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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ode To Joy Reading 5-8-2012

It's a good thing that I caught Antje's (havers_barbera on Twitter) recent tweet about this Tueday's staged reading of Craig Lucas' new play ODE TO JOY at the Cherry Lane Theater, featuring Kathryn Erbe and Arliss Howard. Although I had just taken a week off work to attend the YAI International Conference in NYC, I wanted to attend this reading and promptly RSVP'd via E-mail to the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater website. In a reading, the actors are seated onstage and recite their lines from a script in front of them while the stage directions are read out loud. Readings are usually attended by other actors, playwrights and theater critics but this event, part of the free Rattlestick Tongues reading series begun in 1998, was open to the public. The Cherry Lane Theater,founded in 1924,is located at 38 Commerce Street just off 7th Avenue South in Greenwich Village, not far from the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on Waverly Place. This afternoon at 2 PM we were treated to a two-hour and ten minute reading of Ode To Joy written and directed by Craig Lucas, an award-winning American playwright who also wrote Prelude To A Kiss and many other plays. Kathryn Erbe read the part of Adele, a flighty artist who recounts her failed relationships with Bill, her ex-husband and Mala (Spanish for 'bad'), her ex-girlfriend. Arliss Howard read the part of Bill, a heart surgeon and recovering alcoholic who offers Adele a hit of Exstacy on their first date and is constantly commenting on what he considers ironic in life. There are many funny lines and unexpected plot twists that turn tragic at several points, including Adele throwing up into Bill's mouth when he tries to kiss her, Mala's sickness and eventual heart transplant (it is later revealed that Bill was her surgeon), Mala's breakup with Adele shortly after the Y2K scare of 2000, Adele's struggle to maintain her career as a painter (hint: nobody likes her paintings), Adele's alcoholism and attempts at sobriety, including her recounting of the wrongs she committed during her first marriage to Bill (they later remarry, have a child and divorce again), and Adele's cancer diagnosis. A plot element that I considered ironic is Adele's buying a daschund puppy that she shares with Bill (he names the puppy Marcus Aurelius LOL!) but she later accidentally runs over and kills Marcus while driving drunk. Knowing that Kate is a dog lover and supporter of Mutt-igrees, I could detect the sadness and regret she conveyed as Adele tries to apologize to Bill for this most grievous of her past offenses to him. Despite her flaws and awful behavior, Adele inspires sympathy, especially when she meets Mala and Bill years after she broke up with them both and is separated from her son Justin. Adele howls in pain and claims that it's just the shingles, then admits she's suffering the aftereffects of chemotherapy for bone cancer. Oy! With so much tragedy to wade through, each character has to find his or her own ode to joy, as it were (Beethoven's Ode To Joy is referenced in the first scene with Bill and Adele). Isn't it ironic? :) I'll post pics and a recap of my talk with Kathryn Erbe in my next post. Good night!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, oh yes...this sounds like a great play and I'll hold my thumbs they it will picked up and produced (with Kathryn playing it ;o).

    Thank you so much Blanca for this great synopsis.