NOW IS THE TIME. NOW IS  

  THE BEST TIME. NOW IS THE  

  BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE.  

OVERVIEW

New York City, 1809: an older gentleman of questionable mental health goes missing. Now, over 200 years later, Diedrich Knickerbocker has reemerged in the Catskills, hiding out in the decayed ruins of a once legendary Borscht Belt resort. When his anxieties finally manifest themselves as terrifying garden gnomes, and his vengeful liver-eating bird-woman of a wife crashes through the ceiling, our modern/ancient hero is thrust from the mundane into the mythic. After being initiated into ghostly rituals of aggressive indulgence and spun ad nauseum on a Carousel of Progress marked in Mambo Time, Diedrich Knickerbocker is forced into the ultimate existential showdown.

 

No room? MAKE ROOM!

 

Inspired by Rip Van Winkle, Prometheus Bound, The Book of Ecclesiastes, Dirty Dancing, Borscht Belt memoirs, and the writings of Washington Irving, NOW IS THE TIME. NOW IS THE BEST TIME. NOW IS THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE is an epic treatise on trying to leave one’s mark on a world that never stands still. Coleslaw included.

 

 

PHOTOS

 

Photos: Kelly Stuart

CREDITS

Written by Michael Levinton, Laura von Holt, and Little Lord

Directed by Michael Levinton

 

Performed by Kaaron Briscoe, David GR Brummer, Lisa Rafaela Clair, Avi Glickstein, Fernando Gonzalez, Sauda Jackson, Michael Levinton, Ry Szelong, and Morgan Lindsey Tachco

 

Sets...Peiyi Wong

Costumes...Karen Boyer

Lights...Marika Kent

Sound...Kate Marvin

Associate Lights...Giles Indic

Props/Assistant Sets...Mark Zlotsky

Choreography...Whitney G-Bowley

Dramaturgy...Chris Mills

Associate Director...Polly Lee

Stage Management...Lauren Schatten and Erin Cohen

Production Management...Tavish Miller

Company Management...Richard Drake​

 

This production was made possible with support from the Mental Insight Foundation, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, funding from the Nancy Quinn Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), and the generous support of over 150 individual donors. Subsidized studio space provided by the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon, as well as residencies with Abrons Arts Center and Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson, NY.

 

Photo: Kelly Stuart

 

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

 

World premiere presented by Abrons Arts Center (NYC), October 2016. 

 

Nominated for 4 2017 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Performance Art Production, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Costume Design, and Outstanding Innovative Design.  

During the original run, Little Lord hosted a talkback with Dr. Elizabeth L. Bradley, a historian of New York and author of Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York. Pickles at every performance sponsored by The Pickle Guys.

PRESS & AUDIENCE RESPONSE

 

 A fever dream that straddles the line between ecstatic and tragic.

Endlessly accumulating and endlessly vanishing....funny, unsettling, and strangely affecting, but always mesmerizing.

 You think clowns are scary? Try gnomes. Halloween has come early.

 Enormously meditative, funny, and an elaborate poem for the senses.

 

 Little Lord is making the kind of difficult, dense (but still raucous and joyful) theater that I more and more find myself searching for these days. 

 

 If you can’t handle the name, you can’t handle the show.

- Jewcy

 

It was so eerie and dangerous, and juxtaposed with Irving's imagined experience, which eventually (simultaneously?) became the Artist's experience, it was a beautiful, uncomfortable, hallucinogenic ride.
 - Shannon Sindelar, director/curator

- Jay Wegman, director NYU Skirball

 

Fucked up genius.

Fucked up genius.

- Jay Wegman, director NYU Skirball

 

Highly recommended for those that enjoy weird shit.

- Norman Frisch, dramaturg

 

The company takes familiar tropes and makes them seem fresh, weird and (dare I say) cool again. But the biggest surprise is the resonance that accumulates over the course of the piece...This production teases out the deeper theme of loss -- loss over the course of a human life mapped against loss across the features of a landscape. You leave with a palpable sense of melancholy, born out of work by artists who are themselves no longer as young as they used to be. It's a delight.
 - Jeffrey Jones, playwright/curator

EXTRAS

WHO IS DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER?

 

Washington Irving (1783 - 1859) was an American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and is widely acknowledged as the “Father of American Literature.” Irving wrote under various pen names, creating vivid personalities for each moniker, even quoting his own pen names in another’s work. The most famous of these characters was Diedrich Knickerbocker.

 

In 1809, in what was arguably the first viral marketing campaign, Washington Irving placed a series of fake missing person ads in New York newspapers. A crusty Dutch historian named Diedrich Knickerbocker had disappeared, leaving behind a massive manuscript entitled, “A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty.” The story caught fire, the book was a success, and Irving’s fictional narrator eventually became an epithet for all New Yorkers.

 

Beginning with the creation of the world, and continuing to the foundation of America, “A History of New-York” forges an early national identity and mythos. But that’s not all that Knickerbocker supposedly wrote -- you may know him better from “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” -- two stories that have not only become classics of American literature, but have also become part of our collective folk history, too.

 

We are a nation with a tradition of writing our own history, choosing our own history, and creating more of our own stories as we continue to build the mythos of America. As artists, how do we present a constantly shifting story? How do we tie what we create in the theater to the world outside? How do we reconcile disparate influences and sources? How do we cope with constantly creating fleeting moments? Will creating our own myths preserve us or destroy us? Who made the goddamn coleslaw?

 

FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER

 

In addition to his "History of New York," both of Washington Irving's classic tales "Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" were supposedly "Found Among the Papers of the Late Diedrich Knickerbocker" and published posthumously. Below dive into some of the wonderful stuff we "found" while building NOW IS THE TIME...

 

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W knick with text.jpg
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LITTLE LORD SOURCEBOOK

 

Text, images, and inspirations behind NOW IS THE TIME...

 

- Jewcy

 

 

Photo: Kelly Stuart

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