collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Well, back here for a moment from Facebook to post a promo for the new show... if you want to know more about this one in its past incarnations, click the "world gone wrong" tag and you'll get plenty about this show and noir in general...

321026162_a9b7bd38f6

NECROPOLIS 1&2:
World Gone Wrong/Worth Gun Willed

Gemini CollisionWorks

December 1 – 18, 2012

created by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson

performed by Gyda Arber, Olivia Baseman*, Gita Borovsky, Josephine Cashman*, TJ Clark, Melissa DeLancey, V. Orion Delwaterman, Samantha Dena, Adam Files, Stacia French, Matt Gray, Ian W. Hill, Gavin Starr Kendall, Roger Nasser, Nicholas Miles Newton, Amy Overman, Amy Beth Sherman*, Ken Simon*, Adam Swiderski, Debbie Troché, and Art Wallace.
*Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

A world where the leaders lie, cheat, steal and murder. A world where Art and Science and Beauty and Reason are no longer valued. A world where survival means selling out, and trying to do the “right thing” means failure as a human being. A familiar place? Yes, of course, it is the
fictional, 1940’s world of film noir, nothing like our own present world at all, right? Right? Or has noir come true, and we’re all living in a world gone wrong?

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Combining a cast of 21 in precision choreography with slides and an entirely pre-recorded collage soundtrack to which the actors perform as if “dubbed,” World Gone Wrong is a celebration of the ability to stay true to, and fight for, one’s own convictions in a land where “moral values” is just a mask that hides greed, hatred, fear, backstabbing, and lies. World Gone Wrong is a film noir pastiche-play consisting of dialogue from over 150 noirs, as well as quotes from a recent U.S. Administration and other pertinent sources, combined into an original spellbinding, semiabstract, dreamlike tale of corruption, betrayal, and revenge as two men (who many be one man) travel through their own dreams in a city (which may be two cities) where day never comes, to avenge their own deaths in a landscape of iconic film noir figures.


“The sheer size, scope and ambition of Ian W. Hill’s vision in World Gone Wrong dazzles and boggles. . . . laugh-out-loud hilarious, the way the first episodes of Twin Peaks were . . . theatre that delights and challenges and jolts even as it prods and pokes at its audience . . . a theatrical experience as dense as it is unique.”—Martin Denton, nytheatre.com


“Against the constantly changing backdrop of projected black-and-white stills, the cryptic mix of wisecracking wordplay, melodramatic excess and metaphysical world-weariness achieves a breathtaking effect, amplified by moments of recognition . . . stunning style and tour-de-force text . . .” —Jessica Branch, Time Out New York


“Excellent acting and intelligent pastiche.” — Jonathan Kalb, New York Times

1 hour 45 minutes

Sat Dec 1 @ 3pm
Wed Dec 5 @ 8pm
Fri Dec 7 @ 7:30pm
Sat Dec 8 @ 3pm
Wed Dec 12 @ 8pm
Fri Dec 14 @ 8pm
Tue Dec 18 @ 8pm

$15

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collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
This week, thus far, has been one of the most pleasantly boring much of the time of any I can remember.

After all the agita of getting the shows together to open last week, we are now pretty much settled on all of them, and can spend our days sitting back and relaxing until it's time to go to the theatre and run a show, remembering whatever disposable props we have to buy anew or get ready for the evening show (different shows need certain props that have to be prepared each time as they are used up or destroyed in them -- fresh bread, olives, chocolate-covered cherries, a vintage photo, a 1985 Ukrainian Communist Party Card, sliced cucumber, fake liquor, incense, 78 rpm records to be smashed, and, for one show, a big pile of blood squibs).

This will change a bit starting tonight for the next few days as we run more than one show a day -- two tonight and Sunday, three tomorrow -- but we're pretty together on what we need to do and get done. And next week we have ONE show a night from Tuesday through Friday. That's NOTHING!

So now I'm getting antsy enough at home waiting for the show each day (and worrying that there's something I need to do for it, which there isn't) that I'm actually getting some massively necessary housecleaning done.

And I mean that literally. Every year, as we do the shows, our apartment becomes a horrifyingly squalid mess as we use the place just for sleeping and working between theatre time -- and this past year, we were busy enough that we never really did the top-to-bottom Fall and Spring cleanings we had in previous years, so the place is pretty awful right now, but I'm now full of enough nervous energy that I should have it cleaned up by September. Maybe. Well, I got part of the kitchen done . . .

This morning, prior to the Random Ten, I've been chilling with the first three Steely Dan albums and going over the various press and notices the shows have received as yet . . .

I've already mentioned the fine fine superfine notice of George Bataille's Bathrobe by Michael Mraz at nytheatre.com. Nice. He liked it. Even better, he GOT it.

We now have -- and it has made some of the cast quite happy, of course -- a mostly-good, and reads-better-at-first-than-it-really-is-if-you-read-it-again-closely notice from Rachel Saltz in the New York Times (!!!) for George Bataille's Bathrobe and Blood on the Cat's Neck. She seems to have generally liked them both, but preferred the Fassbinder. Some stuff I don't agree with, of course, and almost no usable pull quotes (maybe "a wry dinginess"?), but she actually helped me understand a bit more consciously WHY these four plays this year, and how they go together (that is, under one of my three main repeated obsessional themes that I'm just beginning to understand exist, "The Treachery of Language" - the other two, as I think of them now, are "The Heroism of 'NO'," and "Figure on Ground: Man In and Against The City").

Aaron Riccio at That Sounds Cool didn't really like either Blood on the Cat's Neck nor A Little Piece of the Sun. S'cool. His problems mostly seem to be with the texts, with some additional quibbles (some of which are probably justified). Don't agree with him in general, of course, still. So it goes. Some nice amplifications from Aaron and George Hunka in the comments there, too (maybe I should have noted that while Fassbinder's Phoebe is obviously slightly inspired by the O'Donoghue/Frank Springer comic character - and I slightly based the image of mine on theirs - she's still a VERY different character, even down to the name -- the original character has a hyphenated last name: "Phoebe Zeit-Geist.")

Apart from reviews, Matthew Freeman simply had a nice little blurb about the Times piece (and thanks again), and Martin Denton at the nytheatre i lists us among the OTHER theatre things to do in NYC right now apart from the Fringe (thank you, thank you, thank you, Martin). And PennywiseNYC (cheap things to do, or recommendations from an Evil Clown?) had an entry on us as a good cheap cultural thing to do in NYC.

And hey, wow, I just checked the ticket site and we're actually selling some tickets today! And, of course, mainly for the two shows reviewed by the Times. Eeep. Hope someone will actually come to the shows of Sacrificial Offerings. That's going to be the poor little orphan this year.

You can get tickets online for the shows HERE.

Discount packages for multiple shows can be found HERE.

If you're around in NYC, please come on by to whatever sounds interesting. It is.

Meanwhile, let's have a Random Ten again, as we missed last week's. So what comes out of the 25,608 tracks in there today?

1. "Lucky Day" - Tom Waits - The Black Rider
2. "Just Another Fool" - The Abused - Loud and clear 7" EP
3. "Smelly Tongues" - Snakefinger - Eyesore: A Stab At The Residents
4. "Battle of the Planets—Main Title" - Hoyt Curtain - Battle of the Planets
5. "Flash, Crash And Thunder" - The Farmer Boys - Hillbilly Music...Thank God! Volume 1
6. "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" - Elvis Presley - The Complete 50's Masters
7. "Gotta Great Big Shovel" - Sammy Davis Jr. (as Shorty Muggins) - Laughin' At The Blues - A Hilarious And Scurrilous Collision Of R&B And Comedy Like You've Never Heard!
8. "Pêches à la Crème" - Dorine - Ultra Chicks Vol 6: Vous Dansez Mademoiselle
9. "Her Majesty" - The Beatles - Abbey Road
10. "Yellow Girl (Stand By For Life)" - Yoko Ono - Onobox 3: Run, Run, Run

And the kitties haven't been all that happy with us for being away in recent weeks (often leaving them at home at 9.00 am and returning home at 2.30 am for days on end), so they've been all over us this week as we've been home. They've also been crazy. Here they are, playing with, and breaking, a blind in the living room:
Hooker & Moni Discuss Blinds

Not so crazy? Look at these eyes . . .
Hooker Through the Blinds

Okay, time to start getting ready for a two-show evening. Audience?

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Okay, so, I was finally going to catch up today on a bunch of show- and personal-related stuff now that the four shows are open (and opened quite well they did I may say).

However, I've had to spend much of the morning dealing with canceling tomorrow night's performance of A Little Piece of the Sun due to a death in a performer's family. If the actor had had to miss more than one show I would have asked another actor to step in and do the part with script in hand for as long as needed, but only one show will be missed, and it's silly to go through teaching an actor to walk though the part for the one show, so we're canceling, which means emails and posts galore to try and reach everyone who might show up (though I will still have to be at the space tomorrow to turn away anyone who still comes to see the show).

This is the second time I've had performances of a show cancelled when an actor's parent has died, and it's been a weird, conflicted thing for me both times. The previous time, I was particularly close with the actor, so my pain for him was great, while still feeling upset about the loss of some shows (not helped on that occasion by some audience members yelling at me for some time about not having understudies, and not at all getting that you just DON'T HAVE understudies at this level of theatre, sorry). Now, I'm not as close to the actor, but my own emotions about loss of family members are a bit more bare and ragged, while still caring for the future of my show, so I'm equally conflicted. In any case, we're losing one show, and moving on.

I was also touched that the actor whose father died in that previous show's run also emailed me to ask me to express his condolences to the actor in the current show, which I will.

I now have to redo some sound effects for tonight's show of George Bataille's Bathrobe, so I don't have much more time to go over how great things went this past weekend.

Except to note that Bathrobe got quite the nice review from Michael Mraz at nytheatre.com, and a reviewer from the New York Times attended good performances of Bathrobe and Blood on the Cat's Neck, so I have my fingers crossed there.

I will also note how pleased I was that the two blogs that did nice "preview" promo posts for our season and shows were George Hunka's Superfluities Redux, HERE and Trav S.D.'s Travalanche, HERE. Berit and I were both pleased by this as both of these men are erudite and fine scholars of theatre, but George is -- to some peoples' annoyance, perhaps, but rarely mine -- the most intellectual and heavy thinker in the theatrical blogosphere, and Trav S.D. is the populist, baggy-pants vaudevillian. And while I can sometimes, yes, be a bit . . . well, I wouldn't say annoyed, exactly, but both George's intellectualism and Trav's populism can be taken to extremes that at least make me sigh deeply and shake my head, even when I agree with them (more often than not) . . . I'm pleased as punch to have both of them have such kind advance words for GCW's work, as it is the blend of these two theatrical modes of thought that is at the heart of what GCW is trying to do -- the chocolate and peanut butter making up our fine fine superfine peanut butter cups of theatrical invention.

Trav also mentions the idea of volume in what we do, which is indeed an important part of these festivals -- we don't just do multiple plays for the sake of doing them; there are reasons a group of shows goes together, even if we don't realize it ourselves until they're all together and running . . .

So, in lieu of anything more, below is the email I sent to the GCW list this morning to remind them where they can get more info on the shows, as I remind you now as well . . .




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The FOUR Gemini CollisionWorks shows at The Brick have opened!

You can read an overview of our August, 2009 season at the theatre's page for The Collisionworks, with easy links to buying tickets online. Including special package deals for multiple shows!

Or you can visit our own company's Facebook page (and feel free to join our group for more info on upcoming events).

Or you can visit our company's individual webpages for each of the four shows, for even more detailed information on each one:


A Little Piece of the Sun by Daniel McKleinfeld

Blood on the Cat's Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

George Bataille's Bathrobe by Richard Foreman

Sacrificial Offerings by David Finkelstein & Ian W. Hill


And hey, there's already a review of George Bataille's Bathrobe, by Michael Mraz at nytheatre.com, and he really liked it . . .

The ensemble is superb, showing consistent, energetic commitment to characters that are not always rooted in traditional reality or logic. Coupled with director Ian W. Hill's taut and dynamic staging, each of their absurd characters fits as an equally important piece of the puzzle in Foreman's play and each actor carries that weight with dedication and talent . . . George Bataille's Bathrobe is a unique cacophony of sound, color, and visuals that somehow finds a way to touch its audience in ways that are never quite clear. The entire cast and design team are a credit to this . . . Hill's schizophrenic lighting and offbeat combinations of sound and musical pieces work together with Karen Flood's colorful costumes to create a virtual mindscape . . . At times, Gemini CollisionWorks' staging of George Bataille's Bathrobe seems like only a sea of unrelated words. But it makes you laugh and you can't quite put your finger on why; it tugs your heartstrings and you aren't sure how; and it builds heart-pounding suspense to climaxes that aren't really there . . . Gemini CollisionWorks' vision convey a spectrum of human fears and emotions and take the audience on a journey they will spend hours trying to decipher after leaving the Brick Theatre.


Each show now has only 7 or 8 performances left between now and August 30 -- please don't wait until the last minute! See the links above for all the details you'll need.

We hope to see you at The Brick very soon

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks

GCW Online:
BLOG: CollisonWorks on LiveJournal


collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
And I'm (sorta) back and it's (sorta) begun . . .

We opened A Little Piece of the Sun to a nice-sized and appreciative house last night. It's hard to tell what people make of this show -- it kinda hits you in the face with a big load of nastiness and doesn't let up -- but they actually laughed at the (very dark) humor when it was there, and a couple of people, strangers (always nice), were quite effusive in their praise outside afterward.

It was a good performance, but still a hair shaky here and there in spots, often with people so determined to get their lines right that they were jumping in and stepping on other peoples' the moment there was a (deliberate) pause. But it was a start, and a good one. Nothing to be ashamed of, at all. The first performance of thirty-six we're doing this month (nine performances each of the four shows).

More info on Little Piece and the remaining performances at the Facebook page HERE, along with many of the great promo shots taken earlier this week by Mark Veltman. Wow. Here are a few favorites:

At the Funeral of Lenin (Roger Nasser and other company members):
LPOTS - At the Funeral of Lenin
Andrei Chikatilo sees the Light (Tom Reid):
LPOTS - Chikatilo Faces The Light
The interrogation of Chikatilo and Kravchenko (Tom Reid, Fred Backus, Adam Belvo):
LPOTS - Interrogation of Chikatilo & Kravchenko
Portrait of Issa Kostoyev (Gavin Starr Kendall):
LPOTS - Issa Kostoyev
Portrait of Alla Rakova (Alyssa Simon):
LPOTS - Rakova as Agent
Two stories heading for two trials:
LPOTS - Two Trials

Today we open all three of the other shows in our season of works at The Brick, The Collisionworks. I think we're ready, though I'm still not sure if I may be going on today with script in hand for a VERY sick actor.

I still have to finish one of the programs, and Berit and I still need to get to the space early to finish some props and set stuff, but here are the Facebook pages for the other three shows, and some images from each:

Blood on the Cat's Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Info HERE. Some pictures (mine, not as good as Mark's):

Phoebe Zeitgeist (Gyda Arber) enters a new world:
BLOOD - Phoebe In Her New World
The Policeman (Danny Bowes), The Girl (Shelley Ray), and Phoebe:
BLOOD - Policeman, Girl, & Phoebe
The Teacher (Eric C. Bailey) and The Wife (Samantha Mason) argue, with The Butcher (Roger Nasser) nearby:
BLOOD - The Teacher & The Wife
Most of The Company:
BLOOD - Phoebe, Lover, Girl and All

From George Bataille's Bathrobe by Richard Foreman. The costumes for this one are by Karen Flood (Berit and I handled the design of all else on all shows). Info HERE. Pictures:

Frank Norris (Bill Weeden) in his cell:
BATHROBE - Frank In His Cell
The Man From Another Planet (Timothy McCown Reynolds) dances:
BATHROBE - The Man From Another Planet Dances
A confrontation (Timothy McCown Reynolds, Sarah Malinda Engelke, Liza Wade Green, Bill Weeden):
BATHROBE - Man, Myra, Clara & Frank
Frank (Bill Weeden) annoyed by The Dandy Fop (Bob Laine):
BATHROBE - Frank & The Dandy Fop

And finally, you can get info on Sacrificial Offerings, by myself and David Finkelstein, HERE, and here's some images from David's video, Marvelous Discourse, featuring David, myself, and Agnes DeGarron, which makes up half the performance:

OFFERINGS (DISCOURSE) - Prophecy

OFFERINGS (DISCOURSE) - Dike

OFFERINGS (DISCOURSE) - Ian-Spit

Okay, time to finish up the last of the programs and get moving. Three more shows to open in one day. Phew.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
A reminder and promo . . .

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THE COLLISIONWORKS
An Annual Presentation of Theatre
from Gemini CollisionWorks


August 7 to 30, 2009

at The Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC

4 Shows designed and directed by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson

featuring

A LITTLE PIECE OF THE SUN by Daniel McKleinfeld

The Soviet Union, 1978-1990

Chernobyl Reactor Unit #4, nuclear power plant. Official Body Count: 31.
Actual Body Count: Will never be known.

LPOTS reactor:victims composite
LPOTS Chikatilo light photo
Andrei Chikatilo, serial killer. Official Body Count: 53.
Actual Body Count: Will never be known.

Two true stories of murder.
One true story of lies and corruption.


A documentary for the stage, examining the stories of serial killer Andrei Chikatilo and the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor through a collage of found texts that reveal these two stories of mass death to be one story of institutional corruption in a theatrical autopsy where Art is the only scalpel sharp enough to cut through the mangled flesh of the lies to reveal the glowing fragment of truth underneath it all.

performed by David Arthur Bachrach*, Fred Backus, Aaron Baker, Olivia Baseman*, Adam Belvo, Eric Feldman, Ian W. Hill, Colleen Jasinski, Gavin Starr Kendall, Roger Nasser, Tom Reid, Melissa Roth, Patrick Shearer, Alyssa Simon*

August 7, 12, 15, 21, 23 and 27 at 8.00 pm
August 9, 16, and 30 at 3.00 pm

approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes long (including one intermission)

*****

BLOOD ON THE CAT'S NECK by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
BLOOD Early Promo Mockup
(which is sometimes subtitled Marilyn Monroe vs. The Vampires) is a 1971 play by the iconoclastic playwright/filmmaker in which a beautiful, blonde, vampiric Amazon of a space alien is dropped into a bourgeois cocktail party with an unlikely group of guests in an attempt to learn about human beings, without much success, until her plundering of the guests’ minds becomes a more direct and physical acquisition of their life essences.

performed by Gyda Arber, Eric C. Bailey*, Danny Bowes, V. Orion Delwaterman, Rasheed Hinds, Toya Lillard, Samantha Mason, Amy Overman, Roger Nasser, Shelley Ray*

August 9, 14, 19, 22, 25 and 26 at 8.00 pm
August 8, 15, and 29 at 4.00 pm

approximately 80 minutes long

*****

GEORGE BATAILLE'S BATHROBE

by Richard Foreman
BATHROBE Early Promo Mockup

An abstract play by that receives its first fully-staged American/English-Language production, interpreted here as the story of an elderly, controversial writer in a prison (perhaps real, perhaps metaphoric) on his dying day, as he is confronted with his memories and regrets made flesh, both tormenting him and attempting to help him pass out of this life with peace and acceptance.

performed by Sarah Malinda Engelke*, Liza Wade Green, Justin R.G. Holcomb*, Bob Laine, Kathryn Lawson, Patrice Miller, Timothy McCown Reynolds*, Bill Weeden*

August 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 28 and 29 at 8.00 pm
August 22 and 23 at 4.00 pm

approximately 75 minutes long

*****

SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS

by David Finkelstein & Ian W. Hill
OFFERINGS seance temp promo image
-- a dramaticule -- began as an improvisational performance duet created by the two authors as the basis for a multilayered video artwork by Mr. Finkelstein for his Lake Ivan Performance Group.
Mr. Hill has taken the improvised text and transformed it into the story of a drawing room séance among the upper class, with a version of Mr. Finkelstein’s video (Marvelous Discourse) presented mid-performance as the appearance of the “spirits” into the room.

performed by Eric C. Bailey*, Larry Gutman, Stephen Heskett, Justin R.G. Holcomb*, Kirill Khvenkin, Victoria Miller, Ben Robertson, Eve Udesky*

August 8, 14, 22, and 28 at 10.30 pm
August 16 and 30 at 8.00 pm
August 15, 23, and 29 at 2.00 pm

approximately 40 minutes long

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Tickets: $15.00 (except SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS: $10.00)

Or 2 shows for $25.00, 3 for $35.00, or all four for $40.00!

All tickets available at Theatermania.com (212-352-3101)

www.bricktheater.com

*appears courtesy Actors' Equity Association

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DONATE TO GEMINI COLLISIONWORKS! IT'S TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!

1. If you wish to donate by check, they MUST be made out to "Fractured Atlas," with "Gemini CollisionWorks" in the memo line (and nowhere else), and should be given to us personally or sent to us for processing at:

Gemini CollisionWorks
c/o Hill-Johnson
367 Avenue S #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11223

2. You can also donate directly online securely by credit card at
https://www.fracturedatlas.org/donate/1394
(please double-check to be sure you're at the "Gemini CollisionWorks" donation page)

All donors (if donations are received by August 1) will be listed in all our programs for the 2009 season under the following categories with our current donors (donations after August 1 will appear in our 2010 programs):

$0-25 - BONDO

Edward Einhorn

David Finkelstein
$26-50 - RAT RODS

Lynn Berg

Citibank
$51-75 - CHROME

Sarah Engelke

Richard Foreman
$76-100 - LOW RIDERS
$101-250 - CANDY FLAKE

Centre Group Holdings

Wendy Coyle

Thomas Reid and Eileen White
$251-500 - FLAME JOBS
$501-1000 - T-BUCKETS

Luana Josvold & Gary Johnson
$1001-2500 - SUPERCHARGERS
$2501-5000 - KUSTOMIZERS
over $5000 - BIG DADDIES

hope to see you at the shows, and thanks for your continued support,

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks

Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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Ian W. Hill/Gemini CollisionWorks online:

blog: CollisionWorks on LiveJournal
images: Gemini CollisionWorks on Flickr
info: Facebook page
store: CafePress Store

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Well, this just went off to the Gemini CollisionWorks mailing list, and I'm posting it everywhere else I can -- Facebook, MySpace, etc. -- so I might as well include it here for anyone who would miss it elsewhere.

Ah, yes, it's the annual Season announcement, and more-than-annual request for donations. Not the most enjoyable part of putting the shows together, but now that we can actually receive tax-deductible donations, we need to do this to keep the shows going at a reasonable level.

So here's what the several hundred people I've acquired on the GCW email list over the last 12 years are getting today:


You're receiving this because you're on the Gemini CollisionWorks/Ian W. Hill/Berit Johnson email list - if you don't want to be on this list, please reply with REMOVE in the subject header, and we'll take you off it.  We apologize to those hit by this on both our mailing list and our Facebook list, but thank you for your interest and support.


**********




Hi friends!


Once again, it's nearly that time of year where we stop being mainly the tech directors for The Brick and once again take over that space -- Brooklyn's "most vibrant incubator of innovative theatrical arts" -- to present our yearly collection of theatrical work, our "factory showroom" of the ideas, techniques, and styles we've been thinking about and looking at this past year.


Our now-Annual collection, henceforth called The Collisionworks, is comprised this year of three shows that have been on our wish list to do for many years now, and a fourth, original work that has happily appeared from our recent collaborations with another theatrical company.  This August's shows are:


A Little Piece of the Sun by Daniel McKleinfeld
Blood on the Cat's Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
George Bataille's Bathrobe by Richard Foreman
Sacrificial Offerings by David Finkelstein and Ian W. Hill


Rather than take up space here, you can find out about these shows, including brief descriptions, the cast members and (soon-to-come) performance dates and times at either our Facebook page or The Brick's page for our shows.


We're glad that our association with The Brick for the past 4 years has led us to become a more secure and business-oriented company (as much as one run solely by two people who really only know how to do theatre at this point can be), and has led us to create work of a grander scale than we were first able to do when GCW first started producing work in 1997 on Ludlow Street at NADA (about 60 productions ago!).


However . . . larger budgets and scale, presented in a small space at a reasonable ticket price, can pose some financial problems.  Rehearsal space, costumes, set construction -- and a lot of it is needed this year -- can - and has - cost a pretty penny.


So, remember -- and yes, we're aware of both the recession and that the majority of people receiving this are also struggling artists, sorry -- you can always . . .


DONATE TO GEMINI COLLISIONWORKS!  IT'S TAX-DEDUCTIBLE! 


a.  If you wish to donate by check, they MUST be made out to "Fractured Atlas," with "Gemini CollisionWorks" in the memo line (and nowhere else), and should be given to us personally or sent to us for processing at: 



Gemini CollisionWorks 
c/o Hill-Johnson 
367 Avenue S  #1B 
Brooklyn, NY  11223 


b.  You can also donate directly online securely by credit card at  




(please double-check to be sure you're at the "Gemini CollisionWorks" donation page) 
 
All donors will be listed in all our programs for the August 2009 season under the following categories:   
 

$0-25 - BONDO 
$26-50 - RAT RODS 
$51-75 - CHROME 
$76-100 - LOW RIDERS 
$101-250 - CANDY FLAKE 
$251-500 - FLAME JOBS 
$501-1000 - T-BUCKETS 
$1001-2500 - SUPERCHARGERS 
$2501-5000 - KUSTOMIZERS 
over $5000 - BIG DADDIES 
 


(NOTE:  If you give $1,000 or above - and someone actually always does - you will need to fill out a special gift form to accompany your donation, so please let us know so we can supply it to you)



We both hope to see you at our shows this August, and thank you for your continued support, 




Ian W. Hill, arts 
Berit Johnson, crafts 


Gemini CollisionWorks 

 

Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.  Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. 



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collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
And here are the last three parts of the series I wrote for The Brick's blog.

A big thanks to Jeff Lewonczyk for editing these things for over at that blog, and all at The Brick for their assistance in making these shows happen.

Part 5: On HARRY IN LOVE )



Part 6: On HARRY, Some More )

Part 7: Postscript )

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Now that the three shows are over, for those who didn't bother to click over and read the seven pieces I wrote about them, Berit, and myself at The Brick's blog, B(rick)log, to promote the shows through that outlet, I might as well reprint the whole series here for your dining and dancing pleasure..

Some of them are pretty long, so I'll put them each behind their own cut, and you can look at them as you please and at your leisure.

Here's the first four - an intro to the company, and pieces about Everything Must Go and Spell:

Part 1: INTRODUCTION )



Part 2: On EVERYTHING MUST GO )

Part 3: On EVERYTHING MUST GO and SPELL )

Part 4: On SPELL )

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
This just went out to the GCW email list - figured it belonged here, too:

*****

Friends of Gemini CollisionWorks,

2008 continues GCWs' happy residency at The Brick in Williamsburg, where we act as the theatre's technical directors, as well as assisting in the management of the many festivals at the space, and, of course, producing our own work.

Coming up for us this year at The Brick, a show in The Film Festival: A Theater Festival in June - The Magnificent Ambersons - and three shows in August - two originals: Spell and Everything Must Go, as well as Richard Foreman's hysterical and barely-known 1966 comedy Harry in Love.

So we've been able to keep up a pretty hectic pace of creating numerous shows each year, but it's been harder and harder as resources have been getting far more expensive rather quickly (especially rehearsal space) and while we've been known to work wonders on a low (or nearly non-existent) budget, as our work gets more ambitious, it gets harder to do this at the out-of-our-own-pocket level we've been working at for 11 years, especially as - with small theatres and low ticket prices on top of high expenses - we lose money on every show we do. As we have had no way to offer our supporters anything in return for donations, we haven't asked for them.

Until now. Gemini CollisionWorks is now a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization, and donations to GCW (made payable to Fractured Atlas) are now tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. For more information on contributing through Fractured Atlas, see https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/ or the directions below for how to donate specifically to us.

We hope you'll consider helping us out - our shows this year could use it (coming up soon in June, a show involving 20 actors with multiple 1880s-1910s costumes each! we need two overhead projectors!). We can't offer much in return, but it'll feel good, be worthwhile, the money'll all be there on the stage, and you get listed in our programs for the whole season (categories below). And it's tax-deductible.

Here is some more info on how to donate, and on this year's shows:


DONATIONS

1. If you wish to donate by check, they MUST be made out to "Fractured Atlas," with "Gemini CollisionWorks" in the memo line (and nowhere else), and should be given to us personally or sent to us for processing at:

Gemini CollisionWorks
c/o Hill-Johnson
367 Avenue S #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11223




2. You can also donate directly online securely by credit card at

https://www.fracturedatlas.org/donate/1394

or by clicking this handy link:

Donate now!

(please double-check to be sure you're at the "Gemini CollisionWorks" donation page)

All donors will be listed in all our programs for the 2008 season under the following categories:

$0-25 - BONDO
$26-50 - RAT RODS
$51-75 - CHROME
$76-100 - LOW RIDERS
$101-250 - CANDY FLAKE
$251-500 - FLAME JOBS
$501-1000 - T-BUCKETS
$1001-2500 - SUPERCHARGERS
$2501-5000 - KUSTOMIZERS
over $5000 - BIG DADDIES


SHOWS

The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for the Stage


adapted, designed, directed and narrated by Ian W. Hill
June 1, 6, 10, 12 at 8.00 pm - $15.00

In 1942, Orson Welles' second feature film, and probable masterpiece, was mutilated by RKO Radio Pictures. 43 minutes were cut, and several scenes were reshot in an attempt to make Welles' dark, Chekhovian adaptation of Booth Tarkington's story of a family and town swallowed up in the Industrial Revolution a happier and more commercial experience. It didn't work. The film was buried by the studio, both in the marketplace and physically - all unused footage from the film was destroyed - and Welles' version is gone forever, one of the great mythologized films of Hollywood.

In this show we attempt to reconstruct, as well as we can from the documents and photos that still exist, a theatrical interpretation of Welles' cinematic take on Tarkington's novel. It's not the movie, but it's as close as you're ever likely to see.

with David Arthur Bachrach, Aaron Baker, Linda Blackstock, Walter Brandes, Rebecca Collins, Ivanna Cullinan, Sarah Malinda Engelke, Larry Floyd, Stephen Heskett, Justin R.G. Holcomb, Amy Lizska, Roger Nasser, Vince Phillip, Maire-Rose Pike, Shelley Ray, Timothy McCown Reynolds, Bill Weeden, Natalie Wilder, Scot Lee Williams


Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville
by Richard Foreman - directed by Ian W. Hill
9 performances - July 31-August 21 - $15.00

Harry Rosenfeld is a big, neurotic, unnerved and unnerving man who believes his wife is planning to cheat on him. His response: drug her and keep her knocked out until her paramour goes away. The plan works about as well as should be expected and, over several days, a number of people are sucked into Harry's manic, snowballing energy as it becomes an eventual avalanche of (hysterically funny) psychosis.

Before embarking on his great career directing his own groundbreaking avant-garde plays, Richard Foreman briefly entertained the possibility of being a commercial Broadway playwright. This 1966 boulevard comedy (which Foreman has compared accurately to the plays of Murray Schisgal) nearly made it to Broadway, which very well might have meant a very different career for Foreman. It's not what you probably know from him, but it's as funny as his best work, and any line from it, out of context, would not sound out of place in one of his later plays. Really.

with Walter Brandes, Josephine Cashman, Ian W. Hill, Tom Reid, Ken Simon, Darius Stone


Spell
written, designed, and directed by Ian W. Hill
9 performances - August 1-August 24 - $12.00

An American woman who considers herself a patriot has committed a horrible terrorist act as an act of protest and, she hopes, revolution against the government, which she believes no longer represents the law, people, and Constitution of the USA.

As she is interrogated, her mind reinterprets her surroundings into a chorus of voices - witches, revolutionaries, doctors, generals, bossmen, old boyfriends, fragments of herself - arguing over the validity of her violent actions while at the same time trying to deny that the monstrous act has ever occurred, or that she could be capable of such a thing. A meditation on - among other things - whether violence can ever be truly justified, and if so, what limits are there and where does it end?

with Fred Backus, Olivia Baseman, Jorge Cordova, Gavin Starr Kendall, Iracel Rivero, Alyssa Simon, Moira Stone, Liz Toft, Sammy Tunis, Jeanie Tse, Rasha Zamamiri


Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic 2)
text, design, direction and choreography by Ian W. Hill with the company
9 performances - August 2-August 24 - $12.00

A play in dance and fragmented businesspeak. A day in the life of an advertising agency as they work on a major new account, interspersed with backbiting, backstabbing, coffee breaks, office romances, motivational lectures, afternoon slumps, and a Mephistophelian boss who has his eye on a beautiful female Faust of an intern.

A constantly shifting dance-theatre piece in which anything that matters must have a price, anyone is corruptible, and everything must go.

with Gyda Arber, David Arthur Bachrach, Becky Byers, Patrick Cann, Maggie Cino, Ian W. Hill, Amy Lizska, Brandi Robinson, Dina Rose, Ariana Siegel, Julia C. Sun

All shows will be at

The Brick - 575 Metropolitan Avenue - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
right by the L Train stop at Lorimer - G Train stop at Metropolitan/Grand

Advance tickets for all shows will be available at Theatermania.com - there will be special discounts for seeing two or three of the August shows. More info as it happens . . .

hope to see you at our shows, and thanks for your continued support,

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks


Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Finally got this uploaded . . .

At The Brick's 5th Anniversary party, back in December, Berit and I did a little live performance piece accompanied by a video playing behind us.

The stage was covered with sixteen chairs, evenly spaced in three rows facing the audience (5/6/5). As each of our pre-recorded voices alternated on the video, we would take turns slowly walking around the stage -- each of us ending our little segment by knocking over a chair, one-by-one, until at last the stage was covered with overturned chairs (some had been carefully tipped, some knocked, a couple thrown, and one smashed over and over into the ground and destroyed) and the two of us wound up facing each other over the last chair, which was not overturned, as the lights faded (we had created the light cues in the computer board so that Berit could start the DVD of the video and hit the go button on the light board 5 seconds later - then run down the ladder from the booth and to the stage to perform the piece - and the lights and video would sync up).

It was designed and intended completely as a live video/performance combo, so the video doesn't exactly work on its own (it's basically a slideshow of text with voiceovers), but I'm happy enough with it to share it with you. It was much liked by a number of people there (who might not want me to say so in public), and got a little heckling afterward as well ("More facile statements!").

I created the soundtrack and designed the overall piece. Berit created the text slides (from my design suggestion of copying Godard/Gorin's titles in Tout Va Bien) and put the whole thing together as a movie.

Here it is behind the cut. It's close to 11 minutes long.

Where Do You Stand? )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (comic)
I am in the midst of trying to work out a schedule for my four shows -- The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for the Stage (June and maybe July), Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville by Richard Foreman (August), Spell (August), and Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2) (August).

There are currently 18 people cast (out of 21 I think I'll need) on Ambersons, a full cast of 13 on Everything (though I'm seeing if someone else can join us), a full cast of 12 on Spell, and a full cast of 6 (the easy one) on Harry in Love. 43 total actors currently (there are a few cast overlaps).

Trying to arrange a rehearsal schedule where I can get enough actors from any one show together to make having a rehearsal at all useful is mindbending -- Berit was a bit worried for me last night I think, as I would just sit for long periods of time looking at the Excel spreadsheets where I have potential rehearsal dates matched with conflicts and softly giggling to myself. When I'm faced with day after day of anywhere from one to sixteen actors unavailable, never leaving me with a good rehearsal group, I get a bit crazy.

That said, I worked a schedule out. I'm still "in the midst" of it all as I now have to type it out and send it to the casts and double-check to see that it works. And if I get enough new conflicts back the whole thing collapses like a furshlugginer house of cards and I have to start from scratch.

I need a break before embarking on the next stage of collating and typing and emailing the schedule info.


So to relax, I watch a Three Stooges short. And not just any Stooges short, but the one that's generally regarded in Stoogedom as the worst one they ever made. But I enjoy it, for a few reasons of my own:

1. It features Shemp Howard, not Curly Howard. I don't like Curly all that much (or any of the other third Stooges that joined Moe and Larry apart from Shemp, especially Joe DeRita, who lacked subtlety). I'll watch Shemp in anything.

2. It features a drunk Shemp hallucinating and seeing an immense cheesy pantomime bird.

3. It features the great Larry Fine in a rare central role, and not only that, he appears to be trying to parody (for no good reason) Marlon Brando. His lack of success in this impersonation instead creates a strange Brando/Fine collision unlike anything I've ever seen. Interestingly, this short was released only a few months after the film of Streetcar, so one wonders if Larry and/or the others saw Brando on stage, or were they just really churning these shorts out that fast (I suspect the latter).

4. My Junior-year film at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts - created in Reynold Weidenaar's excellent Experimental Workshop class - was titled "How Did You Manage To Steal a Car from a Rolling Train?" after a line of Moe's from this film (my film was written, co-produced, sound designed, and titled by my friend Sean Rockoff, a Stoogeaholic).

The director Christopher Carter Sanderson, when I told him where the title came from, and the response to the question from Larry, thereafter always seemed to regard the question and answer as some bizarre zen-ish "key" to my own psyche and personality. Make of that what you will.

I dedicated my film to Moe Howard and Andrei Tarkovsky. That's probably much more of a key to my inner life.

So here's the whole short behind the cut . . .

CUCKOO ON A CHOO CHOO (1952) )



And in other "humor," I greatly enjoyed this account of the 12-hour deposition of Mr. Aron Wider, CEO of HTFC, an independent mortgage investor whose company is being sued by GMAC Bank for allegedly selling loans that weren't properly underwritten. The fine behavior of Mr. Wider, as seen in excerpts from the transcript, is a fine reflection of the upright and honorable behavior that has made the financial structure of this country so strong and unassailable. There is a drier account (that does feature a few more fine fine superfine quotes) in a law journal HERE.

In non-humor, Paul Scofield died. I loved his work, but I never feel I saw him in anything as good as he was (even Brook's film of Lear, which seems hobbled by its stage origins) - from all accounts his real greatness was on the stage, and I regret never seeing him there.

Back to work. Excelsior!

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Merry Mount is down and over and now I'm on to the rest of the year's shows: My four for June and August, and directing Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful episode for March, which I can't do anything on just yet, until I get the script from the guys.

I will also be the main point-person for The Brick, most likely, in the management/running of the Tiny Theatre Festival in May and the Clown Theatre Festival, which I guess will be in October again. And Berit and I will have plenty to do in our duties as co-TDs of the space for The Film Festival: A Theater Festival in May/June. I don't know if the Baby Jesus Festival will now continue as a yearly thing or remain Biennial, but if it's up this year, that's December taken.

Berit is busy with props and other things for Cat's Cradle and Hiroshima for UTC#61, as well as stage managing Aaron Baker's 3800 Elizabeth. I will be coming in to set up the video system for the UTC shows, and as Berit will be house managing those, I'll be taking over for her on the management of Aaron's show (and the running of Penny Dreadful) when those conflict.

But the primary concerns in the home of Gemini CollisionWorks are our shows for the year. An update on current status, since that's what the blog is supposed to be about:

The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for the Stage

(performing June, in The Film Festival at The Brick, with, I hope, a few more performances in July - because of one performer's schedule, we can't do any shows in June after the 15th, which is fine by me, but better if we get a July extension)

The script is all together, and we're currently casting and discussing design. We need an actual costume designer on this besides Berit & I. I'll ask the two I know, like, and trust. Apart from that, B & I are in a good starting place.

Needs a cast of at least 16, though the more I look at the script, the more I worry I need a couple more to fill out the stage at one point, which is a pain, because then it gives everyone in the "chorus" parts less to do in the double-casting. I need to really look at the ballroom scene and plan it out on paper to see if I can stage it workably with the 16-person plan.

A lot to be done with shadow puppets. Must start playing with that. I have to do some sound editing on the music cues - I have the complete Herrmann score now, but many of the cues on the CD are linked together as mini-"suites" and I need to cut them up into discrete cues. We're going to have to rehearse with the music behind us, so I should have it ready. Powerpoint projections, too. Whee.

Must set up a first reading ASAP as soon as I have a cast. Currently cast: Timothy McCown Reynolds as Eugene Morgan, Stephen Heskett as George Amberson Minifer, Shelley Ray as Lucy Morgan, Walter Brandes as Jack Amberson (and myself as narrator). I've offered the roles of Fanny Minifer and Isabel Amberson Minifer to two actresses, but haven't heard back from them yet. Must email them today. Stephen introduced me to an older actor he takes class with who would seem perfect for Major Amberson, and who found the concept interesting, so I'll email him as well to see about meeting and reading. I have to get the nine "primary" roles set before filling out the rest of the cast, but I have a list of the actors I'd like to round out the cast, if I can get them. Also, while I think I can do it with these people, I need to go over the script and figure out the double-casting exactly to be sure. At the same time, there are issues of the casting kind that are exactly the ones I have a completely unreasonable discomfort in dealing with:

First, there are a couple of actors I know who are great, and would be great in certain roles in this show, but the roles are really good ones that are also really REALLY small, and I'm always unhappy with asking actors I don't know all that well personally, and who generally are cast in big, showy parts (and deservedly), to come in for one or two scenes in a show where they'll be sitting around a lot of the time (or moving scenery).

Second, there are two "small boys" needed for one scene in the show, and the best way to deal with this is to cast two diminutive actresses I've worked with before who could play both small boys and older women quite well. Again, in my unreasonable but quite real shyness, I'm having trouble emailing them to ask about their interest, as though there's something insulting about me asking them to play the boys, though both of them have played a small boy for me before.

Finally, the Ambersons, in an accurate-enough piece of period detail, have a black butler, Sam, who is a presence throughout much of the play, though he's not a huge part either. But he's important, and I can't imagine doing the play without him. At the same time, I am uncomfortable with putting out a casting notice looking for a black man to come in and be a rich white family's butler (over the years 1885-1910), who also can't really double in any other parts in the show (except in a crowd scene at the end), let alone asking the black actors I know to take it on. There is, of course, probably no good reason for my discomfort (as Berit noted, and I paraphrase, "Why are you uncomfortable? He's not written as some shambling offensive stereotype. He's a black servant to a family that in that time and place would have accurately had one.").

And in terms of asking the actors I know, it comes more under the heading of a regular problem I have that I touched on above -- once I've cast an actor in some big showy role in a show, I have trouble casting them in a smaller, supporting role, even if they're perfect for it, as I feel like I'm insulting them or something. I also get uncomfortable with certain actors I keep casting in smaller roles in show after show after show, who I know could give an amazing lead performance if I had the show with the role, but I never do. So I wind up feeling bad about continuing to ask them to come in and be, yet again, another great utility infielder of a performer.

Berit tries to help get me over this by asking me if I feel at all bad about how, having played a number of grand, wonderful, major roles on stage, I still get asked to come in and do a little supporting role here and there for someone (often non-speaking). And, no, I don't. I go and do the work where I'm needed if it's not interfering with my own. So if I'm fine with it, why should I assume it's an insult to other actors? I mean, yes, I've had 2 or 3 actors tell me, "I don't do small roles anymore," but with a simple informative politeness.

{sigh} I'm just paranoid. What else is new? This is why I always used to do real full ensemble productions most of the time, where there weren't any obvious "bigger" or "smaller" roles and it was all about everybody on stage all the time working together. Which, happily, is what two of my August shows will be like.

And . . . hmmn . . . after a little more thought, I've realized that I do know and have worked with an actor who could actually play Sam and multiple other characters in the show, I think . . . oh, yeah, that'd work. Okay, problem solved.

Spell

(performing August at The Brick)

I have fragments of script to start with on this one, but I'm building it around the specific actors I'm casting in it, and will create it through rehearsal, then go and write it and bring it back. Then repeat. Create all the design at the same time, so light, text, sound, costumes, set, props are all one integrated system from the start.

Moira Stone is cast in the "central" role, Ann, which is not so much a "lead" as the nucleus of an atom that everything else is spinning madly around. I know there are three witches who each speak a different, non-English language (I have actresses in mind for these who can do this, who've all expressed interest, but I have to confirm with them); a doctor who keeps switching from male to female (two actors in mind there, too); Ann's male alter-ego, Andy, who keeps switching places with her (several possibilities); and a chorus of figures you could think of either as revolutionaries or terrorists, and their bloodied casualties or victims. It seems to be breaking down naturally into 7 men and 7 women, which seems right for the piece.

So Moira is set - I have to contact the six others who have specifically expressed an interest in this show (and I've begun crafting parts around them). Another two people I'd like in this have expressed a general desire to be in one of this year's shows. And then there's another five I'd like in this I have to ask. This one's getting more and more alive for me, and it's really exciting.

This one is about terrorism, and my ongoing argument with myself about whether or not the use of terrible violence can be a potentially positive weapon for social change (if you're wondering who always wins that argument, well, I'm making theatre and not bombs, so it should be obvious, though I still sometimes wonder . . .).

Dance To That Which One Is Created For (Invisible Republic)

(possibly still a working title, but it'll do for now - performing in August at The Brick)

This one is both exciting and scary. I have a theme, a visual concept, some songs, an idea of mood, and a desired cast in mind, and nothing else. And it has to wind up being an actual play. With dances. This will be interesting, and I hope it won't frustrate the cast too much as we work to get there. I know it's about business and selling.

Gyda Arber (who I imagine tap dancing on a table to "Dry Bones") and Dina Rose Rivera (who, wonderfully, can dance en pointe as I was hoping - this will be an interesting new step in choreography for me) seem to be in on this one. I think this one will have four men and four women, and I have the others in mind already. I'm a little worried about eight people not being enough to displace enough air in the stage space for what I want, but any larger or smaller number seems really wrong.

So, emails to go out here, too.

Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville

(performing August at The Brick)

Richard Foreman's script is cut and ready. Mostly cast, 4 out of 6 at least - Josephine Cashman and I are playing Hilda and Harry Rosenfeld, Ken Simon is Karl Wasselman, and Walter Brandes is Paul Toothstein (aka "Hilda's-Brother").

Still to be cast are Doctor Meyers and Max Gelb - I've had an actor in mind for years to play the Doctor, and I just emailed him to see if he might be interested. I was stuck on anyone to play Max, but an actor I like that I didn't have any idea was interested in working with me emailed today out of the blue to say that he indeed was, and he's perfect for Max, so I sent him the script. So we'll see if I get these last two people, and if so, then we'll set up a reading and begin.

And that's it for now. And maybe for a few days until more actual things come up. I am strangely optimistic, an odd feeling for me . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Two commenters dropped by recently with a pleasant word or two and I wanted to mention them here rather than just responding in the original comments, where it might get lost - especially as I have quite a bit to say about where these comments led me.

"Richard S.," who posts as "RockRichard" at VetVoice.com thanked me for the plug for his "Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly." I was surprised to get even the very brief thanks from him, as he's serving in Afghanistan now, and I think that between that and creating his excellent posts for VetVoice, he's busy enough without typing a few words to a NYC theatre-related (supposedly) blogger. But I'm honored.

I read several military-related blogs created and written by soldiers and veterans - I feel some kind of duty to do so at this point in time. These are voices not heard from nearly enough right now. My brother returned from Iraq a few months ago - injured, not badly - and I haven't talked with him about his service much, and I'm not sure he wants to. Luckily, he seems to be in fine shape all around and is building a good life for himself here at home now.

Since he was first over there, I've kept AntiWar.com in my blog reader - it's not at all the best site, frankly - most of the info there can be found in better form elsewhere - but it's the only place I found that gives a day-by-day running tally of casualties - injuries and deaths - broken down, soldiers and civilians, U.S.A. and Iraq. A headline with the count comes up in my blogreader every morning, and I make sure to look at it and consider my place in the world, and what I am doing, in the light of those numbers (Yesterday - one U.S. soldier dead and another injured in a vehicular accident/32 Iraqis killed/42 Iraqis wounded). Then, yes, I move on. Because you have to. Right?

VetVoice is a good central place for lots of links to other military blogs and sites. I found it through reading one of my favorites, Army of Dude by Alex Horton, an account of his life in Iraq, and since.

So, I read, and I move on and try to make Art-Things. For while the job of these soldiers is unfortunately sometimes necessary, I like to believe that my job is, too - that even the smallest drop in the bucket of creation is a Good Thing for the species, that the accumulation of these unnecessary things called Artworks actually does Make Us Better. Yes, unnecessary, but ultimately for the good, as sometimes for the good, the soldiers are sometimes necessary.

Sometimes necessary.

And if used (and wasted) when not necessary, it is, of course, a fucking crime.

Which reminds me. I've seen plenty written yesterday and today about the 935 "false statements" (where I'm from, we call those "lies") told by members of the current Administration to get us into war. And it should be noted that this only counts the lies told from 2001-2003 - from 9/11 to Iraq invasion - and none of the others that have come up since then.

Again, a fighting man's opinion of this is worth checking out, and HERE is RockRichard's.

Meanwhile, on the Art-Thing front, Alyssa Simon commented with a pointer to a review of Martin Denton's from nytheatre.com, of the current Broadway production of The 39 Steps, that contains this ego-boosting final paragraph:

For me, there's nothing particularly funny about throwing stones at a work of art, even an admittedly pulpy, pop one such as this film by Hitchcock. There's certainly nothing worth $96.25 (the top ticket price) happening on stage at the American Airlines Theatre. If you'd like to watch too few actors create the illusion of a lot going on, ironically or in all seriousness, check out any number of indie theater offerings available around NYC (works by Ian W. Hill and Frank Cwiklik come immediately to mind). And if you'd like to see The 39 Steps, rent it from Netflix.

And Martin's description of the show does indeed sound like everything wrong with a certain kind of theatre, which matters to me because - as the review alludes - I somewhat specialize at times in that kind of theatre.

What is the point of imitating film on stage? Or if not precisely imitating, in recreating, deconstructing, collaging, ironicizing, etc. films in a theatrical context?

I've done this myself, what, four or five times? Something like that. Maybe more. Which is maybe odd for someone who works in various media and who usually expresses the belief that the best work in most art forms is that work that can be only expressed in that form - theatre should do things that only theatre can do, painting should do things that only painting can do, prose should do things that only prose can do, film should do things that only film can do, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

And as someone working on translating Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons to the stage right now, this could cause some concern. If I hadn't worked most of it out already by this point.

First off, The 39 Steps is a terrible choice for a movie to stage, most immediately for one good reason: It's a good movie (I'll return to my concerns on Ambersons in a bit). What's the point? Nothing is added to it by staging it. Much is reduced. If a film is really good. it's almost certainly cinematic enough that the medium itself is unremovably entwined with its greatness.

On the other hand, just staging bad movies, ironically, deconstructed, musicalized or whatever, is not necessarily a better thing. From all accounts, Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical had nothing going for it besides the concept of the title.

When I was doing my original production of the temperance play Ten Nights in a Bar-Room, I was interested in certain qualities of "bad" acting. The company of my play was supposed to be playing an acting company in a post-civilization future, attempting to recreate What Had Been through the few dramatic texts they had. Unfortunately, they don't have good texts, and they're not good actors. But they're committed. So I showed my cast Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda? as an example of the kind of "bad" acting I was looking for. Tim Cusack put it best when he noted that the actors were giving their all to their roles, as much as any talented actor would, but that they didn't have the actual craft to express themselves properly - "Commitment without talent" is what he called it, and he also noted thoughtfully that Glen or Glenda? was a "rich text."

Yes. And that's the point. Glen or Glenda? is probably a bad movie by most standards (I'm too in love with it to tell anymore), but it is a Rich Text. Debbie Does Dallas is not only a bad movie, it's an uninteresting one, not even a very good porno, with a catchy title that sold it, and it is very definitely Not A Rich Text. I staged Glen or Glenda? eventually as part of the EdFest that Frank Cwiklik, Michele Schlossberg and I put together in 2000, and dammit if the film wasn't somehow illuminated in a new light by being put into three dimensions in a tiny theatre. As did all of the Ed Wood scripts we adapted for that festival.

I always wanted to stage the Patrick Swayze film Road House for fun - another Rich Text - but got beaten to it by Tim Haskell. From many accounts, it worked. Other cheesy films, Not Rich Texts, have fared less well. You see them come and go in the OOB listings.

Most of the time, my filmic explorations in theatre have taken the form of a kind of collage, or as I prefer, collision (hence the name of my company) of two or more seemingly unrelated works.

David LM Mcintyre says he wants a nickel every time I use the word "collision" since he first defined us, jokingly, as the leaders of the movement "New Collisionism" back in '91 or so - after a dinner at the Cedar Tavern and a lot of Guinness, it wasn't a joke anymore. It started when David and I collided Disney's The Jungle Book with Coppola's Apocalypse Now and made Even the Jungle. Since then, I've gone back to the form many times, with variations (collide dialogue from 165 films noir with quotes from the Bush Administration, you get World Gone Wrong). Leaving film out of it, collide H.P. Lovecraft with Winsor McCay you get At the Mountains of Slumberland.

Done right, the collision, like a car accident, twists and turns the original and opens up new surfaces, new textures, that were there all the time but that you couldn't see until they were violently wrenched into new forms.

So, what to do with staging Ambersons which is 1) not only a good movie, even in studio-mangled form, but a great one; 2) a rich text; 3) intensely cinematic in a way that seems inseparable from its greatness? Why do this, and what do I hope to do?

Well . . . okay. It's a problem. The main reason for doing it, really, is because I want to see the story in the way that Welles intended to tell it, with the dialogue, scenes, and music that were supposed to be there (and I want others to see it, too). That I can do. What I can't do is recreate his shots, compositions, and editing - all crucial to Welles. So, I'm just reconstructing the story the way Welles wanted it, not the film itself. So I'm immediately pulling back from the cinematic aspects and finding the elements that will not only work, but may be illuminated through staging. Next, I can't recreate anything like the opulence of Welles' settings, and even token gestures that way would be, at most, a halfway measure. So do what theatre does well - abstract it all. Instead of matte paintings, we have shadow puppets. Instead of period automobiles, we have a pile of boxes. Pull it further back from film, and into what not only works but is best in a small black box theatre.

And gradually, it all comes clear. I'm seeing it more and more, and I think this will be a damned fine piece of theatre. It still might be "doing well what ought not to be done at all," as a lot of film and theatre seems to me, but, well, we'll never have the Welles film the way he wanted, and I want to see this. I wrote out a list of 14 actors I'd like in the cast last night (with two others - I'm going to have to look for a Major Amberson and pick another from the pool of the actors I love). I think I'll be finishing my playscript of it by this evening, and then I'll send it out to the people I'd like in it and see what they think.

Enough. Sorry to prattle on, but that's how it goes on here. Either I have too much to say or nothing. or both at the same time, perhaps.

Finally, for pure WTF? enjoyment stimulus, a couple videos. The first showed up on the WFMU blog this morning, headlined "Lou Reed vs. Pavarotti." It's an excerpt from one of the Pavarotti and Friends charity concerts that I missed posting when the big man died. Want an odd mix of voices? Try this (I'm disappointed that Luciano doesn't join in on the second song here, "Walk on the Wild Side" - that may have made my head explode - in a good way):


And since when did "Perfect Day" become, like, the top Lou Reed song? I mean, it's nice and all, but why this one? (was it used in Trainspotting and some other movie or something?)

It's like going to a Bowie concert in the last few years and realizing that his most popular song is going to wind up being "Changes." I mean, yeah, sure, fine song, but the one DB's going to be remembered for? (the other top Bowie songs, judging from crowd response, are "Ziggy Stardust" and "Fame") In any case, the BBC did an all-star version of this Reed song that winds up being charming through some of the unlikely faces/voices that show up in it:


Enjoy.

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Okay, so it's a new year, and there's work to do for Gemini CollisionWorks.

So, an email went out last night to about 60 actors I know (edited slightly here):

Dear Many-of-GCW's-Actorial-Friends,

First, Happy New Year from Berit and myself!

This is going out to many of the actors that I've either directed in shows, or acted with, or seen in shows, or auditioned but had nothing for, or always wanted to work with but it didn't happen. Or whatever. Just a list of people I think would work for one or more of the shows we're doing this year, even if a few of you don't act all that much anymore (nothing ventured . . .). Sorry about the length, as always.

I have 6 or 7 productions (some big, some small) happening this year, and, as opposed to recent years, where I have wound up doing far too much at the last minute and been horribly rushed at the end, I am attempting to make this year's shows a much longer and deep process, with leisurely time to explore the work without cramming it all together. So I'm trying to cast and start the work this month for productions in June and August (as well as smaller ones going up sooner). I hope you are interested in one or more of the shows. The idea is to work on them from January to May, with a bit more focus on the June show (which might have a small July extension), and to have them pretty much together and ready (including sets, props, costumes, tech) by the end of May, with July as final brush-up time for the August shows.

I know this is a hard, full commitment to make, and I fully expect to lose and have to replace some people between casting and opening to paying gigs or other sudden commitments, but I'd rather start with full casts and have to deal with a few replacements in parts that are already formed than wait to know if everyone will make it the whole way. So, if you're interested in at least starting the process, please come along. I'll try and make this as brief as I can (too late).

First, I need a chorus of actors for


Merry Mount, an adaptation by Trav S.D. of Hawthorne's "The May-Pole of Merry-Mount" which will go up in Metropolitan Playhouse's Hawthornicopia for four performances later this month (schedule at their website). This takes place in Puritan Boston, 1628, and I need several non-speaking performers for this short work (12 minutes or so, maybe) with very little rehearsal requirements - 3 male PURITANS, and 6 PAGAN REVELLERS, 2 male, 4 female, preferably - one woman has a line as the LADY OF THE MAY. Interested? Let me know ASAP.

I will be directing an episode of Brian Enk/Matt Gray's serial melodrama


Penny Dreadful in March at The Brick - no idea yet what the casting requirements will be for that.

In June, I'm doing


The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for The Film Festival: A Theater Festival at The Brick. This will require a cast of 16 (8 principals, 8 others in many multiple roles) in a stage adaptation of the original version of Welles' mangled-by-the-studio second film, which version exists only now as a transcript and photos. This has very specific casting requirements, and while I have some of you in mind for some parts (and will be in touch), will need auditioning for the rest, preferably from this group. It will have 4 performances in June, and maybe another 6-10 in July. Maybe. Big big maybe.

August shows at The Brick, which will get 10-12 performances each:


Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville by Richard Foreman - a restaging of my 1999 production - is mostly cast, and I'll be with contact some of you specifically about the roles that aren't.

Spell - is an original play, some of it written, some of it to be created in collaboration with the company - about perception, sanity, identity, language, and terror - quiet, meditative, semi-abstract, inside the head of a woman (who may really be a man) who has done something terrible. Probably 110-115 minutes long. This has no set cast breakdown apart from needing 4 women and 2 men, at least, and will be created specifically around the actors who want to be in it. I have one or two people in mind specifically for this, but apart from that it's open to anyone on this list who's interested.

Invisible Republic (working title) - is another original, to be created entirely with and around the company from scratch, that needs primarily people with strong dance/movement skills. It's about business, specifically selling things that probably aren't needed, the worth or lack of it of anything in the USA today, violence as a capitalist tool, and the military-industrial-entertainment-religious complex. It will be loud, violent, musical, and cartoony (Looney Tunes/Tex Avery). Probably 75-90 minutes long. Lots of people in suits screaming at each other, hitting each other with clown hammers, then breaking into time steps and spouting incomprehensible business jargon. This is open to anyone on this list who's interested in doing it - again, though, I REALLY want dancers for this one.

Also, a number of members of the cast of

That's What We're Here For have expressed a desire to get back together and redo that, which I would also very much like to do, with some serious cuts, restructures, and fixes, but only if I get at least 2/3rds of the original cast. So, since the whole original cast is on this list, let me know if you want to work on it (and if it won't work by August, I'd like to start now on it for 2009).

So, if you're interested in any or all of


Merry Mount, Ambersons, Spell, Invisible Republic, or That's What We're Here For, please let me know ASAP and I can start pulling together the casts and rehearsal schedules. If you want more info, let me know.

hope to hear from you soon, and best to you and all in your world,

IWH





[NOTE: If you're an actor friend who didn't get this and probably should have, let me know - either I missed your email or have a wrong one or your spam filter ate it. Well . . . or I thought you wouldn't be interested in the first place. Or I don't think you're right for any of these shows. But probably I just screwed up. So let me know!]

So far I've had responses from 16 actors - 4 to say "I'm in for anything you want me for that I can do," 9 to say "I'd really be up for this show (or shows)," 2 to say "I'd like to be in, but can I have some more information about these shows," and 2 to say "let me know when you have something more specific you want me to read for." A good start.

So, with the responses of interest thus far, the potentials I have right now are 1 more person for Merry Mount (with four already cast, five more needed), 2 for Penny Dreadful, 11, maybe 12, for Ambersons, 12 for Spell, 7 for Invisible Republic, and 3, maybe 4, people returning for That's What We're Here For (an american pageant revisited).

Yes indeed, a good start.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
I'm still going through all the photos I have from the August shows and fixing them up in Photoshop, but I have the first batch done. These cover the first part of the two-part NECROPOLIS 1&2: World Gone Wrong/Worth Gun Willed.

I still think I'm missing some that I should have . . . I'm positive we set up and shot scenes that I don't seem to have any pictures of -- such as the backlit shadow band from the club scene. The closest I have to that are a couple of behind-the-scenes shots, like this one of Art Wallace blowing his two-dimensional cardboard trumpet:

World Gone Wrong 2007 - Art blows it

So, inside the cut (which I hate, but I keep being reminded that cuts are "polite"), the first part of the show.

14 fragments of a World Gone Wrong )



Ah, yes . . . and here's Mateo, Art, and Alyssa (hidden behind Mateo) doing their number behind the scrim.
World Gone Wrong 2007 - behind the shadows

More soon.

collisionwork: (sign)
We did photo calls for three of the four plays we put up last month, the three NECROPOLIS plays, on the days they closed. I'm in the process of collating all of them from all sources, fixing them up in Photoshop, and posting them at my Flickr page -- I'll start posting them here once I've fixed the whole damned lot.

Berit and I don't currently have a functioning camera, so we relied on the kindness of our actors, asking any of them who had a handy digital camera to bring it to the calls, as I've had good luck in the past with a whole bunch of cameras each taking a whole lot of photos producing some really damned nice ones.

So at the WGW/WGW call, there was a lot of this:

The WGW Cast Shoots Itself

Here, Yvonne Roen, Mateo Moreno, and Stacia French take pictures of a scene they're not in as Sammy Tunis adjusts herself and Jessica Savage and Alyssa Simon lurk in the shadows.

Above photo by, I think, Iracel Rivero -- the problem is that as people were being photographed, camera were being handed back and forth, so I have no idea at times who took which shot.

Here's one of Iracel, taken with her own camera by, I think, Aaron Baker:

Iracel in the Shadows

So, sorry friends if I don't credit these all properly -- here's another two from Iracel's camera, possibly taken by her, maybe by Aaron - first, the shadows of a flunky (Bryan Enk) and a goon (Roger Nasser):

Shadows of a Goon and a Flunky

As their boss, Louis the torpedo (Jai Catalano), sits in the shadows:

Jai in the Shadows

And the dressing room of The Brick, during the whirlwind visited on it by the regular presence of 29 actors in four shows for four weeks in very VERY little space:

The Brick's Dressing Room

I'll have actual show pictures in the coming days, and some more of these behind-the-scenes ones, too.

collisionwork: (philip guston)
Jim Emerson, over at his wonderful Scanners blog, felt the need to defend Stanley Kubrick from the charge that he "hated humans," leveled by a writer for the Seattle weekly The Stranger in response to an SK film series playing there. Though no one seems to have taken the original piece, or its writer, very seriously, Jim seems tired of yet one more portrayal of Kubrick as filmic misanthrope, viewing his characters with disdain and/or disgust, godlike, detached.

I am personally tired of this easy cliche myself, which seems to attach itself at one time or another to most of my favorite filmmakers (Godard, the Coen Brothers, Cronenberg, even Lynch sometimes, and - oh, god - Greenaway, quite a bit), but mainly Kubrick. If you present the horrors of the world and of humanity in a distanced way, believing that they speak for themselves and that the best way to look at the worst things is to really LOOK at them, without flinching, and do this without editorializing ("THIS IS BAD! THIS IS BAD! THIS IS BAD!"), you are cold and unfeeling, apparently.

JE, in looking to refute the original charge, has found a document of great interest to Kubrick fans, that (as one of those fans VERY well-read about the man and his work) I've NEVER seen quoted or mentioned anywhere, and which is as good a statement of intent from SK about his work as he ever made.

It's a letter he wrote to the New York Times in 1972 in response to an editorial referring to A Clockwork Orange as being "the essence of fascism." Kubrick, an EXTREME anti-fascist, felt the need to respond. The full letter is behind the Times Select wall, but Emerson quotes it liberally.

Interested in Kubrick at all? The full post is HERE, and is REALLY worth it.

One quote from SK's letter that bounces around my head in particular:


The age of the alibi, in which we find ourselves, began with the opening sentence of Rousseau's "Emile": "Nature made me happy and good, and if I am otherwise, it is society's fault." It is based on two misconceptions: that man in his natural state was happy and good, and that primal man had no society.


NOTE -- possible title for one of next year's shows: Extremity (the age of the alibi).


Berit and I are in Portland, ME for a spell, relaxing, recouping, regrouping. I am starting to think about next year's shows for Gemini CollisionWorks. I would like to create one new original one for the June Summer festival at The Brick, and if I have August for my own shows again (or whatever month), have another three or four shows ready for that.

I am planning on making one of the shows a restaging of my 1999 production of Richard Foreman's 1966 farce Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville. I would also like to restage That's What We're Here For as one of the others, if I can get the majority of the cast back. I'll see if the play I'm working on, Spell, will be ready to go by the end of the year. Then, I'm planning on starting work on two other projects in January and seeing where they go. I want to have two groups of actors to work on two different shows, and just start rehearsals with no plans, no script. Maybe some visual ideas, thematic links, a handful of sound cues, and perhaps a title (see above). Meet two or three times a month at first, then more and more as the year goes on. Try to have the full shows completely ready to go, with all props, lights, costumes, etc. by mid-May. One show for June, one for August.


But for a couple of days, I'm going to enjoy watching things on my brother's GIGANTIC HDTV and home theatre system. Yesterday, he had me calibrate it for him to get the audio and video just right (he trusts and prefers me to do this for him), and I tested it with DVDs of INLAND EMPIRE, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West, and then an HD broadcast of Full Metal Jacket. Nice. I'm going to veg for a bit, I think . . .

Last Call

Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:10 pm
collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Five days and six performances left in this crazy Summer. Here's the promo sent out to my list and posted on my MySpace page:


TWO SHOWS FROM
GEMINI COLLISIONWORKS

FINAL THREE SHOWS FOR EACH!





**********

all shows at

The Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
right by the L Train (Lorimer) and G Train (Metropolitan/Grand) stops

all tickets


$10.00

**********

Gemini CollisionWorks and The Brick Theater, Inc. present



NECROPOLIS 0:

Kiss Me, Succubus


and

NECROPOLIS 3:


At the Mountains of Slumberland

written, directed, and designed by Ian W. Hill





Wednesday, August 22
Thursday, August 23
Sunday, August 26


at 8.00 pm

"Gemini CollisionWorks's hypnotic new revival of Ian W. Hill's NECROPOLIS 0&3: Kiss Me, Succubus and At the Mountains of Slumberland


shows one of indie theater's most singular and unique talents working at full power. These two one-acts show Hill in top boundary-breaking form as he pays homage to H.P. Lovecraft, classic comic strips, and 1960s exploitation movies in the typically fearless fashion theatergoers have come to expect from him . . . terrific cast . . . one of the most visually stunning productions I've seen in a while . . . For theatre-goers who have never experienced the inventive and uncompromising work of this veteran indie auteur, I can't think of a better time to do so than right now."
-- Michael Criscuolo, nytheatre.com - full review at
http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/necr5527.htm

more information here: http://www.bricktheater.com/gemini/necropolis03.html or http://collisionwork.livejournal.com/94113.html

tickets: http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/135639

NECROPOLIS 0 and 3 is an Equity-approved showcase

** and also **

hobocardfront

directed by Ian W. Hill









Friday, August 24
Saturday, August 25

at 8.00 pm, and
Saturday, August 25
at 4.00 pm

Bug Blowmonkey loves music. Bug Blowmonkey loves a woman. Bug Blowmonkey loves cocaine. Two of these things are good for him, but the other one is messing him up. Bad. Wanna take a guess which one? Bug knows the blow is taking him down a dark path, but can't quit it on his own. Luckily, he has a spirit guide to help him out of his hole, and towards the "light" he seeks: Marvin Gaye.

Marc Spitz's The Hobo Got Too High is an hour of sex, drugs, rock and roll, romance, nonsequiturs, vast numbers of curse words, retractable penises, and an appraisal of Diane Lane's breasts. All for a sawbuck. You may not see better value for your theatrical dollar anytime soon.









more information here: http://www.bricktheater.com/gemini/hobo.html or http://collisionwork.livejournal.com/94290.html

tickets: http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/135640

Ian W. Hill/Gemini CollisionWorks online:

blog: http://collisionwork.livejournal.com
images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geminicollisionworks/
info: http://www.myspace.com/geminicollisionworks
store: http://www.cafepress.com/collisionworks








Recovery

Aug. 20th, 2007 12:07 pm
collisionwork: (tired)
Weirdly over-tired since Saturday's marathon. I should be tired, sure, but not like this. I have too much to do the rest of the week.

I'm going through the standard post-show depression on World Gone Wrong, but unlike most times, I have other shows running as this one closes, so I can't just lie back and recover, I have to keep working for another week -- especially as I have to put an understudy in for the lead part in At the Mountains of Slumberland on Thursday.

Got some great shots from the photo call on WGW/WGW. Have them up once they're all in and reprocessed.

This gave me some cheer this morning, however -- an early (1968) animated film by Terry Gilliam, pre-Python, which has more than a few ideas plundered for the series and Holy Grail:



(via Cartoon Brew) Enjoy.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Tonight at 8.00 pm and tomorrow at 4.00 pm will probably be your last chances to ever see my play NECROPOLIS 1&2: World Gone Wrong/Worth Gun Willed. I've done it twice, two years apart. It's had it's run. Unless someone wants to pay me to bring it back somewhere, someplace (unlikely), it goes into the storage cage, indefinitely.


World Gone Wrong - Scene 4


With AEA showcase rules, I couldn't bring it back for a while anyway, and I have other things to move on to - my own Spell, Kindred, That's What We're Here For (an american pageant revisited), NECROPOLIS 4: Green River, NECROPOLIS 5: ARTisTS, as well as plays by other people - Richard Foreman's Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville and George Bataille's Bathrobe first and foremost in my head.


World Gone Wrong - Scene 31


Martin Denton's review of the 2005 production is HERE, among others. Michael Criscuolo referred to the current production as "spectacular" in his great review of NECROPOLIS 0 and 3 (you've got over a week before those go away forever).

Tickets are $10 and available at the door (cash) or in advance (credit card) HERE. Scroll down for more info on location, etc.


Hope to see some of you.

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