What does a washed up poet do in his spare time? Rebuild an antique radio. It's not much of a punchline, but it's what happens in Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio playing at the HERE Arts Center in downtown Manhattan March 2-11. Poet-playwright-musician Kirk Smith's offbeat musical piece about said poet, Connie, who tells stories while working, makes its New York debut after premiering at the Vortex Theater in Austin, TX earlier this year. Among the wild occurrences that happen during the course of night: a dead plant becomes a cellist, a lamp becomes a guitarist and a hat rack becomes a pianist. Then the radio begins to broadcast and this dreamscape's horizon widens.
Directed by Bonnie Cullum, the Vortex Repertory Company production is performed by Smith and a cast of characters that include Patricia Wappner,David Sangalli, Elizabeth Doss, Ellen Kolsto, Matthew Patterson. The musicians featured are Ken Burchenal (guitar), Alex Krigsfeld (piano), Michael Werst (cello) and Patterson (drums).
For some audio and video clips, text excerpts from the show, reviews, credits, and more visit the show's website at www.radiodespair.com.
For tickets to Despair's Book of Dreams, broadcasting from HERE, 145 Sixth Ave., call in to (212) 647-0202 or log on to www.here.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez