Monday, May 12, 2008

The Widow Party

Working on this collaboration was a very intense, draining and powerful experience.

Despite what I've seen written and heard said here and there, it was a very collaborative process. I think for example Jacob Knabb's realization that one character whose words I had written were Jimmy Stewart from Vertigo was as important as anything I did; Patrick's strange/aerie/hilarious (though several people told me they thought it was heart-breaking) performance as Britney Spears and his wonderful lecture were as important as anythying I did. Nobody can hear the words "Oscar Mayer" after Jennifer Karmin's monologues.

One thing I realized quickly when we began putting the show together was how poorly I understood theater - the lighting, the stage space, the sound etc. I mean I've read Artaud's Theater of Cruelty 3 million times, or Strindberg's dream plays. But the part of the script that I wrote I largely conceived (I now realize)as a kind of film (and two separate people told me the show reminded them of a mix of Godard and Lynch, so I suppose it remained a bit film-like, even though it was a variety show more than anything), but through the collaboration it became much more interesting as a performance.

I've always been a big believer in collaboration - not just as in "collaborative projects" (such as the W-Party or the comic book I'm writing with John Woods), but all of my writing, publishing etc. But this just made obvious to me how much more interesting it is to approach art as collaboration, and how strange and curious the results can be.


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