Turquoise – Deb Margolin
From an interview with Deb Margolin on Wed June 11th
Deb Margolin’s new play, Turquoise, is at Dixon Place this weekend and next; recalibrate your plans and get there! Like all plays it is about love and death (Deb taught me this), but, like all things Margolin, it is held together with a mysterious glue. For this piece the theory of Higgs boson; a force within the tiniest particle that connects everything. The proof of this theory can only be seen if and when there is a disturbance. There is an accelerator in Geneva Switzerland running 24 hours a day in order to watch for signs of the energy force of this sub atomic particle!
From the micro to the macro we get to connect the dots. As I understood it from listening to her, the characters in Turquoise connect to each other through the small disruptions in their lives. Someone once explained to me that a bone gets stronger by making tiny little fractures that then heal. But maybe it’s just that the little blips on the monitor in Geneva or in life reveal our inherent connection.
“Turquoise is a disruption-of-memory play. Exploring the interconnectedness of everything through disruption, this intergenerational comedy examines seven lives across a spectrum: a couple married 71 years; a middle-aged concert pianist with a brain injury and his loving day nurse; and two 15-year-old boys trying to figure their way through a timeless set of adolescent passions.”
I’m writing as a fan and a follower; Deb Margolin is the most powerful performance artist I know. Her work is smart and full and always funny.
I first saw Deb Margolin’s work in the late 80’s at Gusto House, as Ellie Covan describes it, one of the “living Room” spaces in the East Village. Started in the late 80’s, Gusto House began around the same time as Dixon Place.
She was on a raised platform talking about a phone message she received. It was a message about miscommunication intended for someone else. By the end we were reciting it together (from cue cards), hearing it as she did and sharing the joy and insanity of this long, convoluted rant; a wrong number “sent” to what turned out to be the perfect person.
What I love about her work is that no matter how non-linear she gets, she takes us along. And there is just so much love in that; it’s a brainy kindness that I never get enough of. In a world of continued isolation, she is the antidote, the ambrosia that our utterly starved rhesus-monkey selves need.
We talked about age; about a joy she has in turning 60.“It just was fantastic. I wouldn’t have called it. I wouldn’t have known. Listen, as someone who survived lymphoma, I was supposed to be dead 12 years ago.” She goes on “I use theatre as a sort of reclamatory and restorative tool. Theatre is transactional and it makes a group of random people a bunch of concerted witnesses that help you carry your experience so you’re no longer carrying it alone. It’s a really incredibly powerful thing, no matter which side of the stage you’re sitting on…I have used theatre consistently to help process experience, and illness is some of the most intense experience….. “
There was no need to ask her about what she feels about the younger generation, as her students, all recent graduates of Yale Theater Studies (where Margolin teaches) are right there with her. Her director, Charlie Polinger, is already a celebrated director, having staged both Marina Keegan’s Independents and Matthew George’s Cow Play. Alex Kramer and Richard Miron, who play the two young men, and the stage manager, Shon Arieh-Lerer, are the other talented young people from Yale. She also has Jenny Allen (I Got Sick Then I Got Better) and Edwin Lee Gibson (an Obie Award-winning actor from Will Power’s The Seven and Ms Margolin’s Three Seconds in the Key). Actors Julia Pearlstein, Michael Irvin Pollard and Al Sutton are also part of the intergenerational cast.
Deb Margolin has been in the thick of it since the 80’s and actually much earlier; inclusive, entertaining, re-awakening what we forgot we knew and letting us see love, sex and death at another angle. I don’t think I can ever afford to miss anything she does.
Turquoise by Deb Margolin, directed by Charlie Polinger, Featuring Jenny Allen, Edwin Lee Gibson, Alex Kramer, Richard Miron, Julia Pearlstein, Michael Irvin, Michael Irvin Pollard and Al Sutton. Music by Amy Reich, Projection Design by David Szlasa and the stage manager is Shon Arieh-Lerer.
Turquoise, a new play by Deb Margolin, can be seen at 7:30 Friday and Saturday at Dixon Place this weekend and next (June 13, 14, 20 and 21). Come early and drink before and after; there’s a lovely bar with great people and it supports the theater.