A Review from Chicago.

A review from Bob  Lichtenbert (meaninginart.orgof Mike Czuba’s Satie et Cocteau.
Produced by Genesis Theatrical Productions. Directed by Elayne LeTraunik.
Featuring: Scott Purdy as Cocteau and Dwight Sora as The Actor (Satie)

“Satie et Cocteau” by Genesis Theatrical Productions (Meaning Grade: 89%) features surrealist poet Jean Cocteau’s attempting to deal with the death of his friend, the composer Eric Satie, by directing an actor in a play that the poet wrote about the musician. As Cocteau was doing surrealism years before this arts movement emerged, this play represents imagination squared, but not much about the physical world.

Although it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between waking, dreams and opim-induced states, that is not the point. The point seems to create more and better reality through the arts. Thus, this play attains a high level of meaning since it is so well acted, directed and designed, mostly by plastic tubular pipes.

What I enjoyed most about this play was playwright Mike Czuba’s frequent references to basic ideas in the arts, poetry and life, for example: “the truth is a lie in the theater; don’t think, be; Cocteau aims to find the essence of poetry by looking for the life that is not seen-intangible! And he can make a circle of light around an actor; we are dreams, fantasies and illusions to be alive.”

I find all these statements fundamental and inspiring, even though Satie lambastes critics as too realistic.

“Satie et Cocteau” begins as a “memory of a memory of an actual event” between the two innovative artists. Cocteau admits that it ends as more of a masquerade probably because it reflects poorly on him.

Robert Lichtenbert,

May 21, 2016

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A Monkey In Chicago – Satie et Cocteau, 2016

May 14th, 2016 – Mike Czuba went to Chicago to see a production of his play Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet at the Athenaeum Theatre. Then he looked at stuff….

“A wonderful, complex, dark, and sensitive tale. Great writing and amazing performances. I love what it says about art, expression, regret, and love. Both acts were really strong and there was an intense psychological arch.”

Produced by Genesis Theatrical Productions
Produced and Directed by Elayne LeTraunik.
Featuring: Scott Purdy as Cocteau and Dwight Sora as The Actor (Satie)
Stage Manager: Beth Burns
Design: Jess Goings (lights), Harrison Ornelas (set), JJ PorterField (sound), Paula Kenar (costumes), Serena Sandoval (props).

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“SATIE et COCTEAU” in Chicago – 2016

Genesis Theatrical Productions in Chicago will be presenting a full production of  Mike Czuba’s play ‘Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet’ from May 9th to June 5th 2016 at the Athenaeum theater – Studio one.

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“The complexity of the script is what attracted me. Two men. Brilliant, influential artists, yet deeply flawed. The desire to recapture the past, if but for a moment, to find forgiveness, redemption, closure. The debilitating impact of addiction. The innovation of surrealism. The drive beyond the mundane. But most of all, the intensity of the relationships. It is a rich and complex story, innovatively woven.” R.Scott Purdy – Actor. (From the Chicago Tribune)

Robert Orledge, a Satie scholar and composer, who has written two books about Satie (Satie Remembered and Satie the Composer), says the play is: “..A truly excellent piece of theatre which deals convincingly and imaginatively with one of the most fraught love-hate relationships in modern French art. It has real depth and excellent dramatic pacing and is a work of art in itself”

Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet, is a play about the classical music composer Erik Satie and his complex relationship with the surrealist poet Jean Cocteau. We are watching Cocteau direct an American Actor in the role of Satie in a play that Cocteau wrote in 1939 called Soyons Vulgaires. The play takes place 15 years after the death of Satie. The action takes place during the final rehearsal where Cocteau has only called the Actor, because he feels he does not fully understand the role. Cocteau, in an opium haze, directs the Actor in a series of ‘scenes’, which run the length of Satie’s life and career. We discover that Cocteau’s intentions are for the Actor to fully embody Satie and bring him to life so he can finally exorcise him from his life.

“What you are about to see is a re-creation of a memory of a memory of actual events.” Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet is a play about the reality of memories, the possession of art, and the ‘truth’ of the theatre.

Satie et Cocteau – Le Film…

(S)cientist Mike Czuba has just finished a screenplay version of his play Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet. The screenplay stays true to the stage version with some cinematic expansions and imaginings of the world of memories Cocteau and Actor are working in.

It is an Art Film – but one with an international reach.

Satie et Cocteau: A Rehearsal of a Play of a Composer by a Poet is a surreal story of love, betrayal and ambition between a director and an actor battling it out on a theatre stage during the final rehearsal of a play that is never to be performed.

Satie et Cocteau is about the classical music composer Erik Satie and his complex, opium-fueled relationship with the surrealist poet Jean Cocteau. Fifteen years after Satie’s death, Cocteau is directing an American Actor in the role of Satie in the play Soyons Vulgaires (Let Us Be Vulgar)*, written by Cocteau in 1939. The action takes place during the final rehearsal, which Cocteau has only called because he feels the Actor does not fully understand the role. We discover that Cocteau’s true intentions are for the Actor to fully embody Satie, to be somehow possessed by him, so he can finally exorcise him from his life.

*No original copy of Soyons Vulgaires has ever been found. The events described in the text have been reassembled using the Actor’s own journal written during the rehearsal process. The journal might have been purchased for a dollar from a barn sale in Ohio in 1972 and was only recently re-discovered.

The play has been produced in Calgary, AB. (https://dancingmonkeylab.com/satie-et-cocteau-2012/) and has received staged readings in Chicago and Berlin. It will have it’s American stage premiere in May 2016 in Chicago by Genesis Theatrical Productions.

“…a truly excellent piece of theatre which deals convincingly and imaginatively with one of the most fraught love-hate relationships in modern French art. It has real depth and excellent dramatic pacing and is a work of art in itself.” Robert Orledge, Composer and Satie scholar.

“I admired the irreverence, theatricality and sheer fun of the piece. I found it to be a very enjoyable read.” Bob White, Director of New Plays – Stratford Festival.
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