Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meet the President

During last summer's Democracy Festival, The Brick asked their audience to help them elect the President...of The Brick. Each show was considered a candidate in the running and on the last day of the fest everyone was invited to come to the theater (or go online) and vote for their favorite show. And whoever won this election would be crowned President and receive a performance slot in January 2013. 

And now Inauguration Day is here so meet your new president: Jeremey Catterton and his company Lamb Lays with Lion.

Hail to the Chief: President Catterton
I'll take a little credit with helping this happen. I first met Jeremey last February. The company was fairly new to the city and Jeremey was excited to learn more and work with The Brick. I told him the best and easiest way to get onstage was to submit to one the many festivals, which is how a lot of companies "audition" for a main-stage slot. He applied to Democracy, was accepted and come Election Day campaigned like Mitt Romney on a milk bender earning enough votes to crown them king. He did this by stating his case to strangers on the street who then came into the theater (probably for the first and only time) and voted for his show, Ignorance. Some of the other candidates found this a little suspicious and corrupt but The Brick wanted to see how far festival participants would go to get elected. It was part of the experiment. Only one other festival candidate picked up on Jeremey's cue and did the same. 

And as promised, they were granted a two week term on the main-stage. Their new show, Entitlement, opens Jan. 17th and is the third and final installment of their American Trilogy series.

The show centers around entitlements and the bitter discussions surrounding their usage from the rantings of people from the right to the left of the political spectrum and how the center seems to maybe be the most reserved. But this show won't just involve government checks to poor folks but also the technological entitlements that our enlightened generation is so accustomed to. You faithful readers might not have to worry about your assistance check arriving late in the mail but how often have you yelled out in anger when you can't update your Facebook status? Are these entitlements one and the same? The show isn't looking to preach to you but instead engage those who are willing to listen to both sides of the debate as we eek out our existence amongst the diverse set of voices that is America. 

And similar to presidential candidates picking their running mates, Jeremey and Co. brought on board Brooklyn-based, Bard College-born theater collective New Saloon and their production of William Shakespeare's Mom to split the bill.

Their show centers around William Shakespeare, his mother, Vincent van Gogh and the struggles of being an artist. With one, you have a successful writer entertaining the Queen and the other, a depressed painter who shot himself before ever knowing his greatness.

This isn't a biopic, but more really about the struggles of artists being artists. Especially that moment between school and the "real" world. We may be taught by excellent teachers, but sometimes, those teachers are so removed from their professional paths that the advice they give is no longer valid for the current, changing times. And with the inclusion of Shakespeare's mother, the play also takes on the themes of how our parents influence and shape our artistic careers. A simple little thing like enrolling a child in a summer theater camp might be what creates the next award winning writer. But then how many of us were encouraged to get a "real degree" in something like Business? Maybe not because parents are against something artistic but they just want to make sure we can pay the bills and take care of ourselves. And can we survive without that support, either financially or emotionally, from them? Sometimes I wish I had listened to my grandmother and become a lawyer. But most times I happy I chose this life for myself. I'd rather deal with the rejection of casting directors then spend every waking and sleeping hour trying to make partner.

Personally I identify here with van Gogh (my current wallet is his Skeleton Smoking a Cig painting). I have yet to curry favor with anyone at Court. Most times I can barely get a reviewer to notice me as an actor. And as a student at the University of Oklahoma, and later at The Warehouse Theater, I was spoiled on the excesses of the main-stage theaters that were prepping me for the real world. Then I stepped out into that world and found most places where I would perform were black-box, found spaces which I've actually come to prefer over lush prosceniums. 

So I'm looking forward to the questions and answers both shows present about our political and artistic societies. And I recommend you checking out what they have to offer.

Lamb Lays with Lion's Entitlement (part 3 of The American Trilogy)
Conceived, Written, and Directed by Jeremey Catterton. 
Set, Costumes, and Choreography by Company. 
Company: Jeremey Catterton, Julia Mae Fairbanks and Breese Pickel

Appearing on a double bill with...

New Saloon's William Shakespeare’s Mom
by Milo Cramer 
Directed by Morgan Green
With Madeline Wise, Noah Schechter and Caitlin Morris

Thursday, 1/17 8pm 
Friday, 1/18 8pm 
Saturday, 1/19 8pm 
Sunday, 1/20 3pm & 8pm 
Thursday 1/24 8pm 
Friday, 1/25 8pm 
Saturday, 1/26 8pm

General Admission: $20

For tickets visit OvationTix or

Until next time...give me more!