Loss of Nameless Things
is a fearsome thing, and great promise contains the seed
of great loss. Throughout the arts and literature one can
find cautionary tales hinged on sudden reversals of fortune,
of the eminent man brought low. But what of the man not
yet fully risen?
In Bill Rose’s lauded film The Loss of Nameless Things—which
will begin its weeklong run at the Spectrum 8 Theatres tomorrow
(Friday)—the documentarian tells the story of Oakley Hall
III, a talented actor-playwright who in the late ’70s founded
an ambitious and experimental theater troupe in the Catskills,
the Lexington Conservatory Theater (members of which later
went on to start Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany). Hall
is recalled by friends, family members and fellow actors
as an overwhelmingly charismatic and prodigiously gifted
young man. He is spoken of, in still-awestruck tones, as
a Dionysian figure, an almost archetypal enfant terrible,
brimful of drive—dramatic, creative, libidinal, hedonistic.
The reverential recollections of his intimates are backed
up by evidence that theater figures such as Joseph Papp,
William Hurt and Mandy Patinkin all saw signs of nascent—if
rough—genius in Hall. Great things were expected of him
and, in 1978, hopes were pinned specifically upon the 28-year-old’s
recently completed play about the final years of the explorer
Meriwether Lewis, Grinder’s Stand.
Before the play could be mounted, however, Hall’s future
prospects were suddenly dimmed. In the company of a “dark
stranger,” Hall fell—or jumped, or was pushed—from a bridge,
shattering his face and inflicting significant and permanent
brain damage, which greatly affected his ability with language.
The mystery surrounding the event still persists, as Hall
himself has no recollection of the fall (and he possesses
a very limited memory of his life before that night in 1978).
After the fall, Hall—son of artists, product of Andover
and Boston College, onetime darling of the New England regional
theater scene, up-and-coming playwright—drifted into assorted
menial jobs, alcoholism and obscurity.
As all dedicated dramaphiles already suspect, there is a
second act to the story of Oakley Hall III. It’s no Rocky-style
all-or-nothing triumph; it’s no “I do believe in fairies”
resurrection of things thought forever gone. Suffice it
to say that Hall himself will be in attendance for the opening-night
screening of the documentary about the “playwright who fell
to Earth,” and leave some things unnamed.
Loss of Nameless Things will begin its run at the Spectrum
8 Theatres (290 Delaware Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday,
May 6), and run through May 12. Following the May 6 screenings
there will be a Q & A with filmmaker Bill Rose and Oakley
Hall. For more information, call 449-8995.
try to keep our eyes open for unusual programs—i.e., programs
that don’t feature Beethoven—and the Battenkill Chorale’s
concerts this Saturday and Sunday in Greenwich fit the bill.
The concerts will feature the music of Dvorak and Ives.
We also admit to a weak spot for the music of Charles Ives,
that cantankerous 20th-century Yankee who toiled away in
the fields of insurance all his adult life, while writing
his striking, often cacophonous compositions on the side.
The chorale will feature Ives’ Theme and Variations on
America, Psalms 67 and 90, and a variety
of hymns, songs and marches. He was his own one-man musical
Speaking of the U.S. musical tradition, one could argue
that many of the popular works of Czech-born composer Antonin
Dvorak sound more “American” than European. The chorale
also will perform Dvorak’s Mass in D Major, which
is rooted in folk melodies from his native Bohemia, with
a pronounced American influence.
The Battenkill Chorale will perform Saturday (May 7 ) at
8 PM and Sunday (May 8) at 4 PM at St. Joseph’s Catholic
Church (35 Hill St., Greenwich). Tickets are $12 and $7,
and can be reserved by calling 692-8261.
Stripper, Photography Now
know what’s on your mind, because we were wondering the
same thing: Do we get to see any boobies?
The answer is yes, technically, but they’re all blurry and
stuff. If you’re looking for that kind of action, you’d
be better off waiting for that half-second when the signal
on the pay-per-view porn channel unscrambles. Rather, in
her solo exhibition American Stripper, Kingston-based
photographer Charise Isis captures the essence of the dancing
girl. Isis has a bit of an edge on the topic, as she herself
has spent some time working the pole and catwalk. Her artful
images focus on “the performance aspect of this industry,”
she says, “where these women express so much, making themselves
into art, dressing and undressing their bodies, dressing
and undressing their souls.” It’s about people, dammit,
but yes, you may just get to see some boobies. Happy?
Charise Isis’ American Stripper opens this Saturday
(May 7) at the Center for Photography at Woodstock (59 Tinker
St., Woodstock). Opening simultaneously is Photography
Now 2005, a juried exhibition featuring works selected
by W.M. Hunt. Both shows will remain on view until June
19. The shows will open with a reception on Saturday from
5 to 7 PM; Isis will be on hand to give an artist talk at
5:30 PM. For more information, call (845) 679-9957 or visit