"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sheer Pandemonium

Wow. That was pointless.

Last night was the PANDEMONIUM benefit at CPT. Sadie and Doug had prepared a short scene from the The Vampyres - the Mary and Percy "seduction" scene, in keeping with the Addicted to Love theme - in the hope of exposing the show to a potentially large audience.

As I drove past the CPT parking lot on Detroit - which had been turned into one of the main, outdoor gathering areas of the event, with performances going on all over the grounds, thank goodness the rain stopped a few hours earlier - I could see the event was very well attended, and very crowded, indeed.

Parking on West 65th, I was prepared to lie about being on the artists' guest list. I could have been, I guess, but I hadn't told anyone I was coming. The admission was something like $100, and I knew CPT was quite serious about not letting anyone in for free. I myself have thrown a number of theater benefits where the lion's share of attendants were "comped" in, perhaps working off the assumption that they would make it up at the Silent Auction or some other money-making scheme. But when ticket prices are $100, that is the money-making scheme.

Heading up Detroit, I saw police and the people standing out front ready to point people to where they needed to go to get in properly and thought "yoiks" and immediately turned up the alley on the side of the Levin, and snuck into that theater, which was being used more as a holding pen and prep area. I checked a map and found where the scene from THE VAMPYRES was to be performed - an "intimate" stage behind the Church, or so Ali had told me she was told.

I headed behind the Gordon Square, through smoking actors, and into the rear of the parking lot - which in places is more like an urban garden. There was a DJ in the rear of the theater playing some beats with heavy, heavy bass. A lone, desperate voice screeched through the vine-covered chain link fence at the rear of the lot, "Will you shut the ---- up!" and "Shut off that ----ing noise!"

Apparently one of their neighbors hadn't gotten the memo.

I spotted Randy walking over to where the voice was coming from calling, "Hello? Can I help you?"

"Yeah, shut that ----ing music off! I am getting a headache!"

"I'm sorry," he said, pleasantly, "I am afraid we're having a special event ..."

I kept walking. I had successfully crashed the party. I promised myself I wouldn't drink much.

I found Sadie and Doug. Doug looked GOOD (Sadie always looks good) - he's shaved, and kept the long hair, and was wearing an outfit which I can only imagine came from Ali's own wardrobe. Thrilling to see a thin Percy for a change. Not gaunt, just pleasant to look at with his shirt unbuttoned.

The stage was not intimate at all. It was a platform rather exposed and open to everyone's view in the entire parking lot. Not that many were watching, there was this dance & poetry performance art thing going on ... and it continued to go on. Our spot was at 9:05 with another at 9:25. I arrived at 9:05. They went on for another ten minutes, and took another five to strike their stuff.

I looked around for the postcards we were supposed to have to pimp the show to the gawkers, but there were none. Sadie noted they had no mics, no one would be able to hear them. But she was totally game, so was Doug, and they hit the stage, doing the seduction scene. Sadie's boyfriend Orrin had gone around, asking people to turn their attention to the stage, though few did, at first. The two of us stood very close to the stage. I couldn't hear a word.

And yet, that didn't matter. In the few short days they had had the chance to work this scene, they have already put together a delightfully sensuous choreography - it's all done standing now, as I understand it will be done in the performance. Gone is the bench. And good riddance, as far as I'm concerned, that thing was flattering to no one. By the time Doug started kissing Sadie's arm people started moving closer, and I heard one or two say, "Oh - this must be THE VAMPYRES."

Percy fed, Mary fell, Percy looked at the gathered few and snarled, "Don't tell!" which got a few laughs, and they broke character and stood. We applauded. Everyone resumed drinking.

"Should we do it again?" Sadie asked. The scene lasted about two minutes. It was two minutes until their second timeslot, 9:25. I observed that they would be performing it for the exact same crowd. I proposed their moving into a different crowd of people, and spontaneously doing it right there. That would have been great, but we decided the ground was too filthy, their clothes would be ruined, and this was true. We had fulfilled our obligation, it was time to get into Gordon Square for the awards ceremony.


Henrik said...

Ah, theater al fresco. Been there. Hate that. But we do what we do.

pengo said...

I prefer theatre al dente, myself.

Get it?

Henrik said...

Well, sure. We don't want soggy productions, do we?