“There is no plan, and yet our dreams have not been cancelled.”
Cast & Personnel
TOAST takes audiences on a raucous and mind-bending journey through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell! This original, collectively-realized work brings together eight members of Catastrophic’s acting company with groundbreaking director Brian Jucha, a key collaborator of Catastrophic’s predecessor company, Infernal Bridegroom Productions. According to Jucha, TOAST completes a trilogy that started with 1997’s LAST RITES and 2002’s WE HAVE SOME PLANES, two legendary Infernal Bridegroom productions, the latter of which landed Jucha and the company on the cover of American Theatre magazine. Highly physical and shot through with music, TOAST deals with life, love, aging, and the afterlife and will derive largely from the creative work of the ensemble.
Regarding TOAST, Jucha says: “I will be working collaboratively with the ensemble using Viewpoints and composition work, pulling from pop culture and current events. It is definitely a collaboration. I am playing with the idea that each performer is the architect of one of the circles of hell (and I am the ninth!).” Jucha’s longtime collaborator, internationally renowned lighting designer Roma Flowers, will join the production team, as she did for both LAST RITES and WE HAVE SOME PLANES.
TOAST marks the New York-based Jucha’s long-awaited return to Houston after seventeen years. American Theatrecalled WE HAVE SOME PLANES “Darkly hilarious and compelling,” and noted “Jucha and the extraordinary Infernal Bridegroom Company have given us a way to open our eyes.” The Houston Press raved about LAST RITES, calling it “ridiculously funny and mesmerizingly thoughtful.” If you were lucky enough to see either of those previous productions, you already know audiences are in for a wild ride that will be funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, and totally nuts
The Playwright and Director
BRIAN JUCHA created original interdisciplinary theater works for over 25 years. He is delighted and inspired to return in 2019 to create a new work with Catastrophic The Theatre of Houston, Texas called TOAST.
Jucha’s greatest personal triumph came in collaboration with the company of actors of INFERNAL BRIDEGROOM PRODUCTIONS with WE HAVE SOME PLANES. Less then 6 months after September 11 – the New York artist used the verbatim transcripts from the morning of 9/11 between the cockpits and pilots of the four planes that crashed that day and the air traffic controllers along the east coast corridor as the basis of a new work. Performed underneath a looming bright red digital clock that ticked away the 75 minutes leading up to the disaster – with the text delivered in real time – Jucha and IBP broke all expectations for audiences and critics and delivered a groundbreaking theatrical experience that did not address the tragedies of that day as much as it created an emotional rollercoaster ride that examined the world in which we lived in – a world that would never quite be the same. WE HAVE SOME PLANES received critical rave reviews, standing ovations and landed both Jucha and Infernal Bridegroom on the cover of American Theatre magazine.
Jucha gained a reputation as an established ‘traditional’ director helming the reins of plays and musicals such as Stephen Belber’s TAPE, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and BAT BOY The Musical. He was more widely known for collaborating closely with ensembles of actors to create original pieces. His own now defunct New York-based Via Theater were constant producers in the downtown NYC performance landscape in the 90’s presenting 2 to 3 original works a year to consistent rave reviews from The New York Times. He is a theater artist who is not a playwright. He relies as heavily on stylized movement as he does on spoken text. His singular performance style is always visually arresting, engaging, and entertaining.
The performances – conceived by Jucha – working closer with actors – have ranged from performance/dance to adaptations of plays to original rock operas, to theater of the absurd collages using current events, texts from found sources (court trials, newspaper articles, self-help books); kaleidoscopes of music, sound and soaring singing; and always a technically proficient array of imagery and movement.
All of Jucha’s productions have developed out of a life’s work studying VIEWPOINTS. Many artists have utilized the benefits of Viewpoints training over the last 2 decades, Jucha is one of the few who was part of the original conception, having worked with both its creators dancer/choreographer Mary Overlie and Anne Bogart who adapted its use towards theater.