The tongue-in-cheek anthology, Abdication!, a multi-cultural, multi-media dark comedy more than reminiscent of Black Mirror, The Handmaid’s Tale, and VR, will be a featured event for the 10th anniversary THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY DREAM UP FESTIVAL 2019. Performances will be at the Johnson Theater Space at 155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets), New York City on 09/03: Tuesday, 9pm; 09/04: Wednesday, 6:30pm; 09/05: Thursday, 9pm; 09/06: Friday, 6:30pm; and 09/07: Saturday, 8pm. https://abdication.brownpapertickets.com/
The Night Gallery of three tales are
STUCK: a close-knit Italian-American family grapples with the idea that one of its family members plans to remove from society by hooking up full-time to a virtual reality network.
LOVE LOBOTOMY relates the story of two hapless souls deciding to undergo Amigdalar Resurfacing, (a “Love Lobotomy”) making them immune to romantic feelings and more productive… maybe.
And finally, COLOR SCHEME takes us to a society where everyone has been classified into a specific color-red, green, blue, etc., and the implementation of this system has ostensibly led to perfect harmony. Until someone mixes and matches.
Filled with gallows-humor, song, dance, and multi-media, each episode shows how abdication of a portion of human existence pulls a piece out of the house of cards that we call our lives.
Appearing in this triumvirate of techno-tales is Amanda Cannon, Trenton Clark, Alan Cordoba, Janet Donofrio, Naya James, Stephen Keyes, Cesar Lozada, Mike Ivers, Sid Ross, Meredith Rust, Tony Scheer, and Topher Wallace.
We caught up with two of the denizens of this Twilight Zone for a few words
“I don’t think of myself as an artist. I just like to hang out with the cool kids.”
“I knew I wanted to be an actor when I performed in a play with my high school speech class. I have primarily focused on theatre as opposed to film because I love the collaboration that goes into creating a play, the connection that is developed with the audience, and the way a show is slightly different every single night.
What’s your creative process and how do you make the fantasy elements real?
Donofrio: I look to be true to the character I’m playing, with no judgment. Characters don’t know the difference between genres, so every element and circumstance is real for them.
Cannon: To make fantasy elements real, it’s important to stay grounded in the truth. Even though we’re existing in an alternate universe, or a future version of our own universe, we’re still telling the stories of human beings. It’s necessary to really get in touch with who these people are and what they want.
How do you inject humor without losing the message?
Donofrio: When a script is well written, the intended humor will shine through with the message intact.
Cannon: I think we use humor in a lot of ways and for many different purposes–sometimes to cover up hurt feelings or sadness, sometimes because we feel uncomfortable or awkward, for example. Understanding why a character is doing or saying something humorous instead of just trying to be funny keeps the message from being lost.
I’ve always felt that anything fantasy sci-fi or horror are cautionary tales. What’s your opinion?
Donofrio: Well, I never go down into the basement when I hear a strange noise!
Cannon: I would agree with that, and Abdication! is no exception. I think there’s a warning throughout the play about losing your identity and giving up individuality to fit in with society.
They came together with the same answer for “What next?”