A HUNGER ARTIST
Co-Created by performer Jon Levin, writer Joshua Luxenberg, and director Joshua William Gelb. Based on Franz Kafka's "A Hunger Artist"
A man sits alone in a cage, starving himself for 40 days at a time. Once cheered by thousands, the Hunger Artist is now forgotten by everyone except his one-time manager. What begins as a simple nostalgic story transforms into a startlingly inventive, darkly comic trip into the nature of memory, art, performance, and spectatorship in a virtuosic solo performance replete with puppetry, clowning and a little bit of magic. A Hunger Artist was presented by Sinking Ship Productions at The Connelly Theater as part of The Tank's Flint & tinder series, June 2017. Subsequently it has traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe where it won the Summerhall Award for Artistic Excellence. It has also been seen at the Baltimore Theater Project and Hartford's Hartbeat Ensemble.
THE BLACK CROOK
Adapted and Directed by Joshua William Gelb, produced by Moe Yousuf
This new adaptation of the supposedly first American musical placed playwright Charles M. Barras’ epic melodrama alongside the behind the scenes trials of Barras himself, depicting as well as debunking the pop-theatrical mythology that surrounds The Black Crook’s ascendence into Broadway legend. A mere cast of 8 quadruple threat performers accompanied themselves in this small-scale reimagining of the greatest spectacle 1866 America had ever seen. The Black Crook was presented by Abrons Arts Center in The Underground Theater, September 2016.
PARTY IN THE USA
by Dave McGee, directed by Joshua Gelb
Based in part on my experiences temping at Deutsche Bank in the fall of 2008 (on the precipice of the recession), playwright Dave McGee created a madcap farce about a world on the brink of economic collapse and the guy named Jeff who must save it. A jobless, disaffected 20-something, Jeff is temporarily employed by a financial giant to maybe cover up evidence documenting their involvement in the imminent mortgage crisis. Fueled by little more than some hallucinogenics and a six pack of Bud Light Lime, Jeff and his friends fall screaming into the maw of the Great Recession, traveling from the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel to a German anarchist squat on Kaiserwilhelmstrasse to the steps of the US Capitol. Strudel is baked and devoured. Russian folktales are enacted. Economic strategies are debated. Time is non-linear. Party in the USA was first presented at the Incubator Arts Project, 2013. Subsequently it was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014.
LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES
Adapted and directed by Joshua William Gelb from the novel and screenplay by Jean Cocteau. Translation by Priscilla Garcia
My thesis production was devised with an ensemble of Carnegie Mellon actors over the course of five weeks in the spring of 2012. This adaptation asked how Les Enfants Terribles, a vicious examination of adolescence and its secret rites and social exploitations, might speak to today's contemporary youth culture. The style and design of the production was inspired in equal parts by the surreal poetics of Cocteau's Opium diaries and the gritty photographs of Larry Clark.