This May, The Straddler presents T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land, the third theatrical production for the company, which has been publishing the literary magazine The Straddler (also the Company's namesake) since 2007. A home for writers and artists of all disciplines, The Straddler examines social, political, and popular culture by nurturing the thoughtful investigations of artists and intellectuals from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Written over a span of eight years and completed in 1922, The Waste Land was composed in the midst and aftermath of World War I. Told from the perspective of Tiresias, a blind, half-man half-woman prophet from Greek mythology, The Waste Land is a dramatic and bitter meditation on social catastrophe. The Straddler's staging-performed by an African American Tiresias, an overeager nautical sidekick, and a seedy musician-will combine elements of vaudeville, melodrama, and the minstrel show as it explores the comedy and absurdity of a text that continues to illuminate our times.
An outgrowth of "Send up da Clowns," an essay published in The Straddler's fall 2008 issue, this staging combines the poem's inherent theatricality with its satirical social criticism in a re-imagining that underscores the contemporary relevance of this seminal text.
The Waste Land, by T.S. Elliot and with Carol Thomas, Todd Pate, and Greg Bennetts (percussion and brass) runs May 4 and 5 (Fri-Sat) at 8 pm, May 6 (Sun) at 2 pm and May 10, 11, 12 (Thu-Sat) at 8 pm at the The Cell Theatre, located at 338 West 23rd Street, btw. 8th & 9th Aves.. Take the 1 train to 23rd Street, walk west. All seats are $20 and may be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/240898.
The Straddler is an interdisciplinary organization founded in 2007 with the intent of examining and transforming contemporary culture. The company's literary magazine (and namesake), The Straddler, is published twice a year. Now in its eighth issue, The Straddler's contributors have included economist James Kenneth Galbraith (The Predator State), journalist and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Davis (Hearts and Minds), economic historian James Kwak (13 Bankers,White House Burning), theologian Richard Liddy (Startling Strangeness: Reading Lonergan's Insight), poet Fanny Howe (The Winter Sun), composer Yoav Gal (Mosheh), scholar Bonnie Costello (Planets on Tables: Poetry, Still Life and the Turning World), and architectural historian Kazys Varnelis (Blue Monday: Stories of Absurd Realities and Natural Philosophies).
Looking as much to the past as to the present for insights into an age where repetition and cultural diminishment are the norm, The Straddler seeks to sift through illuminated bits of western and American culture. Pieced together, The Straddler believes these fragments offer images of the potential for a more dignified cultural future. Visit them online at www.thestraddler.com.