Joey Merlo in Conversation with Jess Barbagallo in “The Brooklyn Rail

“It’s noir-shaped, but like all good noirs, there is more here than meets the eye—or ear. In Joey’s floridly contempo-queeny stylings, cliches meet cliches with cannibalistic ferocity, as the play’s quartet of queers—all played by the virtuosic actor-playwright David Greenspan—become exponentially queerer in their pursuits for one another.” – Jess Barbagallo for The Brooklyn Rail

Read the interview

“On Set with Theda Bara” Theater Review in New York Magazine

“…in the tiny yet mighty Williamsburg venue The Brick, there is a solo performance occurring around a table on an otherwise empty stage… On Set With Theda Bara—written by Joey Merlo and performed by off-kilter-theater royalty David Greenspan—embodies exactly the kind of gutsy weirdness and rich, invigorating audience connection that can arise from the challenge of a limited set of tools.”

– Sara Holdren, Vulture

Read the full review

Exponential Festival 2024: In the News

“…Those Moveable Pieces manages to leave a surprisingly delicate impression. In the center of it all is an attempt to redress, via two bodies sweating and connecting in space, three grave contemporary emergencies: ‘(1) A neglect of embodiment,’ says the voice-over, ‘(2) An abuse of narrative … (3) A crisis of imagination.'”

Sara Holdren for New York Magazine

“What will we preserve? What can we save from the wreckage? Going outside into the cold, I was almost surprised to find the world still there.”

Helen Shaw for The New Yorker

And more!

Nicole Serratore for American Theater Magazine
Elisabeth Vincentelli for The New York Times
Joey Sims for Transitions

David Greenspan Will Play 4 Characters in On Set With Theda Bara in Brooklyn

On Set with Theda Bara uses the mythology of the silent film star and anti-hero Theda Bara as a metaphor for queerness,” says playwright Merlo. “I’m a lyrical playwright who loves the campy, surreal, and melodramatic. My plays explore the cracks between the boundaries of what’s ‘real’ and what isn’t—by fusing the two, I attempt to locate my own existence within the realm of the fantastic. Theda Bara was written in a fever-dream state, literally, as I was very sick at the time and mostly bedridden. From that state, I used a cinematically imagistic narrative to create a play that transcends the traditional theatrical experience and invites a collaboration between audience, performer, and text.”

Read Andrew Gans’ full preview on Playbill.

Hyperfantasia at The Brick Theater

“Our existence is an elaborate joke: a stroke of dumb luck, a glint in the universe’s eye. What better way to acknowledge that fact than through a psychedelic cabaret, guided by the blind prophet of the Underworld themself? Part musical and part otherworldly burlesque, Hyperfantasia served the wild, the wonderful, and everything in between.”

Read Theo Armstrong’s full review on Culturebot.

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