Tuesday, August 11, 2009

THE FINAL PUSH!

Dozens of kind souls have helped cover promotional and administrative costs to send AND THEN YOU DIE to the New York Fringe. But we still have outstanding printing costs, travel expenses and rental items to cover.

We leave for NYC in three days! Please push that donation button!

Thank you.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Regenerator (143 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 71ยบ
Weather: muggy
Weight: 156 lbs.

And speaking of John Hughes ...

Back in 2001 Dobama Theatre sent the Night Kitchen production of Angst:84 to the NY Fringe. My wife wrote that to be produced in late 2000. My, what a different era that was.

We'd spent a decadent weekend in NYC in August of that year when Harris mentioned "the Fringe" was going on that weekend (then in its fourth year) and we said, "what is that?"

I saw three shows, one of them hilarious - The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled: "Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I'll Sue! I'll Sue from the Grave!!!" - and two of them really, really awful - the where's-the-clowns-at Frankenclown, and another piece that I will not mention by name.

The un-nameless piece (which I am not naming because unlike the non-clowny Frankenclown, it was a solo piece with four actors - solo because the main guy wrote, directed and performed in it, it was obviously a labor of great love and I don't want to poop on it here) falls into a category of solo productions (really, it felt like a solo piece, only with a couple other people on stage ... there were a lot of monologues by the main character) which I call the touching-coming-out-story-with-terrible-music play.

There were no songs in this play, either, but there was a deeply tedious recitation of the "balcony scene" from Romeo & Juliet, which is only slightly worse. So it's a solo piece for four actors with music in the form of Shakespeare, but it felt like one of those other plays.

I digress.

We had a great weekend, I learned about disco sushi, we actually closed a Manhattan bar and I learned how to illegally download music. It was the turn of the century. It was the best of times, full-stop.

The original run of Angst:84 had played out in Cleveland and the application to the Fringe was in the mail before the sky fell, the boy died, and we wondered how the hell we were going to enjoy anything ever again. The acceptance came into the mail in the spring, shortly after we returned from Athens and there was a decision to make. We'd go.

My reaction and hers were very different. I wanted to forget everything, to be a kid again. The show was cast with more than a dozen people under the age of 20, it wasn't going to be just a production, it was going to be like camp. There was a fund-raiser scheduled in the old Dobama space, an eighties dance night and I made an idiot of myself on the dance floor. My wife hid in the green room.

My role in the Fringe run itself was small. I was running sound, in the steamy-hot, 90 degree booth of the former Present Company space with Kelly. Everyone tech'ed in their underwear.

I spent the week running around the Lower East Side, checking out as many productions as possible. I think I saw maybe sixteen, it was incredible. A number of them were solo pieces, one in particular, Chosen (monkey-monkey-monkey-monkey) stuck with me, because it was very, very funny but also clearly drawn - it was an inspiration. At first I thought, I can't do that. Then I realized, I could do that, or something like that, and tell my own story.

Odd thing, in grief, surrounded by teenagers. In a way, that was a good thing. A reaffirmation of all that is fun, playful, superficially dramatic, sexy, almost innocent (but not quite.) But then again, you can't talk to them about what's troubling you, only what's troubling them. Stillbirth? No, not really. Sorry, pass.

Our Fringe trip to NYC was a month before 9/11. Elliott really wanted to see the Twin Towers but I passed on that excursion, another time. I came back to New York in October, three weeks after the event. I had just been there. But it was somewhere else.

(More photos here ...)

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