As we are all well aware, during this shutdown it has been difficult for us to produce like we normally would. However some organizations have been extra generous in sharing their creative output. One of them, a fantastic organization called L.A. Theatre Works, is the world’s leading producer of audio theatre. They recently reached out offering two of their titles for free to our patrons and we excitedly took them up on it. They have captured over 500 total titles (available at www.latw.org), and we went through to find two fantastic plays with incredible casts that we are very proud to share with Greenville!
Up first is Pulitzer Prize finalist M BUTTERFLY by David Henry Hwang. Winner of the Tony Award for best play in 1988 M BUTTERFLY is Hwang’s twist on the opera. Diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French government – and by his own illusions. In the darkness of his cell he recalls a time when desire seemed to give him wings. A time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive and as elusive as a butterfly.
It is one of the most compelling, explosive, and slyly humorous dramas ever to light the Broadway stage, a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes – and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.
Featuring two original Tony nominated (and one winner) cast members, and adding Margaret Cho plus a deep stable of other fantastic performers, this is an incredible opportunity to travel back in time and listen to what it would have been like to hear that original production.
Next up is Stephan Adly Guirguis’ OUR LADY OF 121st STREET.
Rarely has something this intense and profane been this funny or this heartfelt. Guirguis is a master at heightened dialogue, lines that turn from funny to sad to rage in the course of one sentence. Scenes that start funny, build to an intense boil on the turn of a line, and then switch to something deeper and more emotional before ending on another joke.
The play finds a group of old friends at and around Harlem’s Ortiz Funeral Home to mourn the death of a beloved nun from their childhood. As they bounce off of each other with old hurts and the harsh realities of grown-up life, a murder mystery―and a few lives―begins to unravel. It is a play about friendship and the ties that bind in an impossible world.
Every character is absurdly unique and heartfelt and lives life at 120 percent. Guirguis’ dialogue crackles with intensity, profanity, and emotion. But despite all of that it’s warm and laugh out loud funny because you immediately relate and feel compassion for every single character as you see how desperate they are to make some sense of the insane world surrounding them. This show is as uncompromisingly profane as it is funny, as rage filled as it is covering up a broken, beating heart desperate to be loved. As New York Magazine remarked about the recent NYC revival: Guirgis has no mercy for his characters but a great deal of sympathy. From a cheating radio DJ to a faith-shaken priest, a closeted lawyer to a wrathful junkie — these souls are lost, lonely, and lashing out in their constant uncertainty. They live in a city that breaks people, in a country that’s broken.
Featuring Laurence Fishburne, and Khandi Alexander alongside a murderers row of character actors (including the playwright), this show is a delight of combustible energy and emotion.
Each link below will take you to streaming audio you can play on your phone or desktop. Just click on the link, hit play and enjoy. No password required.
Our Lady of 121st Street: http://tp3x.2.vu/OurLady
These links will expire 12/26/2020.
Again our thanks to L.A. Theatre Works for providing us with this content!