Christopher Chen and I are both in a group alternatively called the Magic Artists Lab or the Magic Theatre Emerging Artists Lab, depending on who sends the email. Chris has also come to several Playwrights Pub Nights, we’re friends on Facebook, and we bump into each other at other people’s plays from time to time.
So I’m a little chagrined that it took me so damn long to make it out to his fascinating play The Window Age. It’s been running since February 21, and I just made it last Saturday, and I’m just mentioning it now, with only three shows left.
As anyone knows who caught his play Into The Numbers at BAPF a couple years ago, Chris is a terrific playwright doing big, ambitious plays (as opposed to the “two dudes hanging around their apartments and the girl that comes between them” plays that a lot of writers in their twenties have to get out of their system) and this one may be the most ambitious yet.
The play takes place in 1920’s England and deals with the birth of three things that collided at that time: Modernism, psychoanalysis and shell shock. In keeping with the subject matter, the play moves from a realistic dinner party to a Virginia Woolf inspired stream of consciousness and then into dreams and the subconscious.
Central Works puts on its shows in the gorgeous Julia Morgan-designed Berkeley City Club, and Chris brilliantly created a play that’s completely at home in that atmosphere. They also develop their plays using the “Central Works Method,” meaning the play doesn’t exist before the process begins and the writer works collaboratively with the actors, director and designers.
I couldn’t imagine how incredible and exhilarating it must be to write a play knowing that it will absolutely be going up in just a few months. That is, I couldn’t imagine it until I read this wonderful essay by Chris on Chloe Veltman’s lies like truth blog. An absolute must-read.
And the play is a must-see. Unfortunately, you don’t have much time left to must-see it. Fortunately, most of the people I know have seen it already. But if you haven’t….