The Secret History of the Lower East Side is the umbrella title covering three new works specially commissioned by En Garde Arts to commence its 1998-1999 season. The Patron Saint of the Nameless Dead by Carlos Murillo, New Culture for a New Country by Alice Tuan, and Hester Street Hideaway: A Lower East Side Love Story by Peter Ullian are all presented on the roof of Seward Park High School (350 Grand Street, at Essex Street).
Opening night is Sunday, Sept. 13, at 8 PM, with proceeds benefiting the troupe. Previews began Sept. 8.
Anne Hamburger is founder and executive director for this company, which specializes in staging theatrical productions within unconventional arenas. In seasons past, En Garde Arts presented Orestes on a rusting Hudson River pier, The Trojan Women: A Love Story at the East River Park Amphitheatre, and The Wasteland (with Obie winning Fiona Shaw) in the now-demolished Liberty Theatre.
Under Matt Wilder's direction, The Secret History of the Lower East Side continues that tradition. Audience members -- separated into groups and led by tour guides on to the roof of the Seward Park High School -- will discover the deep-rooted history of this neighborhood, as seen through the eyes of these three playwrights. Punctuating the plays will be a carnival of images or entractes, performed by a chorus of more than 30 cast members made up of area residents and Seward Park High students.
The scenery, lighting and sound for this presentation have been designed and provided by Richard Dennis, Christien Methot and David A.Schnirman, respectively. The costumes will be by Greco. For tickets and information on The Secret History Of The Lower East Side call (212) 279-4200.
-- By Harry Haun and Robert Simonson