Sunday, September 30, 2007

Guerillas in the City

What's this? The NY Times reports on a project very similar to the guerilla musical theatre project undertaken by Rubber Rep in 2001. We're not suggesting foul play here, but it's nice to be ahead of the curve.

Two thoughts:
  • Based on the video of the NY project, I think we did it better. A single person singing on the streets of Manhattan seems pretty everyday. My first response is to assume they're either a panhandler, a little crazy, or on their way to rehearsal. While our performances started small--usually with two or three people humming or tapping a computer keyboard or shuffling their feet--by the end they would always evolve into large scale extravaganzas: choreographed car horns, kick lines, and fists pumping in the air. We took great care to integrate the performers into the environments and to give the illusion that everything was occurring spontaneously. It didn't always work, but when it did...

  • Of course, the quality of the prose in the New York Times article makes the newer project sound infinitely more sophisticated. We tried to pitch it to the Times, but could only summon a few less-than-illuminating stories in the Lawrence Journal-World and the University Daily Kansan. It didn't help that we encouraged our cast to uphold the illusion even after the performances were over. Reporters (and police officers) don't enjoy hearing things like: "Why, I've never experienced anything like that before... I just suddenly felt the need to sing and dance."

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Recognitions

We were lucky enough to get 9 B. Iden Payne Award nominations this year. The Austin Circle of Theaters-sponsored ceremony will be held on October 21st at St. Edward's University.

Here's a list:
  • Outstanding Production of a Comedy: A Thought in Three Parts
  • Outstanding Director of a Comedy: Carlos TreviƱo, Matt Hislope & Josh Meyer (A Thought in Three Parts)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Comedy: Adriene Mishler (Sarah, A Thought in Three Parts)
  • Outstanding Ensemble Performance: Kelli Bland, Rosaruby Glaberman, Matt Hislope & Josh Meyer (the hostelers, A Thought in Three Parts)
  • Outstanding Production of Music Theatre: At Home With Dick 2: A Progressive Degenerative Cabaret
  • Outstanding Director of Music Theatre: Matt Hislope and Josh Meyer (At Home With Dick 2)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in Music Theatre: Dick Price (everyone, At Home With Dick 2)
  • Outstanding Original Script: Dick Price (At Home With Dick 2)
  • Outstanding Original Score: Dick Price (At Home With Dick 2)

Monday, September 10, 2007

In the Parlour. . .

Partially as research for our next project (but mostly for fun), we hosted a parlour game party in a dimly-lit club room not far from the county jail. About twenty games were played over the course of Saturday evening--archaic games of Victorian origin that in all likelihood haven't been played in a very long time... games like "The Stool of Repentance," "Poor Pussy," and "Knight of the Whistle." Punch was quaffed, forfeits were paid, piggies squeaked loudly, and raisins were set ablaze.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fun Fun Funded.

Much to our shock, we've received a $15,000 MAP Fund grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a new show with writer/genius Rebecca Beegle. Since this was the first grant we've ever applied for AND since it's often awarded to groups we read about in college, our chances seemed slim. Wooster Group, Bread and Puppet, Richard Foreman, Mabou Mines... talk about some elite company.

We've been calling our project THE FILTER, but this will probably change.

The production is slated for Fall/Winter 2008, contingent upon us finding the perfect dilapidated mansion or crackhouse to use as a theatre. [Wait! Never mind the crackhouse; we've had a better idea...]

Here's a taste of what we're planning. Normally, we'd be hesitant to give away any secrets, but if you promise not to read too closely, we'll try our best to change everything by the time we open...

THE FILTER will be sung and danced by two performers in elaborate period dress. This duo barters desirable experiences to those willing to forfeit their right to watch the rest of the show. As the performance progresses, the duo's ulterior motive slowly comes into focus: to filter out morally objectionable audience members by their acceptance of certain offers. Throughout, THE FILTER will not lose the feel of a parlour game, with a different outcome each night depending on the actions of that evening's participants. Disappointment, titillation, excitement, regret: some will win, and some will lose, but few will last to see the THE FILTER carried out to its raw but necessary conclusion.

Big thanks go to Kirk Lynn and the Rude Mechs for encouraging us to apply for this grant and giving us some priceless application pointers. (FYI: They received a grant of their very own. Like we said: elite company.)