Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 6:00pm
The Drama Book Shop is delighted to welcome Clay McLeod Chapman of The Pumpkin Pie Show for a discussion and signing celebrating his new book. The Thursday, April 20th event will begin at 6:00pm and is free to the public.
As any attendee of Clay McLeod Chapman's The Pumpkin Pie Show can attest, the oral tradition didn’t fizzle out among the dying embers of preindustrial society. For two decades, the mild-mannered, ostensibly well-adjusted Chapman has taken to a rudimentary stage (one light, no props) and breathed life into true monstrosities: unhinged men and women teetering on the brink and freely roaming among the rest of us. Nothing Untoward: Stories from “The Pumpkin Pie Show" is the culmination of this decades-long experiment in character-based storytelling, live without a net. Fans of literary fiction will indulge in the genre-blurring, centrifugal barrage of Chapman's vignettes, microworlds forged and refined over the course of hundreds of drafts and performances. Readers with more dramaturgical leanings will find that Chapman's stories in monologue form are also perfect for auditions: each piece is a performance-ready character study, and the genders of speakers and tones of the tales are diverse and varied. Chapman gazes—stark, white, unblinking—into the abyss of the everyday. Whether you laugh, cry, or scream at what he finds is entirely up to you. So go ahead—chow down on your Pumpkin Pie. The world of storytelling has never been more robust; word of mouth has never proved more essential to narrative delivery. Clay McLeod Chapman, a fount-eyed harvest moon of a man "with the trembling voice of Vincent Price and the sinister presence of Boris Karloff [NY Times]," is living proof.
Celebrating its second decade of performances, the Pumpkin Pie Show is a literary fist in the face. Part storytelling session, part boxing match, part shamanistic ritual, the Pumpkin Pie Show has established itself as an all-points artistic hodgepodge of theatre and literature. We pick and choose the essentials of both mediums, channeling their rocking properties in order to create a more intimate relationship between performer and audience. We want to see the whites of our audience’s eyes. Certain basic rules that we’ve set up for all our shows are: No sets. No costumes. No nothing beyond the text and the performance itself. Our goal is to strip away those elements that we find extraneous to the tale being told, conjuring up an atmosphere of “creating something out of nothing,” as well as focusing on that ethereal connective tissue between the one telling the story and our audience. Packed with enough emotional intensity to feel like a rock concert rather than just spinning a yarn, the Pumpkin Pie Show is pure bedtime stories for adults. The Pumpkin Pie Show continues to perform in New York City—including such venues as PS 122, the DR2 theatre, the Ohio Theatre, La Mama, the Red Room, the Kraine theatre, UNDER St. Marks Theatre, the CSV Cultural Center, the Zipper Theatre, the Belt theatre, Culture Project, Galapagos Art Space, Speigeltent NY, Bowery Poetry Club, the Brick Theatre, and Coney Island.
Chapman is the creator of the rigorous storytelling session The Pumpkin Pie Show. In the twenty years of its existence, it has performed internationally at the Romanian Theatre Festival of Sibiu, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Edmonton Fringe Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Dublin-based thisisnotashop art space, IGNITE Festival, Women Center Stage Festival and Impact Theatre Festival. The Pumpkin Pie Show continues to perform in New York City annually with long-time scene-stealer Hanna Cheek. Chapman has written the book for the musical "Hostage Song" with music and lyrics by Obie-winner Kyle Jarrow. He is the author of such plays as "commencement" and "volume of smoke." Stage versions of his stories “birdfeeder,” “undertow” and "the wet echo" were selected for The Best American Short Plays: 2007-2008, 2009-2010 and 2013-2014 anthologies. Chapman was educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts for Drama, the Burren College of Art, and Sarah Lawrence College. He currently teaches writing at The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace University.
The Drama Book Shop, now celebrating its 100th Anniversary Year, is located at 250 West 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Events are free and open to the public. To learn more, please visit www.dramabookshop.com.