theater

An Immersive Goodbye Party Comes to a Williamsburg Backyard

Shuga Pie Supreme is thrilled to present The Goodbye Party by Charlie O’Leary, directed by Charles Quittner, at Boscoe Barles Backyard (290 North 6 Street) this Friday through Sunday at 8.

This outdoor, site-specific play centers on a goodbye party for the (semi-)fictional Stevie. “I wanted to write a play about the impossibility of letting go, a play that was a tribute to my time in New York, but mostly I just wanted to trick this group of collaborators into hanging out with me for a week. I think this play is a reflection of that,” says O’Leary. “Also, it’s a pizza party.”

This 60-minute musical play will feature Ae Andreas (AKA God Complex, BK Drag King of the Year), Robert Dowling (Ding Dong It’s The Ocean), Chris Ignacio, and Curry Whitmire. Anne Ciarlone produces the play with music by David Carl, Nikolai Mishler, and Charlie O’Leary. “I’ve always wanted to do a backyard-in-Brooklyn play, despite never actually having lived there,” O’Leary adds. “I’m so glad that Boscoe Barles has given me the opportunity to join the ranks of low-budget site-specific theatremakers all the borough over.”

Tickets are a suggested donation of $12 and can be reserved at goodbyeparty.bpt.me.

Shuga Pie Supreme is a Brooklyn-based performance company of fleeting trifles and pizza parties “having fun with futitlity” (The New York Times). They previously produced Cowboy at Target Margin, …Coriolanus and It’s Cymbeline 🤷🏻 at the Brick, He Hurt Himself in His Confusion at The Glove, and Toxic if Swallowed at AmericanAF and The LGBT Center.

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In “Cabin,” A Queer Thriller Takes Over The Bushwick Starr

Tyler Ashley in “Cabin,” photo by Maria Baranova

We’re always voyeurs, as audiences in a theater, but the three-paneled walls we peer through in Cabin only heighten our perverse role. In this titular cabin, men are spied on by more than just the audience.

Is Sean Donovan’s new play a bittersweet romance, a queer thriller, or a haunting look at outsiders in unfamiliar terrain? It boldly marries all three in its intricate constellation — or cobweb — that is now playing through June 8 at The Bushwick Starr.

S meets Paul, then S meets Stewart, and soon the three are escaping the city to galavant and smoke and make love deep in the woods, high in a relative’s getaway home, so elevated it sits above the rolling fog. The home’s clear vistas offer no safety.

Not long into their increasingly regular sojourns, S (Sean Donovan, who also directs) meets a mysterious older townie who develops a strange and off-putting obsession with the three gay men, who together exist in a relatively stable friendship and romance.

Sean Donovan in “Cabin,” photo by Maria Baranova

This is what S regales in a mammoth monologue at the geographical center of Cabin. We learn about the cabin’s history and tchotchkes, we see Stewart (Tyler Ashley) try out a new dance routine with Paul (Brandon Washington), and we then worry for their safety. But how the play’s eerie quality emerges is both jarring and subtle — it happens all at once, and yet it was there all along. Can queer men be safe even in isolated, fortressed havens?

Brandon Washington and Tyler Ashley in “Cabin,” photo by Maria Baranova

To clearly answer that would both spoil and undermine this play, which provides no easy answers. But here’s what this sly and dangerous play does do: it uses those three window panes for more than just peering, as in one mystical touch they become a reflector for the warm vignettes of memories past. It showcases Tyler Ashley’s virtuosic dance and lip sync talents. (For proof, see last year’s Bushwig performance.) And it ends with a lyrical blow so theatrical you’ll be reminded, again and again, how marvelous The Bushwick Starr is, how idiosyncratic its programming, and how mysterious and tender this gem of a play is.

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Thursday Spotlight: Meet Director Dina Vovsi

Dina Vovsi

When we discuss the art scene in Greenpoint, we often focus on the Pencil Factory’s many inhabitants or the other visual artists working out of their studios, homes, and even in our neighborhood parks. But North Brooklyn has always been teeming with artists of many different stripes, including versatile theatermakers like director Dina Vovsi. Dina has worked in collegiate and Off-Broadway theaters, crafted plays centering on immigrant experiences, and created immersive experiences in outdoor settings. Below, we get to know the Greenpoint-based director while discussing her career, the importance of affordable housing, and — of course — her dog Bruce.

Greenpointers: How long have you lived in Greenpoint, and what brought you here? 

Dina Vovsi: I’ve lived in Greenpoint for about two and a half years. Before moving here, my partner and I were in Kensington for a year, and before that, I lived in Williamsburg for six years, so I’ve spent a lot of time in North Brooklyn. I am super lucky — my name was drawn in the affordable housing lottery for an apartment in a brand-new, mixed-income building, which has made being an artist significantly more possible over the past couple of years. It’s been a financial game-changer, and I can’t stress enough how everyone needs to be submitting for these buildings on NYC Housing Connect; I know quite a few people who have been selected recently, so it’s really not as impossible as legend says. We live in the quieter, north end of the neighborhood, and I love being near the water and walking our dog, Bruce, to Transmitter Park and Greenpoint Landing. More people know his name than mine, which I’m totally fine with. Continue reading

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US Premiere of “Bleach” Follows Lonely Bushwick Rentboy

Eamon Yates in “Bleach.” Photo by Hunter Canning

Check your coat at the door, and maybe your comfort.

But what else would you expect going to see an immersive play about a gay sex worker in a Bushwick basement? Bleach, the UK-imported one-man show now at Tyler’s Basement (637 Wilson Avenue), boldly but often unsuccessfully tests the limits of actor-audience intimacy. An attendant at the theater asks if you’ll be comfortable with the performer touching you; the character, a gay prostitute, is a pro after all. He gets paid to touch.

Even if you say no, it’s hard to emerge unscathed. In Tyler’s subterranean shoebox studio where the ten-max audience members convene, it’s difficult to not at least brush shoulders with the single performer in Dan Ireland-Reeves’s erotically stimulating but intellectually numbing play. Continue reading

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Obie Award Winner David Greenspan Returns To The Bushwick Starr

David Greenspan performs in his new memory play. Photo by Maria Baranova.

The time it may take you to get to The Bushwick Starr may last longer than its current production, but any trip to this experimental Brooklyn venue is worth the journey.

Now playing at 207 Starr Street, downtown guru David Greenspan’s 45-minute The Things That Were There is a cubist family drama that wisely deconstructs its genre but unfortunately does not carry much heft. In the zippy one-act, nimbly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, Lenny (Greenspan) introduces his birthday party and the family antics that surround it, highlighting pointed episodes from his relatives’ lives. Continue reading

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Shakespeare in the Popup Park Kicks Off Tonight (7/25) [UPDATE: Cancelled Due To Weather]

Central Park might have the Delacorte Theater, but north Brooklyn has Bushwick Inlet (popup) Park, and the good folks at Hip to Hip Theater Company are turning the provisional green space at 50 Kent Avenue into a makeshift Globe Theater this summer.

Hip to Hip will stage All’s Well that Ends Well tonight, and King Lear on August 22nd. Each performance will begin at 7:30 and run 95 minutes. An interactive kids workshop will begin 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Tickets are not necessary; blankets, low chairs and picnic fare are encouraged!

What: Shakespeare in the Popup Park
When: [CANCELLED] Tonight August 22nd at 7:30pm
Where: Bushwick Inlet (popup) Park, 50 Kent Avenue

UPDATE: Tonight’s performance has been cancelled due to the rain. Check out King Lear on August 22nd.

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“Then She Fell” Continues to Lure Audiences to North Brooklyn — And Down the Rabbit Hole

Photo by Chad Heird

Much like the White Rabbit, I was very late to the party.

Third Rail Projects has been enchanting audiences in Brooklyn since 2012 with its immersive show Then She Fell, a deep dive into the rabbit hole and through the looking-glass. Last week, I finally got to experience this gritty gem.

Set inside the Kingsland Ward at St. John’s (195 Maujer St) in East Williamsburg, the three-story building is made out to be an eerie sanatorium of sorts that probes into the underside of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass — examining the insidious relationship between the author and his muse, the young Alice Liddell. In light of current conversations about #MeToo, the alleged relationship between Charles Dodgson (the man behind the pen name of Carroll) and Alice Liddell leaves little room for speculation. Continue reading

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The Bushwick Starr’s “Singlet” Tests the Limits of Intimacy

Singlet at The Bushwick Starr, photo by Sasha Arutyunova

Consider yourself blessed, Brooklyn: the downtown and all’s-fair-in-love-and-cabaret artist Erin Markey is performing within walking distance from the L Train. Markey, whose preferred gender pronoun is they, has written — and is performing in — Singlet, a bold world premiere that is now extended at The Bushwick Starr through June 12 (207 Starr Street). Known for their one-of-a-kind and genre-defying Manhattan performances, Markey now comes to their home borough with a stunning and zippy world premiere. Continue reading

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Ladies Who Ranch, Art on Airwaves, La Banubas, Paint and Sip — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (3/7–3/13)

For just $1 get a ride to nearby subway stations to/from Greenpoint with Via, an on-demand ridesharing app!! Download the app here and set your pick up or drop-off location by moving the pin on the map to the locations for any of the following train stations:

  • Marcy Av (JMZ train)
  • Vernon Blvd – Jackson Av (7 train)
  • Bedford Av (L train)
  • Lorimer St/Metropolitan Av (L and G trains)
  • Graham Av (L train)
  • Nassau Av (G train)
  • Greenpoint Av (G train)

Expires Monday (March 12, 11:59PM). Install the Via app now! [Sponsored]

WEDNESDAY 3/7

^ Tables of Contents Reading Series: Hunt! Gerrard! Caldwell! @Egg (109 North 3rd St), 7pm, $5, Each reading will be paired with snacks inspired by its text, plus you’ll be in for an author-curated playlist and a rangy Q&A/discussion on writing, craft, aversion, and creativity to wrap up the night. Beer and wine will be available for purchase, and WORD will be present slinging text, More info
☺ Ladies Who Ranch @ Vital Joint (109 Meserole St), 8pm, $5-10, Group of women does jokes for laughs at comedy show to change the national conversation. The show is followed by the Ladies Who Ranch Open Mic, an experimental comedy mic that especially encourages multimedia performances, More info
♫# Live Flamenco in St Charles Cellar @St. Mazie Bar (345 Grand St), 8pm, FREE, A night of authentic Flamenco in our beautiful speakeasy. Full dinner menu available as well as a 3 course Pre fixe menu, cocktails, absinthe and more… Ole!, More info
♫ Carte Blanche @Radegast Hall (113 N 3rd St), 9pm, FREE,French, Latin and American tunes while you sample the incredible selection of authentic german beers on tap and maybe have a giant german pretzel or bratwurst from the grill!! Space to dance!, More info

THURSDAY 3/8

* Kombrewcha’s International Women’s Day Celebration @ The Williamsburg Hotel (96 Wythe Ave), 6:00pm, $3, Boss Ladies doing big things. We’ll be hosting a panel on Women Who Do. Buy tix
* NYC DRAFT Meetup @ PencilWorks (61 Greenpoint Ave), 6:30pm, FREE, Fast-paced hour of ideas, entrepreneurs and bikes, capturing the exciting things happening in the bike industry, RSVP
♫ ♦ Art on the Airwaves @ Union Docs (322 Union Avenue), 7:30 pm, $10, A showcase of radio documentary selected by James T. Green, cofounder of Postloudness, a collective of independent audio shows by people of color, women, and queer-identified hosts that aims to create a community of unique voices in audio. Buy tix
♫ Anna McClellan (Record Release), Navy Gangs @ ALPHAVILLE (140 Wilson Avenue), 10pm, $10, Buy tix
♫ Mughal Legion 3 Ft. Fanaa @ Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Ave), 10pm, FREE, Part 3 of a monthly-ish series of musical rites to be performed at Legion Bar, curated by Mughal Muesli. More info
Continue reading

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Peace, Love, and Dopeness in The Bushwick Starr’s New Spaceship Spectacular

"The Brobot Johnson Experience" with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova
“The Brobot Johnson Experience” with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova

“An Unidentified Flying Boombox has landed in Bushwick.”

This announcement, along with a pre-show layer of purple haze, are harbingers for Brobot’s cosmic arrival. Cast out of the planet Nubian, he’s here to share the human — er, robot — experience in order to save planet earth. (The reason our blue marble is in jeopardy is never made clear, but look no further than daily headlines to grasp Brobot’s desperation to save us.)

Brobot arrives, lays down some beats, and harnesses audience enthusiasm à la Tinker Bell resuscitation to refuel his spaceship and return home. This is the flimsy and stilted premise of Darian Dauchan’s new show, The Brobot Johnson Experience, now playing at experimental powerhouse The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street) through March 17. Dauchan writes and stars in his a one-robot, existential spaceship-palooza, and though director Andrew Scoville keeps the pacing breezy and the staging kinetic, the show remains rather plotless: After a few numbers, a craving for conflict (or other characters) settles in. Without any dramaturgical verve, all fuel (literally absent from the ship) must come from our trusted time and space traveler.

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