Frank Loesser never created "How To Succeed In Directing Without Really Trying," and the International Data Group has yet to publish a “Directing for Dummies®,” so if you really want to be a director in theatre, it’s not going to be easy. However, Off-Off Broadway’s Ontological Theater offered five of those helming hopefuls some help as the company presented their eighth annual "Blueprint Series: A Celebration of Experimental Theatre Directors," from Aug. 9 at downtown’s Saint Mark’s Church and closing Aug. 20.
The Blueprint Series was created in 1993 because, as Blueprint co-curator Owen Hughes told Playbill On-Line, "at the time, there weren't many outlets for young directors." So, with the help of Ontological artistic director Richard Foreman, they created one. The would-be directors submitted proposals that were selected by Foreman, Hughes and associate director Judson Kniffen. This year's directors will be Jyana S. Gregory, Tony Torn, and the directorial trio of Ryan Brown, Franklin Laviola, and Brian Walsh.
Jyana S. Gregory directs an abbreviated version of KASPAR by Peter Handke. In the play, the title character awkwardly makes his way through a world where his basic language skills have no bearing. Gregory recently moved back to New York after living in Japan, where she studied the native performing arts. Her most recent work was Izutsu, a Noh play by Zeami.
Tony Torn, son of actor Rip Torn (Broadway's The Young Man From Atlanta and the movie "Men In Black"), directs an unauthorized, unreliable journey through the hallucinations of a quixotic wanna-be actress in The Baddest Natashas. Written by Juliana Francis, the play spans the globe and time from 19th Century London to 1990s Moscow and present-day New York. Torn, who also acts, has taken the stage at the Ontological in Foreman's The Universe and Paradise Hotel. Torn recently starred in an extended-run production of Eugene Ionesco’s The Picture presented at the CHA Theatre in midtown.
And the third slot of the Blueprint Series was shared by fellow Columbia classmates Ryan Brown, Franklin Laviola, and Brian Walsh. This theatrical threesome direct their new piece, Cold Pole, or Boxed Compass in the Yellow Sea which follows a relationship of two lovers aboard the Fairground Princess, a luxury ocean liner. Brown, Laviola, and Walsh, who still attend Columbia University, have previously collaborated to form the experimental theatre group, Ventril Buckshot, and on a production of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano. Cold Pole marks their first original work debut. All three Blueprint productions run in repertory (two per evening) until Aug. 20 at the Ontological Theater at Saint Mark’s Church, 135 East 10th St. (at the corner of Second Ave.) as follows:
KASPAR - August 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 19
Natashas - August 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19 and 20
Cold Pole - August 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18 and 20
Curtain goes up at 8 PM each night. For reservations or more info, call (212) 533 4650.
-- by Ernio Hernandez