|Description: ||My second night in New York City, I stumbled into an East Village open mic; a basement world of poets and painters, musicians, comedians and performance artists. Mic. takes you there to witness the arts and culture of the lower east side, and the artists who call its bars, basements and back-alleys home. Replete with poetry, paintings, stand-up comedy, and performance art, as well as music from real-life NYC artists, Mic.’s narrative follows musician Joshua Redding on his first night back in NYC. Six months ago, for reasons unknown, Josh fled to Cody Wyoming; tonight he returns, ready to play again at Rathskeller’s Open Mic. Chance gives him a late slot, allowing time for his old friends to question his disappearance, and for Josh to question himself. But as the denizens of the Rathskeller spill their lives (and beer) across the stage, they realize just how vulnerable they and their world really is, while art, sex, and music collide as can only happen in the New York Underground.
Mic. is a fictional narrative which features songs by New York City musicians Joe Yoga (Coach and Downward Facing Dog), Brian “Beezy” Douglas (The Beezy Douglas Carnivale), “Killer” Kelly Dwyer (Kill the Band), and Mike Ogletree (a member of the 80’s progressive rock band Simple Minds who composed the hit song Don’t You Forget About Me). It is best seen as a large ensemble-piece but can be performed by as few as eight actors (5 men and 3 women) and has an approximate runtime of two hours.
Mic. is a play about what it’s like to be one of the many undiscovered, underappreciated, artists who dot the streets of New York and comprise the soul of its art scene. Mic. is about the waiter whom you stiff on your way to the next Broadway show, the Busker you see on the subway, the Barrista sketching poems on the backs of napkins between filling orders for Double Mocha Lattés, and the painter you step over on the way to the next Soho chain store, and what they do when you put them all in a room with a stage, a single spotlight, and a taped and dented microphone.
The world premier of Mic. was directed by Melinda Prom and presented by Autonomous Collective and the Present Company as part of the 15th annual NYC international Fringe Festival. It received an extended run courtesy of State of Play Productions Inc. and Manhattan Theatre Source.
Praise for Mic:
“Brenton Lengel’s Mic. examines the experience of creating in a society that does not always support independent efforts…performances by this ensemble cast are very strong across the board…the writing and music are solid, relatable and heartbreakingly familiar.”
-Keelie A. Sheridan, nytheatre.com