Awesome timing from this week’s New Yorker, a review of a new biography of James Merrill by Langdon Hammer. Merrill’s a major influence to the point that I’ve often made mention of him in my Boneyards and Beautiful Zion playbills and many times here on my blog in reference to those shows. I got a good look at his homemade Ouija board when I was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College back in 2001 (it’s in the college library’s archive) and I urge all poetry fans or supernatural fans to settle into his epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover sometime.
James Merrill’s Supernatural Epic
A trust fund, a Ouija board, and an unprecedented poem
by Dan Chiasson
“…And Ouija boards: Merrill made the most ambitious American poem of the past fifty years, seventeen thousand lines long, in consultation with one. The result, “The Changing Light at Sandover,” was a homemade cosmology as dense as Blake’s…” FULL ARTICLE HERE
THE GREAT AGE play reading on 7/12/12 @7pm. I’m thrilled to invite you to Philadelphia’s first public reading of Jeffrey Stanley’s unproduced play The Great Age, a ribald sex comedy about 19th century poet Emily Dickinson.
I’m thrilled to invite you to Philadelphia’s first public reading of my unproduced play The Great Age, a racy romantic comedy — about Emily Dickinson. Set in Amherst, MA, the play is a time-jumping, supernatural romp about Amherst College undergrad Leah, an Emily-obsessed young writer and idealistic Wiccan who’s having an affair with her married English professor, Michael.
When she and her classmate Ashiq, a young Saudi prince, steal Emily’s famed white dress from the Dickinson Homestead and hold a seance to contact Emily’s ghost they they stir up a heap of multidimensional trouble and incur the wrath of junior English department faculty, Mary Beth.
At the intersection of sex and religion a frantic hipster and his goldfish take the ultimate leap of faith.
Please join me on Tuesday, 3/27/12 at 7pm at Plays & Players Theatre in Philadelphia for a reading of my unproduced play UFOs Over Brooklyn presented by the outstanding Drexel Players, Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design‘s student-run theatre company. The reading of this work-in-progress will be followed by a brief Q&A.
The wall-to-wall Drexel cast includes Dana Marcus, James Haro, Laurel Hostak, Rose Koven, John Turnbach and Emily Kleimo. Go Dragons, baby.
This particular play has had so many near-misses for production in New York and so many stellar actors reading the roles in public presentations it makes my head spin (Naked Angels tuesdays@nine, Urban Stages, The Collective, the now-defunct Lightning Strikes Theatre Company, et al) Over the past several years it took on a life of its own as a favorite for developmental readings (aka “development hell” in theatre parlance) , and also at Amherst College where an early draft was presented while I was a Copeland Fellow there in 2001.
This marks the first time the play has been presented in Philadelphia, and I welcome your feedback. It’s a very dark, very sexy romantic comedy about two couples and a UFO suicide cult. See you there.
WHAT:UFOs Over Brooklyn
WHEN: Tuesday 3/27/12 @7:00pm
WHERE: Plays & Players, 3rd floor Skinner Studio; 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia