Bricolage in Pittsburgh

21 Mar

I just had the best time in Pittsburgh, working with Bricolage’s theatre. IT ended up at about 2.30am in a gay bar, in a passionate conversation about art and cosmetic surgery. Bricolage, an energetic and tiny theatre company run by Jeff and Tami, put on a staged reading of my play Weightless. Jason Nodler (Infernal Bridegroom, Houston TX) directed.

I hadn’t been to Pittsburgh before and was really impressed by the city–people very down to earth, the theatre set in a storefront downtown for zip rent, and the buzz around the reading series— we were booked out both nights, and the group went hell for leather to make a semi-staged, semi-designed performance. Generally I have reservations about staged readings– for playwrights they can just seem like bad facsimiles of the play in which neither the text OR the plastic, scenic life of the play really come across— but this experience really charmed me. I did learn a lot about the play from seeing it flap its wings, if not soar (more like an ungainly chicken dance, but that was entertaining). And I loved the way Tami and Jeff have built a buzz around the series. The theater was full, and people were fascinated by the play, and the energy of being in at the beginning of something.

The theatre’s lodged between a gay bar, an Irish bar and a porn shop, so there’s no shortage of streetlife or walk-ins. An ambience peculiarly suited to this particular play, which features interspecies grafting, plastic surgery, sexual transformations and gender crossings, and all kinds of sexual alliances and betrayals. After the second performance we hung out at the gay bar next door where a Tibetan told me he saw the tree of life in the play, and a young man with a bright red pompadour told me it had hurt his feelings with its integrity. I want to do this for the rest of my life. If I never publish a book or format another bibliography I dont’ care but I would never give up these moments (“My friend–the world” as Jason said, quoting Fornes I think).

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