If you liked The Golden Horseshoe: A Lecture on Tragedy, you’ll love the followup, Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. Join me as I try to resurrect a hidden and dangerous history. Which of you will dare to enter the terrifying Ouija tent of the damned and open a channel to the Other Side for me, live onstage?
Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead is a surreal, 60-minute, autobiographical show about the impact of ghosts — the real kind — and of dream interpretation — the inept kind — on one’s past, present and future. It’s tragic, and it’s also hilarious.
It’s also a work-in-progress. I’ll be performing it with limited set, script partially in hand, followed by a Q&A, one night only, with support from my friends at the historic Plays & Players in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia City Paper’s ultra-cool Critical Mass arts blog sez it’s probably going to be good, and they’re probably right, so you should probably come.
City Paper, Critical Mass Theatre Preview, by Matt Cantor
“It’s a one-man show, but award-winning playwright Jeffrey Stanley isn’t the only one in it. At least, he hopes not. Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead is a 60-minute ‘autobiographical black comedy’ whose supporting cast is made up of ghosts — if they’re willing to make an appearance, Stanley says. An adjunct faculty member at New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, Stanley is workshopping this free work-in-progress in Philadelphia — his new home — at the historic Plays & Players theater.
“Years in the making, the new play combines elements of earlier works, including another black comedy Stanley performed in New York at the Gershwin Hotel under the curation of Andy Warhol pal Neke Carson. Mix that with ‘inept dream interpretation,’ family history, and a Ouija tent, and the result is Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. The play is ‘about communication between family members while they’re alive and maybe even after they’re dead,’ Stanley says. Expect humor, but also ‘a lot of death, a lot of suffering, a lot of human misery.’
One-man shows or otherwise, Stanley’s works focus on shared experience: in performing his CONT’D AT CITY PAPER>>