Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

Theatre Gigante's Spald-a-rama

TG presents a weeklong celebration of the life of legendary performer SPALDING GRAY

By Russ Bickerstaff
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A couple of weeks ago, I was bottle-feeding my daughter when I ran across an indie film from 1985. Never released on DVD, it'™s an extremely obscure film. A teen-aged Jennifer Connelly was sent to the school psychologist. The psychologist was played by Spalding Gray. It was a stock character that seemed almost thrown-in as a second thought, but there he was administering a thematic apperception test to a young Jennifer Connelly. Weird. He'™s the typ of guy who pops-up like that quite casually captivating for a few moments of your life and then vanishing again.

Spalding  Gray was one of those rare iconic personas that managed to carve an dazzlingly novel identity for himself out of sheer creativity. The man saw a lack of creativity in theatre and decided to deliver an autobiographical monologue as theatre. Now, on the surfacem this seems kind of silly and non-theatrical, but there'™s so much focus on the machinery in theatre that the creativity is remarkably easy to lose. Spalding found that spark of genius and ran with it.

Later-on this month, local theatre company Theatre Gigante is celebrating the life of the late artist in a weeklong festival of events.

The festival begins October 26th at Boswell Books on 2559 North Downer Avenue. Spalding'™s wife Kathleen Russo will be signing copies of the newly-published book The Journals Of Spalding Gray. The event will also feature excerpts from Theatre Gigante'™s upcoming performance of Stories Left to Tell.

Then on October 27th, at Kenilworth Studio 508, Theatre Gigante opens its production of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell--”a retrospective on the artist'™s life featuring monologues, journal entries and unpublished letters. The show was conceived by Russo amd Lucy Sexton. This particular staging features Theatre Gigante founders Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson as well as John Kishline, Marcie Hoffman and a special  guest performer each night. Stories Left To Tell runs the 27th -“ 29th.

The October 29th performance is preceded by a screening of And Everything Is Going Fine--”acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh'™s documentary about the life of Spalding Gray, which also screens at on the 30th, rounding out the festival.

All events other than the book signing take place at Kenilworth Studio 508 on 1925 Easy Kenilworth Place. For more information, visit Theatre Gigante online.

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