Gate 1 - Synopsis
The Common Air links six distinct characters during the mother of all delays at JFK airport. The reason is unknown, and a game of "Telephone" ensues in an effort to find the truth.
The 1st character, an Iraqi Cabbie, has a winning idea for a reality show which he pitches to his passenger (the 2nd character), an Art Gallery Owner.
The Gallery Owner is struggling with a long buried personal issue: to return or not to the relationship he abandoned seven years ago. Two martinis have made him spill his dilemma to a Corporate Attorney, the 3rd character.
The sleep deprived Attorney evokes the reality show, Nanny 911, to illuminate the point that "following the rules" is for children. He imparts his rapid fire, ethically grey advice to the 4th character, a hipster DJ.
DJ PJ is in the throws of his own crisis: a lawsuit over the sampling a client's music. PJ's point of view is challenged by a west Texas Philosophy Professor, the 5th character.
The Professor is fighting a custody battle for his eleven-year-old son, via cell phone, with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. He presents his argument with a sinister mix of logic and irrationality to the 6th character; an Iraqi-American trying to get home from Baghdad.
The Iraqi-American brings us full circle as he articulates his journey to the Cabbie from the top of the show. His arrival in the Middle East began with a government-catering contract to feed US Troops and ended in recruitment to a Shia terrorist organization.
Gate 2 - Bios
Lyras' first solo performance, desperelics, was produced in 2000 at the Gene Frankel Theater in New York, and later at the HBO Workspace in Los Angeles. It lead to a tv development deal with NBC based on his characters, and a role in Mike Nichols, What Planet Are You From?
Unequalibrium, his second solo effort (co-written and directed by Robert McCaskill), was produced in 2002 at the Gene Frankel in New York and selected for publication in Best Plays of 2002. The show was produced again in LA, where it was nominated for a 2003 Dramalogue Award and lead to a development deal for an hour drama with Brillstein Grey. Lyras and McCaskill also sold an hour drama to FOX in 2005, developing the script with Parouse Productions (Prison Break).
The Common Air was produced in Los Angeles in fall 2007 and ran for five months. The dramedy links six characters during an airport delay due to a possible security breach. The Los Angeles Times writes, "Tensile energy and unflagging skill in his well-crafted, must-see show." Variety raves, "a tour de force exhibit of verbal and physical dexterity."
As an actor, Lyras most recently appeared in Showtime's Californication. On screen, he starred in the independent romantic comedy Mona, which he also executive produced. Mona won Best Picture at the 2008 Malibu Film Festival, and has been screened at several other festivals. The film recently received distribution, and will be available online and through Netflix.
Most recently, Lyras completed filming McCaskill's feature, Heterosexuals, a comedy concerning three stages of love between six consenting adults. The film shot for 27 days in Manhattan. Lyras also executive produced. He is a member of The Classical Theater Lab and The Writer's Guild. He splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.
Robert McCaskill is an acting coach and writer, living in New York City. As a coach, he has worked with Bernadette Peters, Montel Williams, Michelle Rodriguez and hundreds of other actors. Mr. McCaskill's stage play, Unequalibrium, co-authored with Alexander Lyras, was published in The Best Plays of 2002. In 2004, Mr. McCaskill and Mr. Lyras were commissioned by Fox to write a pilot concerning young real estate agents in L.A. In 2005 the team developed a script with the Adelstein-Parouse (Prison Break). Mr. McCaskill's stage play, Heterosexuals, was produced in New York in 1999 and has been adapted for the screen. As a sketch writer, Mr. McCaskill worked at the West Bank Cafe with comedian Lewis Black and screenwriter Lisa Loomer (Girl Interrupted). He was an improvisation actor with Chicago City Limits and directed the company for four years. He represented by Endeavor and is a member of the Writers Guild of America.
ORIGINAL SCORE/SOUND DESIGN
Ken Rich lives and works in the burgeoning artistic and musical neighborhood of Willimsburg, Brooklyn where he owns and operates Grand Street Recording. Since opening the studio doors nearly two years ago he has produced, recorded and/or mixed music for Fionn O'Lochlainn, Julia Darling, Botanica, The Compulsions, Noe Venable, Peter Rowan, Morley, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Rene Lopez, Lucinda Black Bear (C. Gibbs), Teddy Goldstein, Greg Tannen, Mike Errico, the Key Party, and William Hart Strecker. Mr. Rich's additional production credits include Joseph Arthur's "Our Shadows Will Remain", one of Entertainment Weekly's picks for the Best Albums of 2004, as well as producing "You're So True" from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. As a bassist, Ken has recorded with Lou Reed, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Shabba Ranks, and Deborah Harry and was a member of the African legend, Babatunde Olatunji's band for 10 years. He continues to perform live with Hugh Pool, and William Hart Strecker. As a composer, Mr. Rich written music for HBO, VH1, and numerous television commercials.
The Common Air marks Matt's fourth collaboration with Lyras and McCaskill. As graduate of the University of Miami's BFA Theater Program, Matt began his theater career as a sound engineer/designer for acts including Jimmy Buffet and John Leguizamo. He helped build sound systems for the Broadway musical "Side Show" and the national tour of "Rent". He also traveled with the European tour of the Van Joyce's "Original American Phantom of the Opera" as a wireless technician. His web consulting company, Darrow Digital Media, Inc, services the cosmetics/luxury goods industry.
VIDEO PROJECTIONS / TRAILER
Mr. Arnold, a Los Angeles based filmmaker, most recently collaborated with Lyras on the short film "Elegy", which he produced and edited. His own short film "Great Poets Die...", a Charles Bukowski adaptation, played at the Telluride Film Festival and others. He is currently in the process of producing his original screenplay "The Amazin's", the incredible story of the 1972 Auburn Tiger football team.
Dana recently launched a design practice based in L.A., ground up LLC. Current projects span the fields of architecture, set, exhibition and graphic design. She has exhibited internationally at MOCA, The Urban Center in NY, The Pacific Design Center, The Venice Biennale, The MAK Center, Documenta and most recently The Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. Her work has been published by The Whitney Museum of American Art, Printed Matter, teNeues, Aedes and has been featured in numerous periodicals. She currently serves as graduate level design faculty at SCI-Arc, The Southern California Institute of Architecture.
WEBSITE / GRAPHICS
Istros Media is a multi award winning digital creation company that specializes in delivering creative content seamlessly across multiple channels, using the best practices, ideas, people and technology to provide innovative solutions for design, broadcast graphics, content creation, viral marketing, database development, print and video production.
SoulArt Productions has been producing theater in New York and Los Angeles since 1999. Shows include desperelics, Unequalibrium, All Gods Creatures and The Common Air.
Lyras, a muscular and compact steel spring of a performer who coils himself around his characters with tensile energy and unflagging skill in this well-crafted, must-see show. - LOS ANGELES TIMES
The Common Air is richer than Danny Hock's Or Eric Bogosian's solo showcases. - LA WEEKLY
An unsettling, compelling play. The Common Air takes flight for nearly 90 intense minutes - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
It's not a must see, it's a I want to see - Bleeker Street Theatre
An emotionally involving, finely detailed performance. A tour de force exhibity of verbal and physical dexterity - VARIETY
One superb actor. Six fascinating characters. 90 minutes of thought provoking drama. This is THE COMMON AIR, sure to be remembered at year's emd as one of the finest solo performances. - LA STAGE SCENE
Lyras and McCaskill have devised an interiguing piece of theatre about six disparate people conjoined through an arbitrary event. A remarkable one-man show. - BC Critics
desperelics ran originally one month at the Gene Franke Theater. The show sold out twenty one of twenty nine performances and the closing night's audience included Mike Nichols who proceeded to cast Alex in "What Planet Are You From?" written by and starring Gary Shandling, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsly, John Goodman and Annette Bening, with whom Alex has two scenes.More
Unequalibrium was published in Best Play's 2002, and received a Dramalogue nomination for Best One-Act Play from the LAWeekly. As a writer, Alex has developed a television show with partner Rob McCaskill for NBC, as well as several screen and stage plays.More
In this multimedia production, a comatose man on his way to recovery recreates his identity by delving deeply into his memories, while a circle of family members and loved ones form scheming camps over grave neurological decisions. A profound, often comedic tour of the collective unconscious is coupled with the latest neuroscience in a compelling exploration of how the brain heals itself, and ultimately creates the mind.More