La Mama Playwrights on NET Playhouse (Re-broadcast)

Special Event

"One [part of a] dramatic showcase series. This 1969 rebroadcast of a program that originally aired in 1967 presents three avant-garde works in performance at New York City's La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, and incorporates additional footage of the April 2, 1969, opening of the Cafe La Mama, the club's new residence. The featured works are Jean-Claude van Itallie's "Pavane," Sam Shepard's "Fourteen Hundred Thousand," and "The Recluse." "Pavane," set in a bare office building, examines contemporary automated society through the lens of job interview rituals. Four interviewers and four job applicants exchange rapid-fire dialogue, often antagonistic and seemingly stream-of-consciousness. Choreographed stage movement, including some unison passages, reinforces the theme. Also featured is footage of La Mama co-founder Ellen Stewart, who discusses the move to the new building, van Itallie's style, and Shepard's skill at controlling an audience; and comments by van Itallie about his writing technique, La Mama's founding, and its nurturing of young playwrights. In "Fourteen Hundred Thousand," a young couple and a friend try to build bookcases to house their vast library. The wife's parents arrive are of no help, the friend leaves, and the young couple start an argument that escalates into a paint fight. The wife's parents ultimately fail to notice that the couple is covered in paint. In "The Recluse," an insane old woman, alone in a cluttered world of junk, amuses herself with a cat's rotting cadaver and enters into an eerie relationship with a mannequin come to life. Also, La Mama co-founder Ellen Stewart discusses Foster's style and Foster remarks on the difficulty of getting his work produced. (There is a one-minute intermission.)"

June 22, 1969