joes & co.
nytheatre.com on OPEN HEART at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival:
"One doesn’t often think of the stage as a medium that lends itself to the documentary. To see perhaps the best possible example of one onstage, get a ticket to open heart before they sell out (which should be soon, judging by the size and enthusiasm of the opening night crowd). It’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling this off as well as open heart." Click here for the full review.
open heart is the newest theatre piece created by playwright and director Joe Salvatore.
This project illuminates and explores the experiences of gay male couples living in non-monogamous or “open” relationships. Salvatore interviewed 13 gay male couples and a therapist/researcher, and out of these interviews, he has created a verbatim performance script that offers thoughts and opinions on the following questions: How do gay couples define open relationships? How do gay men in open relationships define the word “monogamy?” Why do gay couples choose to live in open relationships? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this open relationship arrangement?
The interview process for open heart was completed from February through April 2009. Couples were recruited using flyers, internet postings, and email blasts to list-servs. When a couple responded to the call for participation, they moved through an initial screening process, and if they qualified, they were then contacted to schedule an interview. Each couple was interviewed together and then each individual was interviewed separately.
Couples were asked the following questions:
What were the circumstances surrounding your first meeting? How and when did you come to define your relationship as an “open relationship?” Why have you chosen to continue in this open relationship? What strategies are you using to maintain your relationship? Why do you think your open relationship is working?
Each individual was asked the same series of questions including:
How do you define the word “monogamy?” How do you define the word “fidelity?” Describe the circumstances surrounding your first committed relationship that lasted longer than one year. Describe your ideal partnership with another man. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of your current open relationship.
In June and early July 2009, Salvatore reviewed all of the interviews and made initial selections of sections to be included in the script. For two weeks in July 2009, four actors and an assistant joined the playwright in a studio and read aloud 200 pages of transcriptions as a way to assist him in determining which sections would come together to create a first draft of the play. At the end of those two weeks, a script emerged that featured 14 different characters. The script was read for a small group of friends and colleagues and their feedback was collected.
In September 2009, the group came together again and continued to work on the script while also exploring how the piece might be staged. The actors also listened to the audio recordings of the interviews and began to develop the voices and speech patterns of the characters that they were portraying. In the final rehearsals of this three-week workshop, the team integrated some costume pieces and props to help delineate characters, and a sound designer selected some music to assist with transitions in the staging. Three staged readings were presented for invited audiences, and again the playwright received feedback from those in attendance.
Now that the play will be presented for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival, Salvatore has again re-worked the script, adding a fifteenth character and a fifth actor to the ensemble. The production will also include a complex sound and projection design, combined with lighting and costumes that will create the visual and aural world of the play.
Tickets go on sale on July 23 at FringeNYC!
See the performance schedule by clicking
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org