Hayden and Crawford in ‘Poe’ and ‘Madman’; ‘I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard’ at Playhouse (Thurs., 10/13/16)
1) Two veteran actors with Pittsburgh roots have teamed up to present an intriguing, and spooky, double bill. Each has a one-man play that he has performed elsewhere to rave reviews, so they are pairing them on the New Hazlett stage under the Metropolis Theater banner. Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jon Hayden performs Diary of a Madman, adapted from Nikolai Gogol’s bizarre story of an office clerk who gradually—and sometimes hilariously—reveals himself to be quite mad. Pittsburgh-based David Crawford counters with Poe’s Last Night, a speculative reenactment of the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe. (Poe was found in a delirium, dressed for an unknown reason in clothes that were not his, and didn’t recover. Crawford’s play adds poetry to the mystery by having the dying man speak passages from his works, including “The Raven.”) Diary of a Madman was a hit in Atlanta and Poe’s Last Night drew crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe. Continues through Sunday. They come together at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)
2) Playwright Halley Feiffer is the daughter of a near-legendary man. Her father Jules Feiffer (still alive and kickin’ at age 87) has won a Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, and Obie Award for his work as cartoonist, screenwriter, and author. So it may be no coincidence that young Halley—who also acts—has written a play about an actress with a famous, domineering dad. One must hope that real-life papa Jules isn’t as savagely wacko as the father in I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard. The play is said to be amusing but frightening—when it opened in New York last year, some audience members fled their seats in alarm—and it has a surprise twist at the end. Performances through Sunday. The REP, Point Park U’s professional company, is staging Feiffer’s father-daughter smashup in the Studio Theatre at Pittsburgh Playhouse. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. (MV)
3) Most theater is fiction, or at least heavily fictionalized. BASETRACK Live is all too true. This “multimedia documentary”—a mixture of acting, music, film, and projected photos—conveys the experiences of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and their struggles to adapt to home life afterward. BASETRACK Live started from an independent journalism project to record and compile the soldiers’ stories. The New York theater company En Garde Arts then worked the material into a feature-length performance. The show premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014 and now has been put on the road. It’s said to be powerful; it has touches of the grim humor that war veterans are familiar with; and a variety of voices are calling BASETRACK Live a must-see. 7 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District. (MV)
4) With the Pirates bitter end to the season still in our collective memory, thankfully we are now able to turn our thoughts and hopes to the Penguins as they play their home opener tonight against the Washington Capitols. Let’s hope Sidney Crosby recovers nicely from his concussion! 8 p.m. Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.