(first appeared at www.whiskeypaper.com 8/19/12)
I wonder sometimes where art is headed. Since the first painting were thrown up on a cave wall there have been artists, critics and the audience and those 3 have been involved in a dance ever since. Do the fast-forwarding from stick figures to print to movies yourself. Every leap and advancement is a story in itself and frankly I don’t have the time or interest to do it for you. I’m just dying to get to the part where I tell you about my new play.
Before I do that though let me say that for years I have been torn between trying to impress my peers, gain the respect of the critics and win over the masses. I fully realize that most people have a splash of each within them but I think you’re smart enough to know that the masses only think that way because they are dumb as dirt. Don’t think that because I find the lack of refinement in common folks detestable that I enjoy the company of artists and critics though. Far from it. When I read a theatrical review of some off-off-Broadway crap that has critics raving simply because it gives them an opportunity to show off their vocabulary and they know in their heart of hearts that nobody will actually take the time to go see the play it makes my blood boil. I wish the whole pretentious lot of them would simply disappear or, even better, they would be forced to get real jobs.
So where does this leave me and what is my new play about?
I’m glad you asked.
It cost me several million dollars to build the theater that holds it but it was the only way to stage it. When you walk in you’ll see why. The entire play takes place on a rollercoaster, a 3 story rollercoaster that both encircles the audience and plunges in and out of them. No loops but plenty of plunging.
The play is just under 2 hours long and for the entire time the rollercoaster is hurling around the audience, save the very first minute where it is climbing up and the cast members riding it are introducing themselves with a bit of dialogue. There are also a few parts where the rollercoaster slows down to mimic the slow-motion effect of the storyline at that juncture but other than that it is going full speed the entire time.
Casting took forever as finding 19 actors who are impervious to motion sickness was not easy. Even with such careful screening it is rare that we get through an entire production without at least a few of them throwing up at some point. This might also be because they are only allowed to eat corn dogs and cotton candy as the pre-show meal to get them into character. Turnover continues to be a problem but in New York there is never a shortage of actors and actresses willing to have the safety harness pulled down over them
What is the play about?
Seems a reasonable question but not one that is asked as often as you’d think. In fact, we are entering our fifth month of sold-out shows and I have yet to actually answer it. I mean, I have answered it but I use the language of the critics so at no point do I tell anyone what it is actually about.
Even with the microphones that each actor has it is almost impossible to hear what they are saying over the roar of the rollercoaster itself and the various screaming of the cast. Doesn’t seem to matter, the audiences seem to love it. Particularly when someone throws up. We had an actress come in from a popular TV sitcom and while she only lasted 3 shows she was wildly popular because she threw up almost the entire time she was on ‘stage’. Midgets are upset of course because we have a sign with a hand sticking out in front of the theater saying that you must be “this tall” to appear in the play.
The critics love it. They love me actually. I would repeat all the great adjectives they’ve used to describe me but I’m not sure what most of them mean and I would hate for a negative one to sneak in there and tarnish my image.
And my peers? All but one of them have been silent, obviously stewing in their jealousy. But that writer, that thieving bastard, is only 2 weeks away from the opening of his latest Broadway effort.
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