Douglas Mitchell, the 70-year-old Rice University linguist who began playwriting only 10 years ago, ends his days in the New York City spotlight with the July 29 close of One Arm Red's RedFest 2000 at Manhattan Theater Source. Four of his one acts have been fully staged in productions running since July 5.
Six other Mitchell works were the subject of a 5 PM Sunday reading series, culminating July 30 with the full length play, Bold Notions of Fixity.
Among the one acts offered in Redfest are Shatter the Golden Vessel, about a young man, sentenced to death, who is offered a selection of ways to die by his executioner; It's Got to Be Something, set in a place where a woman struggles against a nameless government bureaucracy; All Wrapped Up, in which a mysterious package terrorizes a dull married couple; and How to Sacrifice a Child, the story of one family's bizarre attempts to protect themselves from the outside world.
This is not the first Mitchell retrospective in the U.S. In April and May, Houston's Stages Repertory Theatre staged seven of the playwrights one acts including Golden Vessel, Wrapped Up and Friends. Outside of Texas, Mitchell also received a fall production of his Old Friends alongside Edward Albee's Zoo Story directed by Albee in the Netherlands.
Directing the RedFest pieces are Chesley Krohn and William Hardy. The Redfest actors include Bryan Carroll, Brian Corrigan, Hardy, Tim Kirkpatrick, Mary Elaine Monti, Shaun Powers, Susan Scudder, Michael Linstroth, Martin Shakar, William Westenberg and Shelley Williams. The plays are presented in an A and B program setting with Vessel and Something running together in program A and Wrapped and Child in program B.
The Sunday reading series featured:
July 9: The Throwaways and Flores Para Una Muerta
July 16: The Way Up and the Way Down
July 23: Old Friends and Any Old Passion
Tickets are $15. The Manhattan Theater Source is located at 177 MacDougal Street. For reservations, call (212) 501-4751. One Arm Red is on the web at http://www.onearmred.com.
-- By Christine Ehren