In a Lower East Side bar, combine…
4 parts downtown theatre
3 parts live music
2 parts love story
1 part farce
3 dashes of opera
Shake vigorously and garnish with cocktails designed by award-winning mixologist Marlo Gamora (head mixologist at Trix in Willamsburg) and you have
Potion: A Play in Three Cocktails
Charley sells potions, handcrafted and custom made. From potions that can make the forgetful remember to potions that will stop a compulsive liar from fibbing, Charley’s concoctions satisfy a diverse clientele. But the one potion Charley hasn’t been able to master is that one she wants for herself: a love potion. Potion, a “spoken word opera” immerses its audience in the giddy world of Charley’s bar and her regular (and irregular) customers, with Gamora’s flight of 3 original “potions” served by the actors as the play unfolds.
To create the uniquely rhythmic text for Potion, Stolen Chair’s playwright Kiran Rikhye dug deeply into the Italian libretti of the operas by Mozart, Verdi, Donazetti, and more. For each scene of Potion, Rikhye mapped out the meter, rhymes, repetitions, and simultaneity of an aria, duet, trio, or quartet to create a template for her own original text. The result is an intoxicating and incantatory verse play unlike any other, set to a genre-bending original score performed live by multi-instrumentalist Sean Cronin. The ensemble performs this “opera” in spoken voice that is every bit as virtuosic, dizzying, and delightful as operatic song in a site-specific staging by Jon Stancato that explores every nook and cranny of PEOPLE’s bar and makes the audience feel they are VIP guests at Charley’s magical speakeasy.
With their adroit artistry and sense of play, Stolen Chair’s Potion is a heady combination of language and music bracketed by cocktails tasting of metaphors and intellectual absinthe. Jen Gunnels, New York Review of Science Fiction