swivel chair 101

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.


as stupid as this sounds, i can’t really write about what’s going on. i’ve actually attempted several times in the past few weeks to write here but find myself impossibly frustrated and stumped. too sad, too many sensitive people and situations and it just plain fucking sucks.

i’m trying to put something longer and more articulate together for later, but i’ll just say: the last few weeks have been the hardest of the past few years, harder than touring, harder than anything. i’ve had to watch this play/project that i’ve been working on for over two years take a direction that is out of my control…hours of brain and soul work lost. the show still emerges, but under someone else’s somewhat alien wing. it’s been painful in a deep way, like a creative miscarriage and a forced adoption on top. whatever. the worst hopefully came and went four or five days ago and i’m on the mend, no more tears, ready to see if i can at least make sense of this story. the adult theater world. the big. real. theater world. it’s….different.

stories are helpful. here’s one.

four days ago i went to see a theater project put on by the American Repertory Theater Institute students who are part of our play (the onion cellar) which goes up next week. they are acting students. a group of 15 of them put on a performance in the theater that our show will be held. it was a really well-rehearsed, directed, lit and staged set of solo or duo vignettes called “object exercises” in which the students had been given 6 weeks or so to create a physical performance using a simple object. the actor plus a broom, plus a trash can, plus a water bottle, etc. you get it. one performer did a piece using a black office swivel chair, you know the type, adjustable back, 6-forked swivel bottom, cheap-ass upholstery. he dressed in a tux, knee pads and elbow pads and did a performance/dance with the chair using the james bond theme. he slid around on it, danced with it and under it, bounded, glided, generally become one with it. it was amazing, astounding even.

tonight i went to my friend andrew’s house. greg was there. we drank malt liquor forties and break-danced to wu-tang and run DMC for 3 hours non-stop. at one point, i was taking a breather in the kitchen and greg collapsed in a black office swivel chair next to me. andrew came in and force-wheeled greg back onto the living room dance floor. greg went mad, dancing with the swivel chair and doing moves heretofore unknown by any break-dancer.

no plan. no rehearsals. no director. no set designer. no dramaturgs. no assistant dramaturgs. no office and no xerox machines. no ten-minute breaks every hour and fifty minutes. no stage manager. no assistant stage managers. no assistant to the assistant stage managers. no lighting designer. no speech coach.

it was better.

metaphor digested.


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