The Playgoer: Culture Project/ Mosher collaboration

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Culture Project/ Mosher collaboration

Culture Project lives on, in its new space and just announced a very unusual project:

Gregory Mosher will direct My Trip to Al-Qaeda, a solo work starring and written by the best-selling author of the book "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," Lawrence Wright.

The Culture Project will present the work at its new space March 1-April 14 following the current run of Iris Bahr's Dai (enough), which ends Feb. 25 at 55 Mercer.

In My Trip to Al Qaeda, Wright "utilizes never-before-seen evidence, transcripts and court documents to illustrate how this organization fomented and implemented their attack on America — and became a defining force in America's foreign policy and national psyche." The piece is culled from interviews with over 600 people (including members of Al-Qaeda) from across the globe.

I have no idea how good an "actor" Lawrence Wright will be. But apparently he's no stranger to show business--having penned the screenplay to prescient 1998 terrorism film, "The Siege."

That Mosher, always thinking out of the box! But I do hope the show proves more than one guy's slideshow posing as "theatre."

UPDATE: I guessed I missed the much bigger piece on this in the Times yesterday, which includes some interesting remarks by Culture Project's Allan Buchman. Like:
Mr. Buchman said that because of the uneasy global political climate, there was a greater urgency in the dramatic world to find new approaches to commentary. As a example, he said, officials from the aid group Doctors Without Borders approached the Culture Project about forming a story out of their work.

“We’re finding that people are coming to us who feel that their stories will be more effective if they can climb off the op-ed page,” he said.

It's a lot cheaper than making an Al Gore-style documentary, I guess.

So, a new front in political theatre? Public lectures? Sounds like the 19th century! And maybe not a bad thing. Better than a lecture pretending to be a "play," which I've seen a lot of lately...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


could you please specify what plays you mean when you refer to lectures "pretending" to be plays? could you elaborate on what you mean by this? are the plays in question didactic? too reliant on direct address to the audience?

what makes a play a lecture? overt expression of the playwright's political views presented as statements of "fact" rather than as questions? a lack of presentation of dissenting points of view? presentation of a point of view that is mostly in synch with the predominately left-leaning new york audience (aka, preaching to the converted)?

perhaps you could provide some specific examples of recent plays like this? (i'm not saying they don't exist. i'm just curious which ones you think are examples of such.)