Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Person With Awesomeism

This was a pretty full weekend for me. In other words, I did stuff other than wake up at noon, watch the TBS afternoon movie, then decide on whether it’s worth showering at four in the afternoon.

(I’m of course kidding ladies. I’m an early riser and frequent bather.)

I was reminded this weekend that before I engage in the full-on plugging onslaught for my own show (The Adventures of Nervous Boy playing June 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 at 8 pm the Gene Frankel Underground on 24 Bond Street), I need to engage in the full-on plugging for other people’s shows.

I want to bring to your attention two plays and one short film I saw this weekend.

The first play I saw was called Penetralia, produced by Stone Soup Theatre Arts. Now, much to my chagrin, there’s no nudity in this show (as the title would make you hope for). Despite this, I still had a good time watching it. The play — based on an original script by Randy Anderson, Stephanie Farnell-Wilson, Adam Hunault and Joshua Tjaden — is about a village where all the townsfolk can read minds and converse mentally rather than verbally, their sesquicentennial and a member of the village with the power to telepathically “lie” to and shield his thoughts from his community. It’s short and fun, and didn’t make me fidget anxiously in my seat the way Faith Healer did.

So yes, I can — and will — say this without hyperbole: I enjoyed Penetralia better than Faith Healer.

The second play I saw was Vampire Cowboys’ Living Dead in Denmark, which I said I was looking forward to before. I was not let down: pretty ladies with samurai swords and battleaxes fighting ugly zombies.

Ugly ninja zombies.


Now, for the theatre snobs out there who are just rolling their eyes with derision at the above description, no doubt lamenting yet another nail being hammered into theatre’s coffin, just continue lamenting; you won’t be missed. This is a play for people who actually like having fun going to see shows, something at which Qui, Robert and the Vampire Cowboys gang are getting really, really good. Vampire Cowboys is getting more ambitious with its fight sequences, stage effects and overall theatrics. They haven’t put on a bad show yet and — judging from Living Dead in Denmark — they’re not about to start anytime soon.

Both plays close this weekend, so if you get a chance, you should check out both. (Penetralia is playing at Actor’s Theatre Workshop on 145 West 28th Street; Living Dead in Denmark is playing at Center Stage on 48 West 21st Street.) And bring a date. S/he’ll think you’re cultured. Mention my name to the box office person and you’ll get a…well, probably a weird look that means, “Who the eff is that?”

* * *

Now onto the short film.

In between these shows (I saw Penetralia on Friday and Living Dead in Denmark on Sunday), I played my role as an extra in a short film by Jamie Taylor (from All You Can Eat Theatre) on Saturday. At the shoot, I saw my friend Dennis Hurley (those of you who have seen Nosedive’s Evil Hellcat & Other Lurid Tales may remember him as both Dabba the monkey puppet in “Jiffy Squid” and Zombie Tom in “Evil Hellcat & the Liquid Lunch”), who completed a short film himself, called The Albino Code, a parody of both the Dan Brown book, The Da Vinci Code and the forthcoming Ron Howard movie of the same name.

On his Web site, Dennis explains the origins for his parody movie:

“For those of you who haven't read the novel, there's a heavily featured character named Silas, who's not only an Opus Dei monk and an assassin, he's also an albino. As someone with albinism, I can tell you that albinism affects the pigment of the eyes, skin, and hair; vision problems are a key part of the condition-probably the most important part. In The Da Vinci Code novel, Silas has red eyes, shoots people from far distances, and drives in a high-speed car chase at night. Putting aside the fact that people with albinism do not have red eyes, the activities that Silas engages in are nearly impossible for someone with albinism…”

I would agree that a person with albinism, often having poor eyesight, would make a pretty shitty assassin.

Dennis continues:

“Dan Brown supposedly did his research in the area of religion, but he seemed to skip the albinism research entirely when he created Silas. Silas…bears no resemblance to a real-life person with albinism. As a result, Mr. Brown perpetuates the negative and fictional stereotypes of the evil albino with red eyes and/or supernatural powers that Hollywood has perpetuated for years (e.g. End of Days, The Matrix Reloaded, Powder).”

According to Dennis, after he auditioned for the role (it’s pretty rare that albino actors get work in major studio films, so landing a role in a film by Ron Howard would be a huge break), the part was given to Paul Bettany, a non-albino actor.

He continues:

“So, instead of complaining endlessly, I wrote a short film parody, entitled The Albino Code, with the following premise: ‘What if the story of The Da Vinci Code could be told from Silas's point of view? And what if Silas were an actual person with albinism thrust into a world of secret codes, mystery, and assassination?’”

(Tangential digression: I am reminded of one time after one of the shows for Evil Hellcat, which was staged in September 2004, Dennis and I, along with some other Nosedivians, were at a bar in the Upper West Side when some drunken girl came up to Dennis and asked if she could take his picture because he looked so fascinating. He admitted to the girl that he got this a lot, and she was far from the first random passerby to want to take his photo. At that point I could see how Dennis could find people regarding him as a curiosity to get a little tiresome.)

(Second tangential digression: the name of this post was originally going to be Talkin’ ‘Bout ‘Binos, but thought it would be a tad uncouth. I even ran it by Dennis to see if he was fine with it, and he was. But it still seemed…a tad uncouth, even for me.)

So, I encourage all of you to check out Dennis’s movie, The Albino Code, which has received quite a bit of press (including a feature on CNN). It’s about nine minutes long and is pretty funny.

Well…okay then. I think from here on in I’ll now be using this space to resume shamelessly plugging all of my shit.

And by “shit,” I of course mean “nuggets of artistic gold.”

Going back to watching TBS,

James “Play(er) Hate(r)” Comtois


Anonymous leigh said...

thanks for the plug, man.
i'm glad that our play beat out cherry jones and ralph fienes in your theatre-going book.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Sure thing. And good luck with the rest of the run!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not fooling anyone with that whole "bathing" comment, playwright.

-- Dirty Sock

P.S. Have you seen Underpants?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Hey, D.S. To be honest, I haven't seen Underpants in an appallingly long time. I'm starting to get worried.

5:12 PM  

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