Geckos and Lizards at the Center

Before a talking gecko made Geico a household name, Hortense Gerardo had a reptilian inspiration of her own. The writer/anthropologist had spent some time in Scotland, where she participated in a playreading series called “The Monday Night Lizard.” I wonder how much it resembled its eponymous cousin, the Lizard Lounge, right up the street from us on Mass Ave?

The gecko in television

The Cambridge Center eventually found Hortense, and we set up a similar playreading series here. Hortense called it The Gecko in Winter, in a nod to its inspiration across the pond. Since then, it’s run each winter for the last three years, bringing many talented writers and actors through our doors at 56 Brattle.

This winter, Hortense gets set to do it again, with another group of artists. These include playwright Patrick M. Brennan and composer Charles Turner.

Each year, Hortense has presented her own work for each reading (we do three, starting in January, and following each subsequent last saturday of the month). This year for the first time, the Gecko hosts a group on its own. The group is called, fittingly, the Lizard Claw playwrights. I believe they’ve existed previous to the Gecko’s inception, but you never know. From their own description:

The Lizard Claw is a band of scaly playwrights who issue absurdly difficult playwriting challenges to each other on a regular basis, then submit and evaluate their entries anonymously. The plays that emerge are theatrical, inventive, and provocative. These tough-skinned playwrights, many of whom met at the Kennedy Center in 2007, are hatching plays in cities all across the country, including Minneapolis, Boston, NY, Baltimore, Portland, Los Angeles, New Haven, and Washington, DC. Works presented in the Gecko in Winter series were written as one of their writing challenges, submitted anonymously and chosen by blind selection.

Sounds like fun.

Next Saturday, you can catch Hortense present her new work with Patrick Brennan. His bio is below:

Patrick M Brennan wrote and directed his first full-length play in 1983. Since then, his plays have been performed in and around Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and around the world. His one-act No Politics was recently produced by the Theatre Cooperative, where it ran to sold-out houses. His play Bits was performed at the Samuel French XXX Off-Off-Broadway Festival in New York in 2005. His play Hack the Vote won the Playwrights’ Choice Award at the 2004 Playwrights’ Platform Summer Festival in Boston, and was subsequently adapted into a short film by Yellow Taxi Productions of Nashua, New Hampshire. His play was performed at the 2003 Playwrights’ Platform Summer Festival and was published this year by JAC Publishing and Promotions, along with his play Simbiotic. He is also the author of three full-length plays, including First Person Shooter, which won the Best Plays 2000 competition at, was published by the Internet Theatre Bookshop in 2001.From 2004-2007, Patrick was president of Playwrights’ Platform, Boston’s only cooperative developmental theater for new plays. He currently serves on the Platform’s advisory board and is the Platform’s web master.

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