Friday, May 25, 2012

On Hats



small hat

“Does anybody still wear a hat?”

“Baseball Players”
“They’re caps”

“Football—‘Get a HAT on the ball!’”

“Construction Workers, they wear hats—
“Yeah, Hard Hat Zone!”
“But that’s function not form”
“Yeah, so?

“What about metaphorical hats?”
“Screw you.”
“Metaphorical hats? What does that even mean?”

Russ Widdall dons the director’s hat for the first time with Asymmetric. For five performances over the next few weeks, Russ will also wear his actor’s hat in Sam Shepard’s Savage/Love and Tongues, the exact hat he wore in the 2011 Fringe. That’s an old hat, but it’s certainly not old-hat.

Switching between hats can be perplexing—and exhausting—it turns out.




“You watch the rest of the world from a window while you finish the hat.”

Stephen Sondheim captured the mundane work and the ecstatic thrill of artistic creation in his song “Finishing the Hat” from his Pulitzer Prize-winning work Sunday in the Park with George.

George, a trail-blazing pointillist painter,
tries to determine the risks and
of his work.
A hat seems a
totally boring article,
something mundane and ubiquitous,
to the point of losing

The metaphor is apt; the creation of art,
especially theatre,
is the preservation of realism in
a long-rehearsed and
endlessly-performed work of total fiction.

But to
“make a hat where there never was a hat”
is the ultimate achievement:
To create something
familiar and real,
fleeting and,
, new.

 Hats are pretty intense.

SAVAGE/LOVE and TONGUES opens Saturday May 26. It will run in repertory with ASYMMETRIC for two weeks only. See for ticket information.

Kevin Rodden is a production assistant for New City Stage Company.

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