There is a moment of dialogue in The Catastophic Theatre's production of Mickle Maher's THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS where Bernard states that Ellen is stark, strange, and ridiculous. I feel that with the addition of fun, Mickle Maher has perfectly described his own show. This avant-garde work is a cerebral and absurdist farce of poetry, higher education, and our own need to claim ownership of things we could never own.
Actors Amy Bruce and our own Troy Schulze chat about Catastrophic Theatre’s revival of There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, Mickle Maher’s ode to love, sex and the poetry of William Blake.
There is context interlaced with subtext interlaced with connotation and it's all masterful, while not taking itself too seriously. This is what theater is supposed to be.
Two William Blake scholars, inspired by Blake’s poetry, decide to make love in public, an act that occurs before the curtain rises. Mickle Maher’s play There is a Happiness That Morning Is begins with two lectures in rhymed verse, one by each of the offending academics, who must decide whether to apologize for their actions or lose tenure. When the Catastrophic Theatre first staged the play in 2011, it received rave reviews and sold out its nine-week run. Now the play is back with its original cast (Amy Bruce, Troy Schulze, and Kyle Turdivant) and director (Jason Nodler).
Houstonia spoke with Troy Schulze and Jason Nodler by phone today.
Doran, a freshman at Houston's Kincaid School, just finished a run of Samuel Beckett's famous Waiting for Godot with the Catastrophic Theatre playing the role of Boy. "When you're younger, you have more opportunities," Doran said. "When you age you become a specific person. I feel like I haven't really found out what I'm going be yet and that helps me be someone else because I'm not a stock character."
Another exciting contributor is Catastrophic Theatre, the leading alternative company, specializing in cutting-edge new works and classics of the avant-garde.
If you missed The Catastrophic Theatre’s production of Mickle Maher’s There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, don’t stress, it’s coming back, May 10-27 at their new digs on the docks. Catastrophic has quite an impressive track record with Maher, starting with The Strangerer, followed by Spirits to Enforce. In the fall, Catastrophic will premiere The Pine, a Maher play created especially for Catastrophic, funded from a grant from The MAP Fund.
Who in their right mind would want to miss a party that pledges to include dancing bacon?
Marking two decades since that first production, It Was 20 Years Ago Today is part party, part fundraising gala, part showcase and an extra part party thrown in for good measure.
Can it really be 20 years since Jason Nodler and Tamarie Cooper first teamed up on a theater project?
In a word, yes.
As a nostalgic nod to the crazy kids they were two decades ago, "It Was 20 Years Ago Today" is the theme for Catastrophic's annual fundraising gala Saturday. If there's one thing the Catastrophic gang is famous for - other than hair- (and eyebrow-) raising theater - it's throwing a great party.
The American musical’s next wave isn’t jukebox shows and rock stars—it’s a jam session between indie bands and theatre artists making vital new music together.
"In Texas, Houston’s Catastrophic Theatre has been cross-breeding its own musical mutants with some success. Artistic director Jason Nodler has thus far created two shows around the songs of outsider artist Daniel Johnston (Speeding Motorcycle and Life Is Happy and Sad), as well as the multilayered Bluefinger, after the Black Francis concept album inspired by Dutch art-rocker Herman Brood. Said Nodler, who employs local bands and musicians as much or more than trained actors: 'I love music more than I do theatre. The kind of work that interests me doesn’t exist unless I do it.' "
It’s appropriate that Houston’s Catastrophic Theatre is serving up Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as its debut in its new venue, the former home of DiverseWorks, where Catastrophic had staged several shows in the past. Most of the works they’ve produced and/or created over two decades owe a huge debt to Beckett and, more than any other of his works, to Godot. There’s a strong feeling of coming home about the company’s realignment with its single most profound reason for being.
A deep, intriguing and insightful play finds itself brought to exciting life in a brilliant production that finds its humor and its engrossing humanity.
Beckett's achievement with "Waiting for Godot" was to devise a theatrical experience as awesome as the insoluble mystery of life. It need hardly be added that, since Catastrophic's is a faithful, first-rate rendition, it's must-see theater.
TCT's dark and slyly humorous production of WAITING FOR GODOT is sure to amaze audiences. The production is spellbinding and mesmerizing.
Nodler is staging a new "Waiting for Godot" with his Catastrophic Theatre, Houston's leading avant-garde company. Opening Friday, the production reunites most of the team responsible for last year's smashing Catastrophic mounting of Beckett's "Endgame." Nodler directs Catastrophic stalwarts Greg Dean (as Vladimir), Charlie Scott (Estragon), Troy Schulze (Lucky) and Kyle Sturdivant (Pozzo).
Whereas some Theatreer of the Absurd staples, such as Eugene Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano," trade in outright nonsense and daft non sequiturs, Nodler finds "Waiting for Godot" every bit as sober (and sobering) as it is funny and sad.
For its fifth anniversary season, Catastrophic will be "looking forward and looking back," says artistic directorJason Nodler; forward, with world premieres of a new work by noted Chicago playwright Mickle Maher and the annual summer musical created by and starring associate director Tamarie Cooper; and back, with encore productions of Wallace Shawn's "Marie and Bruce" and Maher's "There Is a Happiness That Morning Is," both works Nodler previously staged to acclaim.
Tamarie Cooper might've been born in a Chicago hospital, but the ‘born-again Texan' has long considered Houston home. The co-founder and artistic director of Catastrophic Theatre lived several places growing up, but settled in H-Town longer than anywhere else.
My Favorite Original Music in 2012 - Two productions with original music from local talent really impressed me, and I would be remiss not to mention them. Wiley DeWeese wrote a fantastic and atmospheric underscore for Jean-Paul Sartre's NO EXIT. On a lighter note, there was the fun, memorable, and funny original score written by Tamarie Cooper, Miriam Daly, John Duboise, Joe Folladori and Patrick Reynolds for DOOMSDAY REVUE.
Free Press Houston spoke with Jason Nodler, the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Catastrophic Theatre, about the exciting changes in store for his organization.