New York International Fringe Festival Presents:
Kaddish (or The Key in the Window)
Created and Performed by Donnie Mather
Directed by Kim Weild
August 20-29th @Here Arts Center, 145 Sixth Ave (btw Spring and Dominick) New York, NY
The performance is based on the poem Kaddish by the iconic Beat poet Allen Ginsberg who wrote it for and about his mother Naomi. She died shortly after the success of his seminal work Howl in the late ‘50s. After a long night of drinking, speed and listening to Ray Charles, Ginsberg detailed his painful memories of his mother’’s battles with mental illness. Our production takes this poetic text and personal narrative to create a multimedia memory play. Kim Weild directs. We both share a great love of poetic theatre that works on many levels, mixing text and movement with music.
There was something in the poem when I first encountered it that I found quite universal, moving and touching. We all have memories that haunt us, childhoods that have left its mark on us. His story is of course quite unique and the language he employs is as well. It will be a wonderful challenge to find staging that matches the density of the poetry. I’m thrilled to bring this great American literary work to the theatre almost 50 years after its publication.
I’m really interested in taking non-theatrical source material and turning it into a journey for the stage. Ginsberg is such an icon of the Beats, of downtown New York, and of American poetry. He was also interested in music and theatre. In fact, he assisted in a theatrical adaptation and an unpublished screenplay of the poem. I’ve wanted to adapt this for the stage for over a decade. Personally, I connected with the emotional drama in the poem. After a recent loss in my family, this story of grief took on new meaning for me.
Donnie Mather, creator/performer
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Oh.. and yesterday was James Baldwin’s Birthday. He would have been 85.