Infernal Bridegroom Productions speed through of the Hotel Play
INFERNAL BRIDEGROOM PRODUCTIONS
proudly presents The Hotel Play by Wallace Shawn
Yes, The Hotel Play is funny. And yes, The Hotel Play has a cast of nearly 70 people. But while it�s both witty and adventurous in scope, more than anything The Hotel Play is a portrait of an almost parallel universe, where eccentricities and quirks are amplified and even celebrated…
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…Written by Wallace Shawn and first performed in 1981 at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, the first cast to tackle this massive theatrical undertaking was made up of actors and non-actors alike, including the playwright himself. To commit to Shawn�s plan of a seemingly unending stream of strange characters all passing through the same hotel in the course of a single day, each role was played by one person, with most characters appearing onstage for just a few minutes.
It is in this spirit that Houston�s leading avant-garde theater company has assembled its own cast. In addition to actors who regularly appear in IBP productions, it includes young children of IBP supporters, local musicians, staff members, and parents of company members.
�My plays have been strange from the beginning, and they never got unstrange.�
� Wallace Shawn
Infernal Bridegroom Productions has always produced adventurous contemporary plays not normally seen in Houston. The Hotel Play is such a work. Showcasing the best of Shawn�s verbal humor and ability to create really memorable characters, The Hotel Play focuses on a clerk as he moves seamlessly in and out of the lives of many guests. Sometimes he toys with them, sometimes he ignores them, and sometimes he just sits back and watches.
There�s the hate-filled husband in pink and the wife who wants to go home. There�s the florist, and there�s the man who gets bad coffee. We meet them for a moment, and then they�re gone.
�It was off-season, and for most of the three months I stayed there I was the only guest in this hotel. It was a strange island and a strange experience. At the time I thought I was a certain kind of writer; my first two plays were almost pure prose. But I soon learned it wasn�t possible for me to write that way on that island.�
� � Wallace Shawn on writing The Hotel Play
IBP first introduced Houston to the work of Wallace Shawn with their 1999 production of Marie and Bruce, a portrait of a marriage gone hysterically awry. Mostly recognized as a character actor, Shawn has been seen in such films as Manhattan and The Princess Bride, but he considers himself first and foremost a writer, known for such plays as The Designated Mourner and Aunt Dan and Lemon. He also wrote the screenplay for, and performed in, the beloved art house film, My Dinner with Andr�.
Dubbed �a dangerous writer,� by director and producer Joseph Papp, Shawn knows how to be provocative as well as entertaining. His plays have commented on politics, sexuality, and societal conventions � never with a heavy hand, but instead with a weird, light touch that is uniquely Shawn�s.
“Writing is like trying to make gunpowder out of chemicals. You have these words and sentences and the strange meanings and associations that are attached to the words and sentences, and you’re somehow cooking these things all up so that they suddenly explode and have a powerful effect.�
� Wallace Shawn
After five years of working and composing for the company, IBP artistic director Anthony Barilla has charged headfirst into his directorial debut by selecting a play that has the largest cast in IBP history. Associate artistic director Tamarie Cooper will assist him. A former freelance composer and musician, Mr. Barilla worked with playwright Suzan-Lori Parks in arranging her songs for the world premiere of her play, @#$!ing A, and has composed music for, among others, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre (Ivan the Fool, Corruption of the Species), Stages Repertory Theatre and Public Radio International (This American Life).
The cast of The Hotel Play includes IBP company member Cary Winscott as the clerk, a role played in the original production by Griffin Dunne. There is a supporting cast of nearly 70 people, including actors and non-actors alike. The set is designed by Anthony Barilla and IBP technical director Wayne Barnhill with scenic painting by company member Katie Jackson. Company member David Gipson is the light designer, and IBP orchestra member Kevin Blessington is the composer.
The Hotel Play runs April 29, 30, and May 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22. Tickets for a special preview party and performance hosted by Lucy Anderson and Andy Cao on April 28 are $35, with ticket prices for opening weekend $5.99. Remaining ticket prices are $10 on Thursdays, $12 on Fridays, and $15 on Saturdays. The Hotel Play is being presented at The Axiom, at 2524 McKinney. All performances are at 8:00 pm. For reservations and information about this and other IBP performances call (713) 522-8443.