Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Season brings thoughts of last year

Was it just a year ago that Hurricane Ike made its presence felt? The floods, the devastation, the lack of electricity; the loss of homes and trees; lives forever changed...

I guess it was about two or three years ago in January when I saw a works-in-progress version of NY playwright Ain Gordon's "Storm Show" as it was called then. The changes Hurricane Katrina made on Houston's population and on the psyche of all living on the Gulf Coast were still very present for me, so of course I was interested in a work that was about the devastating hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. I thought, that this could be a really great way to bring up so much that Katrina had stirred up - art inspired by history commenting on current issues, perfect. I didn't realize how relevant it would be.

"Storm Show" was scheduled to happen last year in partnership with Stages Repertory Theatre. Like many events last year, we had to reschedule, and so the world premiere for will happen October 1-3 at DiverseWorks. Looking back, I'm kinda glad that the show didn't happen last spring. My psychological and emotional state were still deeply affected by Ike. I don't think that I could have handled that show, or really participate in a dialogue that the show would have generated.

In a couple of weeks, Ain Gordon and the superstar actresss Veanne Cox will be coming to Houston to premiere the play, now called A Disaster Begins. I'm hoping that an entire year can help me realize how lucky I was. The devastation and havoc generated by Ike does not compare to the difficulties and devastation of the 1900 hurricane. But I believe that the play will be a springboard to talk about many other similarities of the times - an era of "change" fills the air, a lurid fascination with disaster and spectacle, a time of rebuilding.

I hope that y'all can join us October 1 - 3 at DiverseWorks to see one of the shows. I hope that we can have a talk-back or discussion after the show where we can address some of the conditions that we have faced in the past year, and some of the other ideas generated from the play.

Also, many of you attended Jonah Bokaer's Invention of Minus One, the first event of last year's performing season. He performed DW's stage and the docks across the way, and this year he's the featured choreographer in a NYTimes Magazine photo spread that starts the fall season. There's also a video.

I'll be posting more about the upcoming Performing Arts Season soon.

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