Thursday, March 31, 2011

PARADISE KEY Opens in Austin

This week a new, high-energy production of my play Paradise Key opened in Austin, TX at the Hyde Park Theatre. The production features Austin's own a chick and a dude productions and runs from March 31 through April 16. I'll fly down there next week for a post-show talk-back, and to enjoy the run. Actor / producer Shanon Weaver as David gets locked in the room with Tom Green as Halb, while Melissa Livingston directs. Dangerous fun.

UPDATE: After a great opening weekend, the production received critical praise, and strong audiences responses. I was able to participate in a talk-back session after a show this past Friday, and every last audience member stayed in their seats to listen. Check out these reviews online:

"Buckle your chin strap."
"Excellent performances by both Tom Green and Shannon Weaver tell the uncomfortable story."

"Poynor has great strengths as a playwright."
"Two characters, one room, and a ticking clock."
  - The Austin Chronicle

DOUBLE UPDATE: Also, we had a chance to do a radio interview for KUT, the awesome Public Radio station in town.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Milan Stitt Remembered

I was honored to present some new pages this weekend at an event recognizing the late Milan Stitt for his contribution as a playwright, teacher and mentor. It was a small gathering at the Dramatists Guild of former students representing CMU and a few guests, and we chose to share work-in-progress in the spirit of continuous learning and growth. I offered a piece of my Treasure hunting play. I was glad to hear those Milan phrases again - write big plays, ending problems are page one problems, what is this play about, writing is the scab we use to cover wounds of the soul - and I was reminded to always sharpen all my pencils, and then write with a pen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is Theatre (?) (!)

This week I had two amazing and unique theatrical experiences that represent the excitement happening on the squishy edges of the definition of theatre. I was glad to be able to snag a single ticket to see the consternating Rude Mechanicals performance of The Method Gun on a limited engagement tour in New York City at Dance Theatre Workshop. While to my mind this fell squarely in the "theatre" category, I sat there amazed as the ensemble dissected performance, the study of acting, the nature of mentors and gurus, and the twin dragons of Risk and Doubt. The show was a stunning meditation on the true danger of the stage, the power of art, and the debt we owe to those who went before. Plus, it had a tiger, and it left the whole audience gape-mouthed and weak-kneed.

And then I got some Greeks.

The very next day I got an email saying that a coveted seat had opened up for the super-select production by Exit, Pursued by a Bear, a hotbed of creative passion and talent. (If they keep calling it a lab, I think they run the risk of being regulated like a pharmaceutical company for the exploratory incubation they are doing.) They were presenting the 7-play Sophocles cycle in an expertly succinct adaptation by Sean Graney, and in order to be able to digest the stunning scope of the work (a neatly-packaged five hours) we were treated as guests, hosted with the utmost hospitality by the gracious Artistic Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, and courted with dinner, dessert, conversation, and libation throughout the evening. In a deliberate attempt to de-formalize the theatre event, they welcomed us into their artistic home, and we all ate and drank story, and contemplated the themes of life and death and honor in the only way we can: by acknowledging our own physical and social needs, in communion with the needs of others around us.