By Kenneth Jones
26 May 2011
Jones, in association with LOT-EK Architects, True Love Productions and Times Square Arts, will present six days of Theatre for One — a four-foot-by-eight-foot portable theatre with one performer playing to one audience member. Free performances play to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis for June 7-12 in Duffy Square at 46th Street and Broadway, in the middle of Times Square.
The cast of Theatre for One includes Steve Cuiffo, Birgit Huppuch, Marin Ireland, Tasha Lawrence and Dallas Roberts. These artists, of different disciplines (including theatre, poetry and magic) will perform five-to-ten-minute pieces that will be presented in rotation during a six-day residency in Times Square. The works, all specifically created for this venue, are by playwrights Zayd Dorn, Stephanie Fleischman, Jacquelyn Reingold, Emily Schwend and Beau Willimon. Some surprise musical guests may be interspersed between performances.
According to the creators, Theatre for One "is a portable performing arts space for one performer and one audience member that turns public events into private acts, making each performance a singularly intimate exchange. When it premiered in May 2010 as a commission of the Times Square Alliance, Theatre for One was met with overwhelming critical acclaim and popular success."
"I've known Christine and her work casually for some 20 years, but nothing prepared me for the experience of Theatre for One," American Theatre Wing executive director Howard Sherman said in a statement. "My three minutes last summer in that little booth profoundly changed the way I see the relationship between performance, artist, and audience. It's almost impossible for me to articulate the range of thoughts and emotions I experienced during Theatre for One, which is why I am delighted it's returning to Times Square this June. Amidst the glamour, the bright lights, and the awards, there is nothing so essential as the connection between the theatergoer and the performance itself."
The Theatre for One creative team includes Ana Cappelluto (lighting and costume designer), Christine Jones (artistic director and set designer) and LOT-EK, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano (architects).
Tony Award winner Jones (scenic designer for American Idiot) said she was inspired by the peep-show booths of Times Square's past when she was developing this new theatrical space. Theater for One "is intended to intensify the audience and performer relationship that is being lost in the new digital Times Square," according to production notes. Collaborating with Jones, LOT-EK Architects "utilized the pebbled black walls and steel edged construction of the theatrical roadshow boxes for a new architectural expression." The theatre was first built for a workshop at Princeton University in 2007.
The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday, June 7 from 6-9 PM; Wednesday through Friday, June 8-10, from 7-11 PM; Saturday, June 11 from 4-6 PM & 7-11 PM; and Sunday, June 12 from 4-7:30 PM.
Tickets are free, and donations are accepted.
Jones, a Tony nominee for the scenic design of American Idiot, is artistic director of Theatre for One. Visit theatreforone.com.