CHRONOLOGY OF PLAYS

 

CONTENTS

To skip to a particular play, click on the asterisk (*)

GANG OF SEVEN, 2008 *
LA VIE NOIR, 2007 *
ALONE TOGETHER, 2005 *
TARGET AUDIENCE: The Code of the Western, 2003-04 *
KISS SHOT, 2002 *
AEROBIA (with choreographer Douglas Dunn), 2001 *
THE BIG LIP AND OTHER BACKTALK, 2000 *
UNDERCURRENT INCORPORATED, 1999 *
MONDO BEYONDO, 1997 *
THE FLOATONES, 1995 *
DARK POCKET, 1994 *
THE WRONG MISTAKE,1993 *
LIVE WITNESS, 1992 *
SITUATION ROOM 1992 *
AN EVENING WITH JESSE JAMES, 1988 *
DUET FOR SPIES (The Whole Story), 1985 *

GANG OF SEVEN, 2008

La MaMa E.T.C.

The play cunningly anticipates what will happen when ordinary gatherings for market research get infected with the human potential movement

Mike: everything I’ve ever done has been right on the cutting edge of
legitimate

Frank: the Amermican Dream!

Mike: find a niche nobody saw before and carve your initials in it

Sandy: praise the lord!

Mike: the reality bowl is poised to make noise

Sh’rell: what’s our next move?

Mike: we create demand

Ray: how do we do that?

Mike: we rumorize

.

LA VIE NOIR, 2007

La MaMa, NYC

A small cross-section of America gathers in a high-rise nightclub during the worst storm of the year. When lightning strikes, their friendly film noir threatens to turn into a disaster movie.

Cody
does this seem like itís actually happening to you?

Cora
whatís another possibility?

Cody
for me, we have a cinematic quality

Cora
are we in it or at it?

Cody
the eternal question

 

ALONE TOGETHER, 2005

Dixon Place, NYC

Three plays about eccentric strangers having oddly eloquent encounters.

Susan
is this station one of your favorites?

Mary
well, it has a couple of attractions

the mosaic signs from the late-60s have been very well-maintained

and two lines stop here, so people think Iím waiting for the other one

Susan
how long do you do this?

Mary
how long is a mood?

itís never quite the same

tonight I knew right where I was going

other times I just pick a direction and see whatís out there

Susan
subway pleasure trips

Mary
traditional entertainment was ruining my life

itís wonderful what they can do now, but excruciating

the graphic breakthroughs were beyond anything I ever thought Iíd have to see

I was accumulating memories I didnít deserve

I needed to rethink my leisure options

I always enjoyed travel

and I didnít feel like waiting for my vacation

 

 

TARGET AUDIENCE: The Code of the Western, 2003-04

La MaMa, NYC; TSL Warehouse, Hudson, NY; Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Neu plays a Doctor of Situology (the study of the interface of fact and fiction) following parallel trails ó out where the end of the West meets the end of the Western.

Dr. Thorne
Good evening, and howdy

Iím real pleased to be part of you tonight

this Ė the Saddleholster Film Festival Ė is authentic infraculture

its continuing existence is a tribute to the combined efforts of the Sons of the Cowboys Club and the Daughters of the Damsels Auxiliary

to which Iíd like to add my personal thanks for their willingness to take a chance on something a little bit different

now I know thereís been a lot of confusion about what Situology is, and Iíd like to clear that up

Situology is the study of the interface between the factual and the fictional

those spectacular times when the course of history and the thrust of mythification flow as one

creating islands of enriched reality, forever affecting the current of events to come

 

KISS SHOT, 2002

La MaMa, NYC

KISS SHOT is a comedy with music, set in the near future. In Los Angeles, film noir has evolved into the dominant lifestyle. Events unfold cinematically. Lips Greene, an acoustic musician feeling the pinch of synthesization, meets Monte Blane, a grizzled veteran of the Hollywood fringe. They join forces to track down some legendary forbidden film footage, uncovering more than they bargained for. In this version of the future, everyone carries a Personal Musical Moment Enhancer, enabling them to break into song without warning.

Belle
Iím Belle, Belle Russe, and am I ever your friend

get ready to start wondering where Iíve been all your life

people like you Lips, Iíve talked to them

even Jack, a guy whose idea of a warm impulse is to only break one of your legs

itís a tribute to you, a real compliment

but you canít eat affection

I donít know when you were planning to get serious, but Lips, youíre getting to the age when too long suddenly turns into too late

Iím not saying this to make you feel bad

Iím saying this to give you a clear picture of the pit youíve dug yourself into

Lips
Iím not wondering where youíve been all my life yet

Belle
thatís because you canít see over the rim

Lips, the future you plan for is the future you get

you barely know what youíre doing tomorrow

youíre a pool player, right?

you canít play one shot at a time

itís about position ó making the cue ball end up in the right place for the next shot

if you played like you live, youíd never win

AEROBIA (with choreographer Douglas Dunn), 2001

PS 122, NYC

AEROBIA is the fitness center of the future. Members meet, work out and socialize in an environment that meets needs they didnít know they had.

Chris
I can do it

I can do it

I know I can do it

other people do it

sometimes, when they do it, they donít remind me of me

thereís a lot of confidence out there

when itís time to do something, sometimes Iím underconnected

itís not the same as not knowing what Iím doing

but sometimes it feels like I know it later

I wonder what that looks like

I wonder if wondering what it looks like makes it look like it more

 

THE BIG LIP AND OTHER BACKTALK, 2000

Dixon Place, NYC

Noir lives in an evening of shadowy dialogue and music with attitude. Two actors talk their way through a series of dangerous situations, accompanied by Harry Mann on reeds and keyboards. Their encounters include THE BIG LIP, a one-act update of nick and Nora Charles, and a few songs with lyrics that seem to mean more than they say.

Joe
all right, all right

we know each other in Vienna

Simone
this is Zurich

Joe
weíre not the same people in Zurich

Simone
why not?

Joe
why not?

Simone
why canít we just be the same people

what were our names again?

Joe
we canít be the same people

they didnít go to Zurich

Simone
so weíre both other people

letís be strangers

Joe
Iím not sure that wouldnít violate previous behavior in Zurich

Simone
I know what anybody watching would think we are

Joe
what?

Simone
spies

 

UNDERCURRENT INCORPORATED, 1999

La MaMa, NYC; Exodus Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Explores the plight of downsized spies in the market economy. Facing the future with nothing in their resumes but duplicity and double-dealing, the ex-spies infiltrate the fields of pop fashion and televangelism. Their success surprises even them, but old habits die hard and their urge for intrigue finally canít be denied.

Bob
you canít argue with the tide of history

as spies, the future we didnít have in Asia was exceeded only by the lack of our prospects in Africa

Joe
washed up by the tide of history

Simone
(entering) impaled on a rocky outcrop of muck encrusted sub-culture

Joe
ah Simone, the spin is never quite right until you get here

Simone
I hope you had enough sense to not talk about anything
important

Joe
we were sharing our feelings

Simone
that couldnít have taken much time

 

MONDO BEYONDO, 1997

La MaMa, NYC

Right when Ted Promost, a motivational teleguru, is about to make a career leap to the big time, a figure from his past, Effie Twelvetrees, reappears to threaten his future. She plans to go public with details of his very unenlightened early behavior unless he can find a way to make it up to her. Also involved are Vanesica Caswell, Tedís patron and chief disciple, whose faith in him is stronger than facts, and Riff Dixon, a wryly truculent freelance detective hired by Effie to even the score.

Vanesica
people are watching a wider range of anything all the time

the accumulated viewing of overlapping generations is exciting a historic hunger for something to look at

but Iím telling you, right?

Ted
donít be modest

the rate of your ability as a developing driver is growing in a direct ratio to the depth of your experience as an enthusiastic passenger

Vanesica
if somebody was smart in the woods but nobody
heard it, did it really happen?

Ted
the scope of the smoke has everything to do with the
size of the fire

Vanesica
the forest are the trees

Ted
a dent is only another kind of impression

Vanesica
your random babble makes more sense than other
peopleís coherency

 

THE FLOATONES, 1995

La MaMa, NYC

Four rather strange characters meet at their encounter group and decide the best way to get better is through show business. They form a vocal quartet on the cutting edge of a new fusion between entertainment and self-help. Their night club act shares their group insights in speech and song, interweaving their individual stories, creating a post-Chorus Line.

Mary/Bill/Jim/Keith
weíve talked among each other

to find a way to convey

if thereís anything you need to hear

it wonít be anything we say

Mary
youíve already got plenty to know

Bill
and more than enough to face

Jim
if youíre looking for knowing more

Keith
look for another place

Mary/Bill/Jim/Keith
weíre past reason

weíre post plot

weíre connection-free

weíre content-not

Jim
weíre getting over our meaning dependency

and sharing it with you

 

DARK POCKET, 1994

La MaMa; Dallas Theater Center, Texas; Rosemary Branch Theater, London

Two strangers who meet and immediately sense something mysterious about each other. They are both right. While one imagines himself a classic film noir detective, the other believes people have been looking for him for years. As they leap into the wordplay, neither wants to give away too much before learning it all. Never straying too far from reality, but not attaining it either, songs break out Ė little revelations. As they explore the compatibility of their respective conspiracy theories, they wonder if their meeting was such an accident after all.

Bill
we could be anybody

Jim
we seem like we could be anybody to me

Bill
it makes me feel like a regular person just to think of it

Jim
what did you feel like before?

Bill
like I was mind-surfing at the high end of the infospectrum

Jim
itís good to keep busy

Bill
you donít seem surprised

Jim
I donít surprise easy

Bill
what does it take?

Jim
what have you got?

 

THE WRONG MISTAKE,1993

La MaMa, NYC

Bill, an average guy, steps into a bar for a drink, only to find he has entered a hotbed of surrealism. Intrigue, songs and a plot that seems to be about him makes Bill wish heíd stayed home.

Riff
do we know each other already, or is it just the way I feel?

Jim
do you ever wonder if youíre interrupting something?

Riff
whoís your friend?

Bill
weíre talking, but we never met

Jim
you broke our flow

Riff
are you always this linear, man?

Bill
I donít know if I felt "our flow"

Jim
we were about to get to what you needed to hear

Riff
sounds like you were flowing alone, man

LIVE WITNESS, 1992

Portland Stage Co., Maine
Dixon Place, NY

Two TV co-anchors try to perform their show, despite some very seamy and public rumors about one of them.

1
people wonder if we see each other socially

2
do they?

1
is it so hard to imagine?

2
I never tried

1
me either

2
I wouldnít want to jeopardize the quality of our
professional rapport

1
I wouldnít want to compromise the integrity of our
mutual objectivity

2
in a way weíre a good example of whatís going on here

we have the same relationship to each other that the audience has to us

weíre here simultaneously, but weíre not really together

1
sometimes I feel closer to the audience than I do to you

even as I talk to you, Iím really talking to somebody else

 

SITUATION ROOM, 1992

Soho Rep, NYC

Worlds collide when a couple of market researchers target a group of actors to investigate leisure behavior.

Harry
well, youíre probably wondering how to think of me

Mary
I donít mind saying whatís going on isnít completely clear in my mind yet

Terry
I explained it

Mary
I know

Harry
itís simple, yet subtle

Mary
sometimes you canít tell if itís the situation or the words somebody is putting it into

Harry
Iím sure we can make it work

we intend to begin marketing reality-based product endorsements starring you two as the people you actually are

and to know how other people will see you, we need to know how you are ourselves

but the last thing we want to do is intrude

just think of it as opening a window on your life and inviting us in

see, we really want to know what would be happening if we werenít here

for us, the experience is entirely yours

 

AN EVENING WITH JESSE JAMES, 1988

PS 122, Miranda Theater Co., NYC

A micro and macro view of Americaís most enduring outlaw. Scenes of the James family at home alternate with a narrator describing the ups and downs of Jesseís public career.

Zerelda M
Ö.Iím not as easy around other people any more

is that love?

Zerelda S
I think you two were made for each other

Zerelda M
heavy praise Mother James

Iím sure you donít say that lightly

Zerelda S
he needs the kind of woman who understands the kind of man
who lives the kind of life a man like him lives

Zerelda M
he has a serious feeling for who a man like him is

Zerelda S
blessed is him who can sit back and cast his eyes upon
what he hath wrought

my boys hath wrought plenty

 

DUET FOR SPIES (The Whole Story), 1985

London International Festival of Theater, UK, BACA, PS 122, Chain Lighting Theater Co. NYC, University of Wisconsin

A spy being interrogated by a superior can only guess at the mission, priorities and agenda behind the encounter.

Spy 1
mark my words

if people knew what we think, theyíd know enough to be glad weíre on their side

but donít hold your breath

itís up to a guy like us to find our own gratification

I get a little . . . . physical sometimes walking around in a group of other people

I think about what the guy next to me doesnít know about the guy next to him

I think about how much more Iíve got for him to not know about than he could possibly have for me to not know about.

look ó youíve got to be able to love the life!

 

 

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