Despite a voluminous and varied body of work, mention Woody Allen, and it’s the persona that comes to mind: the black-rimmed glasses, the nervous stammer, the neurotic laments. But as its title implies, that iconic image is nowhere to be found in 1812 Productions’ new show, “An Evening Without Woody Allen.”
After all, director Jennifer Childs points out, “There’s nothing more boring than watching somebody do a Woody Allen impression for an hour and a half.” (Just ask anyone who’s watched Kenneth Branagh in “Celebrity.”)
The show compiles several of Allen’s short stories and essays written over a 40-year period for outlets like The New Yorker and Playboy. From the pseudo-intellectual noir of “The Whore of Mensa” to the literary sex farce of “The Kugelmass Episode,” these pieces are among the comic’s funniest and least-known works.
Having received the author’s blessing, Childs was then tasked with translating Allen’s voice to the stage.
“The question that I was constantly asking myself was, ‘What do we bring to the table?’” she says. “If Woody Allen wanted to make these stories a movie or a play, he could have. He has the power and the ability. So we’re approaching it very much like a concert. The artists are there like singers and musicians performing the works of a great composer.”