NICK DANLAG – STAFF WRITER
Joe Grifasi and Lewis Black have been friends since they went to the Yale School of Drama in the 1970s. Grifasi has appeared in one of Black’s stand-up specials, “Red, White and Screwed,” as well as in movies like “Batman Forever,” “Presumed Innocent” and “Natural Born Killers.”
And at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 29 at the Performance Pavilion on Pratt, Grifasi and Mark Linn-Baker — an actor and director, and another friend of Black’s — will give a special staged reading of Black’s one-act play The Deal. This play, which is for adult audiences due to language, is about two men, both insanely rich, intensely negotiating a deal — a deal beyond both of their comprehension because of its immense scope.
“A monstrously insane waltz of give and take in a world that we can only know in dreams or nightmares,” according to the synopsis of the play. “(It is) a deeply dark and sharp satire about the Real art of the deal.”
The performance will be followed by a Q-and-A with Grifasi, Black and Linn-Baker. Black, who gave a Week Five special performance in the Amphitheater, is also leading a Chautauqua Lecture Series Master Class Friday with Grifasi and Linn-Baker.
“It’s particularly exciting to also highlight Mr. Black as a playwright,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, senior vice president and chief program officer (interim) and vice president of performing and visual arts. “I’m thrilled that the staged reading of The Deal will occur in the Pavilion. From speaker to comedian to playwright, Mr. Black has much to offer this curious community as we walk into our week about authentic voice.”
According to Black’s website, he fell in love with theater at the age of 12. This play is one of more than 40 that Black has written.
Early in his career, he was the playwright-in-residence at the West Bank Cafe’s downstairs dinner theater, the Laurie Beechman Theatre, where he helped develop more than 1,000 plays, including works by Aaron Sorkin, who created “The West Wing,” and Alan Ball, who created “American Beauty.”