I have seen an amazing play last night. Allison Vanouse’s play PROJECTION opened last night at 549 Columbus Ave in Boston (there is one more performance tonight at 7:30), and there is no doubt in my mind that we are witnessing the birth of an extraordinarily gifted American dramatist and director in Allison Vanouse. The production values of this play — the complexity of beats and timing, the exquisite choreography, the mad cornucopia of light and sound (a dynamic and fluid live and original musical score, the stop speed montage of scenes from The Maltese Falcon — from which the play borrows and extends many motifs — projected over the entire production) — are of a surprisingly high level and seem to be the work of a seasoned genius. The acting was dynamic and arresting, and very very sexy. The play itself is like a work of poetry — extraordinarily lyric and witty, and also imbued with a deep probing of the guts of sexual relationships between men and women, and of the essence of deception and desire. The whole effect is of being throw into a maelstrom of double-puzzles, noir intensity, and vitally youthful passion that is something more sophisticated than one would ever have expected from such a young — but obviously unusually gifted and meticulous and serious — dramatist and director. The effect is like being thrown fully into some kind of crazy-as-a-fox combination of Mulholland Drive, Samuel Beckett, and The Maltese Falcon, or dirtier — Raymond Chandler. I would not miss the chance to see this play, presented by the extraordinarily vital Spirited Magazine, and therefore I am taking every friend I can reach to the performance tonight.
[Ben Mazer was born in New York City, and now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. His poems have been widely published in international literary periodicals, including Verse, Stand, Leviathan Quarterly, Harvard Magazine, Jacket Magazine, Fulcrum, Pequod, The Boston Phoenix, Thumbscrew and Agenda. His first collection of poems, White Cities, was published by Barbara Matteau Editions in 1995. He is a contributing editor to Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics and The Battersea Review: a quarterly literary magazine in both online and print format]