USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fish Men Actor Talks About Chess Hustlers

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Remember the recent post we put up about a nice presentation - Fish Men? 

Here is an interview with its protagonist and his take on the chess hustlers of Washington Park!

In “Fish Men,” the second of three world premieres at the Goodman produced in partnership with the Latino troupe TeatroVista, by Teatro resident playwright (and US Chess Federation Grand Master) Candido Tirado, Cantor plays Stuart, a successful real-estate broker who considers himself part of the scene at the park.

Though the chess hustlers consider him just another “fish” or mark, one of the two meanings of the show’s title, along with a reference to mythical figures from the Mayan Book of the Dead, who come down to Earth to redeem and/or punish the wicked.

Preceding the action of the play, which unfolds in real time on a set recreating the gaming tables in Washington Square, the chess hustlers have savagely fleeced a sucker who was unstable enough to allow himself to be taken for everything he owns — and Stuart, as self-appointed moral arbiter, takes them to task. Soon after, a young half-Mayan named Rey Reyes (Raul Castillo) arrives. A survivor of genocide in Guatemala, he seems at first to be just another fish but eventually reveals a vengeful agenda of his own.

Who’s on top

“One of the themes in the play is a set of concentric circles, micro to macro, about the way exploitation and brutality and domination plays out in the world,” said Cantor, an Evanston resident and assistant professor of acting at Northwestern University. “The most micro is the game of chess itself, which can be very aggressive. Then you have the community in the park, with its dominators and dominated. Then you have political domination, all the way up to using genocide to oppress a population.”

The play also concerns itself, he said, with revealing the motivations driving
the various characters,
from the chess hustlers, to the guys hanging out in the park like his character (“after all my sanctimoniousness, it’s revealed that I’m a bit of a slumlord”), to a World War II Holocaust survivor (Howard Witt), who has taken an oath never to play chess again, for mysterious reasons, and who forms an attachment to the young Guatemalan survivor.

If none of that sounds like a laugh riot, “Fish Men” may surprise you, according to Cantor.

“It might sound grim, but it’s also very funny,” he said. “There’s a lively, free-spirited, humorous street culture among the hustlers that’s really enjoyable. Tough things are going on in the play, but it’s fun and colorful and kind of hilarious at the same time.”

Read the full interview here.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home