As we hurtle towards the third decade of this modern century, I am embracing the dynamic forces of change in my own life in order to bring my own brand of artistic satisfaction to others.
Put more plainly, I am planning on pursuing more of my own creative ventures in 2020, especially in the realms of producing and directing. While yes, I have been producing and directing intermittently throughout my professional career, I’ve never quite had the time and resources to realize my own grand ideas. I’m determined now to do just that.
The first such venture that I am pursuing in the new year is a staged reading of Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape. The chance to do one of my favorite plays, by one of my favorite playwrights is something I just feel like I have to create myself, even on a scale as “small” as this. Furthermore, while I will be reading the stage directions, the bulk of my work will be directing and so far, producing, with the help of my co-producers Armando Rivera and Max Hannam.
Together the three of us represent Mischief, a collective of artists seeking to blend grounded performances with imaginative stories. It’s a company we formed with several other friends back in high school and has had various levels of activity through the years in both theatre and film production. Now, however, we’re making a concerted effort to truly keep it going from now on. Whether that’s in Minneapolis or Boston, live or recorded, it’s emblematic of my passion of telling stories beyond a purely actor-based role.
The Hairy Ape is one of the most groundbreaking plays in the American canon, blending elements of expressionism and radical realism into something that was very popular at the time and has always remained so. I certainly hope it continues to contain kernels of truth a hundred years later when socialism is still a dirty word to many and the plight of the working class still nips at the heels of would-be American exceptionalism.
These are just the broad strokes of what O’Neill was conveying in his play, of course, but like any great piece of art it’s full of so much more under the surface. My job then is to do what I can to scratch that surface and serve the playwright, cast and audience justice in their willingness to both tell and watch this piece of art. It’s not to be taken lightly, and yet, I’m filled with excited anticipation!
With all that said, please mark your calendars for this two night event in south Minneapolis and get your tickets early!
THE HAIRY APE
By Eugene O’Neill
The Music Lab
5161 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
January 31 – February 1
@ 7:30 PM – Tickets $10
For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Directed by Vincent Hannam
and Joe Swanson as “Paddy”