Contact: James Howard Kunstler, 518-581-1876
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Feb. 2, 2010) — Author and social commentator James Howard Kunstler is using live theater, podcasting and a self-published “e-book” to distribute his new three act-play, titled “Big Slide.”
The story centers on a large family seeking refuge in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state as the country is collapsing into economic and political turmoil.
“Right now, we are a nation going through a slow-motion train wreck. But obviously our situation is not as grave as the compressed events that are portrayed in this play,” Kunstler said. “‘Big Slide’ is a work of the imagination that happens to be circumstantially about the times we’re living in and the times we may be moving into.”
Set in the autumn of an unspecified near-future year, “Big Slide” tells the story of three generations of the Freeman family, who have gathered at their Adirondack “great camp” (near Big Slide Mountain) to take refuge from New York City and Boston during a severe national political maelstrom. We are never fully apprised of the exact nature of this event, but it appears to involve a coup d’etat in the White House and the uprising of local militias all over the nation in response.
The estate at Big Slide is isolated from these events, but news dribbles in by radio. The electricity has stopped working and law enforcement seems to have been suspended, making it dangerous to travel even to the nearest town for food and necessities.
The thirteen members of the family, ranging from the dying patriarch, Clifford Freeman, to his grown children and their spouses, to the two teenage step-siblings, Raven and Zach, struggle to work out how they will organize themselves for survival in the months ahead against a background of old and deep personal grievances with each other.
“This was designed to be a classic, three-act play with a large cast and swirling motion on two levels of the stage,” Kunstler said. “But the situation with regional theater now is that nobody wants to do a play with more than one character, so that all you get is ‘A Night With Emily Dickinson’ or somebody impersonating Truman Capote. When I was a drama student at SUNY Brockport, we did big plays with lots of characters — ‘The Cherry Orchard,”Marat / Sade’ — and that’s what this is.”
“Big Slide” was first performed before a live audience as a “staged reading” by 13 actors on Jan. 9 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center in Rochester, N.Y. Kunstler said he hopes to see a full-theatrical production in the future. A free audio .mp3 recording of the staged reading is available through author’s weekly podcast, “The KunstlerCast.”
A script of “Big Slide” is available for purchase (price: $5) as a downloadable 116-page .PDF, or in Kindle and Kindle-for-the-iPhone editions.
Production and oversight of the “Big Slide” e-book is by Duncan Crary, an independent media and publicity consultant, who hosts and produces “The KunstlerCast.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kunstler is the author of four non-fiction books, including “The Geography of Nowhere” (Simon & Schuster, 1993) and “The Long Emergency” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005), which have been concerned with a wide range of urgent issues, such as the global oil predicament, the banking fiasco and the problems associated with suburban development in America.
His most recent novel, “World Made By Hand” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008), takes place in a post-petroleum American future. A sequel is scheduled to be published this year.
For information, to purchase “Big Slide,” or to listen to the podcast, visit: http://Kunstler.com/BigSlide
Artwork and publicity images are available at: http://www.kunstler.com/BigSlide/PublicityImages.php
Journalists may request a review copy of “Big Slide.”
Media coverage resulting from this press release:
Kunstler tries hand at writing a play on social collapse
Daily Gazette, Feb 21, 2010
Family takes refuge in the Adirondacks in ‘Big Slide,’
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Feb. 12-18, 2010
Kunstler play available online
Press Republican, Feb. 11, 2010
Where’d Those Books Go? (and does it matter?)
Seven Days, Feb. 04, 2010