by Ed Malin · March 30, 2014
Playwrights on New Plays #61 Ed Malin shares his thoughts on Cosmicomics at Dixon Place Don’t be afraid of the creation of the universe from the Big Bang Singularity. It’s not too dense or heavy to be an enjoyable evening of theater. In fact, as soon as I saw that the adaptation of Italo Calvino’s beloved Cosmicomics was a commission for New Stage Theatre Company under the direction of Ildiko Nemeth and her constellation of luminaries, I immediately lightened up. You walk into Dixon Place’s fine space and notice that the set is white. There are many gorgeous projections that fill up this space. Most of the episodes are narrated by “Qfwfq” , a dapper man who plays the piano while calmly telling the history of everything in about an hour and a half. Some of this is pleasantly like a planetarium show, or, for public television astronomy fans, you might recall Jack Horkheimer’s Star Gazer and other such programs.
First is the story of the time when the moon was so close to the earth you could climb to it up a ladder. Then, packed like a bunch of orgiastic sardines, the original characters of the universe disperse following the Big Bang. New Stage’s trademark surreal theatricality pervades these events, showing that no particle is too small or too big to be important to us. There’s the story of the fish who evolved into a land creature and changed her mind. For comedy and schadenfreude, there’s the astronomer who sees messages written on other planets (as in, from light that journeyed from those places hundreds of millions of years ago) and is worried about what they’ll think of him. And there is much, much more.
The energized cast takes on many roles, which are not identified in the program. My hat is off to all of them: Lance Cruce, Kaylin Lee Clnton, Chris Tanner, Géraldine Dulex, Denice Kondik, Florence Minniti, Jeanne Lauren Smith, Markus Hirnigel, Michael Cuomo, Beth Dodye Bass, Beau Mallard, Catherine Correa, and Valerie Ryan Miller.
Costumes are by Egle Paulaskaite and Ildiko Nemeth. You will probably find the disco fish scales to be dazzling. Federico Restrepo’s lighting is an enormous part of the show, as are the lunar landscapes and other projections designed by Laia Cabrera, Isabelle Duverger, and Ildiko Nemeth.