Dogmouth at Theater for the New City
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"Dogmouth" (world premiere of a new version) written by John Steppling, directed by Stephan Morrow. Johnson Theater - Sunday, August 21 at 2:00PM; Wednesday, August 24 at 9:00PM; Saturday, August 27 at 5:00PM; Sunday, August 28 at 5:00PM; Wednesday, August 31 at 9:00PM; Thursday, September 1 at 7:00PM. Running Time: 100 minutes | Tickets $12.
Does an underground mafia of Vietnam vets really exist hoboing around on the rails? Is it as large and powerful as it is portrayed by journalists, or is it a media creation drawing the heat for every murder on the rails from Arizona to California? And has the leader of this group become a changed man, dedicating himself to his nineteen year old pregnant girlfriend? Or is he an unrepentant racist criminal bent on plotting to murder a rival over a deal that went sour. When he visits a black man - is it to buy a dog or to kill him? John Steppling's play “Dogmouth” gives the spectator a good look at people on the edge. The fact that he also deftly manages to place ruminations on death and dying, the brutality of existence and the survival of the fittest on the streets of Phoenix, not to mention the breeding of dogs - in the middle of it - is what makes this play dark and riveting, taking us far beyond just dog fighting and mysterious murders on the rails. John Steppling was first championed by Robert Egan at The Mark Taper Forum with his play "The Shaper" and the Taper consequently produce Steppling's "The Thrill" in one of its new-works festivals. His characters were from, and remain in, the margins of society. Steppling's other plays include "Teenage Wedding," "The Dream Coast" and "Neck." He also adapted Elmore Leonard's "52 Pickup" for director John Frankenheimer. Steppling mentored Jon Robin Baitz at the beginning of his playwriting career. Steppling has just completed an 11-year stint in Poland (where he taught screenwriting at the Polish National Film School) and created his own adaptation of "King Lear," which he describes as a "sliced-back" and "fairly traditional" version (with Goneril and Regan spoken in Norwegian and the other roles in either Polish or English. ) He wrote a modern day adaptation of "Faust" that was presented at Los Angeles Theater Center in 1998. Steppling is currently Artistic Director of the Gunfighter Nation theater company and had a new play, "Phantom Luck," produced last fall in Los Angeles. Stephan Morrow directed "Trio" by Mario Fratti at Theater for the New City in 2010 and a sequel, "Quartet," also at Theater for the New City in 2011. That production came fast on the heels of his production of "Triangle - The Shirtwaist Triangle Factory Fire" by Jack Gilhooley at 59E59St Theaters. In March 2007, he acted in and directed a staged reading of "The Deer Park or Hollywood Goes to Hell" by Norman Mailer, which Mr. Mailer attended. On the basis of that work, Mailer invited Morrow to co-direct and perform in a film of "The Deer Park." Mr. Mailer passed away before the film could be realized. Morrow's collaboration with Norman Mailer began with his performance as Rod, a stuntman, in "Strawhead - A memory play of Marilyn" at The Actor's Studio. Morrow can be seen in Mailer's cult classic, "Tough Guys Don't Dance," playing the character Stoodie. As Artistic Director and founder of The Great American Play Series, he has resurrected neglected American classics in 'performances on book' with Rebecca DeMornay and Mark Rydell, Barry Primus, Lyle Kessler and Sally Kirkland, Barry Primus, Lyle Kessler, Paul Mazursky, Judith Light, Betsy Von Furstenberg, Peter Riegert and Rosie Perez. Arthur Miller gave his approval for Stephen to work on "Incident at Vichy" in a three-year mission to get it to a major venue. Morrow staged four 'performances on book' with casts that included F. Murray Abraham, Richard Dreyfuss, Fritz Weaver, Peter Weller and Fisher Stevens among others. Recently he put together and hosted a playwrights' symposium, "Are small theaters from Off to Off Off Broadway Becoming an Endangered Species in N.Y.?," at 45 Bleecker which included Israel Horovitz, Murray Schisgal, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Mario Fratti, Diane De Mateo, Richard Vetere and Quincy Long. That symposium turned out to be all too prophetic when 45 Bleecker St. Theater shut down less than four months later.