Saturday, February 28, 2009

West Coast Company Members...

Company Members, Christopher Whalen and Dedra McCord-Ware will be joining us in New York City on March 31st for the opening night red-carpet event of our 70/70 Horovitz Project. Be sure to join us for the theatre event of the year and meet the entire ensemble.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

70/70 Horovitz Project

Barefoot Theatre Company presents
the theater event of the year with the
70/70 Horovitz Project
(a world wide, year-long event
celebrating Israel Horovitz's 70th Birthday
with 70 of his plays)
Barefoot Theatre Company leads over 50 theater companies from around the globe including: France, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Australia and the United States of America with readings, staged readings and fully staged productions of 70 plays by award winning playwright Israel Horovitz.
Produce 70 plays, in all stages of presentation and at the highest quality for the public all across the globe in honor and celebration of the prolific, award winning and world renowned playwright, Israel Horovitz as he turns 70.

Israel Horovitz, one of America’s most produced playwrights at home and abroad, is author of such award-winning plays as THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX, which introduced Al Pacino and John Cazale in its 1968 NYC premiere; LINE, which introduced Richard Dreyfuss (a revival of LINE has been running for 36 consecutive years at off-Broadway’s 13th Street Repertory Theatre); THE PRIMARY ENGLISH CLASS, which starred Diane Keaton in its NYC premiere; PARK YOUR CAR IN HARVARD YARD, which starred Jason Robards in its Broadway premiere; MY OLD LADY, which is now performing in more than a dozen countries around the globe. Horovitz’s many awards include the OBIE (twice), the Prix de Plaisir du Théâtre, The Prix Italia (for radio plays), The Sony Radio Academy Award (for Man In Snow),The European Academy Award and The Writers Guild of Canada Best Screenwriter Award (both for Sunshine), The Christopher Award, the Drama Desk Award (twice), an Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Elliot Norton Prize, a Lifetime Achievement Award from B’Nai Brith, the Literature Prize of Washington College, an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem (Massachusetts) State College, Boston Public Library’s Literary Lights Award, the Walker Hancock Prize, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and many others. Mr. Horovitz is Founding Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage, and of the New York Playwrights Lab.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

El Repertorio hosts Barefoot Theatre members...

The historical El Repertorio Espanol hosts Barefoot Theatre Company member Gil Ron as he directs barefoot members Luca Pierucci, Lorraine Rodriguez and Francisco Solorzano in “A Bicycle Country” by Nilo Cruz Today, Tuesday, February 24th at 7pm. Hosted By El Repertorio Espanol, 138 East 27th Street 10016, NYC .

Directed by: Gil Ron*' Performed by: Lorraine Rodriguez*', Luca Pierucci, Francisco Solorzano*, and Fulvia Vergel*' Percussion and Sound: Patricio Cahue

* Appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association
' Company member of El Repertorio Espanol

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

upcoming bareNaked Reading Series

be sure to attend our upcoming bareNaked Reading Series before we embark on our most exciting endeavor to date....
at this bareNaked you'll get the opportunity to first hear details on our Theatre Event of The Year as well as get free tixs to a couple of the events...
the play being read on Tuesday, March 10th is a work in progress by our featured playwright and Literary Manager - STEPHEN GRACIA.
join us on myspace and facebook and find out more about this bareNaked Reading Series not to be missed!!!!!
See you there!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Q&A with playwright Stephen Gracia

For our first ever barefoot interview, long time barefoot family member, Mark von Sternberg helps us get to know our featured playwright a little better.

Mark von Sternberg: When did you first get involved with Barefoot, was it for Complete Control? (Stephen’s first written and produced play.)
Stephen Gracia: Yes. So, Spring/Summer of 2000
MvS: How did it happen? Were you looking to get stuff produced?
SG: Not at all. I wasn't a playwright then. I was a poetry major in Brooklyn College and was working at the tutoring center, when, unbeknownst to me, John Harlacher (Barefoot company member) started using a poem of mine that had appeared in the school’s undergrad poetry journal as an audition piece. He showed it to Michael LoPorto (Barefoot’s Associate Director), and Michael asked me to write a play for Barefoot.
MvS: So you were commissioned. Lucky bastard.
SG: (Laughing) Yeah. Based off of one short poem. Boy, did Mike take a gamble on me.
MvS: So you just kind of fell into it then.
SG: Absolutely. I had taken an Intro to Playwriting course the semester before only because, in the poetry program, you need to take one writing course outside your discipline, and all the fiction classes were full. I wrote two dialogues and a monologue while there, but I never considered developing them into anything.
MvS: And then after that I guess it's safe to assume you caught the bug.
SG: I'd say so. Poetry is such an isolated genre. There's no collaboration; most poets hate each other; there's no push to get published. It’s not like publishing companies are out hunting for the latest hot young poet, so it’s easier to just write in solitude and stuff it in a drawer. Theater was this entirely different world.
MvS: So obviously you like the collaborative element.
SG: Definitely.
MvS: How much do you pipe up during rehearsals? That's got to be a tough thing for a playwright, losing the level of control.
SG: I'm happy to give it up, actually. I want to see how others approach my work. I often think about eventually trying my hand at acting or directing, but I'd never want to direct or act in one of my plays.
MvS: Why not?
SG: Too insular, if I wanted everything to just be about my vision, I would have stuck to poetry. I've done readings of my poems where everything is shaped by me: my tone, my rhythm...gestures, setting, and being alone up there wasn’t something I wanted to continue. I always wanted to be part of a band, not a solo artist.
MvS: So you're not Woody Allen is what you're saying.
SG: (Laughing) No.
MvS: You're from Brooklyn - right? Born and bred?
SG: Yep. Born in Windsor Terrace, grew up near Marine Park, and lived my adult life in Sheepshead Bay, Cobble Hill, and now Greenwood Heights.
MvS: A lot of your characters are Brooklyn types, kooky Brooklyn personalities... obviously you know the borough pretty well - what is Brooklyn about to you?
SG: Brooklyn is such a diverse and constantly changing place, so many cultures are represented here, and the neighborhoods are constantly in flux. The Brooklyn I live in now bears almost no resemblance to the one I was born into, and that’s just within 34 years.
MvS: Do you think of yourself as a "Brooklyn playwright?"
SG: Yes, absolutely. There's so much here to be inspired by. A Park Slope story is entirely different than a Gerritsen Beach one. Both are valid; both are equally Brooklyn.
MvS: This is sort of a generic writer question, but I feel like we're going there - Where do you get the ideas for plays & stories?
SG: Often the ideas come from music, which is why so many of my plays are named after songs: Complete Control, My Love is in Amerikay, Mohammed’s Radio, etc. Usually a lyric will suggest a character or a setting, and then I build from there, often incorporating situations I’ve been in or things I’ve read, but music is always the through line. If you look at one of my notebooks, you’ll see bits of lyrics or song titles next to character descriptions and dialogue. Sometimes if I’m sitting and writing in a bar, something that comes on the jukebox will completely change the direction of a scene or illuminate a character. Case in point, I was struggling with the relationship between Alice and her daughter Kelly in Mohammed’s Radio, but suddenly, and this may not have happened in a bar since 1994, the woman next to me requested some Mother Love Bone, and things just clicked. Alice wanted to call her daughter “Chloe” because of the MLB song “Chloe Dancer” but compromised on Kelly. Right then, the moment of Kelly’s conception was situated very specifically in time, as were some of Alice’s personality traits.
MvS: So you don't get too cerebral at first, it's all about flow and feel?
SG: Yes. I'm really bad at outlining or setting up an arc. I just start with a character or situation and let it develop from there.
MvS: You mentioned writing at bars... how many can you swing back before you can't read your own notes?
SG: (Laughing) Three would be my absolute limit. Once you hit three, you're just drinking.
MvS: Where do you write usually? Wherever you can?
SG: For a while, it was only at home, and only on my computer, but now I find I focus a bit better if I’m in a cafe or a bar. I hate turning into one of those “hey, watch me write!” guys, but it’s just easier to devote two hours to writing if you aren’t distracted by email, laundry, making dinner, etc.
MvS: Do you think of any sort of central theme or commonality in your plays?
SG: That's hard...I've been thinking about it a lot lately... Let me turn the tables here.
MvS: uh-oh
SG: As someone who's seen most of what I've done, do you think there's a thread?
SG: MWah-ha-ha! I win the interview!
MvS: (Laughing) Checkmate. You got me. Okay, here goes...
I notice two things: First: you like to make character parallels, like characters that are coming from the same place in their minds but in terms of the physical and tangible, total different places. Although that’s more as a device than an actual "theme"
SG: Hmm... I can definitely see that.
MvS: Second thing, and this is probably way too vague to make any sense, but there's like a "dirty mysticism" in your plays.
SG: "Dirty Mysticism"?! I love that!
MvS: Like the characters have filthy, vulgar mouths, but they are super introspective. Like they want to be in the shit, and they love the shit because they want to figure stuff out, but at the same time: they are in shit.
SG: Hmmm, interesting... I like characters that are born into an awful situation but maintain some nobility despite their experiences and characters who become savage in similar situations...finding the human in the monster...the sacred in the vulgar I guess. Israel Horovitz once said something wonderful about writers whose “fathers were given to violence and whose mothers sang at the sink while doing dishes” and that’s the situation I came from; Israel said that he’s written plays for his father (the dark ones) and ones for his mother (the lighter ones). I haven’t written one for my mother yet, but I expect that someday I will. Something less filthy, perhaps.
MvS: how did you become Literary Manager of Barefoot
SG: Francisco (Barefoot’s Producing Artistic Director) invited me into the company in 2005. My professional background is in education: teaching college English classes, teaching playwriting to High School kids through an outreach program, and, now, guiding students through the prestigious scholarship process at Brooklyn College. So, I was eager to get involved in a situation where I would be reading and workshoping plays by emerging writers.
MvS: And what do you look for in scripts?
SG: I look for something that moves me, and what moves me is a play that desperately needs to communicate something important: be it a personal experience or a universal truth. A Barefoot play needs to be something that is barely contained on the page. It demands your attention. Every play we’ve ever produced was done because the company member who read it said: “I couldn’t put it down.” As a company, I don’t think we have a voice as much as we have an attitude. I want to be changed by what I read. It’s the way we grow as a company. If it doesn’t inspire, challenge, and emotionally affect us, then it’s not for us.
MvS:....and what makes Barefoot Theatre Company a prominent force in the theatre community...
SG: We’ve been at this for ten years, which is not at all typical, and we’ve gotten sharper as we’ve grown. I am constantly awed by our actors and directors, and it’s a very nurturing environment for young playwrights. We’re not in theater as stepping stone to other careers; we’re here because we are dedicated to the art form.
MvS: Last question: What do you want to see more of in theater scene, if anything?
SG: More honest work that makes better use of the avant-garde. What I mean is, there has to be ways to create a narrative that connects with an audience but is still non-linear and creative. When I go to see something that has Avant-garde tropes, I’m impressed, floored even, but too often I don’t care about the characters. I don't leave the theater changed in anyway. Seeing a play should be a transformative experience, so somewhere between pure entertainment and intellectual exercises is where the great work is.
(Stephen Gracia's upcoming work in progress will next be featured at our bareNaked Reading Series on Tues, March 10th; von Sternberg will also been seen in the 70/70 Horovitz Project. )

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

featured playwright....

Stephen Gracia is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA Poetry program. His first play, Complete Control, was produced at the DUMBO Theater Exchange in Brooklyn, NY. Subsequent plays include: Subway Series and Fast Food Strategies (Producers Club, Manhattan), Waving and Drowning (DUMBO Theater Exchange), The Hunger Arts (Makor Theatre at the 92nd Street Y, Manhattan), Next! (American Theater of Actors, The Sargent Theatre, Manhattan), Assfuck Brooklyn and My Love is in Amerikay (Theaters at 45 Bleecker, Manhattan), and A Wig Full of Spiders (Harrogate Theatre and The World’s End Pub, Yorkshire, England.) His poetry has been published in Riverrun, The Brooklyn Review, and Slipstream, and he has read at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project and ABC No Rio. Stephen also records harsh electronic music under the name Rhythm & Detonation and contributed an original score to a revival of Jeffrey M. Jones’s Crazy Plays at BRIC Studio and original songs to the off-broadway production of CJ Thom’s Eightballs at the Lafayette Theatre.
Stephen Gracia is a member of Barefoot Theatre Company and currently serves as Literary Manager.

Monday, February 9, 2009

barefoot family member...

fellow Barefoot Theatre Company family member, Mark von Sternberg has been involved with the company since its inception. Keep an eye out as he interviews company members and audiences beginning with our first ever Q&A with our featured playwright: barefoot's Literary Manger, Stephen Gracia. Last year's featured playwright was Joseph Sousa whose first play, Teeth of the Sons, was featured in Barefoot's inaugural bareNaked Reading Series in November of 2008. Here's a little bit about Mark von Sternberg:

Mark von Sternberg is a New York based playwright and screenwriter whose stage plays have received numerous productions across New York City. Such credits include Rats! At the Dumbo Art Festival (2000), Lost in Buenos Aires produced by Barefoot Theatre Company at the Producers’ Club (2002), and La Pump (a staged reading at 541). He is the writer of five screenplays which are currently in various stages of review at production houses on the West coast. He wrote and directed The Zen Cynic which premiered at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008 he wrote and directed the feature film Love Simple, which starred Barefoot Theater Artistic Director Francisco Solorzano, Patrizia Hernandez, and acclaimed playwright Israel Horovitz.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

most recent bareNaked Reading Series

here are some rehearsal photos from Franklin Grimes, our most recent bareNaked Readings Series featuring the new play by C. J. Thom and directed by our Associate Director, Michael LoPorto.

The cast included barefoot theatre company members: Jeremy Brena, Charles Everett, John Gazzale and John Harlacher along with Sabrina Catuadella (last seen with barefoot in blue collar, featuring two plays by Israel Horovitz), Steven R. Weinblatt (most recently played Mulvaney in barefoot's Dog Day Afternoon at Theatre Row Theatres) and Mark von Sternberg reading stage directions.

The live music: electronica indie punk was provided by David Triggiano once again.

Photos from all of our bareNaked Reading Series will soon be available on Myspace and Facebook. Thanks for your support!!!