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Piehole’s ‘Old Paper Houses’ at the Irondale Center

Cold school! Fort Greene play is set in chilly New England winter

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Think New York is cold right now?

A new play from theater collective Piehole features people searching for meaning in life while struggling through a deep winter freeze in New England.

“Old Paper Houses,” running Feb. 27–March 14 at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene, explores what happens to a group of people who leave their homes and stifled lives to start a commune similar to Brook Farm, an intentional community that existed in Lenox, Massachusetts in the 1840s. The director said the play is an analogy to the constant internal struggle of artists in search of the perfect environment.

“It relates to this ongoing conversation in New York about the deferred dream,” said Tara Ahmadinejad. “It is about the impulse to stay where you are and try to make it better or leave and make a new thing.”

The play focuses on seven characters who are devoid of emotion and feeling while living in the regular world, yet become happy and animated when they move to a commune. But it does not take long before the cracks start to show, Ahmadinejad said.

“It is funny just how many times in history people have started communes, either thinking no one has ever done this before or that they are going to be the ones to do it right this time,” said Ahmadinejad

Piehole has been working on the play for more than three years. Ahmadinejad said it is heavily influenced by poems by 1970s writer Bernadette Mayer, who wrote about Brook Farm and the time that author Nathaniel Hawthorne spent there.

“Old Paper Houses” at the Irondale Center (85 S. Oxford St. between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene, www.pieholed.com). Feb. 27 at 8 pm, Feb. 28; March 2–3, 5–7, and 11–13 at 7:30 pm; March 14 at 3 pm and 7:30 pm. $15-$18

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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