In Young Jean Lees play Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals (produced at The Ontological-Hysteric Theaters Blueprint Series at St. Marks Church in 2003), the father of not-so-helpless damsel Sheila has been kidnapped by Fu Manchus henchmen and brought back to China so that he can help Fu Manchu find the mask and shield that will allow Fu Manchu to defeat the West.
Recently, I witnessed a particularly difficult descent into what some playwrights not so affectionately dub “development hell.” A promising young New York playwright, fresh out of grad school, was invited to spend two weeks with a veteran director and dramaturg developing her play for a new works festival.
Lowell, an American on his first business trip to a unnamed west or west-eastern European country, is met unexpectedly at the airport by a beautiful colleague, Sara.
With their latest work-in-progress, Poor Theater: A Series of Simulacra, The Wooster Group take on or, as they say, channel the work of two visionaries of contemporary experimental performance: director of the Polish Theatre Laboratory and author of Towards a Poor Theatre, the late Jerzy Grotowski, and choreographer William Forsythe, currently of the Ballett Frankfurt.
“God bless America,” declares a Haitian-American woman—reciting her poem dedicated to “one certain real estate man” with round-worded, witty defiance—”but not because of you.”