Monday, September 7, 2009

Burn Your Bookes: The Sneak Preview Recap

After last night's sneak preview of Burn Your Bookes, the proprietor of Balkans via Bohemia knows how lucky he is.

First... let's take care of business. The link to Taffety Punk Theatre Company's sneak preview -- courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its Millennium Stage program -- can be found here as a streaming web video. (Running time slightly over 21 minutes.)

And my friend Hussein Ibish posted his immediate reactions to the performance at his own blog. Hussein does a terrific job of weaving together the action of the bit of the play we performed last night with larger historical currents. I am immensely grateful to him.

And while we're on the subject of gratitude, let me send shout outs to my cast -- Daniel Flint (Edward Kelley), Joel David Santner (Muller) and Paul E. Hope (Syrrus) -- and our costume designer Scott L. Hammar and all the Kennedy Center Family Theater staff who coped with a full house.

I am most indebted, however, to Taffety Punk artistic director Marcus Kyd. I gave Marcus the play last spring. He said Taffety Punk was interested in doing it just around this time last year. And at the same time that he gave me that happy news, I signed up to help the Punks with their press relations.

I can say that this has been one of the best decisions that I've made in recent times. Not only because Taffety Punk is doing great work, but because Taffety Punk walks it like it talks it. They say that they want to attract younger and more diverse audiences to theatre -- and Shakespeare at that -- and they do it by keeping ticket prices lower than the movies ($10 or free) and bringing a brash and ebullient approach to everything they do.

Including this sneak preview of my play, of course. We hope to mount the full production in March or April. Stay tuned here.

And while I am on the subject of thanks, I also want scroll back in time and thank the cast and the organizers of the one-act Burn Your Bookes, which won the first Prague Post Playwriting Festival in 2007-- a contest that is now reinventing itself as a production of Prague Playhouse and continuing as strong as ever.

Akiva Zasman, Mark Bowen and Brendan Payne were the first Kelley, Muller and Syrrus. And my director in Prague, Julek Neumann, really put an amazing amount of thought and passion into the play and its first production. I remain very grateful for that experience as well.

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