Did you make it to any of the festivals we mentioned a short while back? If you did, good for you, and you’ll know that these late fall smorgasbords have been putting some nifty stuff on stage; if you didn’t, this is a great week to make up for it, as the One Festival includes some very interesting pieces – all by solo performers, as the name implies. The range is pleasingly head-spinning: from Ryan Paulson’s white-bread Pentecostal Wisconsin to Wild Rice, Scarlett Lam’s portrayal of generational conflict between traditional Chinese values and modern New Jersey reality, to Joyia Bradley’s Soul To Keep, which weaves lives of African Americans from the past and present together, plus four other shows, there are bound to be some striking performances.
Some of the entries in the One Festival have been onstage before, but they’re still relatively new and untested. If you’re looking to go to a show this week and want a known quantity, there are two solo plays that have extended multiple times and gotten raves from all quarters. Bukowski from Beyond gives you a chance to get up close and personal with the poet, or at least his new earthly representative in the form of Steve Payne, who also got plaudits for his acting in the Bukowski play South of No North, in 2000. A rather different character comes to life in Thom Paine (based on nothing), a monologue written by Will Eno and performed by T. Ryder Smith. James Urbaniak originated the role way back in February, to much acclaim, but with Smith’s performance you’re still in for a night of unexpectedly riveting theatre.
Speaking of monologues, Jeff Goode’s The Eight: Reindeer Monologues , opening this week at the Red Room, will get you in the holiday mood despite the recent balmy weather. It’s billed as “a Christmas comedy for consenting adults only,” which is pretty much the only kind of Christmas comedy we would want; in it, Santa’s reindeer tell you more than you may have wanted to know about the sad, twisted reality of life at the North Pole. Sounds like a good antidote to the smarmy, feel-good Santa story that just went up in Macy’s windows.
Finally (in both senses), we leave solo shows to note a theatre company really making good use of the internet: The Collapsable Giraffe’s new show, Letters from the Earth, has live feeds, plus archives, from rehearsals and performances (which is not to say that you shouldn’t go to the actual theater!). The play riffs on Mark Twain’s religious satire in the company’s dependably quirky way, using “ancient” (radio) and modern modes of transmission to explore the human need to combat loneliness and isolation, and is likely, if the company’s past shows are any indication, to be bizarre but very cool, and if you’re not convinced you can see snippets for yourself on the website. Maybe in the future more companies will take this route and provide trailers for their shows; in the meantime, you’ll just have to take our word for it that there’s lots of great stuff to see right now.
Details after the jump...
Thom Paine is at DR2, 103 E. 15th St., through Dec. 31; shows are Tues.-Fri. 8pm, Sat. 6pm & 9pm, Sun. 3pm & 7pm. Tickets from Telecharge.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues is at the Red Room, 85 E. 4th St., from Nov. 18-Dec. 17, with shows Fri. & Sat. 10:30pm. Tickets via Smarttix.
Letters from the Earth is at the Collapsable Hole in Williamsburg, 146 Metropolitan Ave. Through Nov. 26, it’s on Sat. at 9pm; Dec. 2-17 it’s Fri. & Sat. at 9pm. Make reservations here.