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Playwright snapshot

Slackin’ on the notebook duties again, so here’s a quick bite of artsy goodness to take the edge off the appetite…

Last night I biked to Tribeca for a play reading—not my usual cultural fare, in fact I would say that’s usually the sort of thing I might avoid, but the exception in this case is due specifically to the playwright, Gary Winter. I met Gary via Better Half’s work on one of his new pieces, and instantly became a fan. Since then (and at my insistence), we’ve occasionally discussed collaboration, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to find just the right project should he find himself interested and I’m persistent enough.

His plays vary in subject but always have an otherworldly and abstract language that is remarkably formalized—and his poetic and imaginative texts are extremely attractive:

Damn you Seal-A-Kanth! Poor excuse for a pollywog. Cursed parent-lings. Drag besotted daughter out to Comoros Islands to indulge in anthropological fantasies. Well, no deals here except for loopiness. And even then some. No heads on wrong shoulders except in the Funhouse. No fun in the Funhouse. Except in the hall of mirrors.

Winter is a member of the playwright consortium 13P, whose productions we’ve fixed an intrigued eye on, because these guys are all superstars. I think I dig the 13P mission and vibe mostly because I see many resemblances to BCM—in their collaborations, camaraderie, and dedication to getting their works produced.

Fortunately Gary keeps us up-to-date so there’s almost always a Winter play to peruse on our night-stand. A couple of months ago he sent us AT SAID, the play NascentWorks read/presented last night, a terrific (and often bizarre, of course) one-act about inner-city strife, creativity, fear, and human stagnation. At least that’s what I take from it. But who really knows — I read and watch Gary’s plays and always wonder if perhaps I’ve even gotten 1/4 of the way through the possibilities.

My first encounter with his work was THE LAKE, a piece centering on characters of vague connection and with a tenuous personal hierarchy, living (surviving? waiting?) in an undisclosed and seemingly-sheltered location, all centered around a body of water which may or may not sustain them as well as may or may not provide undisclosed magical properties. Hold this kind of thing up to the light with the recent manuscript now in our living room, where the cast of characters lists

Alexis: 30′s
K: A potato. 50′s
Alexis’ Mom: A pair of dentures. 50′s

and maybe you start to get the picture. I love this stuff.

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