The Best Loft Party in Manhattan
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1. The directors, calling YOU out… 2. The actors.
“Welcome to our loft party, Emotive Fruition!” announced one of the program’s directors, Thomas Dooley. The loft, owned by Bob Holeman, features murals, poems, and last night, a new, radical way to experience the written word. Emotive Fruition is a collaborative performance between actors and poets. Poets submit their work to directors Dooley and Rachel Karpf who then organize selections of the poems and assign them to actors, who are allowed to “own” the text and act it on stage. The effect is similar to hearing four actors perform monologues, but as Dooley states, “poems written for the page become emotional, confessional narratives,” delivered by people who “are trained to bring out the heartbeat in the written word.”
In short, it is both a courageous new way to experience an anthology, and as stated by one of the poems (and its actor), is “hot enough to hurt.”
1. Stephanie serving up smiles 2. The space.
The bartender (requirement for any good loft party), Stephanie, knew nothing about the event when she arrived. Before Act I, she stated, “I’m excited… Everyone is giving me a good vibe.” After Act I, she said she was drawn into the performance by the line, “I used to fuck like I was in love / but I wasn’t,” which was part of one actor’s theme, and also included the line, “Only you can make me cum.”
But it wasn’t all sex and broken hearts. The actors, Courtney Davids, Peter Rothbard (he’s a bard!), Sam Breslin Wright, and Molly Ward, delivered varied narratives, and as my actor friend sitting in the audience observed, “you can see the characters start to develop; an emotional arc can be seen and a story built.” The character in reference, played by Ward, came off as “slightly neurotic but not hysterical — with little wisps of crazy.” Ward, who was the only actor who did not have the poems contained in a neat, binder-contained show of organization, saw her role as “[to] find voices in the poems and try to tell a clear story.” She added, “in acting, to ‘emote’ is a dirty word.” But here, there was nothing dirty about Emotive Fruition (referred to as EmoFru by the regulars), but a wonderful experience combining two communities that rarely collaborate. But it wasn’t just for the sake of collaboration, as so many other productions in the arts do — instead, it was to push aside that often jaded perspective that poetry is irrelevant and pretentious. Poetry is relevant and accessible. You can find out why and how at the next EmoFru (yay! I’m a regular), which will be on Wednesday, November 16 at 10pm at the Bowery Poetry Club.
Actor-(word) cloud: Tina Fey, light, thread
Poet-Cloud: rub, cavalry, dig
Emotive Fruition Cloud: “Beers and tears,” trust, O’Hara
— Craig Moreau, author of Chelsea Boy, has just finished a book tour and is currently drinking a beer. He is interested in identity, democracy, and word-clouds.