Tag Archives: Brian Mertes

Garnerville plays unsung role supporting Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch movie ‘Paterson’ (now with video)

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Adam Driver behind the wheel in “Paterson” (Photo by Mary Cybulsky)

I finally saw Jim Jarmusch‘s latest movie, “Paterson” with , last Sunday afternoon at the Fabian 8 Cinema, only movie theater left in the City of Paterson, New Jersey.

Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani in "Paterson" (Photo by Mary Cybulsky)

Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani in “Paterson” (Photo by Mary Cybulsky)

I have known the city for a long time, but can’t say I’m intimately acquainted with it.

Even so, I was hit with a strange feeling early in my viewing of “Paterson” that something wasn’t quite right — aside from the fact that the family bulldog, a male named Marvin, was a gender-bending role for a female named Nellie.

It was more than the occasional script misstep, like the reference indicating that that Driver’s character, Paterson, worked for the city when his bus is clearly marked NJ Transit, a statewide transit agency.

Some of the settings, while authentically gritty, reminded me of somewhere else.

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Look familiar? This scene from the movie “Paterson” wasn’t shot in the movie’s namesake city. (Photo by Mary Cybulsky)

Take, for instance, Paterson’s walk home from the Paterson bus depot, which took him through a brick archway past a “Paterson” sign painted on the wall. Something about the location reminded me of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center just a couple of miles from my home in Rockland County, New York.

Click through to the jump for the photographic evidence.

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Chekhov under an open sky

Ivanov (Rob Campbell) dances on the water of Lake Lucille in the magical conclusion to Chekhov's Ivanov. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Lake Lucille echoed with the sounds of stagecraft for five days last week as a company of 60 actors, musicians and various other theater professionals put together a free, outdoor production of Ivanov, by Anton Chekhov, performed from a new translation by Curt Columbus.

This production of Chekhov on Lake Lucille was particularly welcomed because it marked the return of a neighborhood tradition. The annual run was broken last summer when host-producers Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes moved to the West Coast for personal and professional reasons. But they kept their wonderful brownstone house — which is the centerpiece of the set for each Chekhov production — and managed to return this summer with a bigger-than-ever performance and neighborhood cookout and potluck supper at intermission.

Melissa Kievman, Brian Mertes and the band.

You could call it summer camp for theater professionals. Most of the volunteer staff spent the week living in tents, eating meals alfresco in the neighborhood and working to create a context for Chekhov’s drama in the suburban landscape of the Lake Lucille neighborhood.

It drew hundreds of guests to enjoy the creative staging under clear skies with moderate summer temperatures.

Dozens of neighbors and local businesses provided support for an undertaking that costs thousands of dollars. This year, the West Branch Conservation Association, Rockland’s Land Trust, helped produce the play with a grant obtained by the office of Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski and the late state Sen. Thomas P. Morahan. The Tisch East Alumni Council help with a microgrant for costuming.

The production uses the natural features. Here Ivanov makes an entrance from the lake itself.

Ivanov emerges, dripping wet.

Ivanov walks through the audience toward the stage.

As is often the case in Chekhov, the characters complain of boredom.

But Jesse J. Perez, who played Kosikh, choreographed some great routines to keep things interesting:

Check out more photos after the jump.

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