If you’ve been lackadaisical about your theater-going this year, now’s your chance to make up for it. This week’s Emerging America Festival will bring together contemporary writers, companies, actors and directors for four days of groundbreaking performances. The American Repertory Theater’s OBERON, the Huntington Theatre Company’s Calderwood Pavilion, and the Institute of Contemporary Art provide the three beloved venues spanning Boston and Cambridge.
With ticket prices ranging from as little as five bucks, and with multiple chances to see most of the performances, Emerging America invites die-hards and casual observers alike to be lackadaisical no more.
One of the cornerstones of this year’s festival will be the run of The Hotel Nepenthe, performed by the Elliot Norton Award-winning cast from the Actors’ Shakespeare Project. The work tells the story of seemingly unconnected characters—a prostitute and a Senator’s wife, a jilted lover, a taxi dispatcher and a movie star—and puts them all at the Hotel Nepenthe. Beginning with a performance on Thursday, Hotel Nepenthe combines sexiness, mystery, and some of the best acting in the country for six performances only.
In Steve Cuiffo is Lenny Bruce, Steve Cuiffo is Lenny Bruce. More specifically, it’s a critically acclaimed performance in which Mr. Cuiffo has resurrected—verbatim—some of Bruce’s rants and monologues and appears to channel the comedian-cum-social critic’s wry, belligerent, and often searingly-accurate opinions on American life. Non-dinner table topics like race, sex, and organized religion will still obviously pack some poignant heat.
For The Pirates of Penzance, a modern American classic, Chicago-based company The Hypocrites bring their highly-capable musical theater chops to Boston. So, yeah, there will be singing. But Pirates is not typical Broadway fodder, and the Hypocrites’ version ran for solid sold-out nights in their hometown.
Expect grown men swashbuckling in hot pants.
Another performance hitting the festival is Experiment America, which has a pretty easy name and yet is difficult to pin down, genre-wise. Part dance party, part performance, and wholly dependent on audience participation, immersive theater artist Mikhael Tara Garver has worked with over 50 collaborators who run the American theater gamut for Experiment. Performed once (Friday, June 22 from 9:30pm to 1am) and held at the ICA, audiences can see what the hell is meant by the rather threatening billed question,
“What if your phone could let you in on the secret stories of strangers in the crowd?”
Emerging America will also showcase two performances of The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a play based on George V. Higgins’s infamously badass crime novel by the same name. Plus, Boston favorite The Donkey Show will hold its regular Saturday night spot at OBERON in all of it’s raunchy, disco-y, boob-centric glory. Emerging America is a concentrated theater-going experience that doesn’t come through our neck of the woods often, and should be required viewing for anyone who’s been slacking on their cultural participation.
THU 6.21.12-SUN 6.24.12
2 ARROW ST.
BOSTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
527 TREMONT ST.
100 NORTHERN AVE.
12PM-1AM/AGES VARY/PRICES VARY