Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cool Art, Man

Three recent cool things...

1. Hey, Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland

Yes, I am incredibly behind in reading this acclaimed novel, but I have to say: wow. It captured me so fully, and the final narrative in the quartet was one of the most devastatingly bittersweet pieces of prose I have ever read. If you are interested in a moving exploration of violence and spirituality…true spirituality, then pick it up now…

2. The Human Centipede directed by Tom Six

Many will think I’m a nut for listing this as “cool”. But I do think it ranks as one of the boldest cinematic experiments I’ve seen in some time. Not unlike Antichrist in its audacity, it dares to take an audience into the realm of horror so uncomfortable, you either laugh or vomit. I have always been a fan of Cronenberg films – particularly Videodrome and The Fly. Like those films, Six investigates a purgatory on earth where one is caught in his/her own body as it hangs between life and death in a grotesque cage. I do not “recommend” it – most will curse the film, but I think it is quite an achievement…and it has stayed with me for days.

3. The Gray Sisters by Craig Wright, presented by Third Rail Repertory Theatre

I was so prepared not to like this play. You see – I dislike most monologues. I detest shows where people talk and talk and go on and on. And as a playwriting instructor, I consistently push my students away from using them. So when I learned that this newly commissioned play was a quartet of monologues, I groaned. I went to see the show, knowing that these four brilliant actresses were well worth the time – but I did not anticipate just HOW good they would be. And I certainly did not anticipate discovering my favorite Craig Wright play. His use of the one-sided monologue was so well crafted, so fresh, and the exploration of family, abuse, life, and death so rich...well, you get the point. Shame on me for pre-judging. And all applaud Third Rail for yet another brilliant production.

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