Dig Infinity! is an immersive, ensemble theatrical presentation celebrating and exploring the legacy of Lord Buckley.
Dig Infinity! received its first full productions at the 2014 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and garnered three of the fest’s top honors: Outstanding Production of an Adaptation, Outstanding Lead Actor (Oliver Trager) and Outstanding Supporting Actor (Russell Jordan).
Lord Buckley (1906-1960) was a visionary American humorist, storyteller, proto-rapper and hipster saint best known for transforming Bible stories, Shakespeare soliloquies, myth, legend and history into one-of-a-kind beat monologues combining black street argot and the King’s English into a jazzy patois and worldview that anticipated psychedelia and rap by decades. “Jonah & The Whale,” “The Hip Gahn,” “Scrooge,” “Hipsters, Flipsters & Finger-Poppin’ Daddies,” and “The Nazz” are just a few of his hallmark monologues that are the stuff of bohemian fable.
In a surreal radio station on a midnight after his death, Lord Buckley spins out his life story to a DJ named Orpheus while demonstrating his unique stylized material. As the two talk—a dialogue interspersed with multiple flashbacks to various points in Lord Buckley’s life—the conversation shifts into a discussion about the importance of truth and art, a topic which includes a trip to Hades and a cameo by God himself as it becomes increasingly apparent that Lord Buckley is bargaining for his very soul.
Lord Buckley’s life and art remain so resonantly timely and why each new generation seems to rediscover and revere his legacy are the ways in which it confronts and comments on controversial components of contemporary American life: religion, language, art, sex, drugs, and, most saliently, race.
Yet despite being a secret subterranean hero to the likes of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Grateful Dead, Robin Williams, Bill T. Jones, Ken Kesey, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Julie Taymor and scores of others, Buckley’s achievement has remained tragically overlooked.
OLIVER TRAGER (Lord Buckley, Playwright, Director)
Writer, editor, performer, teacher, collagist and walker in the city, Oliver performed the role of Lord Buckley in the the 2014 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity production of DIG INFINITY! for which he was awarded Best Actor in an Adaptation. He is the author of Dig Infinity! The Life & Art of Lord Buckley, The American Book of the Dead: The Definitive Grateful Dead Encyclopedia, and Keys to the Rain: The Definitive The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. He has staged numerous Lord Buckley events over the past twenty years, gathering top shelf Buckley interpreters and musicians celebrating His Lordship’s legacy.
RUSSELL JORDAN * (Orpheus, Stump Preacher)
Russell performed the role of Orpheus in the staged reading of DIG INFINITY! at the 2013 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in an Adaptation and in the full production of DIG INFINITY! at the 2014 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity for which he garnered the Best Supporting Actor award in an Adaptation. He also also performed in the staged reading of John T. Hall’s DASH, which earned him an Outstanding Actor in a Staged Reading Award at the 2013 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. In April 2014, Russell performed at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in Nia Witherspoon’s THE MESSIAH COMPLEX. His recent television credits include Blue Bloods and The Black Box. Russell is a Manhattan Theatre Works (MTWorks) company actor, co-owner of The Harlem Camerata reading salon, and an adjunct professor at York College/CUNY where he teaches Performance for Television. Member of AEA & SAG-AFTRA. @RussJordan | www.russelljordan.com
RIDLEY PARSON * / 2015 FringeNYC Internation Festival Production (Abe, God, Plebeian, Midas, Worm, Newscaster)
Ridley was last seen as Diogenes with Look At The Fish Theatre. New York Credits: Trey Parker’s Cannibal The Musical (Bell), Universal Robots (Salda/Baruch), The Father (The Father) (PCTF Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play nomination), Have Mercy (Kent Stannitz), Love Me (Tom), NEXT! (The Lieutenant), A Lie of the Mind (Mike), Two Rooms (Walker), Henry V (Chrous), Measure for Measure (Claudio), Macbeth: A Walking Shadow (Witch), King Lear (Edgar), Wicked Tavern Tales (Alfred), Twelfth Night (Feste), Shades (Rick), The Curse of the Horned Babby (The Minstrel), Captain Walker Arnold (Captain Walker Arnold), La Vigilia (Onesto), The Mandrake (Siro), Haunted (Dan), Scripted (Simon); Regional Credits: A Shot in the Dark (Paul), Les Liaisions Dangereuses (Valmont), Pump Boys & Dinettes (Jim), As You Like It (Oliver); Television Credits: Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Winslow). Occasionally, Ridley can be seen with his guitar, putting his spin on the songs of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and others too numerous to mention.
DAVID LAMBERTON * / 2014 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Production (Abe, God, Midas, Worm, Newscaster, Plebeian)
This is David’s 3rd consecutive Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Last summer David reprised the role of ‘Paul’ from 2012 PCTF winner Safe at both 59e59 Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. TV work includes both ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ and ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ as well as Steven Soderbergh’s mini-series The Knick due out later this year. For more information please see Www.DavidLamberton.com ; IMDb.com
JOHN KRUTH (Jazzbo, Shadow, Plebeian — stringed instruments/flutes)
Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, journalist, author and educator John is best known for his highly energetic “Banshee Mandolin” style of playing but is also an ace on guitar, banjo, harmonica and various flutes. Kruth is the leader of the world music ensemble TriBeCaStan and has nine albums to his credit including Splitsville, Midnight Snack, Greasy Kid Stuff, and Banshee Mandolin. He has also performed with Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, and Violent Femmes. Kruth’s books include Bright Moments – The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, To Live’s To Fly – the Ballad of Townes Van Zandt, Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison. http://tribecastan.tv
BORIS KINBERG (Slick, Plebeian — drums)
Boris has played for such diverse artists as the Beach Boys and Eartha Kitt. Boris performed with the legendary Willy Deville for twenty years and his experience extends to the world of Zydeco as percussionist with Lucky 7, Upsouth Twisters and the folkloric jazz ensemble TriBeCaStan.
* These Actors appeared courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association
Above Photos © -max- of nyc
Above Photos Elaine Beery
Promotional Videos Anticipating 2014 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity featuring music composed and performed by John Kruth. Video: Stephen Adler.
Red Harlem Readers Staged Reading, NYC. Audience Videos by Dale Fuller