Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Legacy

Cast  

Angela – A beautiful and ambitious chat show hostess.

Nigel – Famous rock star, aging but still vital. Very comfortable with his fame.

Cue Card Holder – A man doing a job.

(lights up full)

Angela: To those of you just tuning in, welcome. You’ll recognize our guest – He’s headlining a solo tour while the rest of the boys in the band are in rehab!

I am delighted to welcome the one, the only – Nigel!

(A few bars of Classic Rock are played as Nigel enters. Cue Card Holder stands and shows the “Applause” card briefly and sits back down. Nigel enters to audience applause. Angela gets up to greet him. They both sit down.)

Angela: Welcome. Welcome. Make yourself at home.

Nigel: Hey Angela. Always nice to see you too, love.

Angela: That was an amazing show you put on last night at the Omni. All the old hits… well, not all the old hits of course –There wouldn’t be time for all of them in a 3 hour show. But listening to you sing all those classics got me thinking… You’re sixty years old, is that right?

Nigel: Yeah love, sixty. What’s it to you?

Angela: (a little taken aback) Well… um. I wondered how you had the energy to be whooping it up on stage night after—

Nigel: (interrupting) You should see me after I leave the stage, love.

Angela: …night – energy when most of your contemporaries are resting comfortably in their Florida retirement homes. What keep you going, Nigel?

Nigel: Legacy, Angela. Legacy.

Angela: And what do you feel your legacy is, Nigel? I mean, you’ve been a Rock & Roll God for four decades now, so when you say “legacy” Nigel, just what do you mean?

Nigel: I mean – the reason I got into this game in the first place.

Angela: And why was that, Nigel?

Nigel: (quickly) Crumpet.

Angela: (cluelessly) Crumpet?

Nigel: You know… Cun–   (Stops mid-word. Smiles slyly, looks around.)

What we wanted then – it’s the same thing we want now. It’s just that with age, we look at it a bit, y’know – differently. With more perspective. You know when we was young, we looked at the great Blues guys, cause they got all the chicks. And they were just poor Negroes. I mean we didn’t look too bad by way of contrast. So we thought – well! Yeah!

Angela: Sex?!? That’s it? That’s your legacy?

Nigel: Don’t knock it ‘til you try it, love. (Chuckles and pauses for audience laughter) But seriously, legacy is what you leave the world, am I right? So I asked myself – “Nigel” I says, “what will people remember in a thousand years time? What’s gonna last? What’s gonna go the distance?” (looks pensive) And the answer isn’t my money, not my fame. My music… (looks to the audience and archly raises a brow) … well, I suppose there might be an outside chance at that. But the real answer is genes, Angela — Children.

Angela: (back on track) And you’ve just had your 9th child named… (finds it in notes) Ruby – with the voluptuous young South African… um, (tries to think of nice way to say porn star) “model” Alexandra van Houten. Is that right?

Nigel: Ruby – Yeah. Cute little thing she is too. Mark my words, she’ll be a heartbreaker like her mom. (smiles) But that’s not really my point, Angela.

Angela: No?

Nigel: You ever hear of a chap called Screamin’ Jay Hawkins?

Angela: (stumped, she looks into the audience hopefully) um…

Cue Card Holder: (audible whisper) “I Put a Spell on You!”

Angela: (relieved) Ah – “I Put A Spell On You”. (expectant smile) That guy?

Nigel: (bemused) Yeah, that guy – I caught his act once in California – what a showman! And amazingly successful, genetically speaking.

Angela: What do you mean – ‘genetically successful’?

Nigel : (nodding) Screamin’ Jay Hawkins has 95 kids confirmed and only married once. No telling how many others there are out there… he probably has 300 grandkids by now…

That’s what it’s all about, love. It’s about unlimited numbers of very fertile and very willing young girls; enough money to buy them trinkets and treat the clap; enough prestige so the mothers of your children around the world think they’re doing the world a favor while remaining at a discreet distance; and above all – Above all it’s about the genes. That’s a legacy, love.

Angela: So you’re implying that you have more than 9 children?

Nigel: (disbelieving her naivety) Implyin’? Please… Here’s Screamin’ Jay with a cool hundred kids, and you never even heard of him. Well, you’ve jolly well heard of me! So just imagine how many little Nigels there are out in the world today, love.

Angela: (incredulous) That’s a lot of single mothers, Nigel. Surely someone would notice.

Nigel: Someone in the press you mean? Someone I haven’t done in the press? Someone who don’t want to be me in the press? People see what they want to see. ‘Specially when it comes to sex…

Do you know what the word Cuckold means, love? It’s like the cuckoo bird leavin’ eggs in someone else’s nest. If I told you how many married women I’d had, you wouldn’t believe me. Sometimes the man gets a whiff that the baby isn’t his, and sometimes he knows for a solid fact. But that don’t stop anything. Never has and it never will. Sometimes I find a gold digger like Alexandra, or she finds me. But truth is, she was worth it. Got out of that marriage, got another lovely little girl, and got another great piece of ass into the bargain. And, believe it or not, I’d never done it in the Voortrekker Monument before…

Angela: But surely, you don’t plan on keeping up this… “lifestyle” forever? Not when you’re …85?

Nigel: That’s what you think, love.

It’s the muscle memory that matters, love, not the skin. I figure with clean living and science on my side, I should be good for a 100 – or maybe more – before my time expires. And these days, it’s only beauties for me, love. You get better kids that way. And they’re more fun to look at from the backside too, even if the young one’s need some schoolin’.

Angela: Ahem…(looks at watch) well that about wraps it up for us here on the Angela Darling show. A big thanks to our guest for a very revealing interview!

(Cue Card Holder stands and shows the “Applause” card briefly and sits back down.)

Nigel: (leans in) So beautiful, you wanna shag?

Angela: (coyly) Sure… (she smiles wide and leans in for a kiss) …Dad.

(blackout)

 

Art Appreciation

Like most of the artists whose work I’ll be sharing here over the coming weeks, Tran Nguyen’s lovely and intimate work speaks fluently for itself – predominately on book covers and in galleries around the world. I first encountered her dreamy portraits of young women lying on rooftops much smaller than they were – possibly her take on Alice in Wonderland as imagined by Rene Magritte:

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TASTE FOR BITTERSWEET BEDS (“A Place Procured From Our Yesteryears” exhibition)

Then I saw this piece (in Spectrum if memory serves) seemingly inspired by Gustav Klimt by way of Jody Lee. Beautiful in its patterns and tones, and oblique. I looked at it again and again:

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OUR FLUTTER-SOME ORDEAL (“Nurturing the Uneased Soul” exhibition)

And lately I’ve seen her work gracing Smithsonian Magazine. Every time I see her work, I am impressed and delighted:
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LAID IN A LANDLESS FACADE (Smithsonian Magazine Cover, Art Director: Maria Keehan)

 

Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week,  Godspell.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

A Republican Reverie 

A piece for two voices        Voice 1: Bold Text        Voice 2: Italic Text

(lights up full)

 

All the presidents menus

Caviar without caveat.

Caveat emptor

 

The Emperor’s New Clotheshorse

Wayne Newton joins the Dick Armey

How the Newt Gingrich stole Christmas

How Do Ron Ron?

 

Ex-con, Exxon

Enron, L. Ron

Don Regan, Ron Reagan.

Nancy boys and Hardy Boys

The religious right, the religious right now.

 

Diabetics for Dianetics.

Rehnquist and shout.

Gone a-courting

 

Currying favor, carrying furor

Vested interests, interesting vests.

Caesar Dressing, undressing at the palace.

Julius and Sid. Milton Burlesque,

A John Milton Omar Bradley Game.

Fun for the whole family values.

 

Look on my works ye mighty.

And disappear.

 

(blackout)

 

Theatrical Thursday

Welcome to… Theatrical Thursday!

I design and illustrate theatre posters – a lot of theatre posters – for clients in New York, Atlanta, DC, and my hometown Portland, Oregon. It has been my good fortune to create posters for world premieres (from Stephen King & John Mellencamp, Craig Wright, and Stephen Sondheim), Opera (Aida, la Traviata, Madame Butterfly) and classics alike (1776, Blithe Spirit, Mame, the Mousetrap).

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I also wrote (and occasionally performed) short pieces for No Shame Theatre – it was a lifeline, an outlet, and a chance for me to learn with professional writers and directors Todd Ristau and Clinton Johnston. Many of these pieces were topical and timely, a few seem to hold up, and one or two still get performed.

A Painful Death

Cast

Arthur Halliday – A rumpled unshaven man with bloodshot eyes and messy hair.

Joan – A patient, composed and erudite Librarian

(Arthur is seated stage left – under a spotlight – at a table that has unopened bills, a pack of cigarettes, an ashtray and miscellaneous office supplies. He stubs out a cigarette, avoids opening any more of the mail on the table and nervously fiddles with some paperclips as Joan speaks.)

Joan: (speaking from offstage) This is Arthur Halliday. He lost his job as Worldcom’s CFO on December 10th. His girlfriend Jennifer broke up with him on the 11th. His wife Erica left him on the 12th and took his Lexus. His accountant Dave was arrested on the 13th. His lawyer Gordy committed suicide on the 14th.

Arthur is under investigation for embezzlement and insider trading. He is more than three hundred thousand dollars debt. He owes more than two thousand dollars in unpaid parking tickets alone…

Yesterday, the big men came and took all his worldly goods. All they left was this table and and a few kitchen appliances.

The SubZero Freezer (spotlight), the DeLonghi Espresso machine (spotlight), and the Garland Gas Stove (spotlight). Arthur knows that tomorrow, they’ll cut the gas off too…

After considering his options, Arthur has finally made up his mind.

(Arthur gets up, deliberately goes over to the stove. He turns on the gas, opens the door, kneels down and puts his head inside. After a long beat, Joan steps onto the stage.)

Joan: Arthur. Please take your head out of the oven.

(Arthur starts violently and bashes his head on the roof of the oven, before swearing, standing up, rubbing his aching head, and looking incredulously at Joan.)

Arthur: Who… Who… Who are you lady? How’d you get in here?

Joan: Please, sit down. It’s important that you listen to me closely Arthur – literally a matter of life and death.

Arthur:  But I… Who are you?

Joan: My name is Joan, I’m a librarian. You obviously need help, and I’m here to help you.

Arthur: (sitting down a little woozily) Help?

Joan: Yes, Arthur. Help. You were trying to end your pain and suffering by putting your head in the oven. It’s important that you understand that’s not the right thing to do.

While it’s true that more than one million people will try to end their own lives this year,

(on a roll now, she turns toward the audience in a statistical reverie)

Most will not succeed, and some will live on – in even greater agony than before.

While the US has suicide rates far below those in Asia, those rates invariably grow in bad economic times. The loss of a loved one, employment, or honor.

Arthur: (still holding his aching head, as he cuts her off) Lady! Why are you wasting my time with all these statistics? I just don’t care! I’m over it.

Joan: (patiently) You’d like to be “over it” Arthur. But until you hear me out, your chances aren’t good. A lot of people try to end their lives each year – More than you’d think. But so many of them, like you, forget the importance of pain.

Arthur: Pain?

Joan: Yes, pain.

Arthur: I’m not forgetting pain lady. I’ve got enough pain for a family of four.

Joan: And your mental anguish only increases your likelihood of making a critical mistake.  I refer to physical pain, Arthur, physical pain. It’s crucial at moments of transition – In matters of life and death. You knew that when you were a newborn, you’ve just forgotten over time.

My sisters (admiring) who swerve into oncoming traffic , or throw themselves off cliffs, they understand.  But we souls who fear the pain– (self conscious) we who research obscure toxins, venoms and  asphyxia – we who take “the coward’s way out” – never truly get out Arthur. We have to stay where we were, where we are– forever. With the shame and horror of our shattered lives always around us. Without sufficient pain, we never transcend. We never move on. I don’t want that to happen to you Arthur. I’ve watched over this household far too long to watch you make that mistake.

Arthur: Jesus… You’re serious about this? You mean you’re a…

(Joan nods self-consciously)

Arthur: (panicky) Jesus…   oh, Jesus! I gotta think this through. (Arthur pulls out a cigarette.)   Got a match?

(Joan smiles wryly, pulling out a match. As she reaches out to light his cigarette there’s an immediate blackout and an earthshaking ka-boom)

Art Appreciation

Ursula Vernon is a wonder – her award-winning stories are often (but not always) illustrated. And her work is much beloved in this house and many others. Her stories (Nurk, Digger, the Seventh Bride, et al) are available at your nearest book and comic shops – her artwork (a smattering of which you see below) is available through Red Wombat Studio and Topatoco.

Where no man may kill a cat

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Vivid Platypus

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The Earl of Oregano

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Sir. Bunny vs. The Wockwurm

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Steampunk Rooster
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