Astoria playwright to direct show at New York festival

Astoria playwright to direct show at New York festival
An international cast will perform Astoria playwright’s “Let us Talk” at the New York New Work Theatre Festival.
Lunatic Clown and Cie
By Annabelle Blair

Let us Talk playwright and director, Ludovic Coutaund, doesn’t typecast. That is, his script doesn’t limit performers to specific appearances. The show includes a diverse cast for its off-Broadway performance at the New York New Work Theatre Festival at the Duke’s Theatre on 42nd Street, Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.

Let us Talk features six women who are snowbound in a suburban house.

“It’s a big storm coming, and there’s no way out,” performer Jaspreet Saund said, noting the ensuing drama and fast-paced script. “It’s like a ping-pong game on stage.”

Saund said audience members must pay close attention to each character and keep up with the brisk dialogue. The performers use their bodies to communicate expressions. Coutaund describes the experience as “animated and bouncy,” emphasizing the distinct physicality of the performers. Showtime is approximately 30 minutes.

Each character was written to reflect a specific color.

“Color helps the actors get into character,” Coutaund said. “It’s a great way to communicate with the actors.”

Saund said people commonly associate colors with specific emotions. When the actors move, the qualities associated with their character’s color unfold on stage.

In the last two years, Let us Talk has performed at The Drama Book Shop and Times Square Art Center with two different casts. For the upcoming performance, Coutaund recast and contacted actors he’d worked with in the past. Each of the performers, the assistant director and Coutaund invested in the entrance fee required to participate in the Theatre Festival.

Coutaund, who currently lives in Astoria, wrote the rough draft in 30 minutes in January 2016, while he was stuck in a house during a snowstorm. The crew members, including the hair stylist and sound director, hail from a variety of places, including Canada, India, Sweden, Ukraine, Venezuela, Haiti, Mexico, Chile, New York, France and Guatemala.

Saund said she invested in the show in hopes that people will come and find it compelling.

“The role allows me to feel alive,” she said. “It’s a show that keeps you on your toes; it’s’ very complex. It’s not something you can take a break from.”

Although he hasn’t yet seen the show, Jorge Mendez Luis, who illustrated and designed the promotional poster, said he was excited to watch the performance.

Coutaund wanted the poster “to be as vibrant as he expected the show to be,” Luis said.

Coutaund manages Lunatic Clown and Cie, a production company in New York. For show details, visit the company’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

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