Give My Regards To Off-Off Broadway (1987)

Production, PROD.1987.0017

"...Mr. Eyen's 'Power, Greed and Self-Destruction in America' is concluding a brief reappearance at La Mama, where it was first produced in 1966. It is an apt coincidence, since the early work, subtitled 'Give My Regards to Off Off Broadway,' is a cracked chronicle of a playwright's rise or fall from innovative theater to crowd pleasers with plots.

But Mr. Eyen isn't in the indignation game. Part of the joke of this takeoff on Off Off Broadway is its exuberant sloppiness, reminding us of how it was in the 1950's and early 60's, when avant-gardists were filling church basements, lofts and garages with offerings like 'The White Ingenue and the Blacklisted Carmelite.'

The tale is told through the career of Hossanna B. Devine, 'the last of the red-hot OOB's.' It is 1999, and Hossanna recounts, in a kind of stream-of-semiconsciousness, her love affairs and hate fests in the days when she played Medea as a Chock Full o' Nuts waitress. She glories still in memories of standing ovations in theaters that had no seats.

Helen Hanft, as Hossanna, camps it up in basic Bronx and ersatz elocution as she tells of Hossanna's beloved J. B., a prodigy absurdist who started out with a sexy play about Ozark pig farmers (excerpted for us, with the clean passages expurgated), went on to a drama about three Yugoslav lesbians and a Vietnamese ballerina with a club foot, and finally achieved fame on Broadway with a show that had ''no whips, no strobe lights, no mime dances.'';"The Stage - Eyen's 'Power'," Walter Goodman, July 1, 1987, The New York Times.