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Comment Archives: Events

Re: “Next Fall

Review: Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffs, at Actors Bridge Ensemble Studio

Not Your Grandpa’s Kind of Gay Play

Playwright Robert Patrick, who in the course of his career has provokingly examined, among other things, a fairly wide swath of gay cultural terrain, once bristled at having his work categorized under the restrictive rubric of Gay Plays. “What is a gay play?” he asked. “A play that sleeps with plays of the same sex?” Virtually all writers aspire to some sort of universality, if only to get their point across, and hope their chosen specificities don’t garner them a limiting genre label.

Next Fall, the insistently theological piece by Geoffrey Nauffs currently at Actors Bridge Ensemble Studio, is, no matter how you slice it, a gay play. It serves up a chronologically jumbled stack of slices from a five-year-old relationship between Luke (Conway Preston) a twenty-something cater-waiter/aspiring actor and Adam (Chuck Long) a slightly older hypochondriacal candle salesman. Their central conflict is Luke’s unshakable belief in his Bible-based Christian faith and the inevitably fiery consequences of their persistent gay sinning. Not that Luke is a constant Savonarola; he calmly and tacitly keeps his fundamental certainties out of the bedroom except for the niggling practice of confessional prayers immediately after sex. This is too much for neurotic Adam who persistently picks at the unexamined contradictions between Luke’s behavior and beliefs. The historical vignettes show us, both comedically and dramatically, the amassing conflict that threatens their otherwise successful partnership.

This focus on ultimately cosmic questions frees Next Fall from the patronizing Gay Play prison. Avoiding the usual pitfalls of political manifestos and gratuitously exposed flesh, Nauffts, more effectively than at any time since Lanford Wilson gave us the quotidian yet cosmic problems of a gay couple in Fifth of July almost four decades ago, has managed to proffer a gay plot scenario which doesn’t wreak Godzilla-like carnage on its surroundings. Paradoxically, he does so by making Luke’s gayness a major problem for his father, the almost too appropriately named Butch (Phil Perry.) Gruffly old school, Butch doesn’t believe in natural selection or the reliability of an acting career, and while he may or may not surmise his son’s sexual orientation, he exudes self-denial in every sense of the word. There is even the barest insinuation (wisely not pursued by the author) that he might be suppressing similar feelings from his earlier years. Yet the play is also comfortable being about emotional neglect and fear of the unknown. These deeper themes are what truly trip the characters up. Each of them in their own way is in ostrich mode, avoiding the difficult realities, and the play’s action shows how this can be a soul-withering trap, far more destructive than frank communication.

A medical emergency lands Luke’s chosen and blood families together in the pressure-cooker confines of Beth Israel Hospital’s waiting room, where their unresolved conflicts reach crisis proportions. Beneath displays of alpha-male organizing and bullying, veteran character actor Phil Perry poignantly reveals glimpses of Butch’s real love and concern for his son. In her turn as Luke’s loving but self-centered, pill-popping mother, Denice Hicks again proves she is one of Nashville’s most inventive stage chameleons by bringing a manic yet deliciously appealing lilt to an otherwise pathetic character. Kara McLeland solidly portrays Luke’s solicitous and supportive best friend Holly, and Joe Blankenship, as internally conflicted friend Brandon, is especially fine at conveying finely nuanced reactions to the upheaval all around him. Chuck Long gives a strong performance as Adam, sincere but often doubtful of himself and others, and Conway Preston is ever alluring as Luke, the confident and determined glue that holds this micro-society together.

Director Richard Puerta has adeptly mounted this first fully staged production in the very intimate environs of Actors Bridge Ensemble’s Studio on Charlotte Avenue. Excellent performances on the inventive no-frills set should guarantee that audiences will continue to seek out this back-lot industrial space off a loading dock with a port-a-potty restroom. After all, tracking down eccentric venues is part of Nashville’s adventurous theatrical environment. Next Fall continues it’s run through April 6th.

-- Bob Fish

Posted by ixthvs on 03/24/2014 at 7:16 AM

Re: “Bellesque Grand Opening

No pasties? Lame.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Adam Lacy on 03/23/2014 at 7:37 AM

Re: “Michael Goldfarb: "Minimizing Physical Disability With Robotic Arms, Legs and Exoskeletons"

You are correct; the Critics Picks as it appears in the print issue has the correct time and date. Our apologies for the error.

Posted by mr. pink on 03/20/2014 at 4:08 PM

Re: “Michael Goldfarb: "Minimizing Physical Disability With Robotic Arms, Legs and Exoskeletons"

I thought this event was scheduled for March 25th. From the VU website:
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
“Minimizing Physical Disability with Robotic Arms, Legs, and Exoskeletons”
Professor Michael Goldfarb
Reception – Light Hall, North Lobby – 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Lecture – Room 208 – Light Hall

Posted by Shirley Carver Schettino on 03/20/2014 at 2:15 PM

Re: “Kurt Meyer: The Irish Rabbi, Chaim Herzog, President of the State of Israel

This program has been postponed and will be relisted.

Posted by Kara Leinfelder Meyer on 03/17/2014 at 9:31 AM

Re: “Bellesque Grand Opening

Bellesque was AMAZING! The show was fun, the girls were HOT, and the band was fantastic. Anthem is the perfect environment for this kind of show. I would definitely pay to see it again.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by newbellesquefan on 03/17/2014 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Eric Lee Beddingfield w/Dan Adams Band & Jimmy Stanley and the Union

Dan Adams Band and Jimmy Stanley put on a great show!!

Posted by I Know. on 03/16/2014 at 6:10 PM

Re: “Four Films: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Unfortunately, this seems more like a P.T. Anderson festival. I can't knock THE MASTER (maybe Hoffman's best film) or the overlooked PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. But I'd rather see BOOGIE NIGHTS (the movie where most people noticed Hoffman) instead of MAGNOLIA.

THE SAVAGES, co-starring Laura Linney, is another overlooked Hoffman movie that should be better known. Having recently lost a parent, I've been thinking about it lately.

Posted by Mark on 03/07/2014 at 2:37 PM

Re: “Rob Ickes w/Trey Hensley & more

Known Trey for about 10 years now. He's the real deal as a singer/musician, and he's one of the best human beings you'll ever meet. - Hayden Baker

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Hayden Baker on 03/06/2014 at 8:22 PM

Re: “Cerebral Ballzy

Speaking of the Jaco Pastorius wormhole:

Posted by Cary Baker on 03/06/2014 at 12:42 PM

Re: “Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes Album Release feat. Alanna Royale & Blank Range

Can't stop listening to this new album! Looking forward to the show!

Posted by Dan Mathews Sr. on 03/06/2014 at 10:46 AM
Posted by whubner on 03/05/2014 at 10:13 PM

Re: “Four Films: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Liked the way talk of the town had calendar events scheduled. They had listings for surrounding counties.

Posted by Mai. Jones on 03/05/2014 at 12:26 PM

Re: “Lake Street Dive w/Midnight Movie

The opening act Midnight Moxie set Nashville back 100 years musically with 1 set. Who booked this HORRIBLE act with the awesome Lake Street Dive??????

Posted by bob on 03/02/2014 at 12:29 AM

Re: “Goya: The Disasters of War

February 28, 2014

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts' February 28 to June 8, 2014 Goya: The Disasters of War exhibition irrefutably contains 80 non-disclosed posthumous [after 1863] forgeries, falsely attributed to a Francisco de Goya y Lucientes [d 1828], from posthumously [after 1863] reworked and altered etching plates.

The posthumous reworking and alterations of Goya's lifetime etching plates, with aquatint, etched lines outlining the images and titles by the Royal Academy in Madrid, is confirmed, in part, by very -same- curator for this exhibition: Janis A. Tomlinson, twenty two years ago, in her 1992 Goya In the Twilight of Enlightenment catalogue published by Yale University Press. After Goya's lifetime "Disasters of War" etching plates were acquired by the Academy of Fine Art of San Fernando in 1862, the author wrote:

"To make the first edition of the series most of the plates were altered, completing the lines framing the scenes, adding scratches, and even brunienclo areas of aquatint (7) and tinkering with drypoint (1, 77), chisel (38) or etching (43, 57). Besides printing was performed following the style of the time by the effects of entrapado, a procedure which passes a muslin cloth over the plate and inked on the surface leaving a certain amount of ink that produces a very soft toned overall. The result was far from the force and clarity that can be seen in the many state tests are preserved."

Caveat Emptor!

Gary Arseneau
artist, creator of original lithographs
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by gwarseneau on 02/28/2014 at 8:41 AM

Re: “Honey Locust Album Release feat. Alex Baker


2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Pat Howell on 02/27/2014 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Will Kimbrough Album Release

Music City Nashville Album Release Will Kimbrough rock, soul and blues LIVE The Basement 1604 8th Ave. S. Nashville

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by James Rickman on 02/13/2014 at 6:05 PM

Re: “An Acoustic Evening feat. Exene Cervenka & Kevin Seconds

Young Republipukes were awesome...... they had a kick ass Gay club tour in the early mid 90's. I still have my Y.R.P. banana hammock I rock that shit often especially while listening to 7 seconds

Posted by Mcs Basement on 02/11/2014 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Back When '80s/'90s Dance Party

dope party!!!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by la;ksdjf on 02/10/2014 at 6:01 PM

Re: “Something Weird/Mike Vraney Tribute

One important correction: this double feature is FRIDAY night, not Saturday.

Posted by Raven on 02/07/2014 at 8:50 AM

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