Brutal Imagination, the newest piece from Cornelius Eady, creator of the Off-Broadway musical Running Man, ends its premiere production at the Kitchen Oct. 21. The music-theatre piece began performances Oct. 19.
In Brutal Imagination, Eady examines the Susan Smith case, in which a young South Carolinian mother strapped her sleeping children into her car and pushed the vehicle into a lake. She later accused a mysterious black man for carjacking her children, a man she created in her own head. Other stereotypical characters who make appearances in the musical are John Henry, Mr. Bojangles, Uncle Ben and Uncle Tom.
Eady made his first theatrical waves with 1999's Running Man, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, but had spent the two decades before that as a published poet. His five books of verse include "Kartunes," "Victims of the latest Dance Craze" [sic], the 1992 Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Gathering of My Name," "You Don't Miss Your Water" (later adapted into a Vineyard piece) and "The Autobiography of a Juke box."
Imagination is a collaboration between Eady, jazz composer Diedre Murray and her band, Tango Blu. Murray was co-author on Running Man.
Strangely enough, Imagination isn't the first theatre piece to take its cue from the Smith murders. In March 2000, Off-Broadway's adobe [sic] theatre company offered the darkly comic Down the Drain, which was developed from company improvisations on the tragic news story. Los Angeles' Sacred Fools, too, are examining the case in the satiric Dubya 2000: A Political Horror-Tragedy in Three Acts, running through Nov. 11. Tickets to Brutal Imagination are $15. The Kitchen is located at 512 West 19th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. For reservations, call (212) 255-5793, ext. 11. The Kitchen is on the web at http://www.thekitchen.org.
-- By Chrstine Ehren