N  E  W  S

UPCOMING EVENTS

THE JACOB HIGGINBOTHAM SHOW

July 17 - 19 and 24 - 26, 2014 at the BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street in downtown Asheville. All performances at 7:30pm. Details forthcoming.

Not since his award-winning one-man lyric-drama, The Songs of Robert, has writer and performer John Crutchfield held himself up to public ridicule with such brave and solitary determination. His latest solo play, The Jacob Higginbotham Show, is set in our very own Asheville (or at least, in somebody's Asheville), and tells the story of a strange little man “of a certain age” who has the bizarre habit of making spontaneous marriage proposals. These are almost universally rejected, of course, “until one day...”

Since 2009, audiences of the erstwhile No Shame Theatre at NCStage, of Magnetic Midnight at The Magnetic Theatre, of the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, and of the Juniper Bends Reading Series at Downtown Books and News will have been tantalized by bits and pieces of Higginbotham as a work in progress. Now, the completed play will have its long-awaited world premier in a Magnetic Theatre production, directed by the playwright. It had better be good.

Working with sound-designer and d.j. Mary Zogzas, and drawing on his own extensive experience as a poet, musician, dancer, and abuser of home furnishings, Crutchfield creates a world that is at once magical and harrowing, beautiful and strange, and finally, very, very awkward.

RECENT EVENTS

pen and paper

HOW I LOST MY LAST PEN-PAL
: Toward a Luddite Manifesto

John Crutchfield's literary essay, "How I Lost My Last Pen-Pal" has been published in the online cultural journal, Berfrois: Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters. Beginning with the account of a personal correspondence that mysteriously ceased, the author goes on to reflect upon the place of "snail mail" in contemporary digital culture.   

To read the essay, visit Berfrois.

 

John w/ Bike     

photo by Alisa Blackwood

LEIPZIG: CITY OF HEROS

John Crutchfield's literary essay, "Leipzig: City of Heros" appears in the online cultural journal, Berfrois: Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters. A personal and at times fanciful meditation on time and friendship, the essay recounts the author's experiences over a twenty year period, starting in 1992, in one of Germany's most interesting cities.

To read the essay, visit Berfrois.

                     Excursus Buck

*CRUTCHFIELD PLAYSCRIPTS AVAILABLE

Full-text playscripts of selected dramatic works by John Crutchfield are now available online at Indie Theatre Now. At present, available scripts include the verse-play triptych of The Songs of Robert, a delightful one-man show about a boy growing up in Southern Appalachia; Ruth, a contemporary adaptaptation of the Biblical story; and The Labyrinth, a wild modern day re-telling of the Orpheus myth. Also available is the unsettling black comedy, Solstice; and coming soon are Ivory, a realistic drama about personal and professional betrayal in the halls of Academia, and Landscape With Missing Person, an "existential romantic comedy" about two misfits journeying across America.

For more info, click here.

not here

LANDSCAPE WITH MISSING PERSON goes to the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival

The Magnetic Theatre brought its production of John Crutchfield's "existential rom-com" to Teatro LATEA in New York's Lower East Side this past August 10th - 16th for a limited run of five performances as part of the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. Directed by Steve Samuels and starring the original cast (Lisa Miguel Smith, Jennifer Gatti, and John Crutchfield), the play featured sound design by Mary Zogzas, costume design by Laura Tratnik, lighting design by Alex Moore, set design by Shawn Kato Samuel, stage management and board operation by The Smiths (Rodney, Cid, and Madison), and one strange journey across America.

In his extensive and glowing review, Martin Denton, of Indie Theatre Now, described the show as "luminous" and "as close to perfection as theatre ever gets." To read the full review, and for a more intimate glimpse into the production, visit the FringeNYC Reviews page at Indie Theatre Now.

To hear a podcast of Martin's interview with John (recorded August 12, 2013), click here: podcast.

To watch a 5-minute interview with director Steve Samuels, click here: vimeo.

To read Byron Woods's feature article on the production (printed in the August 28th edition of Mountain XPress), click here: Mountain XPress

The script is now available on Indie Theatre Now as part of its Best Of the Fringe series. (see above)

THE CRUTCHFIELD PROJECT

Late this past summer, fiddler Alan Dillman, guitarist Todd Neel, bassist Will McIntyre, and banjo player (banjist?) John Crutchfield went into the studio with sound engineer Bruce Bartlett to record their first album as an Old Time string band. The release features over a dozen traditional Southern Appalachian fiddle tunes, selected and arranged by Dillman.

The recordings have been regular features on Western North Carolina's favorite public radio station, 88.7 WNCW.

To learn more about the musicians, and to hear (or order) the music, visit the project website: The Crutchfield Project

                    Will on bass

                    Alan fiddling

                              photos by Deni McIntyre

Dahlia and Glenn

 

TWELVE TREATISES ON MEMORY: An Epistemological Slapstick (With Sock Puppets)

Anam Cara Theatre in West Asheville presented John Crutchfield's award-winning two-actor play. The show was directed and produced by Rachel Thomas-Levy, starred Dahlia Legault and Glenn Reed, and included live music by Dylan Suter. The play tells the story of a strange night in which two "first loves" meet again after a long separation.

For more info, click here.

baby with guitar

HOLIDAY CHILDRESS: Mind the Gap

In April and May, 2013, John Crutchfield went into the recording studio with singer/songwriter Holiday Childress (of The Goodies fame) and sound engineer Neil Blackwood to lay down percussion and banjo tracks for Childress's forthcoming full-length album of new songs. Look for the release in the near future.

More info to come…

 

puppet

THE STRANGE AND TRAGICAL ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, or: Why Didn't I Just Stay a Damn Puppet?

This past March, the Magnetic Theatre presented the world premier of John Crutchfield's version of the Pinocchio story, subtitled "A Morality Play In Two Inappropriate Acts"

An irreverent and phantasmogorical adaptation of the original story by Carlo Collodi (famously prettified by Walt Disney in the 1940 animated film), the show was directed by the playwright, and featured an ensemble of Asheville's finest actors playing dozens of different roles--with celebrated puppeteer Madison J. Cripps as the title character. Sound design was by Mary Zogzas, lighting design by Jason Williams, costume design by Elizabeth Evans, and set design by Kehren Barbour.

For more info, click here.

 

CTM press image

photo by Peter Brezny

COME THICK NIGHT: A Shakespearean Gruselkabinett

This past January, My Favorite Leg Theatrical Company presented the world premier of John Crutchfield's "chamber of horrors" as part of the 2013 Asheville Fringe Arts Festival.

A nightmarish mash-up of Macbeth and other unspecified but probably dubious sources, the play was directed by the playwright, and featured virtuoso performances by Laura Tratnik and Erik Moellering, with sound design by Mary Zogzas.

 

 Train on the Island

On October 16, 2012, Asheville's original low-fi trio, Train on the Island gave a concert at The Magnetic Field on Depot Street in Asheville's River Arts District.

The band comprises Ben Yanes, Sadie Adams, and John Crutchfield, playing original folk songs plus distinctive interpretations of traditional Appalachian string-band repertoire on banjo, guitar, fiddle, bass drum, harmonica, rust-bucket, slide guitar, mandolin, tomato shaker, tambourine, and three strong voices.

Plans are underway for the band to record a first record…

 

 band members
 photo by Peter Brezny

 

John with backpack

Writing For This Stage, These Actors, This Town

Arts Journalist Carol Polsgrove interviewed John Crutchfield on September 27th, 2012 for her website Writers' Lives. Among the topics they discussed is Crutchfield's latest play, Landscape With Missing Person.

To read the interview, click here.

 

black snow

*BLACK SNOW FLYING UPWARDS, or: My Embarrassment

In July, 2012, Asheville audiences and fans of the perennial Asheville Fringe Arts Festival were treated to a rare reprise of John Crutchfield's strange and riotous solo dance-monologue, Black Snow Flying Upwards, or: My Embarrassment. The occasion was a benefit show for the Festival, presented at the venerable BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street in downtown Asheville, and featured an array of past Festival artists.

For more info on the play, or to download a script, see the "Plays" section on this website.

landscape

*LANDSCAPE WITH MISSING PERSON: An Existential Rom-Com

In August of 2012, The Magnetic Theatre in Asheville's River Arts District presented the world premier of John Crutchfield's "existential romantic-comedy" about a pair of misfits on a journey across America in search of True Love.

The show was directed by Steve Samuels, featured set design by Don Baker, sound design by Mary Zogzas, lighting design by Jason Williams, costume design by Laura Tratnik, prop design by Rodney Smith, and starred Lisa Smith, Jennifer Gatti, and the playwright.

The show played for a month to enthusiastic houses; plans are now being made for a film version.

solstice poster

*SOLSTICE: A Volatile Black Comedy For The Darkest Night Of The Year

John Crutchfield's explosive chamber-theatre piece, SOLSTICE, which premiered in January, 2012, was a cult hit for Asheville's Magnetic Theatre, and garnered rave reviews from the local press. Directed by the playwright, starring Asheville favorites Scott Fisher, Glenn Reed, and Lisa Smith, and featuring an original musical score by Mary Castellaneta, set design by Annette Griffin, and lighting design by Ryan Madden, the play enjoyed a near-sold-out run.

Mountain XPress reviewer David Hopes called the play "simply masterful" and "absolutely convincing and compelling down to the syllable."

To read the full review, click here: XPess review

cover image

*THE SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, vol. III: Contemporary Appalachia

Now available from Texas Review Press

Among the many celebrated and emerging Appalachian poets featured in the new volume of The Southern Poetry Anthology, John Crutchfield lays claim to a page or two with his poems "Ox Creek Road," Wild Leeks," "Trout Lake," and "Meteor Shower," all taken from the unpublished manuscript Blackberry Winter.

For more information, click here: Southern Poetry Anthology

 

The Bars Of Atlantis_cover_image

*THE BARS OF ATLANTIS: Selected Essays of Durs Grünbein

Now available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Translated from the German by John Crutchfield, Michael Hofmann, and Andrew Shields

Edited by Michael Eskin, who praises Crutchfield's translations for having "beautifully caught the original's stylistic visage...with great fidelity and elegance, while...retaining its mild-to-medium-strong undercurrent of wryness and irony," and for having "managed to follow the original on its many stylistic and intellectual explorations without sacrifiing sense and logical consistency."

For more information, click here: The Bars of Atlantis

 

sor_web

*LOCAL BOY GOES TO BIG CITY, MAKES GOOD

THE SONGS OF ROBERT wins "Outstanding Solo Show" at FringeNYC 2009

In August, 2009, John Crutchfield took his quirkily poetic one-man show, The Songs of Robert, to the New York International Fringe Festival. The show ran for five performances at the Milagro Theatre on Suffolk Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side, garnered two very positive reviews, and won the Festival's Overall Excellence Award for "Outstanding Solo Show." For the New York production, Crutchfield worked closely with director Steve Samuels (Artistic Director of The Magnetic Theatre in Asheville) and producer Chall Gray.

To read what the critics had to say, click on the links below:

Time Out New York       NYTheatre

The official playscript is now avalable in the anthology, Plays and Playwrights 2010, edited by Martin Denton. For more information, click here:   Plays and Playwrights 2010

To read the full script online, click here:  Indie Theatre Now

To read Martin Denton's "cyber interview" with John Crutchfield, click here:   Crutchfield interview

ONGOING PROJECTS

*RedDust, by Mathew Rosenblum. For the past year, John Crutchfield has been collaborating with composer Mathew Rosenblum on the libretto for RedDust, an experimental opera comissioned by NYC-based new music ensemble Sequitur. The piece combines text from a variety of sources to tell the story of a young Asian-American writer who must write 10,000 words about a stone that becomes a boy.

*Yugen. John Crutchfield continues to collaborate with choreographers Julie Becton Gillum (of Legacy Butoh) and Sara Baird (of Anemone Dance Theatre) on the creation and performance of butoh, an avant garde Japanese dance form combining elements of Kabuki theatre and German Expressionism. Other members of the ensemble include Jenni Cockrell, Julia Taylor and Erik Moellering.

*The Intimate Journals of Jacob Higginbotham. Over the past several years, John Crutchfield has performed excerpts from his absurdist work-in-progress, an episodic one-man-show about an incompetant dandy obsessed with making marriage proposals to young women in his small town.