These are wild, unprecedented times, but it is in times like these that the bonds of community are even more vital. Theater in Asylum has been trying to figure out what to do with our various programs and how to adjust (logistically, financially, emotionally!) and we realized that our Cold Reading series, now in its 6th year, is perfectly poised for this moment. We hope you'll join us and share in some great theater these next few Wednesdays!
For those of you who've never been...
Cold Readings are totally unrehearsed– "cold"– readings of plays, usually with wine and snacks in our favorite rehearsal room at The Artist Co-op. We cast quickly (disregarding age, gender, ability, race, etc) to give actors and non-actors alike an opportunity to read a role they might not otherwise be cast in. At the start of every reading we say something along the lines of, "Make big, bold choices. You're already cast and this is closing night." After each reading we have a discussion about the play and its themes, focusing in on where/how the play should be produced and what the challenges of producing it might entail. We've hosted 65 of these readings so far and you can find a complete list of the plays here.
How to participate in a Cold Reading (during these quarantined days)
Join us these next few Wednesdays!
All are welcome (theater artists and theater lovers alike)!
by Eugene Ionesco
Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses; ultimately the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Bérenger, a flustered everyman figure who is initially criticized in the play for his drinking, tardiness, and slovenly lifestyle and then, later, for his increasing paranoia and obsession with the rhinoceroses. The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Fascism and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of conformity, culture, fascism, responsibility, logic, mass movements, mob mentality, philosophy and morality.
Wednesday, March 25 at 8pm EST / 5pm PT
Join us for this absurdist masterpiece.
by Neil Simon
"Has nothing on its mind except making the audience laugh." - The New York Times
At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden's Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and mis-communications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity.
Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm EST / 4pm PT
We're all about to come down with a case of Farce...
IN THE NEXT ROOM
(THE VIBRATOR PLAY)
by Sarah Ruhl
Set in the 1880s at the dawn of the age of electricity and based on the bizarre historical fact that doctors used vibrators to treat 'hysterical' women (and some men), the play centers on a doctor and his wife and how his new therapy affects their entire household.
In a seemingly perfect, well-to-do Victorian home, proper gentleman and scientist Dr. Givings has innocently invented an extraordinary new device for treating "hysteria": the vibrator. Adjacent to the doctor's laboratory, his young and energetic wife tries to tend to their newborn daughter—and wonders exactly what is going on in the next room. When a new "hysterical" patient and her husband bring a wet nurse and their own complicated relationship into the doctor's home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings must examine the nature of their own marriage, and what it truly means to love someone.
Wednesday, April 8 at 7pm EST / 4pm PT
You can learn more about our Cold Reading series here.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay hopeful.
Theater in Asylum
These are wild times, but these are also times when the ties of community and family become clearer. Thank you for all you're doing to support those around you, be it hand washing or FaceTime. We had our final performance of Hephaestus last night and it was such a joy. We'll be sending photos soon! But it is now with a heavy heart, and out of an abundance of caution, that we have to inform you of a few changes to our upcoming events:
We are watching the news closely and are discussing what to do next. We hope you are keeping yourself safe and healthy, but also hopeful and engaged with the community. If you are an artist and are struggling as we are with all the cancelled gigs, you can find lots of resources here.
Thank you so much and hope to see you online on Monday!
Love and gratitude,
Paul, Katie, Kathryn, and Hilarie
UPDATE: This event has been cancelled.
by Peter Shaffer
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 7-10pm
Conversation facilitated by Jonas Cohen
Winner of a Tony Award for Best Play, the Academy Award for Best Film, and triumphant in revivals in the West End and on Broadway, this provocative work weaves a confrontation between mediocrity and genius into a tale of breathtaking dramatic power. In the court of the Austrian Emperor Josef, Antonio Salieri is the established composer. Enter the greatest musical genius of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri has given himself to God so that he might realize his sole ambition to be a great composer. Mozart is a foul-mouthed, graceless oaf who has that which is beyond Salieri's envious grasp: Genius. Told as a memory and a confession, Salieri makes the audience complicit as he weaves a tale of music, ambition, and possible murder on the last night of his life.
Upcoming Cold Readings
Tell us a little about yourself.
Growing up in Appalachia taught me many things about music, mountains and storytelling, and those ideas have influenced my work for the past 5 years. In a professional sense, I split myself between New York and Appalachia, and run around seeking ways that rural-urban exchanges can happen in our artistic endeavors. I work with Amy Brooks to cultivate spaces through our collective, Cardinal Cross. As a human, I have always been interested in how we create community and where music comes in. I love breve lattes, my fuzzy cats, making music, especially with others and Joni Mitchell.
What drew you to The Debates?
I met Paul a few years back, as a fill in stage manager and really felt inspired by his work and his connection to community and politics. When I moved back to NYC, I really wanted to find a way to get back involved in the civic and political landscape of NYC, in the same way that I was always involved in Political groups in Kentucky, and The Debates seemed like a perfect fit. It was a super important, fun project, and I could collaborate with amazing people that inspire me, everyday.
How do you think arts and politics work together or relate?
Art and politics mirror one another, in my opinion, and I don't necessarily believe that art can be outside of politics. Both art and the political landscape are outlets and spaces for conversation that encourage people, to actively use their voices, both as artists and as citizens, to speak up about the problems occurring in their community. Art is a vessel in which others are able to realize the strongest tool they have to foster change is their voices. In my opinion, these political voices belong to a greater, more profound catalyst for societal change that are found in our younger generation; the generation that defines what it means to be a modern human in trying times. And that's who we're seeing making a difference in the political sphere today. As artists, our work reflects our experience and the world we are living in today is inherently political. Right now especially, we have the power to shape our our narratives and hopefully, we can breathe new life into old traditions and pave the way for stronger systems to come in our communities and economies.
Learn more about Theater in Asylum's staff here.
Hephaestus performs next week!
March 11-13, 2020
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
God of fire, god of the forge, the worker god: Hephaestus. At once a meditation on labor, dis/ability, and beauty, Hephaestus interrogates our relationships to our bodies, and our ideas of beauty and divinity. Drawing on texts ancient and new, Hephaestus explores the limitations of the body and the self, and our desire to transcend them.
Learn more and find tickets here.
Like our next logo for The Debates?
The Debates 2020 is a theatrical adaptation of the Democratic Primary debates and we've got two events in March and a big show in April that we'll tell you more about later. In the meantime....
Debate Watch Party
Join us to watch the debate live as it happens.
Sunday, March 15 (RSVP)
Political Analysis Meeting
Help us figure out what happened and what should go in our show.
Monday, March 16 (RSVP)
Join us at our next Cold Reading
We're reading Peter Shaffer's Amadeus on Wednesday, March 25 and our dear friend Jonas Cohen is guest facilitating! Learn more about Cold Readings and RSVP here.
We've got so much going on this month. Thank you for sticking with us and we hope to see you soon!
With love and gratitude,
Paul, Katie, Kathryn, Samantha
Theater in Asylum is looking for a Video Designer for The Debates 2020!
Theater in Asylum is turning the Democratic Primary Debates into theater this April, and we need a person to help us source and edit the videos from the debates!
We are looking for someone who's enthusiastic, a team player, a self-starter and savvy with computers. If you don't already have video editing skills, still reach out to us - we'd be happy to train the right person. We use Qlab and iMovie and are happy to teach you what we know.
Please email a short note about yourself and your resume to Hilarie Spangler, TIA's Community Engagement Manager, email@example.com
Any questions? Also reach out to Hilarie!
Theater in Asylum (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to provide asylum to highly charged subjects and characters. With an ensemble-driven process and performance, we investigate to inspire curiosity, empathy, and action. We seek a freer world and believe theater is both the means and the ends.
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