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."

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