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What’s surprised you most about this year’s submissions, versus what you’ve seen in years prior?
In previous years we’ve had a lot of war stuff and last year we had the presidential election, but this year’s submissions feel more like an alternating between extreme joy and despair. Which almost parallels an average day’s news headlines. You watch CNN for an hour and you have Obama’s election and then the meltdown of the auto industry, this euphoria and pain back-to-back. This year, there are a lot of significant dramas and relationship stories. But like every year, there’s also a healthy mix of different kinds of work. While we may technically still have the same number of international shows, what jumps out at you thins year is that they come from some really amazing places – not just from Canada and Europe. We’re planning on having shows from China and Japan and one from Spain. There are four guys coming in from Perth, Australia who are doing something really creative in organize four entirely different, really unique one-person shows. They all applied and got in, so they’re teaming up to be each other’s board operators and managers. And when you look at how many people are coming into the city for the first time, you have to think at least part of that is because there’s a perception of a shift in the feelings inside the U.S. – a new president and a new outlook that surely makes it a more palatable idea for international companies to show here.
I was looking through the 30 or so staycation themes on your web site, walk me through a couple of these. Give me a handful of shows that you think look particularly promising.
We certainly realize that it can be intimidating, given that this year we have 201 shows in less than three weeks, to find just the right show for you. So we’ve tried to breaking things down:
- One of this year’s staycations is “Culinary Capers,” where all the shows have something to do with food. One standout is “Eat Drink and Be Merry,” (showing Aug. 20, 21, 24, 29, 30) a history of food on the planet from Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden to Queens, New York. It’s a food musical and very funny, and you’ll also learn a lot from the songs, which are pretty creative. It’s very us – a bizarre sort of a musical that we seem to specialize in.
- Another category is “Absurdly Surrealist Dream,” which includes surreal plays and absurdist comedies. In other words: The less linear work, which is my favorite sort. One interesting title is “Forest Maiden,” (showing Aug. 15, 16, 19, 20, 22) which is about a woman traveling through an enchanted forest who falls in love with an Elf, who becomes her girlfriend, and is then captured by a knight who’s also the host of a reality TV show. It’s absurd and hysterical and anachronistic in a way –a fable from a talented young playwright that’s very modern and yet in the kings-and-queens-and-enchanted forest setting.