Monday, August 22, 2005

eight more chances

Yes, folks that's right, you still have eight chances to see Oedipus at Palm Springs with the original cast before it gets turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Frances McDormond, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry and Robert DeNiro in his first lesbian role. We'd love to see you down at NYTW and I can promise you a stimulating evening at the theater. My offer still stands to speak with anyone who'd like to hang around after the show.

Today was a bona fide day off and all is quiet on the Eastern Village front. I had big plans to accomplish things like laundry today but I must tell you that taking a long nap around 4:00 when my personality was at its nadir took precedent. The weather in the city took a nice turn for the cool and dry and I found it irresistible for sleeping. Just so you know, I am not a napper friends but everything combined to send me to slumberland for a few hours. I am not a slacker "artist", I am not!

I did sort the laundry. And I changed the cat litter. That's how glamorous it is Off-Broadway, folks.

We had special guests visiting us again at the performances yesterday, notably Pat and Rosemary, bio-sisters to Peg and family to the rest of the Brothers, who drove like demons up from Richmond to see the show. Also our friends Jessie and Jill from San Francisco, Kathleen from Toronto and Mary Beth and Therese from Minneapolis. Wow, we are some lucky girls to have all these great people with very busy lives of their own make the effort to come and see us and this show.

It's the final week everyone, so don't forget to come and see us while you still have the chance. Also, a word of advice on the ticket situation. If you are told by the Telecharge people that there are no more tickets for a particular performance, it might be wise to go to the theater anyway and see if you can get one. People turn in their tickets at the last minute and the actual box office has more seats usually than Telecharge seems to be aware of. When I have sent friends to do this, they have not been turned away.

See you later.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

back again!


Sorry to be away for a few days but things got busy. I am between shows on Saturday, finished the matinee and have a few precious moments to share with you here in the blogsphere.

Things are going well, what can I say? The show motors along and we are visited by friends and family from all over North America. It is very exciting! I have had visitors from Toronto who came all the way to another country just to see our play. I am so very grateful for that. And tonight, my good friends Suzy and Joe are here from Tacoma, WA. That is way further away than Toronto, if I remember correctly my geography. And in a totally different direction. These people had to take a plane to get here. Isn't that something? Suzy, it should be told, was my junior high school drama teacher from back in my days of 7th grade, before stage lights were invented and we had to do the shows like seances with candlelight. I miss those times, though not the occasional costume fire. Thank god for electricity.

We had a sweet, sorrowful parting on Thursday night with our wardrobe supervisor, Erin. She had to go to another show at another theatre which we shall not mention and we were sad to see her say goodbye. I will find a picture of her in action backstage and see if I can squeeze it in here. Erin, we miss you!

Replacing her is the fabulous Ann who has bravely stepped into Erin's place without flinching at the prospect of dressing and quick-changing five lesbians in the dark. Sexy? You bet! Ann is our lady for the next week until we close.

That's right, friends, the show is going to close. Notice was posted, as we say in the business and Oedipus at Palm Springs will be no more after next Sunday, August 28th. There's still time to see it before it melts and if you are coming from out of town, the weather has not been too bad. A little muggy today but at least no blazing sun to make it a steam bath. Autumn is just around the corner and so too are our day jobs. Sigh.

Do come and visit us and bring a bunch of people with you who would like to laugh a lot and have their heartstrings plucked by five plucky lesbos and their fantastic crew of professionals. They sell very nice sweet snacks in the lobby and coffee and tea and all that stuff, along with signed copies of our book of plays. If you don't like theatre too much, think about the literary aspect and come buy a volume of our work. It's quite a handsome book, if I do say so myself, thanks to the fabulous folks at Theatre Communications Group who published it.

OK, off to 4th street I go, quick like the bunny.

blogdaciously yours,

Monday, August 15, 2005

day "off"

Welcome Blogettes!

Reporting to you live from east 13th Street where the weather is cool and gray. Super-duper NYC rainstorms yesterday and the day before cleared out all the extra-nasty August swampiness and left a moody but comfortable spot of relief in its place. It has been miserable here for the last week and we have had no rain since I can't recall when. The torrents poured down during the matinee and the evening show, complete with nifty thunder sound effects courtesy of the universe and trapping the early audience in the lobby after the show. I got to chat with some of them as I was likewise unable to venture outside and that was really nice. It is quite rewarding to speak with people about the show and hear what they got out of it.

Today we have no show but we do have a little speaking engagement over at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center A lovely group o folks from there came to see the show last night and they are still eager to talk about it with us. And hey, if you would like to come over and join us, you are more than welcome. The Center is on 13th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues and if you have a ticket stub to the show you get in free. Otherwise, it's five bucks I think. And you do not have to be lesbian, gay, bi or trans to come an listen and speak! That's the beauty of the Center: it is for everyone to learn about our cultures.

Hard to believe there are only two weeks left of performances but alas, it is true. There are still 16 chances to see the show, so don't wait until the last weekend, friends! We want to see you pretty faces out there.

More on this and other matters theatrical later. I'm off to pull my look together and get across town to west 13th street.

bloggin' you is easy 'cause you're beautiful,

Saturday, August 13, 2005

wasting away again in Margaritaville...

As promised, here is a picture of all Five Brothers, mid-margarita and singing happy birthday to Terri, a character in the show. It's a long story, but if you come and see the play it will all make sense to you.

You can see some of the Palm Springs Fabulousness in the background, concocted by the resident mad genius of decor that is Alan Shrier. He really outdid himself for the opening, let me tell you. But I think I already told you on a previous post. The party was a gay one and we laughed and talked and drank ourselves silly, deep into the night.

You can also see that I am the most wasted Brother of all, and let me tell you, those virgin margaritas have a kick to them. Good thing I didn't have a real one or I'm sure the evening would have ended with someone in police custody. The true margaritas were delicious, according to them that drunk 'em and it was a fine night all around.

The show is going well as we enter our four-show weekend today. We've had nice houses and we had a swell talkback with the audience last night, graciously moderated by our smarty-pants colleague from Vassar College, Gabrielle Cody. It was a very thought-provoking discussion and a lot of folks stuck around to hear us talk even more, after they'd just sat there and listened to us in the play. It's always intriguing to hear what our viewers got out of the piece, what they saw or had trouble with and of course, it's a joy to hear what moved them or what they were delighted by. NYTW has a curious audience, and they really like to engage with the plays that are presented. It's a great experience to be able to hear from the other side of the footlights (not that this show has footlights) about what the play provokes in people.

One question that we got last night was: where did we get our name? Dominique answered last night and I will attempt to paraphrase her here just so you readers out there might be satisfied if you too are wondering about this matter. It is an inquiry we often get and if we had a FAQs page, it would be there.

So, during the rehearsal process for our first show Voyage to Lesbos, Dominique had a graveyard shift job at a tony, midtown law firm. Now this kind of work is outsourced to South Asia and whatnot but back in the 80's, if your command of English and its grammar was good, you could make a living as a proofreader or copy editor at one of Manhattan's meglo-firms. One night around the witching hour I imagine, after an evening of rehearsing with the Bros, Dominique started doodling (yes, on her break!) and drew a picture that featured each of us and a banner above that read The Five Lesbian Brothers, as if we were a circus troupe or tumbling act. I recall we had been fooling around in rehearsal one day (yes, on our break!) and acting like we were an extra-flexible group of siblings from an Eastern Bloc country. And yes, the Soviet Union still existed in the era I am talking about! DD had also read the book of The Five Chinese Brothers as a college student (ha!) and that influenced the notion as well. We printed the drawing in the program of the show and everyone started calling us The Five Lesbian Brothers.

That's probably more detail than you needed when you just asked a simple question but hey, I got a little time on my hands this afternoon.

Oh, my that is no longer the case and I must hasten myself the nine blocks south to the theater. You still have two more weeks to see the show, friends. Please remember to be brave and stick around to say hi to us afterwards. Mention this blog and you receive a one hundred per cent discount on your signed program.

Keep on truckin',

Thursday, August 11, 2005

backstage in Palm Springs

Here it is friends. The glamour behind the scenes. Or is it just another weekend in the Hamptons?

I just wanted to say a few words about the future of the show, as it stands as of this morning. We are scheduled to do a tour of Oedipus at Palm Springs in 2006. This will be in the fall and so far the exact dates are undetermined but I can tell you that they include a visit to our fabulous friends in Boston, The Theater Offensive and our far northwestern cousins, the fine folks at Out North in Anchorage! Yes, we are taking this show deep into Red Sox territory and all the way to Alaska!

You may ask, why Boston and Anchorage? So let me tell you. These two fantastic theaters are actually partners in commissioning this play with another fabulous organization called the National Performance Network, which you should all know about ( NPN granted us some very very important money to create the show and tour it. And the best part of the deal is that we then get to take the play to the theaters that commissioned it! We hope to have more touring come together in the next several months but if you are lucky enough to live in Anchorage or Boston, keep your eyes peeled for signs of the Lesbian Brothers and come see what all the fuss is about.

As a artist friend visiting from Europe said "this is the first time I have seen so many lesbians on stage together!"

Hope you are all enjoying this summer day, wherever you may be. I am on my way out for a little bike ride with my Brother Peg to go look at the Hudson and enjoy Manhattan's Riviera.

Tanfastically Yours,

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

blogging in

Hello Blogworld-

It is I, Moe, your faithful, if somewhat erratic blogger. Can I just say for the record that it is quite a challenge to post here as often as I would like? But just because I don't write, doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you readers out there. Hey, I miss you too.

The show is going swimmingly and we are really settling into it and I think our performances get stronger all the time. And the audiences are lovely so that helps. I always wondered if the story of Oedipus, which is a universally recognized downer (or "tragedy" in the show biz lingo of the ancients) is a story that people would want to see. And I guess it is for the folks that are coming to the theatre every night.

It is also interesting to talk to people after the show and hear their different ideas about what the Oepidus story was in the first place before we went and de-classified it. It's one of those things that most everyone has some kind of basic understanding of, through pop culture and pop psychology (there is actually a Bugs Bunny version, if I am not mistaken) but it has usually been a long time since people have visited the original story. Always fun to hear after what parts of our show they were able to connect to the prototype and what parts they may miss from the earlier version. We have been quite free in our "sampling" of the original Sophocles and it's fun to talk to folks after and hear their thoughts on our vision of this story.

Now we are in the phase of things that is a fun sort of roller coaster. We know the show and though we continue to discover new things about it at each performance, we are comfortable with playing it. The reviews are done for the most part so we can relax about all that and enjoy the ride of the rest of the run. We get to go out after the show for some late supper or whatever, as we do not have to be at the theatre early in the days for rehearsals anymore. I miss rehearsals (that is my personal favorite part of a show) and we all miss Leigh terribly but we had to send her on vacation to work on a tan on behalf of all us, the untanned, who have spent the greater part of the summer indoors in the dark. She's tanning for the team now and though it is an awesome burden, I'm sure she will return to us eventually bronzed and foxier than ever.

But I digressed, didn't I? Yet, this is the beauty of the blog. It's all about digression. Otherwise, I'd write a novel or a play that added up nicely. In Blogworld, I may range freely and you may follow if you so choose. It's kinda fun. You should all try it sometime.

Still trying to coordinate pictures from the opening night party for this space. I'm working on it. Also some more interviews to come so that you get to meet our whole team of experts who help make it all possible. And please, if you have any questions out there, feel free to write in and I will try to answer.

Ok, folks it's time for me to sign off. Keep the faith and be sure to support your local lesbian theatre collective! OK, I know that might be a tall order so at least support your local theatre. Look at your neighborhood high school and see what kind of production they are cooking up or the local dinner theatre or the big fancy theatre where they book the bus and truck shows. Volunteer to usher at your local regional theatre or pay full price and see a show.

Goodnight all.

blogging out,

Thursday, August 04, 2005

there's got to be a morning after

Hello Dedicated Readers:

There is not only a morning after, but I am here to tell you that there is also and afternoon and evening after. Our little juggernaut opened last night at NYTW and it was such a sweet evening. Full house of friends and family and general public and they all got on the Oedipus at Palm Springs ride with us and sailed to the end. We're off on our voyage of the run of the show and I speak for all the Brothers here in saying that we could not be happier about the journey.

There was a party after the show upstairs in the rehearsal hall that Alan (see previous blog about Alan) did his magic on and transformed into an East Village version of Palm Springs. It was catered with very nice food that I was hardly able to eat any of, as the crush of people that wanted to talk prevented me from actually getting to the catering table until late into the night after many had gone home. The frozen margaritas were flowing and this coupled with the terrific decor (yes, people there were palm trees!) made for a lovely night. Thanks so much to the people at the theatre who made the party possible. Lynn and the finance folks really turned it out for us. It was the right combo of extra touches and east 4th street realness.

Many, many friends and family came from all over the place to wish us well on our play and this was really touching. There was a huge contingent from California, composed of biological family to the Brothers and our extended families of choice and affinity, ex-loves and current loves (sometimes one in the same), the great folks from NYTW and other assorted theatre-type people. Oh, it was fun.

As the catering crew was leaving and the party was officially over, a small after-party assembled nearby at the rooftop paradise of our director Leigh. The Bros and company went up to the 35th floor and looked out over the twinkly city below, drank some beers and ate some pizza (nobody else was able to eat at the party either) and chatted into the warm Manhattan night. It was like we were in an independent film about making a show. Such nice people we know and are fortunate enough to work with.

See, my theory is that it takes the same amount of energy to make a good show as it does a bad show. There is more or less heartache and buttache of course, depending on the cast of characters and the various obstacles and challenges inherent in every production. But you work just as hard whether it turns out good or bad. OK, maybe the emotional wear and tear is greater on a show that does not do what it's trying to do, and that is no small thing. But you still have to show up and give it your all every day. And you just never know how it's gonna turn out in the end.

On this show, the process was such a wonderful mix of hard work and payoff. I don't know how the critics will respond and I tend to not read any of what is written about it, just because that's always a minefield of some sort, good or bad. I certainly hope that it is well-received because that makes people come and see the play. But there is a huge part of me that is so delighted with how this whole thing developed from the start that I can say I am truly satisfied with what we have done.

I know I've said this before, but I really do have the best job in the world right now. Of course I would like to be saving people's lives or ending the conflict in Darfour or something that has impact in another realm of realness. Alas, I am not very good at those kind of things and theater seems to be what I know how to do. Seeing as how I am not a surgeon that can re-attach blown off limbs or a millionaire who can help people in ways I can only dream about on the occasion when I buy a lottery ticket, I have the best job in the world. For me. And certainly it is my hope that the theatre that we make does help people negotiate the hard job of being human.

So thanks again to all those people who have believed in the Brothers and made it possible for us to present this slightly off-kilter take on a classic piece of our western literary heritage. It has and continues to be a true pleasure.

I will try to get a picture from the party for the blog for tomorrow. A lot were taken but none by me but they can be had so you too can feel like you were there, sipping a margarita and munching on some delicious offerings in faux-Palm Springs style.

See you later.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It's the day of the show, y'all!

Dear Devoted Readers-

Good morning from the cusp of we know not what. Tonight is our official opening night and it has been a fabulous ride so far. I know I keep saying how great everything is and how fantastic everyone has been and I must sound like some low-rent lesbo version of Tom Cruise, but trust me on this one folks, the people working on this show and the atmosphere of talent, professionalism and camaraderie is unsurpassed in my experience. As a collaborative ensemble, The Brothers always strive for some kind of synchronicity in order to get our groove on together and inhabit slightly different versions of the same world we are creating. But this devotion to the cult of theatre, our brand of theatre, does not always extend beyond the inner circle of Brotherly wagons. So it is with great pleasure that I realize this morning as I write that we have succeeded in apparently brainwashing the entire staff, production and design crews at NYTW into joining us in our depraved ways. Like the armed forces, theatre is not just a job, it's a career and with the Brothers, it's a lifestyle.

At 79 East 4th Street, we are all Brothers.

So tonight, we do once again what we have all worked so hard to do. We show up at a certain place and a certain time. We wear certain clothes and some of us paint our faces. We check our equipment, look over our cues. We warm up our bodies and minds and voices to prepare ourselves in the ways we need to do our jobs. Then around 7:00, the lights go down and the music plays and we all get on the same ride together and hope that the audience is willing to come along with us.

It's a life of repetition and the trick is to make it seem like it's the first time every time. To make something we have done already new again each night. To make cold words on a page and darkness and space alive and vibrant with our bodies and energies and spirits. It's like church or temple or shul or mosque. At 7:00, we are in a room together with others, thinking individual versions of the same ideas, repeating these rituals that have been repeated by our predecessors.

Don't mean to be going all oogly-boogly on you, folks. But it is for deep and personal reasons that we do this slightly insane thing every night. It sustains us in ways that other more practical things cannot. It is deeply human and flawed and perfect all at once. And we cannot do it alone. Theatre asks of us to commune with our fellows, to experience things together, in real time with real people who breathe the same air and get irritated by same the errant cell phone ringing at the wrong moment. It reminds us we are alive, doesn't it?

Hoping so for tonight.

Please do come see us, won't you friends? Or at least keep us in your thoughts as the comedy and tragedy masks beckon us onto the boards or backstage or in the booth or in the box office. Join us in our little world.

Cross your fingers.

Blogtastically Yours,

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