An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks
Interviews by Ira Glass
In this second “living novel” by Heather Woodbury, 50 years of New York and Los Angeles history collide in a live mix spun by Manny, a young DJ, in his dead grandmother’s Echo Park apartment. Flashing back to 1957, when Brooklyn lost its home-team and LA’s Chavez Ravine was razed to build the Dodgers a new stadium, Woodbury enacts a séance among three generations of interwoven characters on both coasts whose lives were changed forever by this single act of urban redevelopment.
Writing about a performance of 2Cities in Time Out, David Cote says: “Think of the expansive social criticism of John Dos Passos’s USA tempered by the loopy humanity of Lily Tomlin.” Using her trademark meta-mix of voices, Woodbury links psychic devastation of Brooklyn fans after the desertion of the Dodgers with the fate of Chavez Ravine, where Mexican Americans in a thriving community were forced to sell their homes to make room for the new stadium. Toggling between 1957 and the present, 2Cities swoops through cities and the minds of a miniseries-worth of major and minor characters. From the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy to the fall of the Twin Towers, 2Cities channels a lost universe of lives otherwise erased, in a style that owes as much to DJ Shadow as it does to John Steinbeck.
Heather Woodbury is the author of the critically acclaimed What Ever, which began as a ten-hour theater phenomenon and was adapted as a radio play, excerpts of which were heard on Ira Glass’s This American Life. Woodbury’s legendary serial dramas were a highlight of the East Village club scene of the 1980s. A fully-staged version of Tale of 2Cities, which won a Kennedy Award for play writing, will have its premiere in Fall 2006 at PS 122 in New York City.