Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Powell takes second bite out of BTM

Last time we saw Leslie Powell, she was being slaughtered and devoured by some seriously evil entities in “God of the Vampires,” the gory, gross-out flick by former Amesbury resident Rob Fitz that recently aired on the former WNDS-TV. Well, that’s not exactly true. Honestly, we just couldn’t take it. The film made us nostalgic for the sweetness and light and, in comparison, innocence of “Kill Bill, Volume Two” or any of the any of the titles from the equally enchanting “Hostel” series. But it looks like the Merrimac Street playwright is feeling better, good enough to land a spot in this year’s Boston Theater Marathon, as is Steve Faria, but, to be fair, no vampires treated him like dinner so he doesn’t really have anything to complain about. Not that they have special rules for scribblers who are devoured by vampires. Mmmmm … scribblers. 
This will be Powell’s second appearance at the festival, a day-long orgy of new ten-minute plays, 50 of them in all, culled from over 400 entries from New England playwrights, including heavies like Israel Horowitz and Robert Brustein. The plays are assigned to 50 different theater companies. Interestingly, both plays feature a male soldier and a woman and involve boozing and gunplay. “Soldier Boy” was performed in the 2009 festival by Metro Stage. “Backfire,” the new play, is about a young woman who seeks revenge on a man who bullied her in high school. They are “reunited” at a wedding. He doesn’t recognize her because she’s lost 100 pounds since the last time she had to deal with his mess. The play opens with her cleaning a rifle and him sprawled out on the floor of her basement. Turns out he’s a soldier heading back for another tour in Afghanistan. Says Powell, “Sometimes the best-laid plans … backfire.” 

Faria’s “A Ballad for Peggy,” which got its first spin around the theatrical block at this year’s New Works Festival, is about a guy who plays the trumpet near a lake and listens for the echoes, but finds that what comes back to him, from across the water, are not only the notes he has played, but echoes of the past, present and future. He meets Peggy and devours her in a vampiristic rage and … No, no. He finds that there are many different kinds of echoes that come to us, those of sound and those of spirit, and echoes from our hearts that connect us all. And he doesn’t eat anybody’s brains. Well, hardly anybody. OK, nobody at all. Just thinks about it. Maybe.

The Boston Theater Marathon runs from noon to 10 p.m. May 22 at the Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston. Tickets are $25 if purchased by midnight, May 21. Day-of-show tickets will be $35. The Marathon will also include The Warm Up Laps on Saturday, May 21, featuring three staged readings. These readings are free and open to the public.These readings are free and open to the public.
For more information, log onto the BTM web.

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