Gowanus play set in world overrun by flies

The Brooklyn Paper
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This play is generating a lot of buzz — literally.

“Buzz,” a darkly comedic play set in a world on the brink of collapse is currently playing at a loft in Gowanus, a neighborhood that the playwright said is the perfect location for the production’s themes of infestation and disorder.

“It seemed pretty appropriate to choose a Superfund site for a play about environmental decay,” said Benjamin Kunkel, a novelist, essayist, and a co-founder of Brooklyn literary magazine n+1.

The play finds a young couple in their apartment, which has recently been ridded of a persistent fly infestation that continues to torment the outside world. In the “slightly alternate universe” of the play, as Kunkel describes it, the world is overrun with these flies, and it does not take the founder of a high-brow literary journal to see the infestation as an allegory for the economic and environmental woes of the real world. On top of that, the woman is pregnant, and must reckon with bringing a child into a wounded world.

“There’s an irony in the fact that she is bringing new life into this rotten and decaying world,” said Kunkel. “There’s a way in which the play is about how these very central issues tend to exist for us on the margins of consciousn­ess.”

Kunkel said many of the other characters in the play do a better job of dealing with apparent impending doom, but he said that doesn’t mean the message of the play is to embrace apathy in the face of the world’s problems.

“The main characters are having a hard time keeping it together, which sets them apart from others, who have an easier time dealing with these phenomena,” he said. “But it may be that the others are putting on a brave face.”

Kunkel wrote “Buzz” several years ago, and the play first premiered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was living at the time. In the intervening years since its first run, Kunkel said he has tightened the play, tinkering with the script as recently as several weeks ago.

“I think it’s a more coherent world this time around,” he said.

“Buzz” at a semi-secret loft in Gowanus (, ticketholders will receive an email with directions). Wednesdays though Sundays Oct. 18–Nov. 22, at 8 pm. $25.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Swamp Thing from Canal Zone says:
...oh my, a 'semi-secret loft'! Wow. The Gowanus has been over-run with pests -- but don't think its of the insect variety.
Oct. 22, 2014, 8:42 am

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