Riding great word of mouth and a terrific review, Caborca Theatre and Magic Futurebox have extended their current production, Open up, Hadrian, through October 6th at Magic Futurebox (55 33rd St. 4th Floor, Brooklyn 11232). Written by Javierantonio González and directed by Meiyin Wang, Open up, Hadrian is an immersive promenade production that jumps more than 2,000 years and 20,000 square feet, transforming the Sunset Park warehouse into Ancient Rome by way of an excavated film set not so long abandoned.
In the years between the fall of the gods and the rise of Jesus, a young man named Hadrian emerged as Rome’s most philosophical emperor, caught in the midst of two bloody wars of expansion. He loved poetry, theatre, and all things Greek. He was also gay. Open up, Hadrian imagines the life of this highly successful but deeply frustrated man with elements of Greek drama and dark comedy—his anguished love, lofty ideals, and his big, famous wall.
Open up, Hadrian is an irreverent and contemporary play that looks back to a world 2,000 years younger and reads it variously as the nadir of imperial exploitation, a hotbed of radical political thought, a renaissance of engineering, and a raunchily naïve adolescent sex party. As “downtown theatre” comes more and more to mean “outer borough theatre,” this production celebrates an anarchic artistic “empire” throughout New York, voracious as ancient Rome itself. Says Kevin Laibson, Co-Artistic Director of Magic Futurebox: “we were thrilled when Caborca came to us withOpen up, Hadrian. To work with artists of such integrity and humor on a piece as high-flying as this is exactly why we started making theater in the first place.”
The play’s creators and collaborators, like the Roman Empire, stretch across much of the known world. Playwright Javierantonio González, a native of Puerto Rico, is the artistic director of Caborca and the author of 11 plays and adaptations in both English and Spanish. Two have been published by New York Theatre Experience. He has been a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writer’s Group in 2010-11, Van Lier Directing fellow, and was a NYTheatre.com “Person of the Year” in 2010. Singaporean director Meiyin Wangrecently collaborated with Magic Futurebox on Tommy Smith’s live radio play Forth. She is a recipient of the 2012 MAP Fund for her upcoming work motherland/ foreign relations (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor Residency), and also the Associate Artistic Producer of Under The Radar Festival. The set will be designed by Korean theatre and opera designer Jian Jung, whose work has been seen at Long Beach Opera, Juilliard, The Living Theatre, and Classic Stage Company among others. Members of the cast include experimental Romanian director Doris Mirescu, whose production of John Cassavetes’s Husbands stunned audiences at 2010’s Under The Radar Festival, Spanish-American actor Luis Moreno* (David Schweizer’s Peer Gynt, Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights), American actors David Skeist* (David Gordon’s Beginning of the End of the… and TFANA’s Shlemiel the First, various with Caborca), Mikey Barringer (HERE’sThe Three Seagulls), and B. Brian Argotsinger* (Hoi Polloi’s Baal), and Puerto Rican actors Laura Butler Rivera (BAC’s On the Beach, RipeTime’s Fire Throws), Tania Molina (Various with Caborca including FLORIDITA, my Love; Barceloneta, de noche), Yaremis Félix* (Various with Caborca, and Pregones’s Baile Cangrejero) and Marcos Toledo (Various with Caborca including FLORIDITA, my Love;Barceloneta, de noche). Lighting is by Tim Cryan, Costumes by Elizabeth Groth, and Sound Design by Betsy Rhodes.