Since its first production, The Seven Deadly Elements, premiered at La Mama E.T.C. in 1977, the Soho-based Creation Production Company has worked to generate innovative forms of theatre. Many of its 51 works to date have been experimental hybrids with other creative fields, such as architecture, visual art, music and dance. The company’s newest creation, Co-Artistic Director Susan Mosakowski’s Escape, epitomizes their commitment to pushing formal boundaries. They will return to La MaMa, as part of La MaMa’s 50th Homecomings Season, for the world premiere of the show, June 7-24 at La MaMa’s First Floor Theatre (74A East 4th Street).
Performances will take place June 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, & 23 at 7:30 PM and June 10, 17, & 24 at 2:30 PM. Critics are welcome as of June 8 for an official opening on June 9.
Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling 212.475.7710 or visiting www.lamama.org.
Escape may be Creation’s most ambitious works yet. The play script threads together three stories that play out simultaneously onstage. Each one revolves around two characters and a different quest for liberation. In one room, things are becoming increasingly tense between Gus, an unemployed elevator repairman, and Lily, his wife. Next door, Daddy, a terrorist and con man on the run, is holding Marilyn, an actress, captive. And in the next apartment, Harry Houdini III, the self-proclaimed grandson of the legend, struggles with the legacy of his forebear, assisted by his wife, Bess.
Mosakowski’s script dictates an intricate, triptych staging that set designer Lauren Helpern (4000 Miles) is helping to realize: The three dramas unfold in adjacent rooms, each with a large picture window. Dialogue usually takes place in only one of the rooms, and rotates from room to room. The actors in the two adjacent rooms continue their lives while the main action takes place. These silent rooms serve as counterpoint and subtext in that moment. Mosakowski’s work with director Gaye Taylor Upchurch (Simon Stephens’ Bluebird at Atlantic Theater Company, Associate Director of the Bridge Project) will be highly choreographic, as it consists of devising movement for each room that informs the dialogue and action in the others.
The cast features Ted Schneider (The Merchant of Venice with F Murray Abraham, TFANA; Ghosts, with Amy Irving, CSC) as Gus; Susan Louise O’Connor (Blithe Spirit on Broadway) as Lily; John Sharian (Bluebird, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, Atlantic; Lie of the Mind, B.A.C.; The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Fresh Kills, Royal Court) as Daddy; the accomplished film and TV actress Lauren Fortgang as Marilyn; Carlo Albán (plays including Slasherland, films including Strangers with Candy) as Harry Houdini III; and Samantha Soule (The Philanthropist on Broadway, David Adjmi’s The Evildoers) as Bess.
Escape follows Creation Production’s premiere of company Co-Artistic Director Matthew Maguire’s Wax Wings (2011) at the Wild Project. The New York Times called the play—about evolution, and scientists at war with themselves as they work to stop an epidemic—as “laudable” and “ambitious.” Escape is the first production of a Mosakowski script in New York since Creation’s premiere of A World Apart, in 2010 at the Flea.
Escape (formerly Baloney Heaven) has been developed with the support of New Dramatists’ Creativity Fund, and The Weston Playhouse Writers Retreat. Additional support for this project includes a grant from The New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fund.