I’m sitting with Kristina Birk writer and producer of In Thunder, Lightning, In Rain! at a rehearsal space in Gene Frankel Theater in SoHo. “I wanted to create a fairy tale,” she says.
And she did. It’s a quirky fairy tale about a quirky neighborhood called Bushwick. But not all fairy tales need to be fictitious. In fact, all characters appearing in this work are emphatically not fictitious. And any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely intentional.
The play features an ADD writer; a failed musician; an uninspired painter; a lost ballerina; two spirit characters and an electrician with serious brain damage who can only talk backwards. Or, typical J train passengers.
Absurdity is the inherent pathology of characters like this living together in Bushwick and this play takes a pretty sharp X-ray.
The primary antagonist to these characters is Sandy (the Huricane) and the play starts slightly before Sandy touches down. The fairytale of Bushwick absurdities feels true as it bounces from reality to childish moments.
“Think about it as being kids in recess,” said director Justin Morck directing a dance scene when the characters are playing a children’s game as they are trapped in a bunker.
Each part of In Thunder, In Lightning and In Rain is stretched (from the title), to the plot to the mannerisms of the characters. Under Mr. Morck’s direction, the line between matter and energy is blurred. The cast, no longer limited by the laws of physics, reaches the jurisdiction of the spirit realm, where physical comedy flourishes.
The characters, all artists, find themselves in a constant existential conundrum. Yet in this moment of destruction, they have each other. “You guys help each other out to find yourselves,” says Kristina to the painter and the musician characters.
Sometimes the absurdity of living in Bushwick is exaggerated, or too typically weird, but like any good recipe the extremity of flavor, salty and sweet, makes your palate and your life more interesting.
“It’s interesting how people’s lives collide.” That’s how the play concludes. It’s a commonplace but it’s one that makes us want to live in this city (and more particularly want in Bushwick). This play celebrates the random moments you’ve found in Bushwick, especially the ones that haven’t lasted long enough.
“In Thunder, Lightning, In Rain!” is an apocalyptic fairy tale written and created by Kristina Birk and
directed by Justin Morck and produced by The Orphans Theater Co. It is going to be performed on October 30th and November 1st at The Player’s Theater Loft, 115 MacDougal street, New York. Tickets ($20) available here. RSVP on Facebook here.