Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paint It Alethea Black

Some weeks are really tough, and that last workday feels exceptionally long. All I want to do is transport myself home to a hot bath and a hot toddy. But then a Friday evening plays out so well I remember why I live in New York. Last night at The Players was one of those evenings.

I go to The Players to hear my friend Patricia Randell read plays and stories with other actors. Patricia’s work is invariably precise, heartfelt, and gripping. She gets me every time.

New River Dramatists presents readings along with and at The Players, and each evening I’ve spent there has been a joy. As New River’s Artistic Director M.Z. Ribalow said, the writers at New River write in more forms than plays, so why not showcase the playwrights' non-dramatic works. At The Players I’ve heard wonderful stories in prose by Sharon Pomerantz, Denis Johnson, and Alethea Black, among others.

Last night The Players and New River presented four short stories by Alethea Black in an evening called “Paint it Black.” Four marvelous actors –- Christianna Nelson, Bill Camp, Campbell Scott, and Patricia Randell –- read stories from differing points of view about different lives. Each of the characters was a whole human being created from Alethea’s multi-layered mind, and each was enthralling. Each story plays out with tension and humor. Alethea’s work is just delicious: She paints pictures and people moving through space and time and life. And she never, ever goes where I expect her to go.

All Friday nights should be like that.

~ Molly Matera, signing off. Thanks for stopping by.

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