Spotlight On: John Patrick Bray, Part of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity



The Clyde Fitch Report is supporting the actors, playwrights, directors and associated artists appearing in the first annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, a new “eco-friendly” festival designed to promote social and cultural awareness. At least 26 not-for-profit organizations with benefit from the proceeds raised by this 19-day event.

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Today’s featured artist is playwright John Patrick Bray; the play is Hound.

Produced by HQ Rep in association with Rachel Klein Productions benefiting RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
Written by John Patrick Bray
Directed by Rachel Klein

A detective has returned from the dead. An American becomes the heir of an estate after a mysterious death in the family. Sherlock Holmes’ faithful sidekick, a grieving widower, risks his very soul to find and battle the legendary creature that he believes can reunite him with his wife.

All performances are at:
440 Theaters
440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor
(between Astor Place and E. 4th St.)

June 17 6:00 pm
June 20 7:00 pm
June 22 6:30 pm
June 23 6:30 pm
June 24 6:30 pm
June 25 4:00 pm

Each artist answers two questions:

Since the Festivity aims to promote social and cultural awareness in our community, can you talk about how your show will bring people together? Is the subject matter of the play — or is it more style or message or language?
Hound deals with a man who finds himself at a crossroads with faith while those around him are entrenched in identity issues (gender or economic, etc.). Throughout the play we meet characters who have each experienced a trauma of some sort (abuse, incest, molestation, loss of a loved one or the loss of humanity by serving a ruling class), and each of these characters are haunted by that event. The show uses a certain style in costumes, movement and language as a way of creating a slight (but not total) emotional separation from the audience, as this piece deals with truly dark issues and is, to some extent, a comedy.

What role do politics play in your work as a theater artist? What role should it play?
I am very interested in faith (in the broadest sense) and reason. Most of my research these days deals with theater as a space that creates an ethical encounter (in the Leviniasian sense) with the Other. My last play, Trickster at the Gate, served as a renewal of faith in something larger than subjectivity (beyond sublimation). Hound deals with testing the limits of faith to the point of (possibly) losing it. In terms of reason, I am not so interested with “Why are we here?” but rather “What are we doing here?” The latter is a much more active question, with much less certain (and therefore, much more terrifying) answers. In a much larger sense, every theatrical piece is political. It must support something, even if it is the strengthening of dominant ideological values (and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, per se; I do feel we should at least acknowledge it, otherwise, we are lying to ourselves).