Nothing Good Rhymes With Jordan, So I Could Just Title This "A Chorus Of Doris," Instead of "A [whatever] Of Jordan," But That Wouldn't Make Any Sense
After I could no longer complain that every city except New York was awash in productions of Sarah Ruhl plays, I naturally moved on to Jordan Harrison. And now, in case I ever needed proof that bitching and whining really does work, except for the fact that it has nothing to do with anything happening, you can finally get your fill, or close to it, of Jordan's work in New York.
First, right now, there's Doris to Darlene at Playwrights' Horizons. Such an awesome play, such a great cast. I saw it Friday night and stayed for the "post performance discussion," which was Jordan chatting with Artistic Director Tim Sanford, fielding questions (and praise) from the audience and whatnot. Aside from when Jordan started an answer with, "That's a good question, and not just because you're my boyfriend's father," the most illuminating thing for me was when Jordan, in talking about the play's structure and characters said something about how for him, the writing process is about putting sentences and words together. Or at first it is. Or something. But Jordan definitely pays attention to the rhythm and sound of language, and it comes through in his writing, and that's a big part of what I love about it. The words are part of the art, which is sadly not always the case in other folks' writing. It doesn't hurt that the stories and characters are compelling and heartbreaking. And funny. Funny and heartbreaking are like peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and nutella, or nutella and heartbreak. I'm making no sense. It's a great play.
Aaaaaaand, for the first time getting excited about a press release that made its way to my inbox because apparently blogging makes you enough of a journalist to get inundated with random announcements but not enough of a journalist to get free tickets to these shows, I am thrilled to announce, though you very likely have heard this already, that Clubbed Thumb is bringing back their stellar production of Jordan's Amazons and Their Men, which was a part of the 2007 Summerworks series. (Ooh! Clubbed Thumb's website tells me this is their off-Broadway debut! That's very exciting, because they are an awesome company, and I love the idea of them growing until they take over the city and then the world.) Inside sources (i.e. Jordan) tell me that the summer cast is almost intact, which is good, because Heidi Schreck can do things with a platter of grapes and a pratfall that will blow your mind. This is also just a freaking awesome production, and I love love love the play. It makes a sort of diptych with Doris (is there a third in the series?), both in the historical fantastia thing and also structurally. I love them both.
And you should see them both! Here's how:
Doris to Darlene is playing at Playwrights Horizons through December 23. I'm going to post the copy here, because I love it so much:
In the candy-colored 1960s, biracial schoolgirl Doris is molded into pop star Darlene by a whiz-kid record producer who culls a top-ten hit out of Richard Wagner’s Liebestod. Rewind to the candy-colored 1860s, where Wagner is writing the melody that will become Darlene’s hit song. Fast-forward to the not-so-candy-colored present, where a teenager obsesses over Darlene’s music- and his music teacher. Three dissonant decades merge into an unlikely harmony in this time-jumping pop fantasy about the dreams and disasters behind one transcendent song.
You can use code DDBL to get $45 tickets. You can also subscribe, which, if you're under 30, works out to $20 a ticket, and you can use them in any combination you like - say, 2 tickets to Doris, 2 to Dead Man's Cell Phone, etc - and yes, I recently gave in and did that. And let me say here that part of the reason is that I plan on buying a ticket for under-30 night for Drunken City, so please have under-30 night again, Playwrights Horizons. More age discriminatory discounting (of which I'm a fan, and will be for six more years) - "We offer a limited number of $20 tickets, subject to availability, starting one hour before showtime to patrons aged 30 and under. To order HOTtix, proof of age is required. One ticket, per person, per purchase." Apologies to the old folks.
If I were to write a blurb for Amazons it could be, like, In the not-so-candy-colored 1930s, The Frau, who used to make beautiful films for a fascist government, is now trying to make a film that's simply beautiful. But when her actors start disappearing, it becomes difficult for the Frau to ignore the real war outside her sound stage.
(Except that's just me stealing the Clubbed Thumb blurb and adding something about the rise of Nazism not being so candy-colored.)
Amazons and Their Men is a little ways away, starting January 3, but if you buy tickets before January 1, you can save $10 (paying $15 rather than, I assume, $25). (Okay, I'm confused here - the website says this is at The Ohio, as all Clubbed Thumb shows are - are they just adding seats to take it over 99 seats, to make it off-Broadway?) Anyway, I have seen this and can tell you it will be awesome.
January 3 isn't that far away, is it, since it's December. Eesh. Later or tomorrow or soon: I finally finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; and the surprising wonderfulness that is The Farnsworth Invention.