Tuesday, July 5, 2011

VoodooToday Here Now 5 - a terrific new production at Alley Stage

Caleb Stone & Kimberli Maloy in Voodoo Today Here Now 5
Alley Stage's latest production, "Voodoo Today Here Now 5", opened last Thursday, delighting audiences in what some are calling Alley Stage's best production to date. The play will run for only two more weekends (Thursday thru Saturday, July 7-9 and Thursday thru Sunday, July 14-17). Don't miss it! All performances are at 7:30pm at Alley Stage, 18 Shakerag St, Mineral Point WI. Ticket information at www.AlleyStage.com.

Background on the play from playwright Joe Musso:
My earliest memory of New Orleans was visiting my grandmother. She lived in an old house about fifty yards from a Mississippi River levee. I would play on the levee and watch the large boats travel along on the river.

Although I have lived in Alabama my whole life, I’ve been visiting New Orleans regularly for all of those 48 years, so much so that in 2005, my wife and I purchased a second residence in the French Quarter, a “servants’ quarter” in a Creole townhouse on Decatur Street. Before the date we closed on the property, my wife and I talked about what everyone in New Orleans already knew, that “one day” a big hurricane would breach the levees and the city would be under water. My wife and I thought it would never happen in our lifetime. Two weeks after signing the closing papers, Hurricane Katrina hit.
Because our part of Decatur Street is ten feet above sea level, we weren’t flooded. Most of the French Quarter was spared. Although my wife and I loved New Orleans before the storm, after the storm, we loved it more. It was a few weeks before I was able to sneak into the French Quarter to check on our place. When I drove in the city, I immediately noticed thousands of fetid refrigerators pushed to the curb for disposal, most of them covered in graffiti, much of it political satire. Many of the refrigerators in and around the French Quarter—in the same handwriting—had written on them this peculiar phrase: “Voodoo Today Here Now 5.”

There have been many theories as to how the words made their appearance and what they actually mean, but no one can definitively say. Nevertheless, the phrase struck a chord and from it I wrote the play “Voodoo Today Here Now 5.”

A review from Heather Murn:
I attended the opening night of Voodoo and want to echo comments from other participants. It's a well-written, fun, mysterious play.

Caleb Stone plays the old man Etienne with absolutely perfect, thoughtful comic timing and our new actress Kimberly Maloy is great as his wife-- beautiful accents and physicality for our young Midwesterners! Ainsley and Tyler are returning actors who play the younger couple-- Ainsley's character hints at knowing a little too much about black magic for Etienne's comfort and she does so with a sort of Heather Graham surface innocence that is hilarious. Tyler does a good job at playing the young, hopeful, "not-quite-published" novelist. 

The play takes place in post-Katrina New Orleans with the older couple returning to their gorgeous French Quarter mansion flat amidst uncertainty about what has happened while they were away. Abandoned refrigerators graffitied with "Voodoo Today Here Now 5" litter the area (apparently this actually happened!!) and they invite over a younger couple who didn't evacuate to see if they can solve the mystery of the phrase. 

It was a balmy opening night at Alley Stage, perfect to set the scene of a balmy New Orleans and the play is on the shorter side. I really encourage all to attend and spread the word on this lighthearted play.

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