Friday, December 19, 2008


There are still a few tickets left for the final two performances of The Granduncle Quadrilogy, so look sharp!

Meanwhile, some more press:

Greg Burgett in the New York Press:
The Granduncle Quadrilogy, now in its final weekend, seems to have slipped in just under the wire, an impressive ode to lives needlessly centered on conflict and tradition… Inhabiting a world lovingly created by writer Jeff Lewonczyk and director Hope Cartelli, the characters traverse a frosty stage of minimally-adorned white. Wearing expensive looking, perhaps budget-hogging layers of fur and long johns, they parse Granduncle's unreliably remembered life spent eating "puffin's beak" and at a mandated week in "honeymoon camp" (his residence beside "Lake Intestinal" and time atop of "Mount Cranium" imply a rich, interior fantasy state).
And Samantha O'Brien in OffOffOnline:
While multiple deaths on frozen tundra might not be everyone’s idea of holiday cheer, the Brick Theater’s dark comedy, The Granduncle Quadrilogy: Tales from the Land of Ice, makes for good morbid fun. Jeff Lewonczyk’s script so extensively crafts entire cultures with their own lexicons, traditions, and histories that it feels like fictional anthropology. In the cast’s capable hands, even the most peculiar traditions or phrasings (describing smell as “taste for nose” was a favorite of mine) seem natural. Granduncle largely succeeds in telling a good story well—a simple goal, but one too often overlooked or unnecessarily complicated by aggressively experimental or ironic productions. Such a uniquely imaginative show as this is enough to put you in the holiday spirit – no matter how many bodies pile up.
In the interest of fairness, I also feel compelled to mention a review in Time Out New York, with which I have understandable quibbles.

Hope to see you at the show!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


From today's New York Post...

Nervous New Yorkers are popping more

Prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants and sleep aids are surging as residents struggle with the economic crisis, Crain's New York Business reports.

"If we looked to diagnose the city, I'd say it has an anxiety disorder," psychotherapist Dr. Mel Schwartz told the weekly.

In September and October, sleep-aid prescriptions reportedly rose by more than 7 percent, to 366,870, compared with those months in 2007.
You heard it here first - the City is primed and ready for The Antidepressant Festival...


Congratulations to Gyda Arber, Michael Criscuolo and Ivanna Cullinan on their citations as's People of the Year 2008!

All 3 are also Master Masons of The Brick.

What was that you said?

What is the ultra-secret society known as The Master Masons of The Brick?

We can't tell you that.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The greatly anticipated Granduncle review from’s very own Martin Denton posted today, and we’re thrilled to say that he liked it! Here are some highlights:

It's a funny show, and also a melancholy one; wildly imaginative and engaging to the senses. Jeffrey Lewonczyk … has pulled out all the stops in imagining an alternative universe in which to set his story that is at once weird and off-kilter and incisively familiar. Also Hope Cartelli, the director, who with a crackerjack design team has realized Lewonczyk's imaginary world in vivid and robust detail.

Each of the tales' various thematic ideas give free rein to Lewonczyk's imagination, and the fun derives from seeing how he'll use exotic ingredients like an albatross egg or a mammoth trunk in contexts you just don't see coming. When he gets to create from whole cloth a second new world—in the last piece, when Granduncle's wanderings take him to a land so warm and fertile that you can pick and choose which birds you will eat—Lewonczyk goes into overdrive.

Also, we’ve posted a few new pics on Flickr. Enjoy - or else.

(Photos, as ever, by Ken Stein/Runs With Scissors)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The Ohio Theater, one of Manhattan's essential performance spaces, is in danger of closing, according to Alexis Soloski at The Village Voice. We've had a great relationship with them over the years - especially when they were our sister space during Untitled Theater Company #61's Havel Festival in Fall 2006 - and, despite Soho Think Tank Artistic Director Robert Lyons's lack of sanguinity about a long-term solution, we wish them the best in a struggle that too many theater spaces these days are facing.

Monday, December 8, 2008


... well, rather than just up and TELL you, why don't you treat yourself to the full multimedia treatment, in the form of the video that was presented at Friday night's announcement party?

Ladies and gentlemen, start popping!


We had a wonderful opening weekend, and thank you to the many individuals who came out to support us during our first three shows.

I’m opening up this page as a set place for audience members to leave comments about the show, whatever those comments may be. We already received a thoughtful and inspiring mini-review of the Friday performance on one of last week’s posts, and if you’d like to read it click here and scroll down.

We also received a generally positive review on Gothamist, which is exciting. Some key quotes:

If Joseph Campbell ever got really baked and told his grandchildren a meandering bedtime story, it might have sounded something like The Granduncle Quadrilogy… There's an endearing 'let's put on a play' charm at work here... the minimalist set proves you don't need much to evoke an alternate reality in the theater. With just a white backdrop suggesting a desolate snow-blind north country, and Julianne Kroboth's elaborately funky costumes of pelts and feathers, director Hope Cartelli transports the audience deep into the tundra.

There are a couple of comments on that post as well, one of which simply says “I dig this play,” the other of which says “FUR IS DEAD,” in reference to the photo (which happens to be the same one at the top of this post). In response to the latter, let me quote Hope, who told me in an email today that “all fur in the piece is recycled vintage that would have otherwise gone to the trash and is better off serving a show then festering in Staten Island!” So in other words, no animals were harmed in the making of this show.

Let the comments commence!

(Photo of Richard Harrington & Fred Backus: Ken Stein/Runs With Scissors)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


(Melissa Roth, Richard Harrington, Fred Backus)

Tonight is the preview performance of The Granduncle Quadrilogy, our last chance to tinker and play before the official opening tomorrow. At last night's dress rehearsal, Ken Stein/Runs With Scissors Photography came by to take some production photos, and the first of them are housed in a set at The Brick's Flickr page. Here's a glimpse; more will follow. Let me say that, as a gratified writer, I am so unbearably excited that my bones are likely to shatter.

(Gavin Starr Kendall, Richard Harrington)

(Richard Harrington and Friend)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I recently had the always-welcome pleasure of sitting down with’s Martin Denton to record a podcast about an upcoming show – in this case (wait for it), The Granduncle Quadrilogy! Equally as pleasant was the fact that, after discussing a bit about the genesis and process of developing Granduncle, Martin asked me to stick around and help him with a rundown of some of the other interesting holiday shows around town. So after you schedule when you’d like to check out The GQ at The Brick, let our witty repartee guide you towards other holiday theater options. Listen to the podcast!

I’d also like to thank August Shulenberg of the Flux Theater Ensemble for giving us a shout-out in the Flux blog, in a new goings-on-about-town feature, Flux Fusion. Earlier this year I was honored to be a featured playwright in Flux’s Imagination Compact (a series of new short plays revolving around the characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and, more recently, I thrilled to the first play in the Flux production of Johnna Adams Angel Eaters Trilogy. Thanks for the good press, Gus!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


As anyone who’s spent more than eleven months around The Brick already knows, we’re known for our festivals. The New York Clown Theatre Festival, the Havel Festival and the Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee are only a few examples of our past prowess as a Live Entertainment Aggregator.

At the center of our season each year, however, is our summer festival, which has explored a different theme each year since 2004’s Hell Festival. Coming up with an exciting, relevant themes is quite a challenge. We’ll be announcing this year’s Summer Festival Theme at Friday night’s opening party for The Granduncle Quadrilogy (doors open at 10pm!); however, we decided we’d like to share with you, our readers, a few of the discarded festival ideas that litter our pathway to glory. If you have any festival ideas of your own that you feel should be relegated to the gutter, please, share them with us!


  • The Phlegm Festival
  • The Politeness Festival
  • The Vague Sense of Disquiet Festival
  • The Slow Leaking Gas Festival
  • The Baader-Meinhof Festival
  • The Everybody Poops Festival
  • The John McCain Festival
  • The Festival Conducted Entirely Through Facebook
  • The Just Say No To Hemorrhoids Festival (Sponsored by Preparation H)
  • The Copyright Infringement Festival
  • The Burning Piles of Money Festival
  • The Ramen Noodle Festival
  • The Lawyers, Guns, and Money Festival
  • The Irrelevant-to-Current-Modes-of-Discourse Festival
  • A Gertrude Stein Festival Is a Gertrude Stein Festival Is a Gertrude Stein Festival
  • The Credit Default Swap Festival
  • The Convertible Stock Options Festival
  • The Unknownably Complex Financial Instruments Festival
  • The Hank-Paulson-Is-Cute Festival
  • The Empty Checking Account Festival
  • The Running Low on Our Savings Account Too, Unless We Get Some Real Good Press Festival
  • The Doing-What-We-Do-All-The-Time-Only-More-of-It-In-Less-Time-So-You'll-Pay-Attention Festival
  • The Arts-and-Theatre-Journalists-Don't-Know-Their-Heads-From-Their-Asses Festival
  • The Oh I Don't Know, Something With Kittens, People Like Kittens, Right? Festival
  • The Blowjob Festival (free blowjob with every ticket!)
  • The Eviction Festival


The third and final Granduncle Fable created by Piper McKenzie and Yarn AudioWorks (and read so beautifully by Richard Harrington, in the role of Granduncle) has been posted at It features audio recordings of ACTUAL MAMMOTHS, captured in the wild by the intrepid Eric Winick. Also, more horrible deaths. Listen to it HERE.

Monday, December 1, 2008


What do we have in common with P.S 122, Soho Rep, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Civilians, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Les Freres Corbusier, Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Red Bull Theater, the Chocolate Factory, La MaMa and the LAByrinth Theater Company?

We’re all included in this week’s New York Magazine feature about essential indie theater spaces!

It’s tremendous to be in the company of each and every one of these spaces and companies, and we hope to be able to continue contributing to the cultural conversation for some time to come. Thanks to New York mag for the shout-out.

Also, note that our tagline is “The Festival Factory.” Though as you all know we offer much more than just festivals, we’re proud to acknowledge their importance in our overall gestalt.

And what better segue than to mention that we’ll be announcing the theme for the 2009 Summer Festival at this Friday night’s opening party for The Granduncle Quadrilogy? The party’s expected to begin at around 10pm, but we see no reason why you shouldn’t come for the performance ahead of time!