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Zen A.M.

May 31 Through Jun 16 | Fri |
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Theater for the New City presents "Zen A.M." by Natalie Menna. Comedy of New Age manners and mores is set among the "worried creatives" of post-9/11 New York. Since classical times, artists have always had to reconcile the demands of their patrons with their own artistic integrity. In the 21st century, the patrons' demands can come from both the left and right. "Zen A.M." illustrates the artists' conundrum, nesting it in present-day issues of class identification, compassion, cultural identity and creative resistance. Andrew Block directs.

The play is a story of laughable characters straining to act rationally when faced with difficult decisions of artistic integrity.  Bruno, a 9/11 survivor, has abandoned his lucrative Wall Street career to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a painter. However, money is running out and his jealous, excitable yet pragmatic girlfriend--a fact-checker for a right wing media outlet--is set on getting married.   Bruno's guru/artistic collaborator is a New Age life coach named Chang. Bruno's best friend is a podiatrist named Hal, who is married to Rachael, a nouveaux riche woman who is part time Feng Shui consultant, jewelry designer and board member of the International Freedom Center (IFC), a museum being planned for the 9/11 site.  

Bruno has been commissioned to provide a painting for the IFC, but finds it has suddenly shifted its focus from memorializing the victims of 9/11 to the evils of America's past. It's an important and lucrative commission, but Bruno has serious doubts about IFC's changing agenda.  He feels he should now turn down the commission, but he has two problems.  First, an artist depends on clarity, insight and support from his inner circle, and these people can't do anything but bicker over New Age spirituality and promote their own agendas. Secondly, Chang has a contract to do a film about Bruno's painting and stands to lose his shirt if it doesn't get it done.

As Bruno's vacillations increase, hysteria and hilarity ensue. 

Venue: Theater for the New City

155 First Ave. Map