Beauty: An Erotic Odyssey (w/ Levy Easterly)
"Beauty was inspired by themes and images that recur throughout the early works of Jean Genet, among them the novels Our Lady of the Flowers, Miracle of the Rose, The Thief's Journal, and Querelle; the poems The Fisherman of Suquet and The Man Condemned to Death; and the 1950 silent film Un Chant D'Amour.
Drawing on the autobiographical elements of these works, the play utilizes direct audience address, re-enactments of prison routine, and a series of fantasy sequences involving encounters with real and imagined lovers to create a sort of spiritual biography of Genet's prison years.
The play is not an adaptation of Genet's works, which in a very real sense are inseparable from the form in which they were originally conceived. It is, instead, a sort of Genet Primer - a distillation of his concerns and obsessions and an examination of the circumstances which shaped his artistic sensibility.
We hope this piece will inspire audiences to read (or re-read) Genet's originals and to experience them for themselves. And, by providing an emotional "touchstone" (what actors call "subtext") to serve as a guide amidst the density and stylistic complexities his works contain, we hope the play will give audiences a greater appreciation of the terrible beauty which he was able to wrest from the horrifying circumstances of his life. It's a powerful story of the triumph of art and the imagination over the forces of repression and degradation." -- Steven Patterson
"Directed by Michael Martin and starring Levy Easterly (of Beast of the Southern Wild fame) in a thoroughly gripping performance... in a tightly produced experience of under an hour, “Beauty” is not merely a monologue but an aesthetic meditation on the nature of beauty itself – along with art and love and spirituality and sensuality.... “Beauty” becomes unnerving in its explicitness but it never falls to mere pandering. The passion Easterly displays is dripping with the lyricism of the genuine voice of a poet.
In the small intimate space, Martin’s crisp direction doesn’t allow for a single false move. Every step, turn and glance is measured and precise. Easterly’s Genet is not breaking a fourth wall; the audience instead becomes a fly on that wall watching him burn through a fever dream as a matter of utter survival as well as utter ecstasy.
This is an ambitious work, and one that is needless to say for mature audiences only, not only for the nudity and sexual situations, but for its sheer intensity as well. It is a brutal, erotic and poetic experience.
Anyone interested in the works of Genet, particularly owe it to themselves to see “Beauty,” which captures the roots of his lifelong quest as an artist and a man. “He aimed high and hit the mark,” Rorem said of Genet. With this production, Easterly and Martin do the same." --Theodore Mahne, The Times-Picayune
To learn more about actor, Levy Easterly, please visit:
To learn more about director, Michael Martin, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMartinNewOrleans
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