Our performance at The Brick's Quinquennial Party went over like gangbusters. Sometime soon, I'll see if I can cut the video down to 10 minutes (it's about 11 now), put it up on YouTube and embed it here, though it was really completed by Berit's and my live performance in front of it - and Berit appearing live on stage, performing (something she has continually vowed she will never do) was a stunning surprise for many of the friends and collaborators present. It was meant as a nice special gift from Gemini CollisionWorks for The Brick, to have both of us up there doing the piece. Now, of course, everyone's trying to convince Berit to make another stage appearance (Bryan Enk is determined she'll act in a Penny Dreadful episode at some point), but she's adamant about staying off stage, and I'm not going to help anyone try and convince her otherwise (in any case, who'd be running the board if she's on stage?). We are appearing together in non-speaking roles together in Carolyn Raship/Daniel McKleinfeld's piece in the Baby Jesus Jubilee, so Berit will take to the stage briefly again in the next few weeks (her rules seem to be that she'll appear on stage in silent roles or vocally over the booth mic - she won't be on stage and speak at the same time).
In brief, our piece consisted of alternating voiceovers as Berit read smarmily from Isherwood's piece in the Times about "what to do in NYC while Broadway is mostly shut down" -- she describes her (excellent, I'd say) vocal performance as "NPR crossed with Crow T. Robot's description of his day-trip to Chicago" -- and I read quotes on Theatre from Brecht, Foreman, Clurman, Wellman, and Mamet as well as some supposed Gemini CollisionWorks "rules for making theatre" (eg; "Rule #1: If you lived here, you'd be home by now.") The video was just titles identifying the quotes for the most part - Berit did a great job in creating them, as I requested, to look as much like the titles in Godard's Tout Va Bien as possible. On stage were sixteen chairs in three rows, and as our quotes played, we knocked them over one by one, until the end, when something different happens. It worked. People dug it. David Cote and I wound up having another in our continuing series of talks (which feel like one ongoing talk, broken up) regarding Off-Off-Broadway and the NYC press, and Berit had to keep assuring people who hadn't read the Isherwood article that it was indeed a real article by a real theatre critic in the real New York Times.
The whole party was great, and the other performances were quite good. A lot of it was very in-jokey for "The Brick Regulars," but that's only appropriate - Trav S.D. and Art Wallace showed a film (which we shot last Tuesday) of spurious "forgotten shows from The Brick's past," mainly parodying the styles of some of the Regulars - I contributed Ian W. Hill's Death of a Salesman starring myself and Moira Stone. Best of all, Lynn Berg and Audrey Crabtree performed a wonderfully nasty clown piece detailing "The History of The Brick" in which they did lovingly vicious parodies of all of us who run the space -- I spent most of it wondering what they were going to do to Berit and I, and was not disappointed as they enacted one of our typical lighting-tech squabbles ("Give me some ambers, Berit!" "Those are amber, Ian!" "No, those are green, Berit!" "Ian, you're colorblind!").
Unfortunately, a lovely night was capped by returning home after 13 hours at The Brick and finding that the cats had got into a sewing bag of Berit's that they shouldn't have, and Hooker was obviously in distress, having chewed on a piece of foam that B uses for a pin cushion. A trip to the 24-hour emergency vet, a couple of hours, and several examinations later, and, yup, there was a needle lodged in his throat. They sedated him, removed it, and kept him under observation until the following afternoon. Lucky little bastard - it could have been so much worse (needle in the stomach = surgery), and now he gets soft food for a week, like he's getting rewarded for misbehaving (as is Moni, as we know damned well that she's the one who got up on Berit's workdesk and pulled down the sewing materials).
So that was two nights running we didn't get to bed until 4.30 am, and last night I wound up falling asleep at a really early hour for me, and now I've been up and edgy since 4.00 this morning. Grrr. At least the snow outside has been kinda pretty as it appeared to me during the sunrise.
The good news in the middle of the whole magilla yesterday was that we finally got the play I'm directing for the Baby Jesus Jubilee fully cast as of 11 am yesterday, and were able to actually rehearse with the full cast in the afternoon. So, Jason Liebman has joined Alyssa Simon, Aaron Baker, and myself in Marc Spitz's Marshmallow World, and he's perfect in the part, as I thought he would be. I had neglected contacting him before yesterday, as he's already acting in another show on the bill (Qui Nguyen's Action Jesus, as Jesus), but once again I've learned not to assume anything, and "nothing ventured, nothing gained" (well, I've been given another example; considering that this keeps happening to me, I have no doubt I haven't learned anything). He read the script and jumped right in. Jason was the other Hamlet in The Pretentious Festival this year (in Q1: The Bad Hamlet) and we have an odd bond as a result (do actors who've played Hamlet have this in general?) - though there have been jokes from the rest of the company about us being "matter and anti-matter" and whether having the two of us acting together will result in some kind of cosmic instability. Judging from how well yesterday's rehearsal went, there's nothing to worry about. So, THAT's set.
Oh, and the theme for The Brick's 2008 Summer Festival was announced in a special video trailer at the party:
The Film Festival: A Theater Festival.
And I think this means I finally go forward with my longtime dream of presenting a stage adaptation of Orson Welles' film of The Magnificent Ambersons as Welles originally finished it, before the studio reshoots and recutting.
Oh boy, oh boy, this will be interesting . . .