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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In Context: Alan Smithee Directed This Play: Triple Feature

Alan Smithee Directed This Play: Triple Feature runs at BAM from October 1—4. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of original blog pieces, articles, interviews, and videos related to the artists. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Program Notes

Alan Smithee Directed This Play: Triple Feature (PDF)


“A Disturbance of Dramaturgy: Alan Smithee Directed This Play: Triple Feature (BAM Blog)
“I pruned each scene [of Terms of Endearment]  with sonnets, villanelles, pantouns, odes, and sestinas,” says Annie-B Parson of one element of Alan Smithee.

Big Dance Theater
See what else the ambitious company has up its sleeve.

“Name of Director Smithee Isn’t What It Used to Be” (Los Angeles Times)
Eclectic auteur Alan Smithee’s filmmaking days are numbered.

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Set Designer Joanne Howard (BAM Blog)
The Alan Smithee set designer and director Annie-B Parson were once roomies.

“Husband and Wife, Marrying Art Forms" (The New York Times)
On the many creative unions of Big Dance Theatre’s Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar.

BOMB Interviews Annie-B Parson (BOMB Magazine)
“It takes a lot of craft to align with the synchronicity of the universe, and still keep things moving along on stage!,” says the Alan Smithee director.

Watch & Listen

Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar on Alan Smithee (YouTube)
The directing duo unpack their multifaceted drama.

Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. I am a fan of Big Dance Theater's work and tonight's performance was no exception. I am fascinated by the intersection of dance, theater and music. I especially enjoy the repeating gestures and movements of the choreography, and the way the spoken word, song, movement and characterization is completely woven together. The costuming and props were terrific and I loved how they were used in the piece by each of the performers. I also thought the use of technology was just right. Sometimes I see performances that rely too much on technology to carry the work, but this was not at all the case tonight. It enhanced the piece. I was surprised and delighted to find that Cynthia Hopkins was a member of the cast for this piece. I am also a fan of her work as well so that added to my enjoyment of the performance.

  2. The Bomb magazine interview is really candid, and I'd recommend it for those left with questions about this somewhat opaque play. (It doesn't discuss the play, just Parson's techniques.)

    I thought this quote from Ms. Parson in the interview was interesting: "It is deadly dull for me on both a physical and emotional level to see a piece without dancing of any kind." She also says her work is greatly influenced by the postmodern shift from emotional dance: "In the middle of the twentieth century, there was a huge swing away ... for them a jump is a jump and turn is a turn and it doesn’t symbolize anything. It just is."

    The play has been criticized for being a bit cold and arbitrary, and a few scenes early on felt overly mannered. But as you learn the lexicon of the movements, taken from these disparate film tropes, the characters become recognizable. We all have lines to speak and circles to step.

  3. It was a terrific. A wonderful intersection of art forms, theater traditions, and talent. It had the depth of much of the Wooster Group's work, but a lightness all its own.