Last Night photos
we should talk about Last Night.
we opened our run of Last Night tonight. so strange to call it a run. a flash-mob/improv-everywhere/public act/piece of theatre. we played our first show? no. it happened for the first time tonight. there it is. this was truly the most terrifying experience of my life. i have never, in any of the crazy shit we’ve done, been so nervous to walk into these bars as I was tonight. to see the faces of people that have no interest in having their night interrupted. but we did. and they…well, i was gonna say paid attention but i don’t know if that’s right. they were engaged. they looked up. they cared, whether it was an annoyance or exciting. but i was terrified. i was terrified for my actors, i was terrified for my team, i was terrified the piece was terrible or that one of our beams would go out or people just wouldn’t care. and there were times when it seemed people weren’t into it…just, at all.
all of this sounds so bad. There were awesome things. Lots. For real. Whether it was someone shouting that jamie likes anal or people telling rayner he was making a fool of himself when he handed out condoms or a guy defending jamie’s honor by tearing rayner down from the stage, people were engaging with this story we created in an incredibly visceral way. And many people really DID enjoy it or at least get a kick out of it.
why did we decide to do this? a couple reasons.
- we want to build an audience from the ground up.
- we want to engage with a different audience.
- we want to experiment with the form.
- we want to market for Miami Made!
it’s hard to walk away from this and understand what this is or its effectiveness at all. or even its worthiness to some extent. is this even theatre? i kept asking myself that tonight. we’ve certainly memorized lines and blocked it and lit it and costumed it and hell even propped the shit out of it. We are still storytelling. And we are still using text to communicate the story. And these characters have rich lives that we’ve created together. And we have worked very hard to keep this from becoming a sketch – we are trying to make a point. so…i think it is theatre.
And are we actually engaging the people whom don’t give a shit about theatre? will this really be the thing that suddenly changes that? will they tell their friends about this, will it stick? Maybe. but maybe it doesn’t matter. it’s easy to say “well if one person changes their mind about theatre…it’s a success.” but i think that’s beside the point. First off, I don’t blame people for not being interested. Even well-produced and well-performed theatre is often boring or irrelevent and most importantly presented in a way in which many people are simply uninterested. and some people just can’t stand it. Secondly, while it is our goal to engage people outside a traditional theatre audience, our only control is bringing the work to them - not their response. we cannot create this work with the goal of pleasing, that is the absolute antithesis of our purpose. Sure, the work is a success if it brings us a new audience and if it changes someone’s mind about the craft- and hopefully it will.
But this work is primarily a success because it accomplishes our mission. We aim to redefine the way people experience theatre. Whether people enjoy it or not – in a weird way - doesn’t matter. OF COURSE WE WANT THEM TO! But even if they don’t, they’ve still had a theatrical experience they’ve likely never had before. And if we’ve engaged with our unknowing and even somewhat unwilling audience on even that basic of a level, well, we’re accomplishing this mission. And this work is a part of that mission. This is the toughest, wierdest thing we’ve done yet. But for better or worse, it’s totally necessary and – I think and I hope - exactly the right thing we should be doing . Rayner said it best tonight when he said there’ll be a lot of misses. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to be ripped off my stage by someone so utterly engaged in these two characters. I feel like both my actors will take a few days before even they can comprehend this experience. they both have balls of steel and are creating their art in the most honorable way - for art sake. they are to be infinitely commended.
this is hard but valuable work. i’m almost sure of it.
Plus it’s only gonna get better.