March 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
After a brief haitus, 29 Cornelia Street returns with a shift in focus: from the events of the underground to the artists, performers and extended families that populate our stage and salon. As their lives and works intertwine, they knit together the reverberant community that makes the Cornelia Street Cafe a space apart.
Last Wednesday, Richard Hoehler–playwright, actor, and arts educator, duly published and veteran of countless performances everywhere from off-Broadway to on TV–came Downstairs to break new personal ground amidst old friends. For the first very first time on stage, he read poetry. The work was from “poemz for dayz”, a forthcoming collection inspired by his experiences teaching theater to New York City high schoolers. Before new work greets its wider audience, Hoehler brings it to Cornelia for experimentation and the special feedback that emanates from its intimate audiences. “I’ve done talkbacks and such,” he explained over the phone the following day, “and it’s never quite the same. The comments are from the head, and by the time you hear them, their moment has passed.” In a room just larger than a Cadillac, performers acutely experience their work’s peaks and valleys as it leaves the stage to permeate those assembled. “It’s more than just if jokes draw laughs. It can’t be explained, but you learn to feel where you’ve got attention and emotion, and where things fall.” So it was both times Hoehler was developing his one-man shows, so it has been with each appearance since he was first brought to Cornelia for a reading years ago by Susan Chacko. His performance that night caught Robin’s ear, and he was invited back to recur regularly. “Cornelia Street Cafe is a safe place,” he said. Like so many who appear here, he was ushered in by a friend of his and came to be a friend of Ours. Hoehler returns in August to debut a new one-man play; his poetry will be findable soon on his website.