I n M y C o r n e r
Joe Orrach’s In My Corner is an original play that tells a universal story in a unique way. Directed by Jeremiah Chechik (Benny and Joon, Diabolique, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), the play presents a world inhabited by dynamic and passionate characters embodied by versatile actor, tap sensation, and former USAF welterweight boxing champ Joe Orrach. Blending the rhythms of tap dance, boxing, salsa, and live music into a narrative, at once energetic and intimate, this is a father-son story of a street smart, wise guy Puerto Rican–Italian kid from the Bronx who comes of age in the ring and on the dance floor.
In My Corner started as a group of journal entries created by Joe Orrach “to sort out a time in my life that wasn’t making sense.” Years later when he decided that the stage was the place for those discoveries, Lizbeth Hasse took the journal and transformed it into a play with an extended family of characters.
Movement and rhythm were always at its heart, so virtuoso pianist Matt Clark was brought on as composer to create an original score. This is the late 60’s and early 70’s, and all the genres that move the period – rock, blues, Latin, jazz — bring color and motion to the narrative of a Nuyorican displaced on Long Island.
In My Corner was first workshopped in San Francisco and Oakland — at Intersection for the Arts, the new Black Box, and Delancy Street – where local papers called it “a knockout”… “electrifying”… “infectious”… “a tour-de-force.” The considerable talent and nimble skill of film director Jeremiah Chechik helped to give the work a new form and focus. IN MY CORNER premiered at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles, California, in a nine-week run from September 6 through November 3, 2013. From 2014 until the pandemic of 2019, In My Corner was presented in theatres, opera houses and other venues in the US and Europe, from Paris and St. Petersburg Russia, to the Delaware Water Gap and San Quentin Prison.
In My Corner has also been presented in local high schools, where students assist with production activities such as lighting, sound, organizing the production space, and staging. The students actively engage in Q-and-As, critiques, and classroom sessions about how the work is developed and how a personal story can be translated into movement and narrative for an audience. Dancing and movement encourages the students to participate in physical exercise in a fun and exuberant way. The response in schools has always been high enthusiasm and intense engagement.