Thursday, October 07, 2010

Colburn on Fisher... Fisher on Colburn

Yes... I know how that sounds. My theatre buddy Randall Colburn came and saw SEVEN SNAKES and I went to see his latest GHOSTBOX. We did a little write up review of each others pieces under the precondition that it could be 10 mins of stream of consciousness writing, and that I would let whatever Randall had to say go up on the blog unedited.

BTW this is Randall.

I was going to put a gun in hand with photoshop, but alas no time...

So here first are Randall's thoughts on the Mammals' show, followed up by my thoughts on his production with Infusion Theatre Company.

seven snakes what the hell is wrong with you bob ps: I totes dug it and i seriously I want your mind and I want your gusto I’m too scared to do what you do what with the huge cast and gender bending and genre bending and breaking and stomping and honoring and slathering a smushed bloody heart all over the proceedings at the same time and erin orr killed it but I don’t like to see her yell and scream so much and matt kahler was my favorite that funeral march dude with the kid radio thing I don’t know what it’s called but I don’t think I've seen anything like it in chicago theater ever and isn't that what we want to do create things no one has seen or things that feel fresh and interesting and not stupid and lame and boring and derivative and i liked roy gonzales a lot in this show i liked him in meatlocker more but he had more lines then so maybe that's that but he seems to fit into your universe and don hall is awesome but i don't understand why he was playing a woman but does it matter not really i don't think and i don't think we needed him around after the first 20 minutes not that i didn't enjoy his performance but it's like how dexter's dad on the show dexter needed to leave the show after the second season because it's like what do you do with him now and i was offput at times by how nasty the va guys were and thought sean ewert was great in his death scene and i'm not just saying that because he's my facebook friend and the secret agent dudes added some texture to the play and i love the way you play with sound it sounds so cavernous and creates this really thick awesome atmosphere but i didn't get why they were there really the whole thing where they were speaking into erin's brain kinda lost me but i liked the way they looked in the universe you know a lot of people call theater experimental which is kind of a dumb word and i kind of hate talking about what is experimental and all that other bs because it's like just make good art you know make something that feels authentic and real and dangerous and daring and ballsy and it will feel different and we don't need to impose difference and what i dig about the mammals is that its less about imposing weirdness and more about fulfilling a vision and while im kind of the opposite in terms of indulgence i think its really important to have a company like the mammals doing stuff like this that can kinda blow peoples minds a bit even if they dont get it or dont like it or dont care about it its about eliciting a reaction and provoking a response and not just trying to be cute and cuddly and witty and i think theatre should be a deeply personal and intense experience where the artists are putting themselves out there putting themselves on the line and even though theres nothing really realistic which is a dumb word about your plays they feel deeply personal and i can tell you care about them and sometimes i feel like no one cares and those are the worst days and i liked the lecherous older snake but i thought it was sorta lame that all the snakes got killed by one va guy i was prepared for all of them to go off the hook and shit but maybe thats a genre thing im not as familiar with and i love the way you fuck with genre it might be my favorite thing about your work how you subvert genre and fuse them and create a little genre monster and it's like for everything i don't like there's something i like even more and they're not boring and they fuck with genre and archetypes and okay im done go see it dont be lame bye.

So... now you know... go see my show SEVEN SNAKES!

and now...

So many folks seemed to have gotten past god. But here it seems that you haven't. And to me that is refreshingly naked and raw in a way that opens one up to so much condescension. That is a risk that I don't see taken enough. But it is so private. Audacity of dread plus patience without menace. What the simplicity of the world holds for those who believe in demons. The differences between demons and ghosts and simple electrical surges. But I want to say that less is more here. And I wonder, were the ambiguities exorcised? Our did I just imprint my own spirits on the aural Rorschach.

Beckettian or Beckettesque (I like the later). Spoiler Alerts. Belief in something other than the material plane seems to be such a weird taboo in certain circles (and I think this Chicago Theater Circle is one of them). When the median is so atheistic, how do they digest your vision without looking down it? I guess we will see wont we? They can connect to the pain of a lost child... yes. They can focus on what is 'really' happening? But the characters' obsessions with the ethereal... can those who don't stay up late praying or talking to people who aren't 'in the room with you'... will they be moved? Or is it just 'make believe to the extreme' for them? Ghostbox made me think. That is wonderful. How sad it is to say how rarely I am forced to think like this in theatre.

Now the filmwork was both brilliant and well...a little too 'ring' for me. I liked the biblical quotes. I liked the way the frame widened at the end and saw everything on the beach. I liked the way the images were ghosts and in that way it didn't matter if ghosts were 'real'? Those images are impermanent and yet inescapable...seems like a ghost to me.

I like the light bulb, I like the electric shock at the mention of his name. I love your actress, I saw her in Curse of the Starving Class and her face is so expressive and endearing. The hope hurt me. I started shaking my head because I thought they were hurting themselves to much with hope. The play ends in hell but there is hope?

I don't know where your writing ends and the direction begins. It makes it hard for me to feel confidence in my commentary. I'll just assume everything belongs to you till I'm told differently.

The strength of the piece is its patience, but it is also its Achilles heel too. This piece to me is sort of a rebuttal to Sartre's too famous notion. Life is isolation. Hell is isolation. Other people are needed in order to escape this kind of hell.

I'm stopping now. I hope people tune their heart to the frequency this piece insists upon. That insistence is admirable. Maybe, I was right... perhaps Krapp does get the girl in the end?

Well, that's it. Go see Ghostbox (click here for info). And then go see SEVEN SNAKES!

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