By David Walters
The Chain Theatre has been around since 2010. Through their many alterations, they created a theater space in an old chain factory in Long Island City (thus the name). With their current theatrical home now at 312 West 36th Street and their new 99-seat house, they’ve been able to really put themselves on the off-off-Broadway theatrical map winning awards and getting nods and recommendations from the press and audiences. They’ve brought back classics and introduced new work, always seeking to expand not only themselves but their audience’s exposure to story.
But that’s not all.
Besides their main stage shows, they’ve also been running a film festival for over ten years that showcases both narrative and documentary films.
They also run an afterschool theater program called Stage Lab and Script Lab teaching all aspects of performance but mainly focusing on original work from the students.
In addition, Chain Theatre Play Writing Lab works with underrepresented playwrights in developing new material that sometimes gets produced by Chain on their main stage.
They produce a month-long one-act festival showcasing 25 new voices.
There’s an art gallery in their space that continually rotates.
I’m telling you about all these things that the Chain Theatre does as I attended a fundraising event to raise money and awareness for all of their work. This event was an evening of both new and old monologues from Eric Bogosian who generously dedicated his talent to support Chain Theatre and their work.
A wooden chair alone on stage, backlit by a couple of blue spots and a warm front spill highlighting the space around the chair. He doesn’t need anything more than that. Eric’s work is always incredibly specific in behavior, voice, and posture that allows his body to become his canvas providing strength of character that brings the audience in even though some of the creations are rather despicable. Mr. Bogosian is telling us something about ourselves and our society through these stories and through the people that he inhabits.
There were about fifteen monologues throughout the ninety minutes that had us all transfixed as he flipped and sauntered from one to the other, discarding them as a dog shakes off a powder of snow and immediately becoming the next character. Some pieces were old favorites, others reached back to his college years and when he first came to New York to be a performer, and still others were brand new that he was trying out on us guinea pigs. I felt lucky to be part of his creative process.
The Chain Theatre presented a special one-night-only benefit performance by the legendary Eric Bogosian at Chain Theatre, 12 W. 36th Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10018. Saturday, January 21st at 8PM.
As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.