“A New America” Speaks

by Adam Matlock | Feb 17, 2017 8:14 am

In one of several extraordinary moments in Thursday’s performance of Collective Consciousness Theatre’s Stories of a New America — a play being performed this weekend at Fair Haven’s Collective Consciousness Theater — all the members of the cast addressed the audience, talking about the moment of realization about being in a new place — because they “could hear the quiet — no bombs, no bullets, no shelling, no militia.”

It illustrated one extreme of the refugee experience, the type often overlooked in the vigorous debate surrounding current events. By choosing to focus the script on anecdotes and observations like this, the cast and company gave the full house a number of quiet moments, where rigorous political jargon could be forgotten for a moment to make space for empathy.

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No Line North Escapes This Mad World

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 17, 2017 8:12 am

Karen Ponzio Photo During a set at Best Video by the group No Line North on Thursday night, the 1963 comedy adventure film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World played behind the band without sound except for the band’s music.

“It seemed appropriate,” Jon Schlesinger, lead singer and guitarist for the New Haven-based band, said in a soft, slightly joking tone. It suited the mood perfectly as a week filled with stories of spy ships and secret international dealings came to a close.

The performance space in the video store had an enthusiastic audience for the double bill of No Line North — which has a new album coming out next month — and area songwriter Bop Tweedie.

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SNL Designer Keeps Long Wharf Set Simple

by Brian Slattery | Feb 16, 2017 3:13 pm

Brian Slattery Photo On Wednesday — the day before Long Wharf Theatre’s Feb. 16 opening of Napoli, Brooklyn — the year 1960 invaded the theater’s lobby. There was a rack of clothes straight from the era, a textile time warp amid the lobby’s sleek architecture. Two lamps. A chair. Against the far wall was a cart that had three phones in different colors, all with rotary dials and receivers with cords. Potted plants. A statue of the Virgin Mary.

Inside the theater, a dozen crew members in hard hats were putting the final touches on the set. A backdrop showed a row of brownstones. A huge sign hung from the ceiling that read “Duffy Meats.” Also suspended from the ceiling was a large circular stained-glass window, now off to stage right, but looking like it could be moved to the center any time. An old streetlamp hung over the stage like a sentinel. But for a play that switches scenes often, from an apartment to a butcher shop to a factory to a church, the stage itself was remarkably bare. There was a vintage stove and countertop. A bed with a nightstand. A table and chairs. A wooden door in its frame, on wheels, with no wall around it. It could all be moved, all be repurposed, and it was the culmination of months of planning, conversation, design, and construction.

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Art Exhibit Becomes A Card Catalog Of Life

by Brian Slattery | Feb 16, 2017 8:11 am | Comments (1)

Brian Slattery Photo From now until May 31, as you browse the shelves of the Institute Library on Chapel Street, you may find your eye drawn to a bloom of color along the library’s main thoroughfare. A pair of pen-and-ink drawings, one all serenely flowing shapes, the other frenetic activity. Other bright bursts of paint appear at the ends of the library’s stacks, like the last chocolate in the box.

Then, as if your eyes have adjusted to a new light, you start to see ways that the art and the library — one of the vibiest spaces in the city — merge, so that it’s hard to tell sometimes which things are part of the art exhibit and which are just features of the library itself. And that’s when the title of the exhibit — “Looking Then Reading” — suddenly makes sense.

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Artists Earn Their “Lunch Money”

by Lucy Gellman | Feb 14, 2017 7:51 am | Comments (7)

Lucy Gellman Photo On a plank of wood that almost looks soft, there’s a discarded quill, bent like a fern. Ink still wet and velvety at the tip. Beside it, the inkwell. Its mouth beckons, shallow cap flung open while the well of black liquid suggests there’s more inside. Beside them, a letter opener, and a sense that the table could go on forever.

It comes with a note. If you want to take it home and keep looking, you can — and not for the small fortune usually associated with buying art.

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