One of the controversial events Tyr Throne instigated occurred nearly three years ago at his Duane Street Dance Loft, which was, since then, lost or rather returned into the domain of the building's property owners. Tyr negotiated a 10 year 2,000 a month lease for the loft and by the end of the term other lofts there were renting for 16,000.
Last night we were deciphering the Prepare to Meet Your Maker performance history for suggestions of where it will next go. The performance that Tyr stressed was most worth screening was the one he called the Rimshot performance because that was the one in which he told everyone to improvise freely, and, we could see when we started watching the performance, folowing a long and shocking process of figuring out which tapes it was on, that the 11 castmembers entering the stage 'round midnight on Friday, December 10th, 1999, were clearly "in their cups," milling about with drinks in their hands like guests at a cocktail party. (The exception, I believe, was Chris West. I was delighted to see how outrageous Chris became during the performance because when he first entered the screen he was clearly holding a water bottle.)
What a window into the past was this tape. To Tyr's credit -- and it is sometimes a chore to suggest to some people that there is anything to his credit, when there is, in fact, a lot -- he directed us to perform the show within an imaginary cone. He placed the camera on the front and center aisle. We filled the flat frame picture with action. This is a rather effective idea. Only cast action is within the video frame. When we moved back (upstage)we had plenty of area but when we moved closer toward the audience we imagined we were moving into the funnel tip of a cone.
So, thanks to a VHC camera that was already 7 years old at the time, we viewed the chaotic festivity; and everyone was, in a word, rambunctious.
Remember MASH (1970)? It was on TV the night before, and I imagined the chaos of being there versus the pleasure of watching it. I'm talking about the conditions that appear to have actually existed during the filming.
Onto the personal ego element of realization. I saw myself playing Quasimodo, the lead role, in the videotape. In case you don't know, I'm a skinny fellow. I weighed 130 and looked kind of frightening and, well, like we were saying about John Candy and early Jim Carey, I'm acting almost like a whore for the comedy. Why is the implication contained in that statement encouraging to the audience? Actually, I'm miles away from my inner whore. Since when do I have dignity? Elegance is incidental. Children forgive me, your shameless, issueless father.
My last performance as Quasimodo was in December of 1999.
Tony Hightower took over at the height of the PTMYM popularity, as you may also know, but even before, the Tyr Throne backlash was clearly formenting, something that concerns me still, since it is pressure from many sides that suggests I break off involvement with him, and I once again affirm the benefits of his company. By the way, Tyr benefits from interaction with Gabrielle Roth, who must be quite an inspiring person. He called the Prepare to Meet Your Maker script "a map." He believes in shocking people into aliveness. I do, too.
Actors get the benefit of learning from their participation in the organized social interaction that is their script.
Audiences get the benefit of kernals of inspiration from observing from a safe distance a disorganized mess.