A couple of months ago, the Artistic Director of Halcyon Theatre invited me to write a play for their Alcyone ’11 Festival: Remixed. The conversation went something like this:
Tony: We’re doing this festival where we ask contemporary female playwrights to remix/adapt plays written by women before 1850. Playwrights can do anything they want as long as the plays are ready for rehearsal by March.
Me: (smiling in a pleasant but distracted manner as I wonder whether I can afford to buy a second pair of adorable Miss Mooz wedges) That sounds great…
Tony: [long expectant look]
Me: (uncomfortable realization that he is asking me to participate) Uhhh…
Now, there were about a million reasons why I should have said No:
1.) I’m not a playwright.
2.) I didn’t really know anything about plays written by women before 1850.
3.) Inherently lazy.
But Tony convinced me that Halcyon’s commitment to diversity extended to form as well, and that there should be a place for work that is created through an ensemble process. And he promised to send over some plays I could think about. Which he did. And, using some faulty logic, I chose FASHION, by Anna Cora Mowatt. I was coming off writing The Americans, as well as a dissertation about lynching, and I thought: let me choose the most frivolous topic I can think of, and go light on this one. Ja! Fashion, as anyone who reads a glossy with a critical eye, is no place to take a break from race, gender, and class politics. And Anna’s original play starts with a minstrel show, so there you go…
Still. The original play is an elaborate melodramatic farce, with 14 characters and about 14 subplots. Tony assured me I didn’t need to do a strict adaptation. I could make a classic Coya Paz work. The intricacies of what constitutes a “classic Coya Paz work” is probably a subject for another post, but it sure wouldn’t involve a narrative plot, and it sure wouldn’t be a totally ridiculous and frothy farce about hipsters and socialites. And yet…
What I’ve created, with my amazing and hilarious cast, is a totally ridiculous and frothy farce about hipsters and socialites. It has a story. It has subplots. It has breeder romance and lesbian love triangles. It has heated discussions about whether shoes can be racist, and it is an oddly faithful adaptation of the original. I mean… I’m not sure Anna would recognize it as such, but we kept the mistaken identities, the class climbing, and asked what modern day minstrelsy looks like. I think the result is fun. And still pretty Coya Paz. (We even have a live DJ!) So… I hope you check it out.
Fa$hion by Coya Paz and Cast*
based on the play FASHION by Anna Cora Mowatt
part of Halcyon Theatre’s Alcyone ’11 Festival: Remixed
FIVE SHOWS ONLY:
Friday, June 10 – 7:30pm
Thursday June 16 – 7:30pm
Sunday, June 26 – 7:30pm
Saturday, July 2- 7:30pm
Saturday, July 9- 7:30pm
For tickets and info, please click here.
Cast: Roger Fiero, Dyan Flores, Rashaad Hall, Christina Igaraividez, Noe Jara, A. Raymond Johnson, Sabrina Kramnich, Martine Moore, Frank Pete, Kurt Proepper, Goli Rahimi, Anne Serine, and Reign Star.