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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Monday, October 18, 2004
 
First off, I need to get this off my chest: How hard is it to flush a toilet? When I walk into the bathroom at my work, and I see a toilet bowl filled with T.P. and fecal matter, it fills me with several levels of disgust. In my 22 years of life experience, I've found that flushing a toilet is one of the easiest things to do. Ever. It's a small easy-to-use lever, which requires a small push to send your waste to a better place. Can I please have someone who doesn't flush toilets tell me why this is? Because right now it seems to be the ultimate sign of laziness.

Secondly, I love the Hunger Artists Theatre Company! I love them. I have deep, deep love for them. Their "Madame Guignol" Halloween show (in which I play Harry Potter AND Jesus) has its preview tonight. It's the most offensive show I've ever been a part of, and I'm having a blast. I know I've talked about the shows that the company have produced (What? I was in a one-man show?), but I've never talked about the company itself.

They have a small 50-seat theater in a business park in Fullerton. The first time I walked into the theater - at the auditions for "Assassins" - I knew that this is a place where great things happen. It is a smaller and uglier theatre than those at other venues like Stages, Rude Guerrilla or Vanguard. There's no wing space or backstage, the back door is clearly visible at all times, the lobby and theater are divided by only a curtain, and the light/sound booth is clearly visible at all times.

And yet, the sets of the three shows that I have been a part of have always been beautiful and elaborate without being ostentatious or distracting. The directors know how to get to the emotional core of a piece while presenting something accessible and entertaining. Their choices in shows are always interesting, as seen by this past season:

- "The Attorney General": An updating of Gogol's "The Inspector General"
- "How I Learned to Drive": Paula Vogel's Pulitzer-winner about a girl who has an affair with her uncle.
- "Catholic School Girls": Need I say more?
- "The Medea Project": An updating of Medea, set in a business environment.
- "Assassins": One of the most controversial American musicals ever written.
- "The Gog/Magog Project": One of my new favorite plays.
- "Madame Guignol: Hellhouse": A funny, creepy attack on fundamentalism.
- "In Search of Americana": An upcoming collaborative project about a cross-country trip that sounds very interesting.
- "Last Chance Fest": A festival to redeem or condemn overproduced shows like "Our Town" and "The Odd Couple".

What separates Hunger Artists from other theatre companies I've worked with is not their professionalism, nor their desire for stimulating theatre. It's their enthusiasm. I have never seen people so enthused about putting on a show. Despite the unusual subject matter of their shows, there's always this Mickey Rooney feeling of "Let's put on a SHOW!" I've been in three of their shows, and I never once felt the pressure I usually get when it is getting close to opening. I've had nothing but confidence in these people, and the shows have all turned out great.

I was talking to one of the "Guignol" cast members, and she pointed out that while most small theaters in the area are run primarily by men, Hunger Artists has a very significant female leadership. Out of the managers of the theatre, only the artistic director is male. Six of the eight shows done so far this season had a female director. There are more female company members than there are male. I don't know if that has a direct connection to the quality of the shows, but it's really nice to walk around the theater and see several women in their 20's and 30's helping run the company.

That, and Shannon and Kelly Flynn are my directors. I've worked with many other directors before, some of them great, some of them not so much. But the Flynn's are my directors.

My love of Hunger Artists and of this "Guignol" show is so large right now that it almost completely overshadows the less than positive review that "American Way" got in L.A. Weekly today. Who cares? The Times liked it, BackStage West liked it, and I get to play Harry Potter and Jesus in a really fucked-up show. I've got rhythm, music and my girl. Who could ask for anything more?

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