Sections

‘The Tower’ by Antimatter Collective at Standard ToyKraft

Caravan of carnage: W’burg play offers bloody, trippy take on the Donner Party

Theater with bite: “The Tower” actors Rebecca Hirota and Courtney Fenwick enjoy a pre-show snack.
Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

This play will stick to your ribs.

Beginning April 12, a theater company known for its brutal plays will present “The Tower” at Williamsburg’s Standard ToyKraft, offering a surrealist look at the travails of the Donner Party. And the play won’t just be about cannibalism, the writer promised.

“The whole play is not about eating people in gory ways,” said playwright Adam Scott Mazer of the AntiMatter Collective, which has previously staged a zombie Western and a post-apocalyptic horror story about robots. “It is more about the things that are going on in people’s minds and the building tension and desperation that causes people to act this way. I thought it would be good fodder for drama.”

The play depicts the doomed voyage of a group of American pioneers who left their homes in 1846 with the intention of settling in California. The party, traveling in a caravan of wagons, encountered harsh conditions along the way and eventually resorted to eating members of the group to stay alive.

In the process of putting the production together, Mazer, director Philip Gates, and co-creator Maya Rook spent months researching the history of the Donner Party — even traveling to the Donner Pass and Donner Lake in California to talk with historians.

Each section of the play is designed after a different tarot card, explained Gates. The play’s title is named for the tower card, which represents chaos, because that is the overall theme of the piece.

“Everything needs to come down so that something new can take place,” he said.

The play has a decidedly psychedelic bent, with time moving both backwards and forwards, and some scenes representing fantastical events happening in the characters’ minds.

“I knew it should not be a completely realistic play,” said Mazer. “Watching people slowly freeze to death is not very compelling.”

But one element that will be realistic in the play will be the plethora of cannibalism, Gates said. To make those scenes appropriately gruesome, the production brought in Stephanie Cox-Williams, who is well known in the film and theater worlds for creating top-notch gore.

“We wanted to make it as realistic as possible,” said Gates. “There are prosthetics and blood capsules and, of course, food.”

“The Tower” at Standard ToyKraft (722 Metropolitan Ave., third floor, between Manhattan and Graham avenues in Williamsburg, www.standardtoykraft.org). April 12–26 at 8 pm. $15.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: