A two part program featuring readings/performances by Howard Pflanzer and Zoe Anastassiou of DEAD BIRDS or AVIAN BLUES, edgy dramatic-poetic commentaries on the human condition by Howard Pflanzer, and a reading by Zoe Anastassiou of Luigi Pirandello’s short story, Set Fire to the Straw, dealing metaphorically with freedom, choices and imprisoned birds taking flight.
$10 online, $15 at the door
Howard Pflanzer is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer. Dead Birds or Avian Blues was published by Fly By Night Press (2011). Recent publications include Nebula Rift, FIVE Poetry and Downtown Brooklyn. He was the prizewinning November 2013 Poet of the Month of The Poetry Company. His hybrid performance piece, Walt Whitman Opera, adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York (2014). He has read/performed his work at KGB, LaMaMa, Theaterlab, The Living Theatre, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Medicine Show, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Bowery Poetry Club, Brownstone Poets, Sweet Briar College and San Diego Writers Ink.
With equally wonderful, vivid and fanciful illustrations by Juliane Pieper to match his wildly mythical texts, much in the vain of the Brothers Grimm, Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss, though a bit scarier and meant more for “grownups”, Howard Pflanzer’s collection of poems and plays has created a world which to some may seem simple on the surface but which actually takes us through our own prejudices, likes, loves, hates and cravings, running deep through the souls of man and beast alike.
The short interlocking plays of the book’s first ½, using birds and beasts as metaphors, are surreal realities about survival, co-existence and in many cases inevitable collision and collapse. They, like the poems that follow, deal as equally with ecology as they do with the inter-dependence of species, are here examined through love and appetite, each play a little rhyming fable … Pflanzer’s is a journey that will keep you riveted always stirring up your cravings for more. (Steve Dalachinsky)
Zoe Anastassiou is a GABliA…Greek Aussie Brit living in America! Zoe was last seen as Hippolyta in The Drilling Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as past of their Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, and can be next seen as Shaw’s Major Barbara in November. She recently co-founded and became Associate Artistic Director of Helluva Theatre Company that is presenting a yearlong festival in 2017 commemorating Pirandello, his work and influence called Pirandello150. See more of that at www.pirandello150.org and see more of Zoe at www.zoeanastassiou.com
Set Fire to the Straw is a powerful short story from Tales of Madness by the influential Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello best known for his play Six Characters in Search of an Author. The issues in this story of two friends are intensely human. It embodies the expansive theme of freedom inspired by madness when hundreds of imprisoned birds are released into the sky. These birds are a striking metaphor for our constant striving for survival and renewal. Excerpts of this short story will be read by Zoe Anastassiou to highlight just how strong an artistic voice Pirandello has and why she co-founded a festival Pirandello150 featuring his work and its relevance for our times.