Marla Mase’s Masterpiece “The Pill” Opens AT La Mama For A Limited Run, Thursday, January 25th, 2018
Whatever you’ve heard, or think you’ve heard, or I’ve written you’ve read, hints and allegations, anything, you have not come close to the genius heartbreaker “The Pill,” which overflows the stage and into reality. Marla wrote “The Pill,” her son Yanai Feldman (hugely important to the play’s construction) wrote “The Pill,” her daughter Lael Feldman (the late soul singer), wrote “When My Mom Took Crazy Pills,” her father Dr. Howard Mase’s “The Purposeful Pill” and Conversations With Grandma completes it. Marla worked on conflating them all in three workshops. I have been to two readings of this play and considered it one of the great works in progress, and now, with the suicide of the primary protagonist, it measures truth with fiction in equal measures of unbearable reality and joyful life affirmation
Rehearsing for the La Mama performance, the actors were off book at the first rehearsal, “The Pill” had the weight of intense truths being shared about the frailty and strength of life and living, and art as the balancing of metaphor. “The Pill” builds myth from Familial drama, it changes the preciseness of personal characteristics into the hugeness of god like forms -it is family as idea and not personified by Philip and certainly not by the batty Matriarchal Grandma whose strangeness seems to infect everybody else, but by that ideal of something that is defined by what it is. Especially the greatest creation of the play: Leni, the Lael Summer character performed by Zoe Wilson, one of the most gifted artists you will ever see, and who has dedicated her performance to Lael. I believe, Tomas Doncker has rearranged a Lael song for Zoe to perform during the play.
From the Press Release:
“Conceived by Marla Mase
Written by The Family
Directed by Randolph Curtis Rand
Original Score by Tomás Doncker
When Sylvia accidentally takes her anorexic daughter’s antidepressant, panic and pandemonium ensue. A true story, this Rashomon-like black comedy (with music) presents the event from the perspectives of five family members (mom, son, daughter, and grandparents.) Full of love, humor, and feeling, The Pill is a comic and tragic mash-up of three generations’ take on living and dying.
The Pill features an ensemble cast of actors led by NYMF Award-winner for Outstanding Performance Zoe Wilson (Play Like A Winner, Orange Is the New Black) as Leni and Obie Award-winner Winsome Brown as the family matriarch, Sylvia. The pair are joined onstage by Joshua Turchin (A Christmas Story), Broadway veteran Roger Rathburn (No, No, Nanette), Drama Desk Award-winner Graham Stevens (In Transit), Marina Re (Irrational Man) and Adam Patterson (CasablancaBox).”
“The Pill” will be at La Mama from January 25, 2018 – February 4, 2018. Opening night is sold out.
The performance artist Marla Mase has given us her greatest production for, accidentally, the best of reasons. It is a meta-play about how we can’t always out run our fates but we can always try. A testament to Miss Mase’s courage in the face of unimaginable loss, it brings her family around her again, even Lael, in spirit and on stage.
Buy your ticket here