Open Your Heart Tonight At The Heart Plays!

For one night only, Eight creative teams of actors and directors interpret, re-interpret, and totally mis-interpret seminal postmodern playwright Heiner Müller’s 10-line play, HEART PLAY. There will be music, there will be dancing, there will be fake guts, and there will be many, many brick hearts. By the end of the night, you’ll know the text so well, you can perform it yourself! (Note: reenactments and dramatic recitations after the show — and after a few drinks — are encouraged.)

Producer Annie Paladino has assembled a kick-ass team of directors, including Maria Calderazzo, Robert Estes, Hannah Gaff, Amy Marie Haven, Kate Heller, Joan Howard, Rebecca Longworth, Carmen Melillo, Dan Mack, and Cecilia Palmtag. Plus our friends Hide Away Blues BBQ will be there serving up delicious, bourbon soaked treats!

It all happens tonight, February 18th, 2013 at Cafe Royale in San Francisco. Show is at 8:00pm, so come early for drinks, stay later for more drinks, and we look forward to seeing you at the Pub!

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THE HEART PLAYS on FEBRUARY 18th- One Week From Today!

May we lay our hearts at your feet?

Maybe your Valentine’s Day was everything you hoped it could be. Maybe you watched “Shakespeare in Love” and fell asleep on the couch clutching a bar of Dove dark chocolate. (Maybe that was everything you hoped Valentine’s Day could be.) In any case, keep those good/bad feelings coming with SF Theater Pub’s February celebration of love, hearts, and non-anesthetized organ removal THE HEART PLAYS.

Eight creative teams of actors and directors interpret, re-interpret, and totally mis-interpret seminal postmodern playwright Heiner Müller’s 10-line play, HEART PLAY. There will be music, there will be dancing, there will be fake guts, and there will be many, many brick hearts. By the end of the night, you’ll know the text so well, you can perform it yourself! (Note: reenactments and dramatic recitations after the show — and after a few drinks — are encouraged.)

Producer Annie Paladino has assembled a kick-ass team of directors, including Maria Calderazzo, Robert Estes, Hannah Gaff, Amy Marie Haven, Kate Heller, Joan Howard, Rebecca Longworth, Carmen Melillo, Dan Mack, and Cecilia Palmtag. Plus, Hide Away Blues BBQ will be there with delicious food and bourbon soaked treats!

One night only, February 18th, 2013 at Cafe Royale in San Francisco. Show is at 8:00pm, so come early for drinks, stay later for more drinks, but be forewarned — our heart is a brick.

(But it only throbs for you.)

Cowan Palace: A Heart to Heart with THE HEART PLAYS

Ashley Cowan asks producer, Annie Paladino, a few questions about the upcoming February Theater Pub.

Just after you’ve survived the holidays, Blue Monday, and trying to keep up with 2013 resolutions, Valentine’s Day arrives ready to play with your heart. Whether it’s in the form of eating more than your body weight of cupid-shaped goodies, spending the evening with that special someone, or rebelling against another Hallmark driven day in powerful solitude, Theater Pub returns on Monday, February 18th to nurse those candy hangovers and keep the sentiment alive.

THE HEART PLAYS, produced by Annie Paladino, promises eight interpretations of Heiner Müller’s play, HEART PLAY; a 10-line piece of postmodern insight. Known for being one of the top German dramatists of the 20th century, much of Müller’s work is often considered welcoming to multiple understandings rather than held to one linear storyline; developing characters that can disregard the structures of time and space. Keeping with the essence of his style, Annie’s concept explores the openness of Muller’s work by incorporating other art forms (including music and dance) to unravel new meaning.

I had the chance to ask Annie a few questions about the upcoming show while learning a bit more behind her vision for the evening.

What are you most excited about in bringing THE HEART PLAYS to Theater Pub?

I have been wanting to bring this project to San Francisco audiences pretty much ever since moving here in 2009; one of my favorite things about the production is that it really benefits from (and, in fact, relies upon) a cadre of unique and fiercely inventive directors. I’ve been so inspired by the DIY spirit of Bay Area theater makers, and I felt that this piece would really fit that vibe. Ever since attending the first Pint Sized Plays, which I felt was incredibly successful as a full-on production, taking advantage of the physical space and audience relationship in some really exciting ways, I’ve been slowly percolating the idea of Theater Pub as a venue for THE HEART PLAYS, since it follows a similar structure (many very short plays smushed together into an evening, happening ALL AROUND YOU as you sip/chug your Monday night beverage of choice).

How were you first introduced to Heiner Müller and his10-line play, HEART PLAY?

I encountered HEART PLAY in college. This project is the brainchild of Jessica Chayes of The Assembly (NYC), who produced HEART PLAY as an evening of several different interpretations at Wesleyan University in 2006 — “Heart Play(s)”. I was an actor in that performance and it was just an incredible experience, for everyone involved. Then, in 2008, the stage manager of the original production, Rachel Silverman, and I produced “Heart Playz,” using the model that Jess had established two years prior. Both productions were site-specific: the first one took place in various corners of a black box-type theater, and the second one was outdoors. And now we move into a bar!

What do you hope the audience leaves with after attending February 18th’s performance?

A pile of bricks. Or a new lover?

I kid, I kid.

But seriously, I hope that the audience leaves Cafe Royale on the 18th brimming with a slew of contradictions: happiness and sadness, fulfillment and emptiness, enlightenment and existential dread, deep understanding and utter confusion. The text is very open, and each director is likely to project onto it their own feelings about love, connections, selflessness, codependency, you name it.

In ten words or less, could you leave us with a preview of what we can look forward to seeing?

I wrote you a haiku about it, squeezing in at 10 words total:

Backstreet Boys, clowns, blood;
Concertina, opera, dance;
Improv, silent film.

Annie, you had me at “haiku”.

When I was reading up on Mr. Müller, I kept coming across a statement he made regarding his writing. “All art, including mine, is a remembrance of the dead.” It’s a striking sentence and I find it strangely appropriate for this post-Valentine’s Day lovefest. A new group breathes life into a play while the rest of us can reflect on past and present relationships over a beverage and in the company of friends. Most likely you’ll find me with a chocolate smeared face from all the discounted holiday treats falling just a little more in love with Theater Pub. I hope to see you at Café Royale on the 18th for THE HEART PLAYS.

Up Next At Theater Pub: The Heart Plays!

May we lay our hearts at your feet?

Maybe your Valentine’s Day was everything you hoped it could be. Maybe you watched “Shakespeare in Love” and fell asleep on the couch clutching a bar of Dove dark chocolate. (Maybe that was everything you hoped Valentine’s Day could be.) In any case, keep those good/bad feelings coming with SF Theater Pub’s February celebration of love, hearts, and non-anesthetized organ removal THE HEART PLAYS.

Eight creative teams of actors and directors interpret, re-interpret, and totally mis-interpret seminal postmodern playwright Heiner Müller’s 10-line play, HEART PLAY. There will be music, there will be dancing, there will be fake guts, and there will be many, many brick hearts. By the end of the night, you’ll know the text so well, you can perform it yourself! (Note: reenactments and dramatic recitations after the show — and after a few drinks — are encouraged.)

Producer Annie Paladino has assembled a kick-ass team of directors, including Maria Calderazzo, Robert Estes, Hannah Gaff, Amy Marie Haven, Kate Heller, Joan Howard, Rebecca Longworth, Carmen Melillo, Dan Mack, and Cecilia Palmtag. As usual, our awesome pop-up restaurant partners, Hide Away Blues, will be there with tasty BBQ and bourbon soaked treats!

One night only, February 18th, 2013 at Cafe Royale in San Francisco (800 Post Street). Show is at 8:00pm, so come early for drinks, stay later for more drinks, but be forewarned — our heart is a brick.

(But it only throbs for you.)

Call For Directors For The February Theater Pub!

Annie Paladino, who is producing HEART PLAY(S) for SF Theater Pub in February, needs directors.

The evening is a curated collection of many different interpretations of a single text, “Heart Play” by Heiner Muller. Annie is looking for awesome people to direct/choreograph/stage/make/whatever-you-want-to-call-it the different iterations — that’s where you come in!

Here’s the quick project summary:
This project was originally instigated and led by Jessica Chayes (now of The Assembly in NYC). Very simply, it’s an evening of multiple different versions of the (very) short play by Heiner Muller, “Heart Play”. Here’s the entire text:

1: May I lay my heart at your feet.
2: Only if you don’t dirty my floor.

1: My heart is clean.
2: That remains to be seen.

1: I can’t get it out.
2: Do you want me to help you.

1: If it’s not too much trouble for you.
2: It’s my pleasure.
I can’t get it out either.

1 begins to cry.

2: I’ll operate
What else is my pocket knife good for.
We’ll have it out in no time.
Persevere, don’t despair.
There. We’ve got it.
My, but it’s a brick.
Your heart is a brick.

1: But it only throbs for you.

 
The performance will take place one night only, on February 18th. Like all Theater Pub shows, it’ll be in a bar — at Cafe Royale in San Francisco. The idea is to have each piece work as site-specifically as possible, so that we have a whole bunch of little theatrical blips throughout different areas of the bar.
 
And here are some more details:
  • Annie is looking for between 5 and 8 different iterations for the evening. I’m particularly interested in teams of two directors interested in working on the same piece. But if you want to go solo, that’s cool too!
  • There are only two rules for each director (or directing team):
    • You must use the text in its entirety (though not necessarily all at once, and not necessarily in that exact order, or with that exact character breakdown) — but also, no additional text.
    • You must stage your piece site-specifically in the bar. In fact, this should be a major component of your vision.
  • You can be in your own piece, or cast actors (or even not have any, if that’s the shape your interpretation takes) — it’s totally up to you.
  • GO BIG OR GO HOME. Because 5 really similar stagings of this text would be really boring. The goal is to be as outrageous, surprising, and specific as possible.
  • On that note — we would love to have some interdisciplinary work represented here! If your vision takes the form of dance, music, puppets, film, toy theater, that’s fantastic.
Sound good? If you’re interested in participating as a director/leader/whatever, please email me the following by FRIDAY (that’s January 11):
 
Who are you? (short bio/resume would be cool)
Summary of your vision
How many performers, and do you have anyone in mind?
Where in the bar (a few options are fine)? (go visit Cafe Royale if you’ve never been there!)
What’s the design/aesthetic/look/sound/smell of it? (but keep in mind there’s no budget!)
 
Interested directors should e-mail theaterpub@atmostheatre.com

Field Notes From A BOA Virgin: Strange Bedfellows

Annie Paladino sends us her last blog about BOA 2012.  Feel like telling us about your neck of the Bay Area Theater woods? Let us know! We’re always looking for stories

…and just like that, it was over. BOA 2012 ended its run on Saturday and much hugging, drinking, dancing, congratulating, sleeping, and ripping up of stages ensued (mostly in that order). Followed by more sleeping.

I want to extend my own personal congratulation to everyone involved, and ginormous THANK YOUs to our spectacular audiences (particularly the packed-to-standing-room closing weekend houses!).

But I guess what has really stuck with me, and what I hope continues to be a discussion in the Bay Area small theater scene, is how deeply entrenched we are in our separate art-making spheres. One of the wonderful things about BOA is that it smushes together 10 different producing companies (each with a different style, philosophy, mission, history) almost by brute force: many, if not most, of these companies probably wouldn’t choose to share a billing like this, and have not worked together in the past. In fact, a common topic of conversation among the actors seemed to be, “so what does your company do?” Genuine interest in each other’s work — and an equally genuine ignorance of each other’s very existence — characterized many of the interactions that I observed and/or participated in.

Why don’t we know about each other? It’s somewhat disheartening to realize the extent of our tunnel-vision: how can we expect audiences to find us and know about us if we aren’t even really aware of each other?

I have no idea how to fix it. I suspect that an increase in cross-pollination and artistic polyamory would go a long way, and certainly things like BOA are invaluable to our little community, knitting us together into a lovely, ephemeral, messy patchwork of local small theater. In general, the Bay Area small theater community is amazingly collaborative, active, and supportive. I’m not saying we have to love each other’s work, I did not love every piece in BOA, but really, in the grand scheme of things, we’re all on the same team, right?

WARNING: SELF-IMPORTANT METACOMMENTARY AND PAINFULLY CLICHE METAPHOR AHEAD: maybe THIS VERY BLOG can start poking little air holes in our cozy bubbles.

Lots of love,

A.M.P.

Field Notes From A BOA Virgin: Program 1 And Program 2, Together At Last

Annie Paladino continues her chronicle of this year’s BOA Festival. Anything you want to share about the Bay Area Small Theater Experience? Let us know! We’ll be looking to fill some blank space after Annie gives us her capper article next week. And we know there is plenty of stuff going on out there. Let the world know too!

Another week down — and one to go! Actually, for Program 2, we’ve just got two performances left. Sniff.

This week I give you some thoughts, musings, and observations about the two Programs as counterpoints and/or complements to each other. And, maybe more importantly, I invite those of you who have seen both Programs to share your thoughts on the matter! Commenting is fun.

Right from the first dress rehearsal for Program 2, I was struck by how overpoweringly female our Program is (as were many others). As I’ve already noted, there are two plays with casts of just two women — in one, they are sisters (The Bird Trap), while in the other, lovers (A Game). Right there, you’ve got more types of female relationships than are typically portrayed in any one production on the American stage. Maybe Baby is definitely woman-centric. It follows three women (one single, one with a female partner, one with a male partner) as they approach the decision to conceive a child. Of the remaining two pieces in Program 2, I.S.O Explosive Possibility explores a kaleidoscope of female experiences, equating their branching life paths with the differentiation of stem cells — certainly focusing on women. The only slight outlier here is Death to the Audience, a clever meta-theatrical morsel which kicks off the evening — but then again, maybe the exception proves the rule.

On Saturday evening, I finally (finally!) saw Program 1 — and was kind of bowled over by how thematically different it felt from Program 2. Program 2 is, to grossly oversimplify, the Sex and Violence show. This is pretty obvious from a few of the pieces: The Three Little Dumplings Go Bananas features more colorfully violent imagery than probably all the other shows combined (including matricide represented by a surprisingly disturbing sandwich dismemberment), plus a bit of (albeit weird) heat between the Third Dumpling and the Mailman; Brainkill starts out with a placidly-argued plan to kill people and take their stuff and only gets more morally bankrupt from there; and In Bed begins with a hot-and-heavy drunken make-out between a man and woman on their third date (made all the more intense by the close quarters of the theater) and culminates in the reveal that one of them is a child molester. But even the other plays somehow seem to fit. Cello is quiet and exceedingly delicate in comparison to its Program-mates, but the specter of danger and death looms large (particularly in the form of the cellist/sister on stage). And though The Seagull Project is, on the surface, ebullient and full of life, the violence and adolescent infatuations of its source material permeate every moment (Constantin’s violent and obsessive tendencies are foregrounded in the small bits of text included in the piece).

What do you think? Agree/disagree? Am I full of shit? Missing the point? What other common threads or parallels did you observe? These things are interesting to me for more than just rhetorical reasons — as a snapshot of local Bay Area theater artists, BOA is particularly well suited to tell us something about what we (as a theater community) want to talk about, about what’s on our (collective) minds.

So…women, sex, and violence? Jeez, guys.

Please please discuss in the comments — or if you haven’t seen both Programs, what are you waiting for? There’s only one weekend left!

Make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s BOA Festival! Get more info, and tickets, at http://www.bayoneacts.org!