When Playwrights Direct Playwrights. The AdA Project

Alex Catti (January 18, 2017)
If you love theater, be sure not to miss the AdA (Author directing Author) project at La MaMa theater. This is no ordinary show however; various playwrights put their individual pieces together to form a series of one-act plays around a central theme. However, each one-act play is directed by one of the other writers, not its original author. The show begins January 19th and will be running for three weeks.

“Three authors. Three plays. Three directors. One show.” This is how the directors behind the AdA (Author Directing Author) project define their show. Their latest performance opening at La MaMa theater in Manhattan is the third edition of the AdA project. How did such a project come to be? Well, it all started in Barcelona, Spain where playwrights Neil LaBute and Marco Calvani had been teaching. LaBute and Calvani became friends and decided to work together. In an interview posted on La MaMa’s website, Calvani concisely explains the AdA project: “We both write a short play around a common theme, and then we direct each other’s work. The two plays, they form one single show.” Past productions have gotten rave reviews from organizations such as The New York Times, Time Out, and TheaterMania. This year offers an exciting new spin on the already unique project.

So far the AdA project has seen two prior editions. The first edition took place in 2012 with plays centered on the theme “HOME,” and the second edition took place in 2014 centered on “DESIRE.” Their previous shows have been performed in 3 countries and in 3 languages: Italian, Spanish, and English. For their 2017 production, LaBute and Calvani chose “POWER” as the theme. However, this year presents a “twist,” as LaBute describes it: the addition of a third collaborator–Spanish playwright/director Marta Buchaca. With a third playwright, and in honor of its third edition of AdA, this production treats the audience to three one-act plays, instead of the usual two.

The three performances are LaBute’s “I don’t know what I can save from you,” Calvani’s “After the Dark,” and Buchaca’s “Summit.” Each play reflects the theme of “POWER” as it pertains to personal, professional, or political life. LaBute’s play focuses on an estranged father and his relationship with his daughter. Calvani’s piece deals with a designer and her assistant. Finally, Buchaca’s one-act is practically an alternate reality of this year’s US presidential election as it deals with a left-wing female candidate taking over the office of the conservative outgoing mayor.

The cast for this series of one-acts includes Richard Kind, Gia Crovatin, Margaret Collin, Gabby Beans, Dalia Davi, and Victor Slezak. Be sure to order your tickets before they’re sold out. The show will be open from Thursday, January 19th to Sunday, February 5th.