This is the portion of the blog entry where I would introduce our guest blogger for the day...but in this case, it seems our intrepid blogger has gone above and beyond--even providing the artwork--and thus needs no introduction:
Hi there! This is Gwen, blogging for Team Awesome. Our team members are playwright Steven Spotswood, director Akiva Fox, designer Suzen Mason, and actors David Dowell, Erin Kaufman, John Tweel, and myself. You can't see David, Gwen, or Suzen in our TEAM AWESOME picture, but believe me we are there in spirit. We are all awesome people, and totally full of festive holiday cheer.
Team Awesome's myth is "The Night Before Christmas". This famous poem tells the story of a family on Christmas Eve. Just as the kids are dreaming of sugarplums and the parents are about to take a long winter's nap, Dad hears a "clatter" and opens the window to see St. Nick with his sleigh & reindeer landing on the roof. Father Christmas comes down the chimney, fills the stockings without a word, and drives off, yelling "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" Originally published anonymously in 1923, this poem is most commonly attributed to Clement Clark Moore, although it may have been written by some other dude. The poem is the basis of countless songs, cartoons, and pop culture references. You can read about it on Wikipediahere. or the full text of the poem here.
Would you like to learn more about our Awesome Team members? I bet you would.
Writer Steven Spotswood grew up somewhere exciting, went to Catholic University, and totally got married. This is his first foray with Rorschach, although he has written plays for the past two Fringe festivals. Steve has found a bevy of holiday-tinged inspiration in the "Night Before Christmas" poem. It especially struck him that a man who commits serial breaking and entering via chimney, leaving special presents for little boys and girls with the tacit approval of their parents, is more than a little creepy. Steven's play explores the premise that these children would grow up to be psychologically scarred, more-than-a-little effed up adults.
Director Akiva Fox grew up in Boston and had a sparkling youth marked by many adventures, including Teen Jeopardy! and supporting roles in high-school musicals. Now he lives in DC and has a job at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, where he manages a lot of words by dead guys. Despite being vehemently Jewish, this is not his first Christmas-themed theatrical adventure, having directed a deconstructed holiday Hamlet last year in a freezing warehouse. Akiva's parents have in recent years begun decorating their house the greatest non-Christian lighting display in the Western Hemisphere, featuring a giant glowing dreidel. It's seriously like the biggest I've ever seen.
David Dowell studied theatre at SMU, acts here in Washington DC, and is engaged to a lovely lady named Brittany who interns at Arena Stage. David's most vivid holiday memory is from a family visit to "Santa's magic grotto" at 12 with his 10 year old brother and 2 year old sister. After an eternally long wait, they sat on the lap of a nice, rotund, elderly Santa for a photo. The sister got terrified and started wailing her head off, and David tried to calm her down as his younger brother grew more and more embarrassed. Of course the picture was snapped at precisely this moment, capturing Santa, the only person having any fun in the picture, laughing his head off at a group of miserable children. Erin Kaufman fled to DC from the wilds of Cincinnati, OH - under the assumption that Washington, DC was much closer to the ocean than it actually is. DC charmed her, despite it's non-oceanic vistas, and she stuck around. DC is also the place where Erin's first ever Christmas tree experience happened this last December. She was nearly crushed to death by a rogue Christmas tree in the back seat a rather small car. Christmas tree related scratches and bruises having long since healed, Erin is quite enjoying the deep exploration of the Christmas spirit that Rorschach MythApp is providing for her.
John Tweel has participated in Mythapps Past, as well as 365 Days/Plays for Rorschach. He works at a very important and responsible yet mysterious day job, and has extremely well-maintained pectoral muscles. He will happily grow any sort of elaborate facial hair for a theatrical production, including but not limited to goatee, soul patch, soul goatee, full beard, fumanchu, mutton chops, and 70's porn stache. Similarly to David, John had very memorable visits to Santa in his youth that involved laughing mercilessly at the tears and terror of younger siblings. John's grandmother is very important to him.
And for myself, I grew up in Frederick, went to University of Maryland College Park, and live in a delightfully bohemian apartment with Bikram yoga teacher and Rorschach company member Yasmin Tuazon. My birthday is on Christmas Day, which makes it difficult to have any sort of birthday gathering with friends. One year my mom threw me a surprise party in February, long after I had given up for the year. The least exciting was when I turned 21, which I celebrated by having a small glass of Bailey's in my parents' basement and then going to sleep. That being said, I love the holidays and am looking forward to celebrating this one Rorschach-style.
Thanks for spending some time with Team Awesome! Over the next few nights, we'll rehearse and polish a fabulously Christmas-y play for you to see on Saturday night. And as a special bonus, here is a touching and appropriate gallery of small children being traumatized by a large man in a red suit.