Father and son playwrights David and Ain Gordon are collaborating on a new work, The First Picture Show, which had a work-in-progress staging Oct. 2-5 at NY's Theatre At St. Clement's. Estelle Parsons (Grace & Glorie, The Shadow Box, Miss Margarida's Way) played the central character.
Months later, the project is still in development with a new name on the creative team: Jeanine Tesori, who composed the score for Off-Broadway's lauded Violet. She'll add music to what is billed as "a silent movie dance comedy drama musical history." No dates have been given for the next step in the development process.
Formerly titled, Who's Anne First?, the show was developed at CA's Mark Taper Forum in April and concerns Anne First, an unheralded (fictional) women who broke barriers and ran studios during the silent movie era. This work-in-progress will also look at rise of silent films and, concurrently, the rise in censorship of them.
Ain Gordon's Birdseed Bundles played in June at NYC's Soho Rep. His Wally's Ghost won an OBIE Award. David Gordon penned the performance piece, The Mysteries And What's So Funny?.
In 1978, David Gordon founded the Pick Up Performance Company to incorporate theatre and media work into his work as a choreographer. Son Ain joined the company in 1994 to help create The Family Business, which featured Valda Setterfield -- David's wife and Ain's mom. . "We work together," wrote David Gordon of his familial creative partnership with Ain. "We hve the benefit of knowing each other but not being the same. Sometimes we are interested in each other's ideas and opinions. Sometimes we don't know what we're doing in the same room. We do not hesitate to criticize. We are willing to be foolish and foolhardy, loving and sentimental, acerbic and harsh, lost and stubborn in front of each other. We fight like dogs. "One of us is in his fifties, the other in his thirties," continued David Gordon. "One of us is married to a woman and has a son. The other is in a committed relationship with another man and calls himself married even though the government doesn't. Working together challenges our generational perspectives and biases. We perversely enjoy the battle."
About Silent Movie, Gordon says, "We are interested in how fast `today' becomes history, history gets distorted and lost, and today's treasure is transformed into tomorrow's flea market oddity."
-- By David Lefkowitz