Downtown theaters new blood
By Sara G. Levin
While devouring sushi on a recent Thursday evening, Sophia Holman and Patrick Young, both 23, mused over the NY theater scene, why Tarzan the musical could have been cool, and what its like to be debuting an original play just one year out of Columbia. The precocious Downtowners are premiering a co-authored, Japanese-themed play this Sunday May 28th at the Bowery Poetry Club called Love/Suicide, based on a 1928 novel and an 18th century puppet show from Japan. For this director from Toronto (Young) and actress from Tribeca (Holman), dysfunctional love storiesno matter how old their storytellersalways ring true.
Are you nervous about Love/Suicide being your professional debut?
Patrick (whos wearing two shades of clashing plaid): Yes, I am. Just because, you know its the first thing that Ive done, and I do feel like weve taken a lot of risks, like writing it ourselves.
One of the texts you use is an 18th century puppet show (The Love Suicides at Amijima.) Will you be using real puppets?
I love puppets, but Im not a puppeteer so I dont really know how to use them.
But Sophia, you were in a puppet show recently, right?
Sophia: Yes, the last thing I did was a regional tour of a Kentucky Opera-commissioned puppet opera, directed by Amy Trompetter, of the Oscar Wilde short story Happy Prince. We workshopped it here at the Kitchen.
A lot of theater now is very political and Love/Suicide doesnt seem to be so. Is that a conscious choice?
P: I think that all art is political, but what tends to happen, particularly in a time like this with a lot of social unrest, is you get a lot of political plays with a capital P. The big hit at the Public right now (where Patrick works) is David Hares Stuff Happens, which is about the lead-up to the Iraq War. And even the Publics summer season is about warMother Courage and Macbeth. I feel like every play I see these days is about the war.
Its more basic in Some Prefer Nettles (the novel their show is based on): a man and a wife and how do they relate to each other. Because its supposed to be a very intimate relationship, and in our play, its not. Its very dissonant.
How about the fact that you are doing a show about marriage and neither of you have been married before?
S: I think its about the bottom-line human experience. I just dont think you can ever be wrong. You know theres going to be somebody out there who says, Yes, thats what marriage is, thats what divorce is, yes theyre totally right! And theres gonna be somebody out there whos gonna be like, Those [expletive] 20-somethings have no idea what theyre talking about!
What do you like or dislike about other shows out now?
P: This is whats been bothering me recently you (to Sophia) said something earlier about how plays are just movies on stage. And I feel like, especially commercial theater, thats a lot of what it is. Movies on stage
You know Doubt is like that.
S: I think theres a lot of really fatty stuff. Stuff that seems like its so overgrown
like Tarzan. Its got so much potential to be cool. I mean people are swinging across the stage! What really interests me right now is funky, living theater. Like I saw a Mabou Mines show called Red Beads. They had people flying. They had people climbing through the air and in harness flipping around. They touched on those iconic images that resonate with everyone, and yet at the same time, you sense the piece growing and changing.
How would you sum up your show in one sentence?
S: I would say its about where people have to go when theyve gone great lengths to deny what they really want. Its the place where people end up when they deny what they really want.