Carmen Disruption

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

We’re happy to bring you this week’s City Garage Classic, a production from 2017, “Carmen Disruption,” by British playwright Simon Stephens. And on our webcast “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with Margaret Gray, Theater critic from the LA Times, and President of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle about the alternative theater scene in Los Angeles.

Here is a link to the talk show:

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And here is a little about “Carmen Disruption” from Stage Raw

Reviewed by Neal Weaver / September 12, 2017

Playwright Simon Stephens (Heisenberg, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) deconstructs Bizet’s opera Carmen in an attempt to illuminate contemporary issues of loneliness, isolation and all-around anomie. He includes a couple of Bizet’s arias, the “Habanera” and the “Seguidilla,” as well as a snippet of the Toreador Song, but otherwise the connection to Carmen seems tenuous.
Stephens sets his play in an unnamed European city dominated by its cathedral and opera house. The Singer (Kimshelley Lessard), famous for her rendition of Carmen, is now performing it at the local opera. But she seems to be going to pieces, mentally and emotionally. Her memory is failing her, and she has been confusing her own identity with her character’s. She can’t always distinguish between herself and the fiery gypsy she plays onstage.
Stephens keeps the characters’ names, but not their identities. Here, Carmen (Anthony Sannazzaro) is a man, a narcissistic gay hustler who starts to unravel when he’s betrayed and humiliated by a john. Don Jose (Sandy Mansson) is transformed into a tough woman taxi driver, the widowed mother of a son. Micaela (Lindsay Plake) is a university student whose boyfriend dumps her after she tells him that she loves him. And the toreador Escamillo (David E. Frank) has become a corrupt and amoral futures trader, whose deals have gone south, leaving him with a debt of two million which he is unable to pay. The characters tell us their woes and back stories, and each of them seems lost and searching for something. They have no real connection with each other, but certain events touch or involve them all: an aborted performance of Carmen, and the death of a young motorcyclist when he accidentally smashes into a bridge…
The piece is fascinating to watch. Director Frederique Michel and designer Charles Duncombe have given it a handsome and visually stunning production, stylized and ritualized. The cast is uniformly strong, with no weak links.”

It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, March 5th, through noon on Friday, March 12th.
It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page:
Merci to our donor from last week, Fred Page.

Stay safe, wear a mask, and we hope to see you all again later this year once we can re-open!



(Left to right) Lindsay Plake, KimShelley Lessard, Anthony Sannazzaro, David E. Frank; photo: Paul Rubenstein
Anthony Sannazzaro ; photo: Paul Rubenstein