Crystal Creek Motel 2

Natalie Cutcher is among several actors Flying V’s production “Crystal Creek Motel.” (Courtesy Photo)

It certainly is not “Plaza Suite.” Unlike Neil Simon’s comedy, which is set in a glamorous New York City hotel, the location of “Crystal Creek Motel” is a modest establishment off the beaten path, up north somewhere, where people pay in cash.

It is also the title of the next production at Flying V Theatre, which features 12 vignette-style stories. “Crystal Creek Motel” is an original production making its world premiere.

The stories are set in the same location, in a single motel room. They take place over a year, one per month. In “Plaza Suite,” the setting encompasses three stories whereas in “Crystal Creek Motel,” it is 12.

“It’s like mixed-tape CDs,” said Lee Liebeskind, associate artistic director of Flying V. He is overseeing the staging of the play and leading six auteur directors; each of them is in charge of two stories. “My job is to make sure everything is going in the same direction,” he said.

Aside from Liebeskind, the directors consist of Robert Bowen Smith, Kelly Colburn, Daniel Mori, Tonia Sina and Aria Velz. Sina, the co-founder of Intimacy Directors International, has been affiliated with Flying V previously.

“Her work with intimacy for stage and film heavily informs how we build (and) treat these complex and diverse stories,” said Jason Schlafstein, Flying V’s artistic director.

The directors reflect a variety of perspectives, personal and theater backgrounds, Liebeskind said. “I really like telling stories in a lot of different ways.”

Flying V had presented plays in the past with more than one director, but not as many as six, he said.

The structure of “Crystal Creek Motel” touched Liebeskind in a personal way. He performed in the National Players for two years, living out of hotel rooms with 12 other people. National Players is a traveling theater group based at Olney Theatre Group.

“The stories run a gamut: some are funny and goofy, while others are dark and serious,” said Liebeskind. “Every play, we want to throw in a dream ballet.”

In one piece, for example, a man grieves for his younger brother, who died suddenly at 35, right before his wedding.

There is a connection between the plays, in spite of their differences: in each, someone is looking for a way to go someplace, trying to get up one more rung.

“They want to be something more than they are,” said Schlafstein.

If these sound like improv pieces, they are not. The cast members and creative team may come up with ideas, structure and themes of the pieces, but the dialogue is written, and the movements and visual storytelling are planned ahead of time, said Liebeskind.

The directors are supported by three assistant directors. The cast consists of 10 actors who occupy the motel room in the vignettes. An additional two constitute the cleaning crew, who straighten out the room between the pieces. Each is 5-7 minutes long.

They are set in 2003, including the music.

“The choice seems to reflect a nostalgia for the early-2000s,” said Schlafstein. “We’ve already been through the 1990s.”

One of the challenges of the production is to create one cohesive set, which holds all the ideas and possible props yet looks believable.

The cast features Linda Bard, Jordan Clark Halsey, Natalie Cutcher, Erin Denman, James Finley, Julieta Gozalo-Michaud, Madeline Key, Paz Lopez, Momo Nakamura and Quincy Vicks.

“Crystal Creek Motel” runs Oct. 10 (preview performances are Oct. 10, 11 and 12; the latter is opening night) through Nov. 2, at the Silver Spring Black Box, 8641 Colesville Road, downtown Silver Spring. www.flyingvtheatre.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.