Thursday, October 29, 2009

We've moved!

Click here to check out the new blog and keep up to date on everything happening at MCC Theater.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conducive to Magic

Posted by Still Life actor, Halley Feiffer -

It is hard to believe we have less than one week left of "Still Life." This makes me want to cry. I am crying, in fact; don't tell anyone, please.

Last night's performance was very exciting, in a surprising way. We were all aware -- including the audience, I think -- that it was our last Tuesday performance; the air in the room had a certain electricity, the feeling of "This is one of the the last times we will be doing this!"

I don't remember feeling this way in other shows I have done. Often I feel: "Oh good, it's almost over!" or "I can't believe this is ending; what the heck will I do with my life?!", and these two feelings are so overwhelming that I have little time to think, "Oh, it is the last Tuesday we will be performing this show; how strange and sort of magical."

There is something about Still Life that is conducive to magic. From the first day of rehearsal, there was a certain buzz in the air. We were all here because we loved the play, I think; and that is a rarity. It has been such an immense gift to get to work on a play that I love in the way I love this play. I feel, now, the way I felt during the first read-through, or watching the first run-though: "I can't believe I get to be a part of this! I can't believe we are all here, working on this piece we love so much, and I can't believe it's this good!" What an unusual, thrilling feeling.

Thank you, MCC, for this experience. I don't think any of us will forget this magic any time soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Still Life" Opening Night Party

Click here to check out photos of fancy folks and listen to DJ Randyhate's amazing playlist from the opening night soirée for Still Life. (Above: DJ Randyhate catches a glimpse of Still Life actor Kelly McAndrew and Kristina Valada-Viars. Photo by Sung An.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Death Takes a "Sentimental Journey"

Posted by photographer Tamara Staples, whose photos are used in Still Life-

Using the dark rich palette of the 15th century Flemish painters, "Sentimental Journey" is a series of photographic still lives portrays rotting fruit, dead animals in repose and ephemera like candle smoke. These are the symbols of the Vanitas painters, whose opulent assemblages served to remind the viewer of the fleeting quality of life and all its entertainments and accomplishments. In my work, these objects embody my reckoning with the passing of my own youth, a passage of death and rebirth that contemporary culture by and large fails to recognize or celebrate.

The unabashed gaze at death in this series serves as a visual counterpoint to the death-denying, youth-worshipping culture that pours into our consciousness from the popular culture: advertising fetishizes youth, plastic surgery creates artificial ingenues from those who should be doyennes, and medical procedures prolong life and rob death of its dignity. While around me the thrust is to cling to the blossom of life, I am interested in the fruit, the decay of the fruit, which ultimately yields a new seed.

My work approaches death and decay with a gentle awe as well as the mournful loss evoked by even the kindest change. In this sense, the animal portraits among these pictures harken back to Victorian Memorial portraits, where a loved one was often photographed in the coffin. To the modern, death denying eye, these death portraits can appear grotesque; but to the 19th century eye, they represented the loved one in a state of grace, having gone on to a better world. Thus by portraying the death of innocent woodland creatures, I mean to suggest the cusp of a new phase of development, a maturity beyond the naivete of youth.

I hope that by portraying death as a peaceful finality and decay as irrevocable yet sensuous, that these images invite the viewer to contemplate mortality, loss of youth, and all the inevitable change that life brings with a sense of acceptance and serenity.

Click here to view the full series of photographs, under the tab "Personal."

Friday, September 18, 2009

For the Birds!

Posted by J. Michael Grey, Head Treasurer at The Lucille Lortel Theatre-

A woman who has tickets to see Still Life just saw the photo of the deceased bird on the theater marquee and came into the box office in a panic - wanting to make sure that there were no real birds in the show. I told her, "Only one, but they kill it in the first scene." She laughed. (Glad she could at least tell I was joking.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week Four

Posted by Still Life actor Ian Kahn--

We’re now in the fourth week of rehearsals for Still Life… I always find this period to be an interesting one, and in some ways, the most fun and fruitful part of the rehearsal process. We've got the whole show blocked, and we're doing full runs of the play in the afternoons. It is the time where we can all start to get an idea of the piece as a whole, and where each of our characters fit into it. Can be tricky, too, though. You can get your hands around a scene or a moment, and you feel like you’ve really "got it", and then the next time through it just seems to slip away. Reconnect with your partner, look to your director, and get back on that horse. That's the advice I was given and I try to keep in mind.

I am feeling really fortunate to be working with this company of actors, this director, playwright, stage management, and MCC. We are up here swinging with everything we’ve got. Here's hoping we knock it out of the park like Derek Jeter. Or at least a double off the wall.

Editor’s note: Ian has had many roles you may recognize him from – including major roles on ABC's The Unusuals and Dawson’s Creek and – although he’s now a married man – a number of rolls in the hay with some top-shelf leading ladies, including Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw – Check it out ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

From "Red Dog" to "Still Life"

Posted by Still Life actor Matthew Rauch--

Working with Alexander Dinelaris on his play,
Red Dog Howls, was similar in many ways to my experience with Still Life so far. We have an amazing friendship, and I have been privileged to participate in the early stages of Alex's process on several pieces - to read early drafts, to talk through arcs and themes and structure with him. It's exciting to work closely with a writer whose voice I admire, and who speaks to his audience with such honesty and without a hint of irony. I find his use of muscular emotion to be tremendously refreshing. His words just seem to fit me, and when we are grooving, it's really really fun. Of course, Alex explores painful and profound themes in his plays, and with Red Dog Howls, we were dealing with some extremely delicate issues of collective shame and discovered identity. It was a difficult and rewarding process - incredibly emotional and cathartic. I consider myself very lucky to have been in that play, and of course this one, too. It's thrilling and a great honor to be a part of my friend's journey as a writer, and to be his companion on this path.

Photo (L-R):
Darcie Siciliano, Alexander Dinelaris, Kathleen Chalfant, Matthew Rauch at the LA premiere of Dinelaris' Red Dog Howls.