la gould is gold (and dangerous sincerity in the theatrical landscape ecology)

mes amis,

la dernière semaine, i had the grand plaisir of a last minute theatre outing chez helix, helix by morgan gould + friends. my beloved had promised me a home cooked meal of fish, my favourite, but la gould advised me that her show was just an hour, so off i trotted to the here and there arts center down in my old neighborhood la soho.

the here and the there

the here and the there

readers should be aware of the tricks (and antics) gould traffics in. take, for example the full title of the show helix, helix: the story of you, me, us and them (a sloan commission). evidently some kind souls have even congratulated gould on her grant via text (!) to that, i say “lol” and not lightly!

sloan drone

sloan drone

the pre-show curtain speech starts off commonly enough (“look to your right and left for the exit signs. these are your best options in case you need to leave the theatre”) but soon the business of pre-show curtain speech  turns deliciously meta-theatrical. a dangerously sincere plea to vote for the troupe for the new york theatre innovative awards is announced: “helping new york city devising theatre artists grow.” perhaps some onlookers wrinkled their brows, but this kippy clutched her sides from laughter.

ah! self important theatre makers… a rich subject to lampoon! gould and co go after the self aggrandizing with gleeful abandon. the icing of course is the new york theatre innovative award–an award so arbitrary that it is a running joke. anyone worth their salt in downtown theatre does not take such an accolade seriously, no offense.

celebrating the off off and more off

celebrating the off off and more off

i mean .. j/k.

gould and friends don’t seem too concerned about offending people and thank heavens! not that the troupe’s humor was particularly tangled up in blue, mind you. just that it was full tilt and unabashed. the writing (and set up) of the show is so close to a ’90s sitcom-cum-sloany-science-report that a less aware viewer might consider the writing bad. of course, the writing is good-bad and what saves it from being bad bad is gould’s choice of actors and deft directorial hand. the performers devour the mellow drama and megan hill is so good as the put-upon-yet-warm-hearted mother, it is unsettling.

hill knows the value of a natural brow, brava!

hill knows the value of a natural brow, brava!

i cannot lie. toward the end i got distracted by reading the program bios some of which, hill’s for instance, were also plays within themselves. (hill cited a long roster of “favorite roles” from corny musicals). ho ho! so in my zeal for the printed word i missed some bits about the incest (?) between the brothers. no matter. the curtain call more than made up for it. the wide eyed lucy devito, who played a scientist with a wonderfully bad (ie good) british accent, did a sullen half courtesy as others lept into broadway style swan dives. in a fun twist, hill and the fellow who played her son embraced in a brazen swapping of spit.


though i darted home hungering for le possoin which awaited me, my belly was full of this new vicious and victorious smart satire. gould + company are up to something, mes amis, may the pious theatre makers be ware! i look forward to gould + friends’s next theatrical foray.

a bientot,

ps re the title of this post: “landscape” and “ecology” are two words i love applying to theatre, lol!


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