"Im really, basically, a homebody," insists Jiang Qing, a.k.a. Mrs. Mao Zedong, in the interview that opens Anne Washburns play The Ladies. "Im a very ordinary girl who became a movie star." The claim is disingenuous, but tantalizing; in a play by Anne Washburn, whose work makes a study of exposing the malevolent within the mundane, a characters proclamation of ordinariness is a promise of extraordinary things to come.
Recent months have brought significant commercial availability to Samuel Beckett’s theater work, with 19 stage plays out on DVD and a CD release of the playwright’s astonishing radio plays. Jeremy Irons hosted an evening of short plays in September on PBS, which also more recently broadcast director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Waiting for Godot on January 1st.
Back in October, a bunch of us got together to discuss what we as members of the theater community might do in response to the threat of war on Iraq and to the attack on civil liberties at home, how we might stop feeling isolated, discouraged, and afraid. It occurred to us that the most truthful and direct response was to use what we already do: lots & lots of different kinds of theater.
American Theater Nexus at the BRIC Studio Louise will be speaking today at a gathering of corporate executives. It seems that the regularly scheduled speaker, Alice ("Alice The Magnet"), has had her arms pulled out of their sockets this very morning. Louise’s speech will turn from self-help aphorisms to a detailed account of her recent drunken encounters with a fella who had promised her a six-pack in exchange for sex. A bargain, at any rate.