Thursday, August 22, 2013

My New Best Imaginary Friend, Calvert Vaux

Since mid-May, I've been busy researching and writing a play about Frederick Law Olmsted.  It's a commission from Open Source Gallery to accompany the opening of their new installation, We Know Not Exactly Where or How, an Olmsted-inspired park put in the gallery itself. 

Here are the guys themselves.  The play is called "Olmsted in Autumn."  The wonderful Tamara Fisch is directing, Mitchell Stout plays Olmsted, Michael Raimondi plays Vaux, and Cotton Wright plays Charlotte Olmsted (his stepdaughter) and Charlotte Olmsted (his mother). Costume design by Sidney Shannon.

It will be performed August 24 and 27 at 7:30 and 8:30 PM at Open Source Gallery, 306 17th Street, Park Slope.   Admission is free. 

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux were the landscape architects of Central Park, Prospect Park and Niagara Falls, among many other spaces. 

Olmsted in Autumn looks at Olmsted near the end of his life.  Because of his advancing senility, he has ceased working and his family has committed him to the McLean Hospital.  He is visited by three ghosts with whom he has unfinished business:  first, his stepdaughter/niece Charlotte, who’s incarcerated in a different Massachusetts mental hospital; next, his longtime partner Calvert Vaux, who drowned himself in Gravesend Bay two years earlier; and finally, his mother Charlotte, who died from an overdose of laudanum when Olmsted was a child.  

This is Anne Phelan and Dramahound’s fifth production at Open Source; previous plays include Brooklyn Lighthouse; Deconstruction (featuring Cotton Wright); Mi Tigre, My Lover (directed by Tamara Fisch, featuring Cotton Wright, costume design by Sidney Shannon); and a reading of The Tiger Play (directed by Tamara Fisch, featuring Michael Raimondi).

Open Source Gallery is a 501(c)3 owned and curated by Gary Baldwin and Monika Wuhrer.  Directions:  To reach Open Source, take the R train to Prospect Avenue.  306 17th Street, near Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn NY.  646.279.3969

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