Apocalypse Lost (2009)

Hello again, old friends and new.  In addition to the archive of copyright free plays that I have been blogging about, I am going to use this space to talk about the dramaturgy of previous Blunt Objects performances.  First out of the gate is Apocalypse Lost, a dark musical comedy where, at one point, we handed out tomatoes for the audience to throw at one of the actors.

Tom Foran as the Captain, getting pelted by tomatoes from the audience

Our premiere show was an original comedy based on the archetypes of Commedia del Arte, thrown into the modern era. The classic Harlequin was afflicted with an actual genetic defect known as Harlequin Ichthyosis (Do a Google image search if you hate sleeping). Il Capitano was his father, a Veteran of the toxic First Gulf War. Most updates of the Greek and Roman comedies prefer to turn the traditional slaves into more palatable servants. However, since there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, Columbina and Pierrot remained actual slaves in our suburban setting. Also, Mr. Punch is the terrorist next door. Confusion grows as the characters trick each other into corners, until the plot itself is falling into chaos and only a modern-day Deus Ex Machina can save it.

Bohrs Hoff and Seth Koproski, with Tom Foran as puppeteer

The original cast included:
Tom Foran – The Captain
Bohrs Hoff – Harlequin
Mimi Hong – Columbina
Seth Koproski – Pierrot
Kelly Malone – The Bread Hatter
Mandy Weiss – Punch and Judy

Christopher Genovese – Punch and Judy
(understudy for Milwaukee Show)

As our first production out in the wide world, we thought we could do it without a director at the helm.  This is what we call a learning experience.  I mean, the whole thing was a learning experience, being a brand new theatre company and building it from the ground up with only a vague idea of “punk theatre” and the minimalist style that we wanted to create.  But specifically, we learned how crucial it is to have a director and something resembling a stage manager.  What we did here was basically
let a bunch of silly artsy actor types run loose in a forest of puppets, hand them a script that was meant to be used as a loose outline, and see what happened.  What did happen was pretty fantastic, and fun, and we got amazing feedback from audiences.  But we won’t ever do it that way again.

Rehearsing puppetry with Tom Foran, Mandy Weiss, Kelly Malone and Bohrs Hoff

Apocalypse Lost premiered at a number of private functions in Hartford county, Connecticut, including a party that the young folks refer to as a Rave.  This is the show where our mime got roofied and we stayed up all night guarding her on the couch  because she was the one with a car.  We’re pretty sure the guy dressed as Pancho Villa did it.  In any case, nothing truly bad happened, it was a good show, and now it’s just a great story.  Our last show in Connecticut was at a punk house where the band Andrew Jackson Jihad was playing, which is also a great story because we love them.  Imagine you met Santa Claus, and you thanked him for all of his good works and how happy he has made you, and then Santa says “no, fuck what I do, I love what YOU do.”  It was a great night.  The tour also brought us to Milwaukee at the Borg Ward through our friends at Insurgent Theater.  We ended the tour in Chicago, where we were able to perform other private shows as well as a public show at the Mess
Hall
.

Bohrs Hoff in the final Chicago show of Apocalypse Lost

I really had a great time with this play, experimentation and all.  It established a convention that we continue to use in our Mumming Plays, where admission is collected in the middle of the show.  The Bread Hatter was a narrator of sorts, as well as a stage hand, who collected money in a scene where the slaves attempted to summon a demon that would kill Mr. Punch.  This convention was also entirely ripped off from a medieval morality play called Mankind, and I’m proud of it no matter what anybody says.  Mr. Punch, by the way, is an incredibly violent children’s puppet show about a man who kills his child, his wife, the neighbor, the police, the beadle, a bishop in some versions of the story, Death, the Devil, and traditionally he is finally eaten by an alligator.  Yes, I said children’s show.  That archetypal plot crossed into the plot of the neighbor’s house, where the archetypal love triangle was playing out between Harlequin and the Captain’s slaves.  We tried to touch on a lot thematically, including the use of depleted uranium in the military, the modern abolition movement, and the political climate of promised change.  But I think that we stirred it all together very successfully and had fun with it, instead of spreading ourselves too thin with moral posturing.

Seth Koproski as Pierrot, with an audience member

If you like, check out our awesome interview with the Milwaukee Onion A.V. Club: click here!

The play was also produced in New York City in 2010 at the Pace University Student Directing Festival, Schaeberle Studio, directed by Benvolio Tomaiuolo.  The cast was as follows:

Alex Levitt as The Captain/Jesus H. Obama
Ian Cherry as The Breadhatter
Danielle Bouchard as Columbina
Matt Hammond as Pierrot
Aitan Shachar as The Harlequin
Steve Lesce as Mr. Punch
Peter Cooper as Various other puppets

If you would like to read the script, email bluntobjectstheatre@gmail.com for a copy!

And, in my tradition of ending every post with one of my favorite quotes in the play, here’s one from the Captain as Columbina and Harlequin play tricks on him: “Oh miserable fuckery!” 

Tom Foran, Mandy Weiss, and Seth Koproski in a fantastic rehearsal photo. Seriously, look at that great photo.

See you soon with more news on our plays.

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