The Austin Chronicle


By Robert Faires, November 3, 2000, Arts

First for Seconds

It's been a little more than a year since Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre artistic director Vicky Boone and playwright W. David Hancock (The Race of the Ark Tattoo, Deviant Craft) headed up to the Sundance Theatre Laboratory in Utah to develop Hancock's play titled The Invisible Medium, and folks who follow such things may be wondering when The Invisible Medium is going to show up on the F@HPT schedule. Well, probably never -- however, that doesn't mean that Hancock or Boone or Frontera has abandoned the project. It's just that in the 15 months since Sundance, the play that was The Invisible Medium has become a different play, or, in all likelihood, a few different plays. In a way, it almost had to. Hancock and Boone had been developing the work for about a year before they went to Sundance, and by the time they arrived at the Utah institute, the script was 600 pages long and included some 40 characters. The three weeks they spent at the lab was an opportunity for them to explore directions in the gigantic script and really begin shaping it. In the time since, Hancock and Boone have continued their collaboration, sifting through the epic bounty of The Invisible Medium to find a smaller play they could focus on, and this week they're offering a look at what they've come up with so far. Ordering Seconds is the current title for the work, and Frontera is hosting two script-in-hand performances Nov. 3 and 4, Friday and Saturday, 8pm, at Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd. Readers wondering what the play is about will not get much help from this corner. (Hancock's scripts come as close to defying description as almost any in the theatre.) What I will report is that the work-in-progress version includes multiple characters (a trucker, a waitress, a drifter, a runaway, and a state trooper, at least), is being performed by Chris Alonzo, Cory Cruser, Tim Mateer, Jenny Larson, Christy Moore, Peck Phillips, April Matthis, and Amanda Posten, involves the audience in determining which characters' stories will be resolved, and is, like all of Hancock's work, rich in mystery. If this sounds like a work you want to be a part of, call 479-7529 for reservations. The cost is whatever you wish to pay, and a festive reception of beers and snacks will follow each performance.

While we're on the Frontera front, here's notice how you can help support this company and enjoy the company and artistry of two of the city's most remarkable playwrights. On Nov. 11, F@HPT is hosting a 10th Anniversary fundraising event called SOLO/DUO. It features playwright and poet Sharon Bridgforth (con flama, blood pudding) and economist, writer, and storyteller Steven Tomlinson (Curb Appeal, Millennium Bug), performing pieces of and sharing some of their thoughts on their respective stage work. Bridgforth will give voice to her award-winning collection the bull-jean stories, while Tomlinson will revive his award-winning monologue Free Trade, first seen at FronteraFest 96. The event takes place at 8pm at Hyde Park, with a champagne and dessert reception at the home of Tomlinson and Eugene Sepulveda. Tickets are $100 per person. Call 479-7530 for information.

Pearl Amster Service

A memorial tribute to Pearl Amster, the pianist, teacher, hostess, and arts patron whose passing was noted in this column September 29, will be held Sunday, Nov. 12, 2pm, at Scottish Rite Theatre, 207 W. 18th. In the spirit of the late hostess, well known for her soirées, the event will feature music and a reception will follow "in true soirée style." Please call 257-7642 for more information.

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