THE COMING OF AGE FOR A BEAT GENERATION, JACK KEROUAC WAS THE REAL HOLDEN CAULFIELD.
FAULTLINE THEATRE BRINGS KEROUAC BACK TO ONE OF HIS OLD HAUNTS, 144 TAYLOR STREET, AND THE WHISKY IS ON THE BAR. 'MAGGIE'S RIFF’ HITS AN EXCELLENT BEAT NOT TO BE MISSED.
The San Francisco tenderloin is back in the 50’s with Kerouac, it is almost certain that Jack visited the very site of PIANOFIGHT CLUB formally “The Original Joes”. Jon Lipsky’s adaptation of MAGGIE’S RIFF, based on Jack Kerouac’s classic coming of age book Maggie Cassidy now on stage at Faultline Theatre, Painofight stage through June 11th. Faultline Artistic Director, Cole Ferraiuolo, has assembled a first rate cast and production team to recreate Kerouac’s heartfelt 1930s to 1960s discovery of a beat poet lab journey into his jazz inspired memories. MAGGIE’S RIFF is one of the first adaptations of Kerouac’s work to receive approval from the Kerouac estate. Lipsky was granted the rights to work from the writer’s body of work.
Some say “Maggie Cassidy” was Kerouac's least favorite work and the reviews were not friendly. The era is his adolescence, his first love coming of age in Lowell around the late 30’. As a stage play it could be anyone's coming of age tale, told about by any teen in Midtown USA. But Lipsky brings the rage and angst to his script, and the brilliant Paul Rodrigues tour de force romp as Kerouac is mesmerizing.
The play, running 75 minutes, is a memory flashback of a series of riffs, short moments, in which Jack looks back from 1962 to his teens in Lowell, Massachusetts. We see him as a track star who wins a football scholarship that takes him from his small town and his first real love, Maggie, played by the charming Nicole Odell.
The teenage Kerouac hangs out with his best pal Mouse played by the dynamic full of life JD Scalzo. Rodrigues has a remarkable presence of mind and connection with Kerouac as he deals with separating the fiction and facts of this book. His word play and jazzy, bluesy beat is outstanding by having an excellent onstage sax player, Rich Lesnik, accompany in the shadows. The haunting shadow projections are by Ouroboros Pictures with the shadow design by Alisa Javitz. The projections take us back to his boyhood and the Beat years of New York and California.
Wronged by his rampant drug and alcohol years, his works are truly intriguing and set a generation on fire for thought, change and poems. Powered by a hip jazz score composed by the playwright's son, Adam Lipsky, the story moves fast and its texture is full force on the small black box stage. Ferraiuolo uses the space well, keeping the three players moving in and around the shadows of the Beat setting. Many of the raps and scenes are timed well and Maxx Kurzunski’s lighting moods and mix of shadow highlights are elegant.
The sound Design by Evan Wardell include some authentic vintage microphones and period music from that era. Brooke Jennings’ costumes all look dapper and her choice for shoes on both the men are important details. Maggie has the sleek skirts and sweater of the period and her color mix is perfect . Prop Design by Brittany White include the typewriter we all expect to see in a story about Kerouac. Also part of this excellent production team is Noah Kramer, technical director. and vocal Coach, Alicia Bales.
As Jack moves to the West to write and define himself and his love for Maggie the story has a moving final act as the icon figures out fact from fiction; we see his hint of madness and brilliance. Lipsky’s script could just be your basic coming of age, but it goes beyond that.
The real haunting of this wonderful play is the fact that Jack most likely pounded a few down at “Original Joe’s” 14-stool counter on a sawdust covered floor at 144 Taylor in San Francisco’s Tenderloin in the late 50’s. Faultline theatre has once again brought a classic era back, and this Beat Generation will go on. Be sure to do your best to catch this production and their line up for this summer.
FAULTLINE THEATRE PRESENTS
Based on Jack Kerouac’s Maggie Cassidy
Written by Jon Lipsky, Directed by Cole Ferraiuolo.
Music by Adam Lipsky
Through June 11th
144 Taylor Street SF Ca.
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/faultlineInc/?fref=ts
Featuring Paul Rodrigues (Jack Kerouac) Nicole Odell (Maggie) JD Scalzo (Mouse) Rich Lesnik (Doctor Sax) Noelle Viñas (assistant director)