Written and directed by Robert Cucuzza
With DJ Mendel, Jillian Lauren and Jenny Greer
Composer: Juli Crockett
Choreographer: Jordana Che Toback
Designers: Dorothy Hoover, Alice Tavener, Ellie Rabinowitz
August 5th at 8:00
August 6th and 7th at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Da background n’at:
The housing crisis in America is blurring class distinctions, forcing the rich to scale down and live with less. As wealth is lost, the ‘haves’ teeter on the edge of becoming the ‘have-nots’; the ‘have-nots’ are terrified of becoming the ‘have-nothings’ and many fear becoming the ‘never-have-anything-agains.’ Cattywampus (a middle American slang term for ‘crooked’ or ‘chaotic’) theatricalizes that fear, focusing on a moment where rich and poor both stare into the inescapable void of poverty. Using the characters and dramatic action of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie as a leaping point, playwright/director Robert Cucuzza strips the revolutionary classic play down to its impulsive core, sets it in modern-day Appalachia and reconstitutes its essence to give new illumination to The American Dream—a myth that, within the last three years, has been shattered beyond repair.
A wealthy housewife, Julie, and her husband, The Count, are on the verge of losing their once-lucrative car dealership. Fearing that she is about to be catapulted back to her humble beginnings, Julie unhinges and goes on a desperate and paranoid tear—drinking, dancing, then flirting with and sleeping with Donnie, their unsophisticated groundskeeper. Donnie smells an opportunity to unleash lower class revenge on his boss, Julie, and penetrates her—physically first and then psychologically—recklessly convincing her first to run away with him, then to commit suicide.
Da team: (Nawt da Picksburg Stillers, but we’re rilly good anyhoo.)
Cattywampus physicalizes this story through a multi-disciplinary orchestration of distinctly American aesthetics—country-western music, line dancing, backwoods Pennsylvania speech and dialect, and a more-Method-than-Method acting style. The artistic team—veterans of Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater, the infamous Velvet Hammer burlesque troupe, Mark Morris Dance Company, Fischerspooner, and recent CalArts graduates—will rigorously collaborate to create a singular vision of power struggle; to rise above stereotypes and caricatures and offer up a deeply textured, abstract and heartfelt voice of the American lower class.