In wrestling and the theater, it’s ‘all about showmanship’

Things get a little tense in "American Sligo." Credit: Russ Widdall
Things get a little tense in “American Sligo.”
Credit: Russ Widdall

With a background in commedia dell’arte, masks and puppetry, Aaron Cromie recognizes a certain kinship with professional wrestlers. “Being a theater person, it’s hilarious to watch these wrestlers threaten each other and posture and make their big speeches,” Cromie says. “If it was more real it would probably make you way more uncomfortable to watch, but there’s something about their joyous commitment that makes it fun.”

Cromie, who grew up watching the WWF in the era of Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, is calling upon some of those memories as he directs the regional premiere of Adam Rapp’s “American Sligo.” The play, which opens May 30 to wrap up New City Stage Company’s seventh season, concerns the dysfunctional family of a professional wrestler on the day of his final match. A fan has won a contest to eat dinner with Art “Crazy Train” Sligo and his family, gaining insight into the real life behind the body slams and steel chairs.

“Whereas in boxing or MMA you’re actually hitting the other person,” Cromie says, “in professional wrestling it’s all about the showmanship and the appearance of things rather than what actually is. I think that filters into the family dynamic of the play. This young boy’s view of things gets destroyed, or at least compromised, by the reality as compared to what goes on inside the ring.”

The show is a departure for Cromie, who usually works with more fantastical elements and stagecraft like puppetry rather than the starker drama of Rapp’s piece. “When you’re not teaching a codified style like using puppets or masks, the conversation opens up a lot more to the personal experience and ideas and intentions of the people playing the parts,” he says. “I normally work on shows that use magical realism, so I wanted to try something new, a more contemporary, kitchen-sink kind of play.”

If you go

“American Sligo”
May 30-June 23
Adrienne Theatre Skybox
2030 Sansom St.
$10-$35
215-563-7500
www.newcitystage.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…