Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some PULP Photos!

Check 'em out. More to come.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

PULP and Pinkie This Weekend

Well, we have two more shows left for The Blood Brothers Present: PULP and two more reviews:

“The ghoulish Brothers Blood have returned bringing panic, terror, wit and gore to a city that can’t seem to get enough of it. ... These are the gory, creepy little tales to disgust and delight the audience.”
-Byrne Harrison, Stage Buzz

“PULP could be the perfect guilty pleasure for adults who love to indulge in the general Halloween spirit, or who, to paraphrase playwright James Comtois, grew up on trashy horror and just can�t get enough of it."
-Kessa De Santis, ELJ All Arts Annex

And for those of you that have seen the show (yay for you!), you may want to check out Episode Two of my Western/noir, Pinkie, playing at the Vampire Cowboys’ Saturday Night Saloon. Below are the details.

For Season 07-08, Vampire Cowboys launches its newest adventure in awesomeness, THE SATURDAY NIGHT SALOON, a semi-monthly party at THE BATTLE RANCH featuring brand new genre-bending serialized plays by NYC's hottest indie theatre artists. From Sci-fi Teenage Sex Comedies to Old West Film Noir, these new series will have you foaming at the mouth for the next installment.

And the best part, it's all FREE!

Plus for a $5 donation, all-you-can-drink beer (or until we run out).


Featuring all new exciting ongoing series by:

Dustin Chinn
Member of The Ma-Yi Writers Lab

James Comtois
Co-Artistic Director of Nosedive Productions

Jeff Lewonczyk
Co-Artistic Director of Piper McKenzie Productions
& The Brick Theater

Robert Ross Parker
Co-Artistic Director of Vampire Cowboys

Webb Wilcoxen
Member of LAByrinth Theater Company
& Developing Artists Theater Company

Saturday, October 27th, 2007
@ 8 p.m.

111 Conselyea Street, #2L
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Click here for a map.

It definitely feels a bit weird to be missing closing night for the show (and feels weird for Pete to direct a piece that he won't be able to see), but hey. Them’s the way it goes.

I mean, It's not like I'm going to miss the all-night drinking with the Nosedive crew Saturday night.

So it's time, folks. Come see one or the other. You'll be glad you did.

Ready for a nap come Sunday,

James "Writin' Fool" Comtois

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Final PULP Plug

Well, Since this is my penultimate blog entry for the week, this will be my final plug for The Blood Brothers Present: PULP, playing for three more nights (tonight, tomorrow and Saturday) at the 78th Street Theatre Lab. Tickets are selling quite well and we all have been really thrilled with how this show has turned out. This is a very fun anthology show for horror fans getting into the Halloween spirit, so if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you should do so very damn soon.

Seriously, folks. You won’t want to miss out.

Tomorrow’s entry will be reserved for plugging this, going up at the Vampire Cowboys Battle Ranch. But like I said, another plug for another day.

And hey! I just noticed this is my 400th post!

[insert fanfare here]

Feeling like a carnival barker,

James “Marketing Whore” Comtois


From Nosedive Productions…

The Blood Brothers Present: PULP

Best Served Cold by Mac Rogers
Directed by Pete Boisvert & Patrick Shearer

Dead Things Kill Nicely by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Pete Boisvert & Patrick Shearer

Listening To Reason by James Comtois
Directed by Matt Johnston

With additional material conceived by the Blood Brothers and directed by Stephanie Williams & Becky Comtois

Featuring Gyda Arber, Michael Criscuolo, Anna Kull, Marc Landers, Jessi Gotta and Brian Silliman

The 78th Street Theatre Lab
236 West 78th Street (near Broadway)
October 25-27, Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Glories of Gloria Review for nytheatre.com

My review of The Glories of Gloria Revue is now up on nytheatre.com.

* * *

It takes a tremendous amount of effort and skill to play awkward and clumsy, because either: a) moments of grace and flair can sneak in; or b) the performance can just end up... [keep reading]

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Welcome to Nowhere Review for nytheatre.com

My review of the play Welcome to Nowhere is now up on nytheatre.com.

* * *

Welcome to Nowhere (bullet hole road), Temporary Distortion's deconstructionist take on the modern American road movie, is a captivating, hypnotic, and mesmerizing work of art, easily... [keep reading]

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Monday, October 22, 2007

More Reviews and Three More Chances

"Pulp, a new horror anthology by Nosedive Productions, isn't just right for the October season, it's exactly what the doctor ordered. ... Nosedive knows what they're doing, and Pulp goes down smooth."

-Aaron Riccio, New Theater Corps.

"Pulp is a razor-spiked treat for horror and gore fans."

-Patrick Lee, It Just Shows to Go You.

Wow. Thanks, guys!

And although this is ultimately a "mixed" review, Pete and I love this quote from Offoffonline.com:

"It might be the goriest interpretation of Aristotle yet."

-Samantha O'Brien, OffOffOnline.


There are only three more chances to check out Pulp. Don't miss it.

Priddy happy,

James "Happy Bringer of Death and Mayhem" Comtois

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Swamped, But in a Good Way

Amidst running Blood Brothers I've been writing as fast as I can with the other remaining projects on my plate, having just finished my entry for Vampire Cowboys' upcoming REVAMPED show (this year's theme being "Sci-fi Fairy Tales"), entitled, Beowulf, Krygor 9 & the Unicorn, a piece of total ridiculousness that I hope people not only come to see but also enjoy the living hell out of.

I'm also simultaneously finishing writing Episode 3 of Pinkie (entitled, "We Never Sleep") and the rewrites to this year's version of A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol (the goal is to have these things finished by the end of next week).

And yes, I still need to do those damn revisions on Colorful World, our Spring 2008 show that is my "superhero" play based very, very loosely on Watchmen (though, not really). But that self-imposed deadline isn't until before Christmas.

After that? Well, Episodes 4 and 5 of Pinkie, then who the hell knows? Maybe I'll just write a few sub-literate emails or text messages of the "Hey, what R U wearing?" variety.

So, that's my series of lame excuses for not posting entries of substance for the past week or so.

Anyway, have a good weekend, folks. Hope to see some of you at Blood Brothers.

Still finding ways to slack off,

James "I Can Watch TV At Work!" Comtois

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Thursday, October 18, 2007


As we begin the second of our three-weekend run for Blood Brothers, I figure in the interest of good juju to point out a handful of other fun horror-based shows that are going up in the New York area.

12th Night of the Living Dead. The Impetuous Theater Group, which brought you The Office Sonata, presents William Shakespeare's 12th Night. With zombies. Brian MacInnis Smallwood "Romerofies" the classic comedy. At the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center's La Tea Theater on 107 Suffolk Street (2nd Floor). Closes Nov. 10.

The Shortened Attention Span Horror Festival. Carlo Rivieccio and Christy Benanti present a three-week program of short horror plays at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center's La Tea Theater on 107 Suffolk Street (2nd Floor). At the Players Theatre Loft on 115 MacDougal Street. Closes Oct. 31.

The H.G. Wells Science Fiction Festival. RadioTheatre presents live radio play adaptations of four sci-fi classics - The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr. Moreau - in four weeks. At 59E59 Theaters on 59 East 59th Street. Closes Nov. 4.

So do yourself a favor and check these shows out. After, of course, you come see ours (tee-hee).

Getting in the spirit,

James "The Great Pumpkin" Comtois

Ps. And hey. If you have a show you’re doing in the city and want to plug it, you are welcome to do so in the comments section of this post.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"A Head-Crackin' Good Time!"

Hey, gang. The nytheatre.com review for The Blood Brothers Present: PULP is up, and they seem to like it!

Kat Chamberlain writes:

"All the shorts have a visual snap that is uncannily smooth. ... Directors Rebecca Comtois, Patrick Shearer, Pete Boisvert, Stephanie Cox-Williams, Matt Johnston, and fight choreographer Qui Nguyen all deserve credit for making the fake blood and body parts extremely effective.

The actors, often playing multiple roles, are committed and seem to have a blast. ... [T]here is sufficient originality and wit that it should please fans of horror or humor everywhere."

Read the whole thing here.

Then get your tickets. Space is limited.


Offering "bloody fun,"

James "Gorey, Not British" Comtois

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Friday, October 12, 2007

It Has Begun

So The Blood Brothers Present: PULP opened last night, and I think we got a pretty fun, kick-ass show on our hands (if I do say so myself). People looking for some unadulterated trashy, bloody fun will really enjoy themselves.

I made a point to be as hands-off in the rehearsal process as possible, so I was able to see the show last night ostensibly for the first time. I'm really glad I made that decision, because it allowed me to simply have fun watching the show as an audience member. And I had a whole lot of fun. The whole thing really looks like a pulp comic come to life on the stage.

Now having seen it all together, I’m amazed at all the exorbitant amount of work, Pete, Patrick, Steph and the cast and crew did for this little show (with seven vignettes altogether, the show runs only slightly over an hour). I’m trying to calculate the density of effects (I think it comes down to roughly one ghoulish stage effect every three-to-four minutes on average).

So seriously, guys. Congratulations.

A reminder that the theatre is very small and we’re doing a limited run (three weekends instead of our usual four), so you would do well getting your tickets in advance.

Wanting to cut up zombie limbs,

James "Model Citizen" Comtois

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

PULP Opens Tonight

Well, we open tonight.

The cast and crew sound like they're ready, and have gotten all the myriad effects (yes, there are a lot of stage effects for a show that runs only about an hour) down.

We shall see, we shall see.

Personally, I'm very much looking forward to seeing it.

So, at any rate, you should come check out our attempt to take the old horror comics and short stories of the 1950s and bring them to life on the stage. It should be a lot of fun.

Bringing a poncho,

James "Splatter Zone" Comtois

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Get Your Tickets For PULP

The Blood Brothers Present: PULP


Gyda Arber, Michael Criscuolo, Jessi Gotta,
Anna Kull, Marc Landers, Brian Silliman

Listening To Reason
by James Comtois
Directed by Matt Johnston

Dead Things Kill Nicely
by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Pete Boisvert & Patrick Shearer

Best Served Cold
by Mac Rogers
Directed by Pete Boisvert & Patrick Shearer

With additional material
directed by Rebecca Comtois and Stephanie Cox-Williams

The 78th Street Theatre Lab

October 11-13, 18-20, 25-27
Thursdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m.

“For sheer playful fun, make this gory confection your Halloween treat."
Time Out New York

“Sheer, merry sadism, sexual savagery, and witty humor."
The Off-Off-Broadway Review

A deranged psycho killer, deaf to pleas for mercy, tries one last-ditch effort to dodge the cops through the reluctant help of one terrified hostage. Molly, a young teen looking for a quick snog in the woods, now has to cover a zombie hicky. And Brianne has to keep Marybeth from pulling the trigger for just eight more minutes, but learns that, when talking for one’s life, time has a way of slowing down.

This is The Blood Brothers Present: PULP Nosedive Productions’ follow-up to last year’s Blood Brothers Present: An Evening of Grand Guignol Horror.

James Comtois, Qui Nguyen and Mac Rogers write three original works inspired by the pulp horror comics and short stories of the 1940s and ‘50s.

The Blood Brothers Present: PULP features graphic violence and strong sexual situations and is recommended for adults only.

The Blood Brothers Present will be performed at the 78th Street Theatre Lab (236 West 78th St. at Broadway) October 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 (Thursday through Saturday). All shows are at 8 p.m. and tickets are $18.

Subway: 1 to 79th Street; A to 81st Street; or 1 2 or 3 to 72nd Street.

For tickets call 212-352-3101 or go here.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Blood Brothers at the ASStro Hour

You can check out the photos of Pete and Patrick, the Blood Brothers themselves, hosting the ASStro Hour with Sister May Manhattan here.

Not shaving his head or
wearing that damn makeup,

James "I Just Write" Comtois

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Time To Get Your Tickets

The Blood Brothers Present: PULP opens in two days.

This show runs for only three weeks and space is limited, so get your tickets now.

Ready for the bloodletting,

James "Morbid Bitch" Comtois

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

NYTheatrecast On Blood Brothers!

Hey, check it out! NYTE's latest podcast, featuring interviews with several companies with upcoming shows, including one with Pete, Patrick and myself talking about the upcoming Blood Brothers Present: PULP. We're the 4th one in.

Be sure to check out Radiotheatre's super-fun reading of The Invisible Man and Impetuous Theater Company's reading of "Romero & Juliet."

Seriously. "Romero & Juliet."

In shameless self-promotion mode,

James "Media Whore" Comtois

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Friday, October 05, 2007

I Used To Write On Walls

Working Man's Clothes' production of Bekah Brunstetter's play, I Used To Write On Walls, ably directed by Isaac Byrne and Diana Basmajian, follows three very different women who have only two things in common: they're all very lonely, and they're all in love with the same surfer doofus.

The surfer doofus is a guy named Trevor (played with pitch-perfect precision by Jeff Berg). See, I know Trevor. I'm not talking about the actor, I'm talking about the type the actor is playing: faux deep, faux philosophical, but really a lazy, self-absorbed freeloader who avoids genuine human interaction and bolts when situations get too real or too tough.

No, I'm not a fan of Trevor, which is to say that I'm not kidding when Berg is spot-on in his portrayal of the "philosophical" young hunky Lothario.

Diane (wonderfully played by Maggie Hamilton) is a cop who realizes she's not a young kid anymore. She realizes this when she first sees said surfer doofus drawing a picture of a beach wave on a brick wall. Rather than bust him, she finds herself drawn to him, and reminded of her wayward youth when she used to write on walls, smoked pot, and had her whole life ahead of her. Trevor, who talks in vague New Age speak, tells Diane that he's drawn to her and has a mission from God to save the world (oh, that old mission).

Meanwhile, Trevor is also "dating" this cosmetologist Joanne (Darcie Champagne), although he cringes when Joanne uses the D-word. Dianne is a faux perky woman who is clearly on the verge of a psychic meltdown: someone who has very low self-esteem and for some reason terrified of her own vagina. I'm not kidding.

Like Diane, Joanne believes Trevor is Her Man, and asks him to see her on her upcoming birthday. Unfortunately for Joanne, she doesn't realize that when a guy says he's "too busy reading Kirkegaard" to meet up, that's not deep: that's a blow-off.

There's also a third woman, a young poet named Georgia (Levita Shaurice), who's at least smart and confident enough to know that, although Trevor is a hunk, he's most likely not someone to invest too much emotionally in.

And finally, every now and then we meet a precocious 11 year-old named Anna (Chelsey Shannon), who, despite her young age, tends to make men a little weak in the knees. How she fits into all this I will let you discover for yourself.

What I really want to stress here is how commendable the acting in I Used To Write On Walls is. As blatantly obvious a phony Trevor is to the audience, you fully buy how and why each of these women fall for his seductive lies. Watch the way Maggie Hamilton simultaneously fidgets and stiffens up as her character first talks to Trevor. Then watch her face as Trevor tells her character he loves her: her eyes pop out with such hope and disbelief. Her facial expressions, awkward cadence of speech shows a woman who is desperately lonely and no longer believes love is in the cards for her anymore.

Likewise with Champagne: she has such a sweet, smile filled with fragile optimism when she flirts with Trevor. But watch that smile falter just slightly when he tells her he's not sure he can see her on her birthday. It doesn't go away: she's determined to hold onto this newfound happiness.

Shaurice plays Georgia mostly angry with herself: attracted to a deadbeat in spite of herself. She knows she's too smart to fall for this, but is still too lonely to resist.

On one hand, I did wish the Brunstetter's script offered a little more insight to Trevor's character (it hints at some early Women and Wallace style emotional pain in a very bizarre, funny and creepy scene with a bugs-on-skin-crazy woman played by Ellen David who's into tying guys up), but on the other, is there really any depth to offer with such a clearly shallow and emotionally stunted manchild?

And ultimately, with a story like this, you do know where it's all leading up. But I Used To Write On Walls isn't about Trevor: it's about the women to whom he gives false senses of hope, boosted self-confidence, and a reminder of younger, happier days.

I Used To Write On Walls plays at the Gene Frankel Underground on 24 Bond Street until October 27. For tickets go here.

Always hitting on cops,

James "Drunk Tank Resident" Comtois

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)

This was a fun one to consider for entry into this series, mainly because it's the first horror film I saw in the theatre (I was seven). It was one of the films (along with Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) that initiated the MPAA's need for the creation of a PG-13 rating.

Originally hyped as the next E.T. but having far, far more in common with old fashioned B monster movies, Joe Dante's Gremlins ostensibly takes the world in Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life and tears it up from the inside out with nasty little critters that look like a hybrid of vampire bats, lizards, and the eponymous Alien.

It's a whole lot of delightful, mean-spirited fun.

It's also very funny. Need I remind you of the gremlins' acting like rowdy teens at a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, or them acting like drunken louts at the local bar?

Here's what critic Roger Ebert originally wrote about the film:

GREMLINS is a confrontation between Norman Rockwell's vision of Christmas and Hollywood's vision of the blood-sucking monkeys of voodoo island.

Gremlins tells the story of a young man, Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) who gets an early Christmas present from his inept inventor father Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton): a pet Rand found in a curiosity shop in New York's Chinatown called a mogwai, which looks like an oh-so-cute mish-mash of a teddy bear, Ewok, and kitten.

Even though the little critter, which Rand names Gizmo, is sweet and intelligent, there are very strict rules in taking care of it. The first one is that the mogwai must avoid bright light, especially sunlight, because it can kill him. The second is that it must not get wet. And the third - and most important - rule is that it must never be fed after midnight.

Obviously, these rules are methodically broken: Billy accidentally flashes Gizmo with a bright light, which hurts him. Later, Billy's friend Pete (Corey Feldman) spills water on Gizmo, which causes him to reproduce. And of course the newly spawned mogwais trick Billy into feeding them after midnight, which turns them into the nasty aforementioned gremlins.

The bulk of the film from this point on shows the gremlins wreaking havoc on the movie's Norman Rockwellesque town and Billy and his girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) trying to kill the monsters and stop their ringleader, Stripe, from creating more gremlins.

The movie plays with the notion of unseen creatures mucking up our lives (screwing up our TV reception, fixing the traffic lights to cause car accidents): malevolent forces laying everything we care about (but probably shouldn't) to waste behind the scenes.

Gremlins is simultaneously a straight-up monster movie and a send-up of monster movies: it is very aware of its audience's familiarity with creature feature (and "Christmas movie") conventions. This movie doesn't so much retread movie clichés as it does present the delightful devouring of them. How can you not find it refreshing - in the same way Terry Zwigoff's 2003 film Bad Santa refreshing - to find a terrified Santa Claus being covered and mauled by those nasty little gremlins? (Okay, so maybe your sense of humor and high level of annoyance with cloying holiday movies differs from mine.)

Consider the scene where the newly hatched gremlins attack Billy's mother in the kitchen. It's a straight send-up of well-known scary movie motifs: the ominous music, the shadows of the monster in the corner of the film, the woman alone being stalked in the house, the lurking monsters that pop up out of nowhere, the mother slashing at one of the gremlins with a butcher knife in the same manner and style as in Psycho.

Despite the aforementioned mean-spirited aspects of this movie (in addition to seeing that Gremlin explode in the microwave, everyone remembers Cate's so-out-of-left-field tale of how her father dies and why she no longer believe in Santa Claus, right?), Gremlins neither goes too far (there are a handful of human deaths - I don't care what the sequel shows, there's no indication in this movie that the Futtermans survive that snowplow attack - but none of them are excessively bloody or gruesome) nor gets too silly (in the way that, alas, Gremlins 2: The New Batch does).

Ebert continues:

GREMLINS was hailed as another E.T. It's not. It's in a different tradition. At the level of Serious Film Criticism, it's a meditation on the myths in our movies: Christmas, families, monsters, retail stores, movies, boogeymen. At the level of Pop Moviegoing, it's a sophisticated, witty B movie, in which the monsters are devouring not only the defenseless town, but decades of defenseless clichés.

I really couldn't have put it better myself.

Always blaming my crashing computer on Gremlins,

James "They're Out There" Comtois

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Plugging My Homies

This is from Sister Mary Manhattan, the nun who used to hit my knuckles with a ruler when I misbehaved (it was kinda hot, actually) and her upcoming show, which will feature the Blood Brothers themselves.


Your Horrorscope forecast indicates that you will find yourself at Stain Bar…for the greatest Saturday night in the world!

The Ass-tro Hour with Sister Mary Manhattan

Saturday, Oct. 6, 9:00 PM

Stain Bar

766 Grand Street

Brooklyn (L to Grand, walk 1 block west)



Sister Mary's monthly showcase of the fabulously weird and deliciously creepy continues!!! Show up and get your ass-trological questions answered and take your turn at the Magic Microphone--the only mic in New York City guaranteed to grant wishes within three days.

Special guests: The Blood Brothers (aka--a couple of sick little monkeys from Nosedive Productions). Dug from the darkest part of the city's unconscious, these two ghouls will both chill and charm you with tales of the freaky.

Enjoy local wines, beer and a view of the hottest nun in town. Basically, just show up. You'll be so very, VERY glad you did....

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Australia Project II: Australia Strikes Back!

Wallace Shawn once pointed out that a benefit in traveling in a foreign country is that you can be blind to the country's propaganda and simultaneously be blind to the propaganda of your home country. An American visiting Ireland, for example, can dismiss the country's attitude that (say) the Pope is infallible, but also get some distance from and perspective on (say) America's junk pop culture worship.

This past month, the Production Company has attempted to confront this idea with 11 new plays about the American experience by Australian authors.

In 2006, the Production Company presented The Australia Project, a festival of new plays exploring the relationship between the U.S. and Australia. This year, the company has presented The Australia Project II: Australia Strikes Back!, a series of one-acts written by Australian playwrights based on their perceptions of the U.S.

I was in attendance at the third and final week of the festival, which featured four one-act plays, which varied in style, tone, and quality: "All This Beautiful Life," written by Veronica Gleeson and directed by Alexis Poledouris; "Beneath Us," by Ben Ellis and directed by Mark Armstrong; "Continuing Occupation," written by Van Badham and directed by Jordana Williams; and "The Will of the Cockroach," written by Alexandra Collier and directed by May Adrales.

The first two pieces, Gleeson's "All This Beautiful Life" and Ellis's "Beneath Us," are the closest in style and theme (even though the former is a dystopic science fiction tale and the latter is a dinner party of sorts between an agent, her husband, and a reclusive Salinger-like author). Both plays toy with the idea of characters being afraid of the outside world and view America as a violently hostile, cold, and dangerous landscape.

In "All This Beautiful Life," a married couple (played by Sean Williams and Mary Cross) prepares to leave a borderline uninhabitable earth to live on a colony on the moon and, after briefly misplacing their four-year-old daughter while packing (and getting reprimanded on the phone by someone from whom they ask for help), reflect on what in their lives are truly important.

"Beneath Us" deals with Tomasz, a novelist (Joseph J. Menino) working (very, very slowly) on his new book and living in a hermetically sealed underground bunker, convinced that The End is Night (and who may very well be right). His agent Barbara (Ilene Bergelson) and her husband James (Tim McGeever) come to his bunker for dinner, where Tomasz regales them with his theories on the impending apocalypse, which indeed seems to be right outside their door.

I enjoyed both of these pieces. They presented interesting - albeit bleak - ideas about Americans becoming hermits (either by design or default) and the U.S. exhausting its land and resources to the breaking point without getting too drawn out or didactic. I also liked the use of the ugly, stark florescent lights in "Beneath Us," which made the stage genuinely resemble a cold, underground bunker.

The weakest piece of the evening was "Continuing Occupation," which actually featured Nosedive's own Mac Rogers (in multiple roles). Depicting a nation of privileged white folk who literally rape their siblings and eat babies, Badham's piece is by far the most over-the-top and scathing satire of American culture, but doesn't hold together.

"Continuing Occupation" opens with a young woman, Jenni (Erin Maya Darke) telling a story about smoking weed in the car with her friend on the way to a Weezer concert and getting pulled over by the cops, when Arlo Guthrie (Rogers) pops out of the kitchen table to recite some of his lyrics to her.

Jenni's mother (Nancy Sirianni) shoos Arlo away and gets dinner ready for her son, Josh (Michael Poignand), who's come home from his job in Europe (which has something to do with making land mines or missile guidance systems). Josh is a vile human being who tries to rape his sister and brags about killing (and doing worse things to) babies for his job.

Mom is willfully ignorant and dismissive of all this rape and murder talk and works to have a Nice Family Dinner. Meanwhile, Arlo, Abbie Hoffman, Allen Ginsberg, and Noam Chomsky (all Rogers) periodically pop up to offer attitudes and philosophies toward America.

Badham's script and Williams's direction seem at odds with one another. This should either be more whimsical and silly or more dark and horrific. I couldn't tell if this is supposed to be a genuinely "take no prisoners" black-as-death indictment towards American culture or a nutty absurdist comedy that's too ridiculous to take seriously.

This is not to say that the weird imagery doesn't stick long after the show is over; Seeing Rogers constantly appear at random places as these various activists and folk heroes is amusing, as is the dinner spread, which consists mainly of cardboard cutouts of Wonder Bread and Oreos. Williams' take on Badham's script is fun and fascinating to watch, although ultimately "Continuing Occupation" is either too all over the map, or not over it enough.

The final piece, "The Will of the Cockroach," was the highlight of the series. It involves two young Australian lovers who have recently moved to New York to live the dream. However, as D (Tim Major) tries and fails to become a successful writer and Susie (Mary Jane Gibson) ekes out a meager living as a waitress, they each get periodic visits from one of New York's oldest residents, a suave and world-weary Cockroach (Joel Israel).

Although the Cockroach's visits cause D increasing despair (not only will the disgusting thing not die, it keeps reminding D, "I've been around much longer than you, and will be around long after you go."), they cause Susie increasing hope (she sees it as a survivor and views its visits as tough life lessons).

Eventually, Susie and D's conflicting feelings towards living in New York cause a rift in their relationship and ultimately an affair between Susie and the Cockroach (don't ask).

True, "The Will of the Cockroach" does suggest that those moving to New York to live their dreams have to lower their standards and confront filth and hardship. But it's a genuinely optimistic piece, implying that living in New York is about survival, but survival and the abandonment of pristine delusions is what's needed to make the dream (or rather, The Dream) come alive.

"The Will of the Cockroach," was by far my favorite. It gets the right blend of cynicism, comedy, and hope that "Continuing Occupation" falls short of.

Ultimately, the series of plays I saw in Week Three was a fun and interesting one. In the program notes, Production Company artistic director Armstrong writes: "Please don't mistake the plays for opinion editorials or history lessons, for our goal hasn't been documentary or authoritative in nature," which is absolutely correct. These are plays that toy with ideas about Americana by writers looking in from the outside.

Still waiting for that apology for "Jacko,"

James "Just Kidding, I Love Jacko" Comtois

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Episode One Down

UPDATE: For Qui's assessment of the evening (and a plug for the next Saloon, go here.

I have to say, I had an absolute blast at Vampire Cowboys’ Saturday Night Saloon. The place was packed and, despite the intense heat in the Battle Ranch, spirits were way, way up from both the performers and audience members. Nosedive’s contribution to the evening, Episode One of Pinkie, was a whole hell of a lot to perform. I’m certainly looking forward to presenting Episode Two.

And hey, I think I got all my lines down. And in the right order, too!

Many thanks again to Qui, Abby and the rest of the Vampire Cowboys for inviting Nosedive to participate in this tomfoolery. It was (is) a whole lot of fun.

With luck, tomorrow I’ll be posting my write-up of Week Three of the Production Company’s Australia Project II: Australia Strikes Back! Then for Wednesday, I’ll be posting yet another entry into the horror series. I have about three or four that I have in mind to write about, so I’ll spend today coming up with my decision and tomorrow writing it.

After that, of course, I’ll resume Plugging the Living Hell out of The Blood Brothers Present: PULP, which goes up in 10 days as I write this.

Okay, I’m off for now. Keep your stick on the ice.

Still giddy from Saturday night,

James “Sexy Asshole” Comtois

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