The work with live music is written by Mikhael Garver and James Estabrook, adapted from the love plays by Charles Mee. On his website, www.charlesmee.com, Charles Mee states, "There is no such thing as an original play," and he invites each visitor to take his work and move, change, discard and rearrange the pieces into thriving new works.
Garver and Estabrook fashioned why they invented dancing from the four Mee love plays: Summertime, Wintertime, Big Love and First Love. Mee's other credits include Vienna: Lusthaus (1986 Obie Award for Best Play) and his memoir, "A Nearly Normal Life."
Directed by Garver, why they invented dancing features live versions of pop songs performed by the onstage band The Tubbs, "creating musical highlights that are both memorable and unpredictable," according to production notes.
why they invented dancing is "the story of Tessa, the 'sane' daughter in a dysfunctional but passionate family. Tessa's difficulty finding a relationship is compounded by the examples set by her mother, her mother's oversexed French boyfriend, as well as her 'I wanna be a pirate' father and his boyfriend," according to production notes. "She despairs of ever finding love or even a moment of peace in this hilarious and moving world of pizza, snowflakes and hoedowns."
The production was previously seen in Chicago in fall 2002 and features 14 emerging Chicago actors "drawn from Chicago's most prestigious theatres, including Steppenwolf, the Court and Second City." Mikhael Garver (co-writer/director) has assistant directed a number of high profile productions including Hans Christian Andersen with Martha Clarke at ACT in San Francisco, Hamlet with Charles Newell and My Fair Lady with Gary Griffin at The Court Theatre in Chicago. She is artistic director of Umalleniay.
Performances of why they invented dancing play the Bank Street Theatre, 155 Bank Street. Tickets are $15. For information, call (212) 279-4488, or visit www.fringenyc.org.
For more information about Umalleniay, visit www.umaproductions.org.