Academic journal article TheatreForum

The Expense of Spirit

Academic journal article TheatreForum

The Expense of Spirit

Article excerpt

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is lust in action; and till action, lust Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust; Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight; Past reason hunted; and no sooner had, Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait, On purpose laid to make the taker mad: Mad in pursuit and in possession so; Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

William Shakespeare: Sonnet 129

The Expense of Spirit

Written and directed by Josh Fox

Produced by International WOW Company

Dedication: For Mom, Kathy, and Vinnie

Lighting Design: Charles Foster

Set Design: David Esler

Sound Design: Josh Fox

Dramaturg: Anne Erbe

Producing Management: Jill Beckman

Stage Management: Lyndsey Goode


Marty: Deborah Wallace

Bernie: Robert Saietta

Alicia: Ikuko Ikari

Jo: Alanna Medlock

Fred: Jy Murphy

Mitch: Will O'Hare

Sgt.Smith: Nick Jaeger

Cadet Johnson: Thomas Westphal

Sally: Jessica Weinstein

Also Featuring (Ohio): Sauda Jackson, Julian Rad, Jessica Hedrick, Zina Anaplioti, Patrick McCaffrey, Lily Feinn, Pedro Rafael Rodriguez, Sarah Nedwek, Peter Letrre, Jonathon Greene.

(Workshop): Ivan Goris, Lee Gundersheimer, Erin Alexis Randolph, Nicolas Rincon, Vlamyr Viscaya. The role of Fred was initially played by Peter Lettre.

Opened 1-24 December, 2004 at The Ohio Theater, New York City.

Workshop productions at The Ohio Theaters Ice Factory Festival July 7-10, 2004 and New York Stage and Film Festival, Powerhouse Theater, Vassar College, July 31, 2004.

International WOW Company's production of The Expense of Spirit will re-open in New York in November 2005. For further info go to

The following text was written in a workshop with members of the International WOW Company. Actors included: Deborah Wallace, Robert Saietta, Ikuko Ikari, Alanna Medlock, Peter Lettre, Jy Murphy, Thomas Westphal, Will O'Hare, Patrick McCaffrey, Peter Rodriguez, Nick Jaeger, Jessica Weinstein, Lee Gundersheimer, Jessica Hedrick, Lily Feinn, Julian Rad, Sauda Jackson, Zina Anaplioti, Ivan Goris, Sarah Nedwek, Vlamyr Vizcaya, Nicolas Rincon, Paul Garcia, and Erin Randolph. The cast is acknowledged here because of their continuing contributions to the life of the text.

International WOW Company's production of The Expense of Spirit worked with music in two ways. There was an orchestral score that created expressionistic shifts in the emotion of the scenes, scoring the play as if it were a film. The orchestral score served to elevate certain moments from the private to the epic, bringing the audience closer to the inner emotional states of the characters. You may find it necessary to find a musical score for the expressionistic parts of the play that is continuous or repeats the same themes, to build a consciousness of the changes in the audience through repetition. During the prologue and during the slow-motion and fast motion sequences of the party, the score helps also to separate Marly and Jo from the rest of the party. The second kind of music was Christmas music. Christmas music has this incredibly strange dual effect. It can make you really happy. Or it can make you want to throw up. So of course, I used Christmas Music during the more "realistic" parts of the party, where the party goers are acting in real time. In contrast to the orchestral score which brings the audience in, the Christmas music in the party scenes provided distance, making the ordinary seem disconnected, and disconcerting.

Note about the B'K'LYN song:

To find out how to sing the "Brooklyn" song, rent the directors cut of Husbands by John Cassavetes. …

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