Monday Night PlayGround

playgroundMonday night was the season opener of PlayGround at Berkeley Rep, and I was lucky enough to have my play selected as one of the six that received a staged reading.

The topic was Futurism Revisited, in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the original Futurist Manifesto. I chose to focus on the movement’s appreciation of hyper-conciseness and speed and conveniently ignore its later association with Mussolini and fascism.

So I wrote a 10-minute play called A Futurist Supersaga In Six Acts. Which is a bit of a misnomer, actually. One of the six acts is actually broken into three acts itself, making eight acts total — but who’s counting?

Even though rehearsal was only 90-minutes long, it was a complete joy. Stacy Ross and Steve Irish, two of the best actors in the Bay Area and beyond, were cast as the Man and Woman. (I suppose that should be Woman and Man.) And Jon Tracy, of The Farm at Shotgun Players fame, directed. Watching the play move from page to table read to a brilliant performance in about 2 hours was unbelievably fun.

After a 45-second tech — you can’t really have a lot of light cues when doing a six act play in 10 minutes — I was part of a pre-show panel with Marisela Orta, Ken Slattery and Raelle Myrick-Hodges, the artistic director of Brava. Raelle had just directed a number of the original Futurist plays from 1909, so she gave a lot of insight into how Futurism evolved and still influences the art world today.

Then came the readings, which rocked, feeding off the energy of an almost-full Roda Theater. Afterwards, one of the biggest groups yet of playwrights, actors, directors, board members and friends headed to Beckett’s for a lively post-show drink.

You can tell the conversations were captivating because Eric Hayes went off to buy me a beer, got caught up talking about Eugene O’Neill, and didn’t come back for quite a while — and I was so busy laughing and talking I didn’t even notice I was sitting in front of an empty beer glass. Trust me: that is a very rare occurrence.