Columbia Grads Take to the Fringe with “Attack”

“The game kills, but you’re right, it is the only worthwhile pursuit.”

So says one of the characters in The Cadre’s Art of Attack, which opened at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre last night as part of The 14th Annual NYC Fringe Festival. An intense exploration of the world of competitive chess, Attack follows two long-estranged sons of a grandmaster, whose addiction to the game and thirst for victory turn their hopeful reunion into a nightmare.

Chess may be a “testament to human intelligence,” but the script by Asa Merritt, CC ’06, plumbs the dark side of the ancient sport. Patrick Barrett, CC ’09, plays Kaz, a blind chess prodigy who lures his brother Sergei (Jared Houseman), a chess junkie who kicked the habit ten years ago, to his ramshackle Brooklyn apartment in order to lock him into assisting with an upcoming tournament.

What follows is a fierce and devastating examination of the drive to win—at any cost—and the toll it takes on human relationships. For 90 electric minutes, director Joshua Brody conjures a claustrophobic world where nearly every word spoken is an attack and chess players scrounge for pawn pieces in the dark like dope fiends, itching for a late-night game.

The production features Cordelia Istel as Kaz’s young girlfriend, caught in the crossfire, and is produced by Sarah Wansley, CC ’08. There are four more performances for Art of Attack, and tickets may be purchased here. I hope to see you there.

Art of Attack

Written by Asa Merritt
Directed by Joshua Brody
Featuring: Patrick Barrett, Jared Houseman, Cordelia Istel

Friday, August 20 at 3:00pm
Saturday, August 21 at 8:00pm
Monday, August 23 at 7:00pm
Friday, August 27 at 5:15pm

Tickets are $15 if purchased in advance, and $18 at the theater.

First Floor Theater, La MaMa
74 East 4th Street

*****

Sam Reisman, CC ’10, is the stage manager of “Art of Attack.”

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