Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fringe benefits

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38 Witnessed Her Death, I Witnessed Her Love: The Lonely Secret of Mary Ann Zielonko (Kitty Genovese Story)

Written and performed by LuLu LoLo, based on interviews with Mary Ann Zielonko

Choreography and direction by Jody Oberfelder, featuring members of Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects

This deeply affecting play features performance artist LoLo as multi-character monologist in the brilliant Anna Deveare Smith vein. LoLo, whose theatrical work centers around women's history in New York City, makes a riveting and heartbreaking Zielonko, Genovese's lesbian lover, but can also bring to life the Times editor A. M. Rosenthal and the psychopathic murderer Winston Moseley (who's eligible for parole next year, by the way).

Oberfelder surrounds these compact portraits with social dancing in the pre-Stonewall lesbian bar where the two women first met and choreographed stylizations of the thoughts, conversations and actions (mainly, inaction) of Genovese's 38 witnessing neighbors in Kew Gardens, Queens.

I was a kid in Queens when Genovese was murdered by Moseley; I remember my mother mentioning her story. It was bewildering that so many people could see or hear a woman being stabbed to death and crying for help over three separate attacks without rushing to her aid or calling the police. I never heard that Genovese had been part of a loving lesbian partnership and left her lover not only bereft but totally shut out by Genovese's family. This story, told well by LoLo and Oberfelder, grieves and terrifies me.

38 Witnessed has completed its Fringe run, but more people should see it, and I hope it will find a future venue. In the meantime, keep watch for your next opportunity to see the talented LuLu LoLo.

Face The Music...And Dance!

38 Witnessed may be gone, but you can still catch showings of FTMAD!, which is spiritually and viscerally beguiling to the max, will whoosh you with energy and leave you feeling high and maybe just better ready to go back out there and face a world gone mad!

There are so many good folks involved in this multi-choreographed production--and hats off to all--but let me just mention director-choreographer Tina Croll, choreographers Noa Sagie, Julian Barnett, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Heidi Latsky (and her kickass duetists Jeffrey Freeze and Luke Murphy); and shakuhachi musicians Rick Ebihara, Brian Nishii and Perry Yung.

At The Robert Moss Theatre, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor. Remaining shows: Sunday, 8/23 at 2pm. Thursday, 8/27 at 9pm and Saturday, 8/29 at noon.

More Fringey things to come...

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