American life is in free fall, at least according to award-winning playwright, Lisa D’Amour in Detroit, running at Catastrophic Theatre through Oct. 18. D’Amour’s romp through middle class suburbia backyard life has garnered rave reviews in this excellent production. Catastrophic veteran actor and playwright Troy Schulze directs with a cast including such noted local actors as Sara Jo Dunstan, George Parker, Jeff Miller, Misha Hutchings and Jim Tommaney. A revolving set by Kevin Holden adds yet another reason to see this production.
Many Houston fans (us included) miss seeing Miki Johnson, an extremely talented actor, perform on stage. These days, she's Catastrophic Theatre's playwright-in-residence. The trade-off has been that she's written some breathtakingly beautiful and well-crafted plays, including this year's winner for Best New Play, clean/through. (Johnson previously won this award for her debut play, American Falls.) The story of a couple struggling to stay together as they get clean and sober wasn't pretty (drug addition rarely is), but gosh was it powerful.
Catastrophic Theatre resident playwright Miki Johnson, who stirred excitement with the company’s 2012 world premieres of her drama “American Falls” and camp musical “Fleaven,” will have two world premieres at Catastrophic in 2014: “clean/through” in February and “The Economist” in November. Johnson was in New York last month, meeting with reps of top off-Broadway companies, including The Public, Atlantic Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep and Playwrights Horizons. One result is that another of her new works, “God Is a Good God,” will have a staged reading in New York in spring, helmed by Catastrophic artistic director Jason Nodler. Johnson and Nodler are partners offstage, as well.
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.
Created by Catastrophic Theatre company member (and Houston Press contributor) Troy Schulze, The Splasher focuses on a real-life guy who ran around New York City vandalizing graffiti as a political statement against art. The Splasher hated the fact that when the artists moved into any neighborhood and made their presence known with upscale graffiti that would cost thousands hanging in a gallery, gentrification was sure to follow. Schulze says that he was fascinated when the story came out in The New York Times. He calls his play a "meditation on art [and] crime." Made up of newspaper interviews, bits of sound and music, video projection and original dialogue, the politically powerful production at DiverseWorks was smart, funny and, best of all, satisfyingly strange.