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Jonathan Slaff Play
September 5, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - September 6, 2017 @ 8:00 pm12$12
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY’S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “LOOKING BACK AT BANGKOK AND BEYOND….” BY STEPHAN MORROW
The story of a young American’s exploration for freedom in Asia.
WHERE AND WHEN:
September 5 to 17, 2017.
Theater for the New City (Cabaret Theater), 155 First Avenue.
Presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of Dream Up Festival 2017.
September 5 at 6:30 PM, September 9 at 8:00 PM, September 13 at 9:00 PM, September 16 at 8:00 PM, September 17 at 8:00 PM.
Tickets $12. Box Office: (212) 254-1109, www.dreamupfestival.org.
Running Time: 80 minutes. Critics are invited to all performances.
NEW YORK — “Looking Back at Bangkok and Beyond….” is a solo play written and performed by Stephan Morrow based on a global pilgrimage he embarked on at the end of his teenage years.
Excerpts of this show were performed at the Lower East Side Festival at Theater for the New City, The Greek American Writer’s Conference at The Cornelia St. Café (Penelope Karageorge, Program Director and at St.Malachy’s Theater Workshop – Joanne Tedesco, Artistic Director). The material has won three awards in The SOLAS International Travel Writing Competition: the Gold Award for Travel Memoir for “Herat Oh Herat Oh My Heart,” the Silver Award for Adventure Travel for “Amorgos” (the day[s] the revolution died) ” and for “The Power of a Single Note on the Breeze – from the South Street to Simla.”
The piece will be similar in its performance style to Spalding Gray’s “Swimming in Cambodia.” It begins with Morrow attempting to get a job at the offices of the Bangkok Post, only to be denied by the wily boss. As Morrow heads over to the Atlanta Hotel, a cheap rundown hotel where he and other outsiders reside, he recounts on his journey and experiences traveling underground in Asia thus far. Morrow gives his insights on nationalism and the inner workings of Bangkok, otherwise known as “Sin City.” Being an American in this part of the world lent Morrow many privileges, like being invited to an event hosted by the Vice President of B.F. Goodrich in Thailand where he met a lovely American girl named Boo Klappy. The two hit it off as Morrow regales her with storytelling. However, their relationship declines over time and nears its ending when Boo invites Morrow to a social event where many prominent Ivy League and wealthy kids are attending. Morrow stands out with through his cultured disposition and attracts the attention of the hostess of the party, an elegant French woman in her 80s. Their conversation over globalization and the progress and destruction it brings intrigues everyone else, so much so that when Morrow comes back to his household, it appears that Boo wishes to continue their relationship. However, we learn that this is not so and Boo heads off for her own journey to the Himalayas and India, leaving Morrow heartbroken. Seeing no reason to continue being in Bangkok, Morrow tries to leave for the United States by air only to find himself continuing his journey elsewhere. His path ends at a village somewhere in Thailand where he comes to a revelation about his status in the world and time, and concludes he will not come up short to his ancestors and those who came before him on their journeys to understand the world.
The play transports us to out-of-the-way, unknown areas of the world as they were before they faded into the oblivion from the inevitable reaches of war, mayhem and modernization. Morrow shows that there is no real glory that is usually perceived of traveling to these parts of the world, only a grim and often disconcerting reality. Through his exploration of the “old ways,” Morrow introduces the idea of himself being a man without a country but a man of all countries, his idea of true freedom.
As a playwright and director, Stephan Morrow has worked with Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer and Elia Kazan, and has acted in and directed many Off-off Broadway productions including six plays for Mario Fratti (author of “Nine”) at Theater for the New City. Morrow directed and starred in his first independent feature, “Dogmouth” by John Steppling, which has won five awards and been the Official Selection of nine film festivals and received distribution in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan on Amazon VOD. It is due to be released in the United States on Amazon next month.
The eighth annual Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) is being presented by Theater for the New City from August 27 to September 17. An ultimate new work festival, it is dedicated to the joy of discovering new authors and edgy, innovative performances. Audiences savor the excitement, awe, passion, challenge and intrigue of new plays from around the country and around the world.
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
A unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered that draw upon a variety of performance specialties including singing, clowning, poetry, street music, magic and movement. The Festival’s founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
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