Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Good Kind of Selling Out

This may be my last chance to poke some of you in the tail bone.

Thusday night's performance of The Arabian Night will sell out. I can only guess at what that means for Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm. This is the final weekend people. There will be no extension. Come see a show that will go down in history. Here is a list of the sell outs so far:

Sunday, July 23
Saturday, July 22
Friday, July 21
Thursday, July 20
Saturday, July 8
Thursday, July 6
Saturday, July 2

Are you seeing the trend people. This final weekend will sell out soon. And yes you can chance it on a waiting list on show night or you can book your tickets now.

I don't know what it is about the heat and Rorschach. Critics can tell the public how hot it is and they still come in droves. The Illusion, Master and Margrita and now The Arabian Night all summer shows and all of them sell like crazy. Something about high temps and Rorschach spells special. Having sweated off what is arguably a fairly tiny rear in previous summer shows I know how hard it is as an actor to get out there and make the magic. But I also know how much easier it is when you are looking at a full house.

I am off to the state high in the middle and round on both ends so please pray for me. And I hope you in the cast and crew have a great and sold out closing weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why do they call it Fringe?

Have I made a big enough deal out of the fact that The Arabian Night keeps on selling out night after night. If I have not made a big deal over that fact then I should be spanked. I went to see the show last night and I have to tell you as good as I thought it was in previews it is even better now. The cast and stage management have gotten their rhythms down to a nearly mind rocking level and they continue to find all of the opportunities that this unique script offers. I am warning you that this show has sold out throughout the run and this being the final weekend you need to get your tickets as soon as possible. Visit the people on the web and get your tickets now and if Box Office tickets is sold out visit our friends the Fringe who are selling tickets for us as well (more on the Fringe in a moment). Here is a late review from DCist showing the same kind of love that we have been getting from the print press.

So here we are at the beginning of another beautiful and smoggy week here in the Nation's Capital. I just got back from the ocean, played three rounds of mini-golf and numerous ski balls were thrown. And here in our sweet city on the Potomac people have been busting their collective asses to make a little thing called the
Capital Fringe Festival get off the ground.

Even though The Arabian Night is the final show in Rorschach's Sexy Season Six, it is also part of the Capital Fringe Festival. Here is a neat trick if you visit Box Office Tickets and find that the show is Sold Out you might try getting tickets through the Fringe Folks who are also selling Rorschach Tickets.

If I can without bias recommend a couple of these other shows for your perusal:

Bartleby Every day Bartleby goes to work. Every day he goes to an ordinary office. Works as an ordinary photocopy technician. Day after day. Until today. Journeymen Theater presents Bartleby: the fringe show for everyone who has ever spent a day in a cubicle or wouldn't be caught dead in one!

Lunch Multiple stories unfold in the cafetorium of Benjamin Franklin Middle School as the students experience their first crushes and first kisses; a best friend becomes jealous of a girlfriend; and an eighth grade dance devolves into a riot when the popular girl fails to be elected Queen of the dance.

Mamas, Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to Be Actors One cowboy's crazy romp through bankrupt New York acting schools, drunken auditions, nudists, lap dancers, and a showdown with his eccentric family.

Promenading with Lunatics In 1887 a young journalist after a story feigned madness and was thrown into an assylum exposing herself to the brutal treatments of the "unfortunates" of her day. Descend into madness with Nellie Bly, Laura Kieler (the inspiration for "A Doll's House") and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wallpaper).

I make these recommendations based soley on the fact that I know some of these folks and want them to succeed or based on the fact that there are Rorschach alums involved. Because of my schedule I won't be able to see any of these shows but I hope you will all get out and see as much of the fring as possible

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Goin' Down the . . .

I am headed down the Ocean today and I am thinking back to all of the trips I took with my family as a small boy. Yes true believers there was a time that this mountain of manliness was not so giant as he is today. Imagine a smaller version of me running up and down the beaches of the Maryland and Delaware shore, frolicking in my little baby speedo and exploring all of the riches that the bounty of the deep placed upon the golden sand. Sea shells and mermaid's purses, horseshoe crabs and pieces of glass made smooth by the action of the water and sand across its surface.

Flash forward a couple of years and I am sleeping on the deck of someone's ocean house with a massive hangover, the taste of something vaguely taffy tasting in my mouth and my swim trunks are on backwards. We all have these warm memories of the beach and the vacations and drunken benders we went on near the ocean.

What has this got to do with The Arabian Night? Well not much, but the key to good blogging is to appeal to something your readers can identify with, which in this case happens to be a pair of misarranged swimming garb and too much peach schnapps.

There are only two weekends left to see The Arabian Night, so here is what I recommend. Go to the beach next weekend and see The Arabian Night either Friday or Saturday Nights at 8pm or see it on Thursday night and then go to the ocean. Or do what I am doing and come back from the beach early Sunday morning so you can be back in town for the 5pm show Sunday evening.

Theater, unlike the ocean, only lasts a short time and you have to see it while it is there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jordan and German Fairy Tales

Jordan Sudermann contributes his last essay to the blog today. This time he looks at the German Fairy Tales and their signifigance to Roland and his The Arabian Night. I will be writing one more day before I take off for the Ocean, but remember to help Linkins through these difficult days. See the show this weekend people or I will get cross.

The Arabian Night: The German Fairy Tale

Just a quick note on German fairy tales and the Brier Rose story:

Discussion about the Brothers Grimm and Germany fairy tales has debated the originality of the tales and their nationalistic tendencies. Some argue that they are derivative of French stories, with the addition of the supernatural, while others have viewed them as a genre in their own right, endowed with social commentary. The nationalist spirit of the tales is linked to the formation of the German state and identity, and has been viewed as either leaning towards fascism or reflecting a democratic spirit. Nevertheless, it is clear that they contain social implications and messages, promote a hard-working and industrious spirit, and continue to reflect upon German society today through various appropriations and references. Many German writers since the 19th century have been influenced by Grimms' collections and the literary-fairy tale genre that derived from them. The Brier Rose (or Sleeping Beauty) story is a clear influence for The Arabian Night, and Schimmelpfennig's reliance on the German fairy tale tradition suggests he might be using it to comment upon contemporary (German) society.

If you missed any of Jordan's previous essays here are the links.

Part I - The Arabian Night: Germany

Part II - The Arabian Night: Arabs, Turks and Germans

Part III - The Arabian Night: 1001 Nights

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hey I am Working Edition

I am not sure how I feel right now. Tired would be one word for it, others would be exhausted and plumb tuckered. Many people seem to be under the impression that I have been on some sort of vacation this month. While many of the places I have been to lately would be worthy of anyone's vacation time, I am in fact busting my hump bringing the works of that British poet of some reknowned to the people of this nation. One night it is White River Junction, VT and the next we are playing a hot as Hades concert hall at Boston University. Last night we were sweating with about 500 people in a field in Harve de Grace, MD.

Meanwhile I have been trying to keep up with the goings on here in DC. Especially with the goings on of a certain show which seems to be getting hotter as each week passes. Critics and audiences both are loving the morsel that is The Arabian Night and you all need to get out and see this thing.

The cast is attractive, the set is impressive and the play is a mind F that will have you scratching your head really really hard. I recommend repeated viewing just as I do with any Rorschach show.

Now a special plea for Jason Linkins, help a blogger out! This is a hard blog to write on day in and day out, I have been trying to explain that to people for nearly a year now. You need a little help with contributions of material from the treches. People who are doing the show in day in and day out very definetly have a different point of view on what is going on with a show.

So please email Jason and let him have some of that loving that every now and then I get thrown.

Tomorrow the final installment of Jordan's Dramaturgy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Bloggers Among Us

Scott asked me a long time ago to update our blogroll to include the blogs that are written by Rorschach company members. Someday, I'll get to it. Don't count on it, though. Project Runway starts tonight, after all.

But, while Scott waits for me to mess with the template, I figured it would be a good idea to run down the various and sundry Rorschach bloggers out there.

Karl Miller, currently re-enacting his role in columbinus up in New York City, blogs for your amusement and edification at BLOG! Karl originally started blogging so as to fill us all in about his acting adventures in Alaska. He's wisely decided to continue, albeit sporadically, the pursuit. Currently, you can enjoy his entry "39 Things I've Been Meaning To Say," which is totally like the BEST song Alanis Morrisette hasn't written yet.

Grady Weatherford, currently celebrating Kenneth Lay's mortality, blogs over at the seemingly Clash-inspired SECURE YOUR RIGHTS. Given Grady's typical gregariousness, it's amazing that he can go home and STILL have words to get out of his system, but he does, and they are often misspelled. Currently, you can enjoy entries on the state of politics--national and local--and hear about how the only pure and beautiful thing in the world is Gomez. And ponies. But you just sort of have to infer that.

Hugh T. Owen, currently blaming Sven-Goran Ericcson for the English Men's National Team's woes, blogs over at BONZIE'S LOT. On Hugh's blog, you'll hear all about his various injuries and hurts as he nurtures his dangerous obsession with marathon running. Hugh is known for leaving blog comments that have more Britslang then all of The Streets' records combined--and he hasn't even started using the word "prang" yet.

Deb Sivigny, currently fighting Randy Baker's attention-deficit disorder tooth and nail as she plans their upcoming nuptials, blogs at INDEPENGUIN. She's going at it in fits and starts, but perhaps Bravo's heroic return to the Parson's School of Design will spur her on to blog more often.

Yasmin Tuazon, currently being thought of highly by me for her overall cuteness, blogs at MYSTERY PUNCH. But it's been, like, a YEAR since she's done so.

Your own Scott McCormick, currently shuttling Shakespeare to points hither and also yon, blogs the most sporadically of them all over at DCEPTICON. I am not at all sure he wants us to read it.

Jordan Suderman used to maintain a LiveJournal dedicated to Tony Blair's wife, but I can't remember the address.

And, of course, I, currently entertaining Benjamin Bernanke in and officially cutting "the fisting bit" from THE MEMORANDUM, blog at THE DCEIVER, a thorough-going record of my bottomless capacity for enmity. I also turn up from time to time at DCIST and, less frequently, at WONKETTE.

Now, who among you will add yourself to this illustrious coterie?

A Preview of Coming Attractions

First things first: forget all you've heard about Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. "Up In Dem Guts," by Zach Galifianakis and Fiona Apple is, without a doubt, the summer jam of 2006. Go download it.

Now, it cheers me to hear that Arabian Night continues to garner press accolades and large crowds. That's fantastic. But what else is going on in the trenches, Schacheteers? I needs to know these things in order to make blog entries that speak, thrillingly, to you. So please do not forget to hit me up at imadcver [at] yahoo (dot) com.

I would imagine that many of you out there are wondering what Rorschach will be doing next season, our lucky number seventh. Well, this week and next, I am going to answer that question.

You might well be wondering: what? And also: how does he know? Well, the answer is simple: I don't. I don't have an effing clue. F'reals. At Rorschach, we're not known for our long staff meetings. We're not known for our short staff meetings. No, to the best of my knowledge, we're not known for any meetings whatsoever. They intruded too much on Matt Frederick's "me time." I've attended all of one--that one being "The One That Was Scheduled." And we talked mainly about flyers.

However, while I cannot definitively answer what shows Rorschach will be doing next year, I can certainly inform you of what shows we will NOT be doing next year. And thus, by process of elimination, I can get you, the reader, closer to the TRUTH.

It's all part of a series I have dubbed "PROFILES IN UNPRODUCABILITY". These shows, which, to the best of my knowledge were not only never seriously considered for the upcoming season, but also do not exist outside of my own fevered imaginings, all demonstrate some degree of promise. But they are all inappropriate for our next season for one or more of a variety of reasons:

  • Too dependent on a flawed business strategy of "casting Karl in everything."
  • Impossible to stage no matter how many Getmans we threw at it.
  • Based primarily on ideas I had while high (or, as Lindsayism fans call them, "highdeas").
  • Too offensive/controversial/eye-meltingly despicable to stage.
  • Lack of an audience for said material confirmed unequivocally by science.

So, I want you all to look forward to that. Begin immediately.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Jordan Get's Meta

Part III in the continuing series by our friend and dramaturg Mr. Jordan Sudermann. This time Jordan examines the stories that inspired not just the title of the play but also the structure of the story of The Arabian Night. For those of you jonesing for some sweet Linkin's action here on the Rorschach Blog he should be back before the end of the week, as for my self I am off to points north of here tomorrow morning as I hit White River Junction, VT, Boston, MA and Harve De Grace, MD this weekend. See the play that audiences are calling mind blowing (got that from the commercials for 6th Sense).

The Arabian Night: 1001 Nights

What is often called The Arabian Nights is more accurately known as 1001 Nights (or 'Alf Layla wa-Layla in Arabic) has no definitive text or author, having existed and continuing to exist in a variety of forms and iterations. Essentially, the various versions (in Arabic as well as through translation) work in a similar (though less improvisational) fashion to the joke explored in The Aristocrats, where there is a set setup and punch line, but the path to the punch line is up for grabs, yet is understood to be thematically uniform. In the case of 1001 Nights, the "setup" and "punchline" are Shehrazad's need to spin stories to save her life, while the path is the stories she tells in order to acheive this goal. While Schimmelpfennig's reference to 1001 Nights (or The Arabian Nights) is more in atmosphere than critical engagement, the themes of magic and repetition connect both the stories and Schimmelpfennig's play.

Magic, or the fantastic, has been used in various forms in western and non-western literature, from the uncanny elements of Gogol's short stories, to the magical realism of Borges and Garcia Marquez, to pre-modern Arabic fiction and storytelling. It is often the case in many of these works that magic is used to comment upon everyday society and reality, issues which are often presented in the guise of the weaving of fantasy. In addition to and in conjunction with magic are dreams, dream analyses, and fate, all of which place a certain emphasis of determining or accepting the future.

Time and repetition are also important to the frameworks of both 1001 Nights and The Arabian Night. There exists the idea that there really is no end to the former story, as 1001 could stand for merely "a lot" or "infinity," as in literally one past "a lot." An interesting approach to examining The Arabian Night would be to look at it in terms of repetition and rupture. What might instances of repetition in the play signify? What might the points of rupture within this repetition signify?

In my next installment, a quick look at the German side of the literary equation.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Love for the Sexy Play

Here is the deal, I am in town today and tomorrow and I get a chance to set down some words. Jason, if you could fill out the week, during what some have come to refer to as my mid-life crisis tour, I would really appreciate it.

Please note the headline ladies and gentlemen. The Arabian Night is a hit with critics and audiences alike (I borrowed that last sentence from movie commercials for My Best Friend's Wedding, so imagine I just read it aloud to you in my pleasing baritone).

What kind of love you may be asking yourself?

Well the two best kinds of love a play and theater company could get, great reviews and sell out houses. My spies tell me that we sold out on Saturday night.

What could have brought this about?

How about some sweet reviews from Messrs. Graham and Marks.

Here is what Trey had to say:

"A slick 60-minute thriller with a chip on its urbane shoulder and a whiff of the supernatural in its nostrils." --The Washington City Paper (For the whole review, click here)

And Peter says:

"Engaging... Powerful... Surreal... a dramatist of promise seeking an original method of redefining the world and its mysterious ways." -- The Washington Post (for the whole review, click here)

Just a reminder that the show contains some nudity and adult situations so this may not be the show you bring your ten year old cousin visting from out of town to. Unless your ten year old cousin is really really mature in which case email me and I will tell you if it is alright for he or she to come to the show.

The show continues until the 30th of July. I recommend this option for people who can't get rolling out of their cribs until 7 pm on a Saturday or who like to squeeze a nap in after their day long brunch on 17th Street or at Eastern Market, before they start working their drink on up and down 18th Street. Think about seeing a show at either 8pm on Saturday night, you are out of there by 9:05 and you will still have a good 5 hours to get your drink on at Toledo or Pharmacy Bar.

Don't miss this show!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tales from the Road

Jason man thanks for coming in and filling in for my slackness this month. Who knew that in the ten years since I last set out across this great land of ours on tour they had brought computer access to the masses staying in Holiday Inns in Liverpool, NY. So here it is at 3:30 in the morning after seeing a late night screening of Pirates of the Caribean and doing a show for about 200 people in a park in the suburbs of Syracuse and I decided I needed to say something to you all even though Jason Linkins is doing a killer job on the blog in my absence.

Couple of quick notes. We have two more performances of The Arabian Night this weekend and you should get your rear end over the Casa to see them. I have not made a bog deal that this is a short show but it is now common knowledge that it only runs a healthy one hour and a couple of minutes. So you all can see the show at 8pm before you head out for your clubbing or barn dance, whatever it is you kids do these days.

Jason will continue to scold you and keep you up to date on the reviews as they start to come out and I will be back on Monday with the next chapter in Jordan's great exploration of the themes of the show. Until then be kind to one another and know that it was lovely dry day up here in Upstate New York and it never got above 76 degrees. Sometimes touring is the only some of us get to vacation. So until later don't let Jason make you do anything you don't want to do.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Art of the Curtain Speech

At Rorschach Theatre, one never knows when one might be called upon to deliver the evening's cold opening to the entertainment, the curtain speech. As a veteran of numerous failed attempts myself, I can assure you that the duty is significant and the stakes are impossibly high. Failure on this level could mean that the entire evening is ruined amid a flurry of flash photography, frequent performances of some idiot's "Laffy Taffy" ringtone, and the miserable failure of no one signing up on Rorschach's critical mailing list--which, let's face it, is the backbone of our whole operation.

It is, indeed, a daunting task, but it is an absolutely necessary one. Whether you are speaking to the hordes that are descending upon The Arabian Night or one of the five people in Christendom who saw JB, the job is the same and can afford no slackening of intensity on your part. To that end, we are happy to provide you with the necessary tips to make your curtain speaking venture a glorious one.

  • If at all possible, be Karl Miller.
  • It is totally appropriate to threaten cell-phone scofflaws with some degree of bodily harm. But be prepared to back it up.
  • Don't forget to thank the funders whenever possible. They are not just important backers of our artistic endeavors--they are also our primary source of bail money.
  • Hey, those Nutter Butters aren't going to sell themselves. They are inanimate objects! Push them during the curtain speech! Move units!
  • It's always okay to make fun of patrons' outmoded technology, such as pagers, as long as you never criticize the patrons who arrive riding those old-timey bicycles. Those people are violent.
  • Let's face it, some topics are out of bounds--nipples, Satanism, your new piercing, the latest entry on Grady's blog, etc. Save that sh*t for the post-show reception.
  • Seriously, even if that evening's show is titled My New Satanic Nipple Piercing by Grady Weatherford, don't mention it. Just tell the audience they are about to see My Fair Lady or some sh*t like that and let God sort it out.
  • If you discover that you cannot settle your nerves before the curtain speech without popping a Vicodin, you might have a problem. Ask yourself the following soul-searching question: Did I bring enough for Jason to have one?
  • Take the opportunity to mention the season subscription offering. But remember that Randy gets mad if you do too much haggling over the price. This isn't some Armenian fish market, after all.
  • While Jordan Suderman is, indeed, "adorable," he is not, as many believe, "for sale." Still, it won't hurt to listen to one or two offers.
  • The audience's safety is paramount, so remind them that "the action happens very close to their seats," the actors are "one step removed from the sort of person that runs auto repair scams in the parking lot of Harris Teeter," and, if it's one of Jenny's shows, that the set is "deadly effing dangerous" and not to "touch, walk on, or taunt" it.
  • Remember, just because the Catholic Church has banned the selling of indulgences doesn't mean we can't do so. As a curtain speaker, you should work to open those new revenue streams.
  • Most importantly: your surreal joke with Scott McCormick probably isn't going to work. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't do it anyway.
  • Above all, remember this: by the time you deliver your curtain speech, we will have safely secured the audience's money. So, let the fur fly where it will.
So there you have it. If you follow these tips you are virtually assured that your curtain speech will be no mere dispensation of dry fact. But, if you cannot remember anything else I've told you, remember this: DO NOT FORGET TO MENTION THE MAILING LIST! Seriously. That list is the closest thing Rorschach has to a 401K.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Arabian Night wins early accolades, continued fire metaphors from press.

Hey my dirties. Since Monsieur DCepticon is going on holiday, the DCeiver has decided to fill the vaccuum, partially at Directrix Frederick's request, partially because it's time for me to nip and tuck at the blog template, and partially because I just effing feel like it.

I haven't been able to join you all in celebrating the opening of Arabian Night, because I have been traitorously ensconced in the arms of another company's supple embrace. Would that I could mitotically divide myself into a willing clone, who could have attended your opening, massaged Jordan Suderman's babe-like scalp, reported back to me with the fulsome details, and then, naturally, killed for sport in the style of The Most Dangerous Game.

But this was not to be. Your mission, then, is to keep burning those rampant, loin-localized fires of surreal sexiness until I can attend and attest that final weekend.

Speaking of fire, Rorschach continues to garner Promethean-metaphor fueled praise with each passing show. After Bright Room Called Day attested to our ideological flames, DC Theatre Reviews has weighed in with appreciation for Arabian Night, calling it, tellingly, "a scorcher." The dirty details can all be found here in their entirety. But to bullet point the reviewers main points:

  • It is hot in the summertime.
  • The reviewer described the curtain speech as "obligatory." Sigh.
  • Pre-shows are awesome.
  • The audience is burrowed deep into the characters' brains. Like earwhigs laying eggs!
  • The show is unnerving.
  • The shows' "heated emotions are all mixed up and bubbling in a simmering cauldron, ready to boil over." So, if you add milk to the concoction, be sure to watch the cauldron carefully.
  • Getman's set is awesomer than even the pre-show. Obvs.
  • Actors are translucent, sizzling, and easy to sympathize with, especially when stuck in elevators.
  • Schimmelpfennig. Fun to spell, even more fun to say, but expensive to place on the back of a hockey jersey.
So, kudos and congrats to everyone involved in The Arabian Night for their opening weekend. And if you'd like to help inspire blog content while Scotty is off picking Dogberries, remember that it's always okay to tip your editor--send emails to: imadcver [at] yahoo (dot) com

Monday, July 03, 2006


Here is the thing about opening weekends. Excitement and sell outs are getting to be the norm for us at Rorschach. I say that while crossing myself and knocking on various bits of wood around my desk and office, but people want to get in on the ground floor of what ever crazy, magical and manic theatrical pie we have decided to stick our collective fingers in. I know that is a mixed metaphor but I really don't know any better.

Friday night PWYC for The Arabian Night sold out I am told and there was a full crowd there for opening night as well. We had to turn some folks aside and there may have been some feelings hurt but folks it is going to sell out on Opening and to dangle the hope of possibly getting a seat in front of one of your friends is kind cruel. If anyone's feelings were hurt I suppose we are sorry but there is a reason that we ask people to RSVP these events. Remember the show runs until the end of July and tickets are still available for most shows.

Just to explain to folks what will be happening over the next few weeks here at the Rorschach blog, I am going on a rather lengthy road trip. I will be back in town for a couple of days each week, but you may not get the steady stream of blogging to which you may have become accustomed here. I would apologize for this as well but I needs me some me time and the closest I could get to me time involves me traveling around with 14 other people in a van, a car and a truck for a month, doing Shakespeare and trying to recapture some part of my youth. I feel no guilt over this but I will miss the daily chance to pollute your delicate minds with Rorschachian propaganda and ephemera.

So for everyone who is getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July, I remind you to designate someone to drive your drunkeness home tomorrow night and please fireworks should only be used under the direct supervision of a trained adult or at least someone very tall.