Blending Theatre and a Walking Tour, West Village Fragments Begins Sept. 21 in NYC

News   Blending Theatre and a Walking Tour, West Village Fragments Begins Sept. 21 in NYC The history and hot spots of the Off-Off-Broadway movement will be commemorated with OFF Stage: The West Village Fragments, a unique, site-specific, roving theatre piece that takes audiences throughout Greenwich Village.
Catherine Porter in a scene from Home Movies.
Catherine Porter in a scene from Home Movies. Photo by Alice Garrard

Between Sept. 21 and Oct. 7, Peculiar Works Project (co-artistic directors Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter, and Barry Rowell) will present the two-hour multi-venue production "that will travel along historic Greenwich Village streets" and feature a company of 50 actors and 14 directors, all visiting a dozen theatrical landmarks.

At each stop, short scenes from major works of the Off-Off-Broadway canon — by major and lesser-known writers — will be presented.

*

"Tours will start near the Jefferson Market Garden, Sixth Avenue and West 9th (exact location will be given upon making a reservation) and will end at Judson Memorial Church (Washington Square South) where there will be a reception at the end of each and every tour," according to the troupe. "As the tour proceeds, short scenes from over a dozen landmark Off-Off Broadway plays will reawaken the actual sites where they premiered. There will also be original performances between the stops."

Peculiar Works promises to excite theatre lovers and those interested in the history of Greenwich Village. The production is equally recommended for New Yorkers and tourists alike and is suitable for ages 13 and up. There will be three evening tours each performance day (Thursdays-Sundays) at 7 PM, 7:30 PM and 8 PM. The official opening night will be the performances on Sept. 24.

Playwrights and plays will include Kenneth Brown (The Brig); Diane di Prima (Monuments); Rosalyn Drexler, with music by Al Carmines (Home Movies); Maria Irene Fornes (The Successful Life of 3); Paul Foster (The Recluse); Robert Heide (The Bed; West of the Moon); William M. Hoffman (Goodnight, I Love You); Claris Nelson (The Rue Garden); Robert Patrick (The Haunted Host); Richard Schechner and The Performance Group (Dionysus 69); Sam Shepard (Red Cross); Gertrude Stein, with music by Al Carmines (In Circles); Doric Wilson (And He Made A Her); and Lanford Wilson (The Madness of Lady Bright).

Stops will include the site or location of the following: Caffe Cino, Provincetown Playhouse, Washington Square Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Church, Circle-in-the-Square (Downtown), Cherry Lane Theatre, Sheridan Square Playhouse, and Jefferson Market Garden (Women's House of Detention).

The acting company will include Benjamin Beckley, Richard Binder, Stephen Blackwell, Frank Blocker, Janet Bryant, Sara Buffamanti, Nikki Calonge, Tonya Canada, Lindsey Carroll, Oscar Castillo, Jeff Clarke, Siobhan Dougherty, Patricia Drozda, Evan Enderle, Rob Gaines, Gillien Goll, John Grace, Erik Gratton, Liz Gutman, Steve Hauck, Andrew Hurley, Christopher Hurt, Derek Jamison, Tom Johnson, Ben Kopit, Alex Lane, Donna Lazar, Samantha Levitt, Jesse Liebman, Ryan Lillis, Rebecca Lingafelter, Shawn Mahoney, Jerry Marsini, Jason Martin, Belinda Mello, Gretchen Michelfeld, Chris Mirto, Joel Newman, Nick Palladino, Stacy Parker, Natalie Pero, Catherine Porter, Lars Preece, Dan Rabinowitz, Eleanore Scully, Rebecca Sevron, Margi Sharp, Maggie Steele, Sarah Stephens, Patrick Taylor, Stacy Lee Tilton, Michael Tomlinson, Connie Van Decker, Chris Weikel, Bradley Wells and Max Woertendyke. The production coordinator is Susan D. Lange.

The directors will include Tim Cusack, Mark Finley, Julie Hamberg, Jillian Harrison, Jeff Janisheski, Anna McHugh, Casey McLain, Chris Mirto, Kay Mitchell, Elaine Molinaro, Renee Philippi, Gabriel Shanks, David Vining and Miriam Weiner.

All tickets will be $15; $10 for students and seniors; TDF accepted. Tickets for all performances will be available by calling (212) 529-3626, or by e-mail at off@peculiarworks.org.

For more information, visit www.peculiarworks.org.

*

In 2005, Peculiar Works "embarked on a yearlong journey into the plays and venues that most defined the origin of Off-Off Broadway," setting its sights "back 50 years ago when a spark of revolution turned Greenwich Village into a hot spot of artistic experimentation."

On the trail of the Fragments experience, audiences can expect a "multidisciplinary performance punctuated by short scenes from over a dozen landmark plays at the actual sites where they were originally performed," according to Peculiar Works. "Born of the Pass-the-Hat circuit, Coffeehouse Theater, and Anti-War Protest actions, the Off-Off Broadway movement found its heart and soul in Greenwich Village. Over the past few years, some important downtown theater venues, such as Circle in the Square, Sullivan Street Playhouse, Variety Arts, Perry Street Theater, Gene Frankel Theater and the Provincetown Playhouse, have been demolished or are targeted for destruction."

In the OFF Stage voyage into the birth of New York City's alternative theatre movement, attention will be drawn to "the hidden secrets behind the incredible spaces that New Yorkers walk by every day—important sites that have supported so many significant plays and colorful characters."

The show's long-term mission "is to persuade the city to install permanent plaques at each historic Village location in order to commemorate its artistic legacy."

"It's impossible to stop all the change," stated PWP's co-artistic director Ralph Lewis. "The reason you have to do these sorts of events is to remind people that when you do change, don't forget that there used to be these important places and events here. It's also a way to draw attention to some of the material that influenced our desire to be part of this community as well as to draw attention to all of these old spaces that no longer exist."

Shawn Mahoney, Max Woertendyke and Andrew Hurley in a scene from <i>The Brig</i>.
Shawn Mahoney, Max Woertendyke and Andrew Hurley in a scene from The Brig. Photo by Alice Garrard