‘Moments and Lemons’ to Debut at TNC

Thom Fogarty will direct “Moments and Lemons,” the Theater for the New City debut of playwright Fred Giacinto, which will be presented February 18 to March 7, 2010 by Theater for the New City in Manhattan’s East Village. The play, about the mishaps of an unfortunate man named Casper, is an “essential theater” production for two character actors, one of whom plays Casper at all the stages of his life. The other plays his jail cellmate and all the women in his life.

Casper’s narrative spans eight decades. In his teenage years, as a straight-A student, he yearns to become a successful lawyer. Running afoul of the law, his life path leads to prison. Rejoining life as an ex-con, he must re-enter a society that he is not quite accustomed to. His path is tangled with misguided detours and poor calls of judgment. The play is a drama of error and recovery.

Two-thirds of the play is spoken directly to the audience in storytelling fashion by the two actors, who are portraying the constant turnover of characters with dizzying velocity. Tony King plays Casper from his teen years to his eighties. Jessica Day plays everyone else: seven other characters. There are no props, no set changes and no costume changes. The production relies entirely on the actors’ tools: voice, body and imagination; thus the term “essential theater,” which has been applied to plays of the Brazilian master clown/dramatist Denise Stoklos.

Tony King and Jessica Day will perform the debut of Moments and Lemons. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Giacinto has written two other plays and has three more in the works. He worked his way through CUNY Hunter College over a 14-year period, studying writing and religion, and now says he is forever grateful for his education there. Studying religion, he says, made him a better writer by bringing him closer to “the big questions.” Prior to this production, “Moments and Lemons” has been developed in three separate workshops under the direction of Thom Fogarty.

Thom Fogarty has been active in downtown theater since 1973. In the 80’s and 90’s, he appeared prolifically in productions by Timothy Buckley, Ping Chong, Jane Comfort, Otrabanda, Alice Farley, Tamar Rogoff, Yoshiko Chuma, Gus Solomons, Jr. and more. He created works with Joseph Chaikin (The Open Theater), Paul Zimet (The Talking Band), Judson Poets Theater, DV8 Physical Theatre, and H.M. Koutoukas (“Dead at Sea,” based on Mr. Koutoukas’ journal entries). He has a BFA in Dance Performance and History from Ohio State. His own work, based on movement and told in an inherently theatrical style, approaches the vastness of the human condition as told through small everyday gestures and their meanings. He was one of the first responders to the AIDS crisis in the mid 1980’s by creating works that dealt with the pandemic head on. Now, he is moving his career more toward the genre of dramatic stage work.

Actor Tony King has appeared at TNC in “18:30” by Oliver Thrun, directed by Jonathan Weber in TNC’s Short Play Lab; “Collapse,” also by Thrun, in TNC’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts; and in two TNC productions by Walter Corwin, “Phallic Fables” and “Laugh Damn Ya Laugh!” He is a graduate of AMDA.

Actor Jessica Day has appeared at TNC in “Phallic Fables” and “Laugh Damn Ya Laugh!” by Walter Corwin, in various NYC festival productions, various productions at American Theater of Actors (ATA), and at Hudson Shakespeare Company.

Lighting design is by Alexander Bartenieff.

Performances are February 18 to March 7, 2010. Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, in Manhattan. Show times for “Moments and Lemons” are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the box office at (212) 254-1109 or online at www.theaterforthenewcity.net.