Doctoral candidates may want to investigate the organic use of thinking from Nishida and Shuzo Kuki in Mac Wellman’s 3 2’s; or AFAR, currently at Dixon Place only through October 29: The play is “in part, a Meditation on Martin Heidegger’s 'Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer.'" It’s also about the Japanese idea of “coquetry.” It sounds like an exciting, challenging foray into the avant-garde with a midterm to follow—unfortunately, many may feel that they’ve gone beyond Brecht’s alienation theory into a fortress of intellectual overcrowdedness and impenetrability. Not only does Wellman, a 3-time Obie winner, invoke philosophers–and presumably their thought without much context or explanation–the play is absurd, which pretty much means getting away with everything. A young puppeteer meets a would-be lover in a Park Slope diner—soon both are exploring the darkness of a haunted puppet theatre (a strong, young cast has found an exactness of emphasis and enunciation with his words). Wellman’s dialogue is diamond hard and his rejection of the well-made play for more musical and visual or cinematic theming is assured. He is also able to offer us surprise. Regarding the sofa, the shoes, and the bowling ball, though, you’re on your own.
While we’re on the subject of Dixon Place and puppets, don’t forget their November commission, The Secret Death of Puppets (or) How Do Puppets Die (or) do Puppets Die in Secret by playwright Sibyl Kempson. They tell us, "The Secret Death of Puppets is a collection of three playlets about forbidden knowledge and our own fragile understanding of reality. Kempson was a student of Mac Wellman." For more information visit: www.dixonplace.org
Review text (c) 2011 by Bob Shuman
Dixon Place presents a Mondo Cané! Commission
3 2's; or AFAR
by MAC WELLMAN
THURSDAYS – SATURDAYS,
OCTOBER 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 at 7:30pm
…everything in "3 2's; or AFAR" eludes, and deliciously so.
–Claudia La Rocca, The New York Times
Mac Wellman's latest comes alive at Dixon Place
–Alexis Soloski, The Village Voice
Tickets: $15 (advance); $18 (door)
PLEASE ARRIVE AT LEAST 15 MINUTES IN ADVANCE:
DUE TO THE INTIMATE NATURE OF THE THEATER,
THERE WILL BE ABSOLUTELY NO LATE SEATING FOR THIS SHOW.
Directed by MEGHAN FINN
Produced by LESLIE STRONGWATER
Lighting by BRIAN ALDOUS
Sets by KYLE CHEPULIS
Costumes by NORMANDY SHERWOOD
Music by CÉSAR ALVAREZ
Sound Design by CHRIS GIARMO
Director of Marketing is TIM RANNEY
JAN LESLIE HARDING,* JOCELYN KURITSKY, QUINLAN CORBETT,* SOPHIE NIMMANNIT and CHUJA SEO
Stage Manager: ANNA KROUP
Assistant Director: SARAH PAINTER
Assistant Stage Manager: COURTNEY ULRICH
Choreography: LAURA DIFFENDERFER
Set in a haunted puppet theater (which looks suspiciously like Dixon Place), 3 2's; or AFAR is a meditation on philosopher Martin Heidegger's Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer, the presence of certain suspicious and abandoned footwear, as well as an exploration of the Japanese notion of IKI (coquetry). From the critically-acclaimed playwright and linguistic gymnast, Mac Wellman, comes a new play about what endangers, what is near, and what is nearer than that.
Read an interview with Mac in the lastest issue of The Brooklyn Rail.
MAC WELLMAN's recent work includes The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (with composer David Lang) at Montclair and 1965 UU for performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory. He is also working on two plays for chorus: The Invention of Tragedy (Classic Stage Company), and Nine Days Falling commissioned by the Stuck Pigs Company of Melbourne, Australia. He has received numerous honors, including both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships and received his third Obie for Lifetime Achievement. His third novel, Q's Q, was published by Green Integer, and a volume of stories, A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds, was published by Trip Street Press. His recent books of poetry are Miniature and Strange Elegies, both from Roof Books. He is the Donald I. Fine Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College.
3 2'S; OR AFAR is commissioned and first presented by Dixon Place with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs; and with private funds from The Peg Santvoord Foundation..