is what will hold Edgar and Lucy together. The writing just grabbed me and dragged me into its depths; I simply adored this novel and its characters."

Here's Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney in The New York Times Book Review: "For all of its existential searching, Edgar and Lucy ends up being a riveting and exuberant ride, maybe best described by its young protagonist’s musings about his nascent life."

Lodato's story "Herman Melville, Volume One," appeared in The New Yorker. Here's an interview with Lodato and fiction editor Cressida Leyshon.

Lodato, however, is as well know for his plays as he is for his fiction. He is a recipient of the Weissberger Award for Motherhouse, and has also received a Helen Merrill Award, the John Golden Prize, and the Julie Harris Playwriting Award. Here's a list of his plays:

The Bread of Winter, with this from The Washington Post: "The Bread of Winter threads a heart-tugging story line into an apocalyptic vision that's as artfully elliptical as haiku. This spooky play has an anguished lyricism about it. It's like Matthew Arnold's famous poem "Dover Beach" rewritten for the era of carbon-footprint paranoia.”

3F, 4F, with this from the San Francisco Chronicle: “Tantalizingly quick-witted ... the dialogue has an exhilarating snap and tempo that reminds one of Edward Albee."

Arlington, with The New Yorker saying in their review: "It's hard to believe that this musical monologue…was written by a man, so accurately drawn is the inner life of Sara Jane, a young housewife whose husband is away at war."

And here are more plays: The Woman who Amuses Herself, Slay the Dragon, Wildlife, Motherhouse Dear Sara Jane, and The Eviction.

2) Wednesday, August 16, 7 pm, at Boswell: Irish Fest Preview event, featuring Kathleen Anne Kenney, author of Girl on the Leeside

As we mentioned last week, Wauwatosa raised Kathleen Anne Kennedy is appearing at the Irish Fest Literary Corner, with a preview event at Boswell. Boswellian Anne McMahon, who volunteers at Irish Fest, read Girl on the Leeside and enjoyed it.

But like Lodato, Kenney has a second calling as a playwright. She has had numerous short plays presented in Minnesota theaters and has published the play The Ghost of an Idea, a one-actor piece about Charles Dickens . Her play New Menu was a winner in the 2012 Rochester Repertory Theatre's national short-play competition. She is currently at work on a novel based on her 2014 stage play, The Bootleg Blues.

3) Wednesday, August 23, 7 pm, at Boswell: The In Tandem Theatre presents a preview of All the Great Books (Abridged)

We work with a theater company just about every season to feature one of their upcoming productions. Often, but not always book related, this preview features not one book in the tie in, but all of them.

Join us for a scene preview from In Tandem Theatre as they present All the Great Books! (Abridged). An English class eagerly awaits graduation until they realize they haven’t passed their final exam! The drama professor, student teacher, and gym coach team up to get them through all the great works of literature – in 90 minutes flat — as the literary canon explodes in this hilarious, high-energy comedy!

As the publisher says, "Confused by Confucius? Thoroughly thrown by Thoreau? Wish Swift was swifter? Then buckle up and hop aboard as you zip through everything you didn’t get around to reading in school, a ninety-eight minute roller-coaster ride through the world’s great books."

All the Great Books (Abridged) opens at the Tenth Street Theatre on Thursday October 5th 2017. The play is directed by Chris Flieller and features actors: Ryan Schabach (professor), Chris Goode (student teacher) and Doug Jarecki (coach).

Purchase tickets for the play!

4) We're hoping to work again with a theater group to dramatize a scene from a book as part of an author event. Several of our prior collaborations have been among the most memorable events we've ever been a part of

1. Dava Sobel and Soulstice Theater, for A More Perfect Heaven

2. Christopher Moore and Theatre Gigante, for The Serpent of Venice

3. Emily St. John Mandel and the Soulstice Theater, for Station Eleven.

I can't believe that we haven't done this since 2014!

Coda) Recently I visited the Drama Bookshop in New York and set up a display of my brother-in-law's monologue collections. Don't you think he'd be a great speaker? More on Gus Edwards and his work here. And here too. Pay attention to his conversation with Douglas Turner Ward of the Negro Ensemble Company.

1 comment:

Edward Lupella said...

Shameless plug - Bad Example Productions will be performing an adaptation of Niel Gaiman's "Coraline" at 10th Street Theater August 3-13, just to add to books and drama. This adaptation has a book by David Greenspan and music/lyrics by Stephen Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields).

More info: http://coralinemusical.brownpapertickets.com/

As a Christopher Moore fanatic, I'm excited to see Serpent of Venice!