Jonesing for cosmic connection in ACT’s Joneses

Mar 17

Jonesing for cosmic connection in ACT’s <i>Joneses</i>

The topic is: things that have happened. That broad, yet somehow quite specific, statement comes from a character in Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses now on stage at American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater. Another broad yet specific topic might be: lives that are lived.

Eno is one of those playwrights whose gift seems to be making raising the bizarre, often absurd experience of human existence to the level of cosmic grace and beauty.

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Where there’s a Will…

Apr 04

Where there’s a Will…

Recently I had the pleasure of conducting an email interview with playwright Will Eno, whose Lady Grey (in ever lower light) and other plays closes this weekend at Cutting Ball Theater.

Read the interview in the San Francisco Chronicle here.

There was more interview than there was room in the newspaper, so please enjoy the rest of Mr. Eno's responses.

Q: Dogs tend to pop up in your work, or more specifically, the deaths of dogs. Does this mean you’re a dog lover or the opposite?

A: I am solidly and proudly a dog lover. I even sometimes think of this as an enlightened position, a paradoxically humane approach to the world. Other times, though, I worry that I love dogs because I love to imagine a world in which there are only about three total feelings and three total needs, and it never gets more complicated than that. “Yes, I want to go for a walk. Yes, I’m hungry. Yes, thank you, I would like to climb up on your leg. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go around in circles and then fall asleep until I wake up barking and run over to the door.” The great dogs in my life have made me feel like I’m a good and trustworthy person. They allow you to live on or near an essential level that is just fairly basic and stable needs, and once those are taken care of, it’s all cats and shiny hubcaps and tennis balls.

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Into the void with Will Eno; we do not move

Mar 18

Into the void with Will Eno; we do not move

Will Eno builds some extraordinary bridges – between absurdist theater of the 1950s and now, between laughs that actually tickle and reality that is actually harsh, between ironic dismissal and deep, deep feeling.

I would happily lose myself in Eno's world for days if possible – his combination of humor, desolation and intelligence come together in ways that make me incredibly happy. And incredibly sad. Thank whatever powers that be in the universe that Will Eno is writing for the theater and that he's seemingly unaffected by anything remotely hipster or sappy or commercial.

Cutting Ball Theatre produced Eno's Thom Pain (based on nothing) in 2009 to great acclaim. Happily, the Cutting Ball-Eno collaboration continues. Three theater-related one-acts are now running at the EXIT on Taylor, and they're every bit as engaging, hilarious and tinged with genius as Thom Pain.

Lady Grey (in ever lower light) contains two monologues and one multi-character play. They all confront the notion of theater as a "recreational" means to emotion, a gingerly step (as a group) into the maw of the abyss known as reality. We're all alone, yet we're all in it together.

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Theater review: `Thom Pain (based on nothing)’

Mar 29

EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 9!!!   Cutting Ball’s `Pain’ hurts so good«««« What begins in darkness ends about an hour later on a bleak shiver of hope. Will Eno’s Thom Pain (based on nothing) is many things: a solo show starring one man and an entire audience; a bleak comedy that thrives on paradox; an existential nightmare; a great piece of...

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Review: `TRAGEDY: a tragedy’

Mar 20

Opened March 19, 2008, Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Thrust Stage Thomas Jay Ryan, Marguerite Stimpson and Danny Wolohan. Photos by Kevin Berne Laughing through the tragic darkness three stars Our top story tonight Reportedly, during a preview performance of Will Eno’s TRAGEDY: a tragedy at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, an audience member rose up mid-show...

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Wolohan out!

Mar 11

One of my favorite Bay Area actors, Danny Wolohan, is moving on. Wolohan was voted by American Theatre magazine as one of the country’s seven actors “worth traveling to see,” and I wholeheartedly agree. I first met Wolohan when I interviewed him during his stint in the Aurora Theatre Company’s Tough! That was in 2000, and since then, Wolohan...

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