Friday, January 20, 2012

We're in the paper!

We were featured in the Latitude 65!  Which is the Arts and Entertainment/Events section of the local newspaper. 
I realized the other day that I have a very skewed perception of the newspaper.  Skewed away from how I think most people probably percieve it.  As a performer I have been featured - my photograph - on the cover of the Latitude section or the UAF newspaper, I think four times?  And (almost) everytime I do a show, there's a picture or a quote or a reference to me in the paper. 
This particular publicity, though, is really exciting.  And touching.  And heartening!  The last two shows that Revive the Red Tent produced were not mentioned in the paper.  If I recall, they wouldn't even put us in the listing of community events calendar for the week.  Those two shows were Eve Ensler's "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer," and "Coming Out: A Work in Progress" which was a collection of shorts, some locally written and some professional.  Those two shows deal with, in the first - the experience of women in the world and in our culture, and in the second - the experience of LGBTQ.  In the second case, it became pretty clear, if it was never stated outright, in the course of trying to contact the newspaper that they weren't covering our show BECAUSE it was an LGBTQ show.  That experience both angered and saddened me.
BUT! Our newspaper has a new journalist/editor lady who is covering the arts, and she is a very lovely person.  And is personable and engaging when she interviews, and writes lovely peieces about art in our community.
‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’ addresses the physical and figurative
by Suzanna Caldwell /
FAIRBANKS - Relationships are complicated and often not easy. Sometimes their scars might not be physical, but they exist.

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” explores those literal and figurative scars. The twoperson, one-act, no-intermission play follows the lives of Kayleen and Doug, played by Anna Gagne-Hawes and Kevin Zayas, two friends who are “exquisitely selfish,” according to director Jasmine Johnson-Kennedy.

“It’s a very intense relationship,” Johnson-Kennedy said.

“One or the other is severely hurting, and they need the other to help them heal. (Their relationship) is an intense lack of compassion.”

Playwright Rajiv Joseph wrote the play before his Pulitzer Prize nomination for “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” in 2010. In “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” the two characters age from 8 to 38 in a series on non-linear vignettes.

Along the way, the characters deal with various physical maladies — missing eyes and limbs — or still physical but less maiming injuries — mental illness, alcoholism.

In dealing with their injuries, the two form a relationship that’s based in love but is not romantic, Johnson-Kennedy said.

“(Romance) is not the basis of the relationship,” she said.

“It’s a friendship that is outside of conventional relationships.”

“Real relationships are not simple — they’re all complicated,” Gagne-Hawes said. “This takes it to the extreme.”

Gagne-Hawes is a co-founder (along with Johnson-Kennedy) of Revive the Red Tent, a production company dedicated to creating art that gives a voice to those who would otherwise not have one. She was drawn to the play because of the resonance she saw between it and Fairbanks.

“I saw dark, I saw substance abuse, I saw being trapped in certain circumstances, and complicated relationships that don’t make sense, and I thought it would resonate with Fairbanks,” she said.

Gagne-Hawes was at a conference last week where she heard filmmaker Andrew MacLean speak about reaction to “On The Ice,” his feature film that deals with controversial cultural issues in Barrow. One thing he said stood out to her.

“He said, ‘If it’s truthful, it helps. If it resonates, it helps,’” Gagne-Hawes said. “We all have pain, we all have moments of desperation. People will see themselves with these struggles.”

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” is recommended for ages 16 and older. There is coarse language, adult themes, smoking of herbal cigarettes and partial nudity.

Contact features editor Suzanna Caldwell at 459-7504.

What: Revive the Red Tent presents “Gruesome Playground Injuries”

When: 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28; 2 p.m. Jan. 29

Where: Empress Theatre

Tickets: $20, $10 students

Information: Revive the Red Tent Productions on Facebook

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