The New York Press has named what it considers the city's best downtown theatre company for 2001. That honor goes to Inverse Theater, which produces the verse plays of Kirk Wood Bromley.
"Since 1996," wrote the paper, "Inverse Theater has produced comedies (Want's Unwisht Work, Midnight Brainwash Revival) that are pants-shittingly funny and tragedies (The Death of Griffin Hunter, The Death of Don Flagrante Delicto) that are wrist-slittingly depressing. The plays are written by Kirk Wood Bromley, a 35-year old former poet who churns out two thousand words a day — in verse. Iambic pentameter. The language of Shakespeare.
"And what's remarkable about this feat is not the antiquated medium or wpm, but that Bromley's plays are (a) produced at all, and (b) they don't suck."
The New York Press' resurged interest in theatre comes as something of a surprise, since months ago the paper's weekly critic, Jonathan Kalb, was dismissed. However, recent weeks have seen the NYP running a theatre column by Mimi Kramer.
* Bromley will be after nothing less that "the truth in beauty and the beauty in truth" in his newest work, titled The Burnt Woman of Harvard. The Inverse Theatre production will play Oct. 24 through Nov. 17 at The Flamboyan Theater at 107 Suffolk Street (at Delancey). Official opening is Oct. 26. Howard Thorensen directs.
Described as a psycho-sexual thriller, the drama follows a deranged burn victim who stalks a young student through the quads at Harvard University. The relationship takes the two through "a blazing dreamscape of literary orgies, Burning Man raves, and Keatsian struggles," all leading to the above mentioned idealistic pursuit involving truth and beauty.
Bromley's first hit, Want's Unwished Work, too, took the academic world as its setting. Since then he's penned Icarus and Aria, which pitted forbidden love against professional sports; The Death of Griffin Hunter, an espionage thriller set on an international stage; The Death of Don Flagrante Delicto, a gothic Civil War tale; The American Revolution, which viewed the Revolutionary War partly through the relationship between Gen. George Washington and traitor Benedict Arnold; and Midnight Brainwash Revival, which was published in the Martin Denton anthology, Plays and Playwrights for the New Millennium.
Many of the usual suspects, culled from Bromley's unofficial stock company, are in the cast. These include Ian W. Hill, Darius Stone, Matt Oberg and, or course, Al Benditt, without whom any Bromley production would be incomplete. Also in the cast are Ariane Barbanell, J.C. Devore, Timothy Fannon, Emily Greenhill, Bob Laine, Meghan Maguire, Blaine Zuckerman, Catherine McNelis, Christina Pastor, Tara Platt, Jessica Chandlee Smith and Johnny Stange.
Tickets are $15. For more information, call (212) 501-4528, or consult www.inversetheater.com.
—By Robert Simonson