From June 2 to July 1, New York's experimental Brick Theater's holding The Comic Book Theater Festival, a selection of dramatic productions about the funny pages and the colorful characters that dwell within. Here's a list of the main shows.
Among those shows being offered is an adaptation of Incredible Hercules and Marvel Zombies scribe Fred Van Lente's Action Philosophers. Also, gamers and theater aficionados alike should note that the Brick is hosting their annual video-game-centric Game Play festival come July.
Comic Book by Fred Van Lente & Ryan Dunlavey
Adapted by Crystal Skillman
Directed by John Hurley
Presented by Impetuous Theater Group
The award-winning, best-selling comics series Action Philosophers is adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Crystal Skillman and directed by John Hurley as the lives and thoughts of history's A-list brain trust leap to the stage in manic, hilarious fashion. Come meet PLATO — Wrestling Superstar of Ancient Greece! NIETZSCHE — The Original Übermensch! The premiere of the mini-musical "You're a Good Man, JOHN STUART MILL!" The torrid love affairs of AYN RAND! And more! Cheaper than a liberal arts degree — and a whole lot more fun, too!
Thu 6/23 @ 7pm. Tue 6/28 @ 7pm, Wed 6/29 @ 7pm & Fri 7/1 @ 7pm
All I Want is One More Meanwhile
Written by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons
Directed by Ivanna Cullinan
Presented by White Girl with a Fat Ass Productions
Twenty years ago she was Perfectra, an artificially engineered superhero impervious to humanity's flaws. Today, she is Jane, a real woman who gave up power and perfection to become a mother. But estranged from her daughter and battling against a no-longer-perfect physique is not the ending she planned on! Discovering her daughter has not only been kidnapped by a canine-controlling criminal but worse still, engaged to a local superhero-can this supermom stand by and let her daughter spend her life dangling in distress? Especially as she suspects her daughter might have a secret of her own . . .
Sat 6/4 @ 5pm, Sun 6/5 @ 8:30pm, Thu 6/9 @ 7pm & Sat 6/11 @ 7pm
Written & Directed by Josh Mertz and Erik Bowie
One morning in a small office, a downtrodden employee arrives at his desk to find his computer broken. He discovers reading material at his desk, and starts to recite it aloud. At first his coworkers hardly notice. But after a series of strange coincidences . . . If you follow the New York theater scene, you may think you know where this is going. But, mix in classic Bat stories and a cast of harried office loons playing dozens of characters, and you've got a light-hearted tribute to the Dark Knight as you've never seen him! And it's a lot shorter than six hours!
Thu 6/16 @ 8:45pm, Sun 6/19 @ 2pm, Sat 6/25 @ 8:30pm & Tue 6/28 @ 8:45pm
The Bubble of Solace
Written & Directed by Jeff Lewonczyk
Presented by Piper McKenzie Productions
A.J. has his dream job-running a comic-book shop that doubles as a shrine to all of his favorite obscure classics. It doesn't even matter that no one else shares his obsessions-when he closes the doors at night, his immersive relationship with his favorite titles makes the rest of the world disappear. But with his shop in jeopardy, he finds that the stories no longer behave as expected, and he's forced to reckon with his feelings about his equally odd mother, the pretty girl who runs the sex-toy shop next door, and a strange fan who possesses a secret about A.J.'s past.
Sat 6/25 @ 10:15pm, Sun 6/26 @ 4pm, Thu 6/30 @ 7pm & Fri 7/1 @ 8:45pm
Written & Performed by Darian Dauchan
Directed by Jennifer McGrath
With music by The Mighty Third Rail
Presented by DDNMB
Death Boogie is a Hip Hop Poetry Musical that follows the fictional story of Victor Spartan, a blue collar worker who lives a comatose lifestyle by day, and at night hears the poetic sounds of revolution. A political romp with a Pee Wee Herman meets Che Guevara–type flare. Through the combination of music and comic book illustrations, Death Boogie is a whimsical examination on the notion of martyrdom, altruism, and courage through the stories of a Greek Titan, a soldier, a child, a cheetah, a suicide bomber, and pop culture movies.
Fri 6/17 @ 8:45pm, Sat 6/18 @ 3pm & Sun 6/19 @ 6pm
Drawn Out Storytelling
Directed by Nisse Greenberg
How do you tell a story? With words? Music? Images? Drawn Out Storytelling does it with all three. Come watch as storytellers recount the tragic, hilarious, and heartwarming events of their lives, accompanied by comic artists and musicians who provide their own interpretation of each story. From drawing live murals to comic strips populated by stickers, each story will come to life through a supplementary visual medium.
Sat 6/18 @ 5:30pm, Fri 6/24 @ 8:45pm, Sun 6/26 @ 8pm & Wed 6/29 @ 8:45pm
Written by Jillian Tully
Directed by Amy Overman
Presented by Handtruck Lobster
What would you do if a stranger made you-a disenchanted former dreamer-promise to do five terrifying things in the coming year? What would you do if you were a scientific genius who also happens to be a calico cat? In the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes and Get Fuzzy, Five Things is a webcomic brought to life, taking on such day-to-day subjects as online dating, Fairy Dragmothers, open-mic nights, tap dancing, opposable thumbs and the pursuit of happiness.
Sat 6/4 @ 3pm, Sun 6/5 @ 6:30pm, Fri 6/10 @ 7pm, & Sun 6/12 @ 6pm
Written by Adam McGovern
Directed by Ian W. Hill
Funnybook/Tragicbook is a repertory evening of moody, atmospheric, modern comic literature and farcical pop-art nostalgia. In "Underworld," a tense one-character monologue, surreal circumstances lead the 20th century's greatest psychoanalyst to encounter its most despised dictator, a war of century-defining ideologies in which both figures' illusions are defeated. In "Norrga the Thunderer," a radio play staged like a campus low-culture seminar, an arctic god's father issues mirror the generational conflicts of his comic book's 1960s readership-all similarities to mythic and multiplex Vikings purely coincidental!
Sat 6/4 @ 7pm, Tue 6/7 @ 8:45pm, Tue 6/14 @ 8pm & Sun 6/19 @ 8pm
Galactic Girl in: Attack of the Starbarians!
Written & Directed by Jon Hoche
In a futuristic world reeling from a dark infinite civil crisis, Galactic Girl leads the charge in bringing peace and order to the cosmos. She's the best at what she does with a booty that just don't quit. Under the command of General Fu Fu, Galactic Girl journeys to the planet of Starbaria with her compatriot Pixel and new recruit Moxie-5 to capture the leader of the savage Starbarians. Unexpected obstacles lead team Galactic Girl on a wild ride. Come see Galactic Girl in: Attack of the Starbarians, a Sci-Fi adventure jam-packed with hot girls, great fights, dances breaks, laughter, and so much more.
Sat 6/11 @ 9pm, Sun 6/12 @ 4pm, Wed 6/15 @ 7pm & Thu 6/30 @ 9pm
Written by Keith Boynton
Directed by Ben Kamine
What happens between the panels of a comic book? In the industry, they're known as "gutters" – the narrow white spaces between moments of frozen action.Gutter Space explores this nebulous world, where superhuman heroes confront eternal human questions like Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? and Who might be willing to kiss me?
Fri 6/3 @ 7pm, Sun 6/5 @ 2pm Tue 6/7 @ 7pm, & Thu 6/9 @ 9pm
Written by Jasper Patterson & Sarah Al-Kassab
Directed by Jasper Patterson
Presented by The New Eccentrics
Lauded as "truly innovative and engaging," The New Eccentrics come from the underground West Coast variety scene to present a Dada-cabaret, pop-up book/live graphic novel. Their unique style stitches together surrealist puppetry, high fashion design, and the history of vaudeville trickery, creating a seamless magical world that brings the comic strip into the third dimension. With their feet planted in a vintage circus/variety tradition and their minds soggy with the frayed media of the YouTube generation, they expose the hidden structure of myth, illusion, and wonder, weaving them all together with immersive madcap chaos and blurring the line between reality and symbolism.
Thu 6/23 @ 8:45pm, Fri 6/24 @ 11pm & Sat 6/25 @ 7pm
Our Greatest Year
Written & Directed by Robert Attenweiler
Presented by Disgraced Productions
Our Greatest Year is a blend of live theater and motion comic that examines a year in the life of a Cleveland, Ohio sports blogger in conjunction with the city's 2007 sports year, in which each of its three major teams flirt with greatness only to end (predictably, if you ask anyone from Cleveland) in failure. An American Splendor–style dark comedy, Our Greatest Year is about trying to create a life that can sustain us, even while reality consistently disappoints our expectations. Absolutely nothing can go as well as planned, but this still might be our greatest year.
Fri 6/17 @ 7pm, Wed 6/22 @ 7pm, Sat 6/25 @ 3pm & Sun 6/26 @ 6pm
Written by Laura Rohrman
Directed by Erica Gould
Workshop Production $10
Reporter Girl is the story of Dale Messick, America's first female syndicated cartoonist, famous for creating Brenda Starr, Reporter in 1940. The play weaves together a narrative that spans four decades and includes family history, actual cartoon-strip plotlines and characters, and most important of all-fantasy-to create a portrait of an artist as a creator, mother, and grandmother. The cartoonist's maternal granddaughter, Laura Rohrman, wrote the play.
Fri 6/3 @ 8:45pm, Sun 6/5 @ 4pm & Sun 6/12 @ 8pm
Created by Dan and Jon Cottle
Presented by Bardic Tortoise
A rock show that tells a story of a library spaceship, left to drift out on the edge of the known universe, stuffed with the sum of human knowledge: a reasonable "redundant server" for the accumulated mental wealth of humankind in case of some earthly disaster and as a last, half-hearted attempt at first contact with alien life. The piece will explore the role of personhood, gender, and sexuality in artificial-intelligence technology and its place in a politically-conservative future society where humans are seemingly alone in the universe, relatively stable on Earth, and a great number of people take this as evidence for man's rightful dominion over the universe.
Wed 6/15 @ 8:45pm, Fri 6/17 @ 11pm, Sat 6/18 @ 8pm & Sun 6/19 @ 4pm
You can find a full listing of all the shows at The Brick Theater's website.