Press

02.25.79 | Filed Under Fiction

 

 

Michael Edison Hayden

The Books

Review by Eric Grode, The Village Voice

(Review)

The Books is the post-golden-shower-literary-discussion romantic dramedy you’ve been waiting for. Tender, cheeky and only a tiny bit maudlin, Michael Edison Hayden’s charged two-hander unspools a series of welcome twists on a patently ludicrous concept.

Nearly the entire play, directed with unobtrusive skill by Matt Urban, takes place either during or immediately after a series of S/M sessions between a burly handyman (Scott David Nogi, quite good) and an Egyptian-American dominatrix (Aadya Bedi, even better) in his cluttered Astoria apartment. As wordy and even glib as the sessions are, they pale in comparison to the increasingly probing discussions (many of them plumbing the client’s well-thumbed piles of books for psychological insight) that follow them.

The dom is also an aspiring actress, and her laments about the clichéd roles she’s offered lose some of their effectiveness when the actress delivering them is wearing a latex bustier and stiletto-heel boots. But Hayden’s ear for topical dialogue and crisp emotional reversals culminate in a weirdly gentle finale that comes awfully close to transcending its hackneyed nature. Henry James and James Joyce must be spinning in their graves to hear their works discussed in this context. (Well, maybe not Joyce.) But who would have pegged Isabel Archer as such a good subject for pillow talk?

 

 

 

 

Michael Edison Hayden

The Books

Review by Erik Haagensen, “Critic’s Pick” Backstage Magazine

(Review)

Michael Edison Hayden’s new play about the relationship between a professional dominatrix and her client thankfully eschews the sensational and proves surprisingly engrossing and ultimately touching. A drama about two socially marginalized people who find each other, it wisely avoids reducing S&M desires to easy psychological clichés about self-hatred.

Shlumpy Mark looks to be in his 30s, is probably agoraphobic, and makes his living as the super for his Astoria apartment building. His apartment contains stacks and stacks of books and little else. A self-described masochist, he has a weekly appointment with a dominatrix arranged through an agency. Whip-smart Helen, in her 20s and of Middle Eastern descent, is arriving for her third visit. After their session, Mark sends her home with a copy of James Joyce’s “Dubliners.” That gesture opens a door to a growing personal relationship that eventually alters both characters forever.

Aadya Bedi and Scott David Nogi turn in accomplished performances in this intricate dance under the disciplined direction of Matt Urban. Bedi looks smashing in Shaumyika Sharma’s sexy latex gear, but the focus here is on character. Bradley Anderson is fine in a small offstage role as a neighbor.

“****”

Michael Edison Hayden

The Books

Time Out New York “****”

(Review)

Mark (Scott David Nogi) and Helen (Aadya Bedi) get off to an understandably awkward start: He’s a reclusive bookworm, and she’s a dominatrix with a wit as sharp as her lash. But throughout Michael Edison Hayden’s offbeat but emotional drama, the intensity of their characters and the surprising intrigue of their sorry lives lead them steadily into something like a relationship. Within the confines of his Astoria apartment, and away from societal labels, Mark’s regular appointments with Helen offer both of them an opportunity to open up; and Mark’s extensive literary collection ignites conversation, debate and somewhat comical banter about famous authors. Eventually they cross the established lines of their initial arrangement—driving this unlikely love story to an almost-edge-of-your seat climax.

 

Michael Edison Hayden

The Exhibitionists (Film)

Screenplay/film adaptation of original play

Huffington Post

(Review)

“An out-of-body experience…”

“…The film is the rare kind of art that turns the camera on the viewer to reveal greater truth.”

“In describing how the project came about, Melamedoff, who is currently working on a feature-length documentary on the Korean Artist Victor Victori, said, “When my frequent collaborator, Michael Hayden, approached me with his first draft for The Exhibitionists I was simply stunned by the material — his script was saturated with human grotesques, risque sex and shocking violence. For many films this content would exist merely as a genre trope. Instead, what the script for The Exhibitionists delivered was a complex meditation on how the dissemination of sex and violence through media has impacted our archetypes of desire, reshaping them around degradation and exploitation.” He goes on to say, “The script disturbed and terrified me. I could not put it down.” Indeed the director’s deep engagement for the material is integral to taking the viewer into the darkly melodic world of the film.”