Axis Theatre Company will remount Randy Sharp's critically lauded Last Man Club, having previously cancelled the final performance of the world premiere, on October 28, 2012, due to superstorm Sandy. The early closing was an eerie and ironic conclusion to a play about weather-related tragedy.
Last Man Club will run at Axis Theatre (One Sheridan Square in the West Village) tonight, March 7-30 (see schedule above). Critics are welcome as of Friday, March 8 for an official opening on Monday, March 11.
The castfeatures Spencer Aste, Brian Barnhart, David Crabb, George Demas, Britt Genelin and Lynn Mancinelli. The production includes lighting design by David Zeffren, sound design by Steve Fontaine, costume design by Karl Ruckdeschel and dramaturgy by Marc Palmieri.
Last Man Club is written and directed by Sharp, the Artistic Director of Axis, who writes and directs the company's beloved annual, episodic drama, Hospital, and who directed Edgar Oliver's acclaimed East 10th Street.
Sharp sets her play in the Dust Bowl (1930-1939), specifically 1936. While this period in American history has been mythologized for 82 years-the most famous images being bread lines and soup kitchens in the cities, and Henry Fonda in his jalopy, driving to the green fields of California-the truth is more complex and difficult to comprehend. The Great American Desert of the Texas and Oklahoma plains was an unimaginably blank landscape. Destroyed by the greed of wheat farmers who plowed under the bluestem and buffalo grass that held the dirt in place, the plains blew up into the air in dust storms that packed enough static electricity to power the city of New York. Ten years of drought marked by short rains black with soil made people believe they were truly witnessing the end of the world. For all the thousands who fled this terror, many refused to leave their dust-covered farms, even after all the animals died and they were eating bitter roots to survive. Using any means necessary, Axis will bring the sensation of this period to the audience so they not only hear and see this truly American disaster, but feel it as well.
Last Man Club is about one of the desolate families who stayed. With no one else around for a hundred miles, Major's busted family lives in a one room dugout as he tries to reconcile himself to the fact that his own kin has taken the money and run. Out of the biggest storm in the history of the Dust Bowl-200 miles wide, 15,000 feet high-come two desperate men promising a way out. Their visit is a welcome break in the grinding routine of storm/quiet/storm/quiet that Wishful Hi, Saromybride and Uncle Pogord have endured under Major's iron, heartbroken hand. But did his brother really get out and away? Who are these people? Where'd that money come from? Will the machine work? Are there lights in the sky?
The themes at the heart of Last Man Club are mirrored in today's reality-an America in which severe drought plagues the heartland, superstorms wreak havoc and apocalyptic thinking has become commonplace.
Last Man Club runs tonight, March 7-9, 11, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 at 8:00 P.M. at the Axis Theatre, One Sheridan Square. Tickets: $20, $17 senior/students. Call 212.352.3101 or visit www.axiscompany.org for more information.
Randy Sharp has been directing plays for almost 30 years. Educated in London she returned to the United States to attend Simon's Rock College, a unit of Bard. After graduating, Randy settled in New York City. Founded in 1996, her theatre company, Axis, acquired a permanent New York City home in 1998. The interior of the historic performance space, at 1 Sheridan Square, was transformed to reflect her vision of total theatrical immersion where audiences are surrounded by the experience of the play the moment they cross the threshold. Distractions from the material are minimal. Productions include A Glance at New York (Edinburgh Fringe & NYC); Julius Caesar; Down There; the U.S premiere of Sarah Kane's Crave, starring Deborah Harry, Seven in One Blow (published by DPS and performed every December in NYC and around the country); and Edgar Oliver's East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House (Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Fringe; Spoleto Festival USA 2011). Her episodic play Hospital, about the interior life of a man in a coma, is a West Village phenomenon every summer. She also wrote and directed the period feature film Henry May Long, winner of 13 international film festival awards.