Monday, August 11, 2014

Calling All Puppets!


Curator Jane Catherine Shaw is looking for short works of genius for La MaMa's 2014 Puppet Slam on Monday, September 29th! Short works should be between three to seven minutes. We seek condensed works for puppetry that are: compelling, brilliant, witty, tragic, funny, stunning,startling, ironic, exotic, political, lyrical, musical, beautiful, intellectual, experimental, wild…. but always demonstrate genius in a matter of minutes! Original Work! Nothing longer than 7 minutes! 

For more info and to apply: Click Here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fall 2014 @ La MaMa: LA MAMA EARTH


We are so happy to announce that the 2014-2015 season at La MaMa will be called LA MAMA EARTH and will focus on climate change, environmental and social issues.

The LA MAMA EARTH theme materialized as a result of the up-close and personal impact that individuals and entire communities experienced from the widespread devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Articstic Director Mia Yoo said: “When former Mayor Bloomberg responded to a reporter's question at a press conference with the simple statement, 'The tide is rising,' it struck such a chord with me. La MaMa is honored to have the opportunity to present an American, Korean and Italian production of Shakespeare's bracing play, THE TEMPEST – each of which brings a unique cultural perspective to the environmental and social crises we all face.”

The centerpiece of LA MAMA EARTH will be three diverse, international productions of William Shakepeare's THE TEMPEST – productions of the play from the U.S., Korea and Italy. The trio of TEMPESTS will be presented under the collective title Tempest 3: The Tide is Rising and is comprised of the following: THE TEMPEST directed by Karin Coonrod with original music by Elizabeth Swados; Korea's Mokwha Repertory Company production of THE TEMPEST and NELLA TEMPESTA by Italy’s Motus Theatre. 


Tempest 3 Packages available: See all three TEMPEST productions for only $60, if purchased before September 15th ($100 value if purchased separately).  Click Here to purchase a 3-show package!
The 2014 Fall Season Line-Up:

September 25-October 12
SELMA '65
This world-premiere is set for the 50th anniversary of the Selma Voting March. Written by Catherine Filloux (KILLING THE BOSS, LEMKIN'S HOUSE), who returns to La MaMa, SELMA '65 is based on the real-life story of Viola Liuzzo, a white civil rights activist who was targeted by the FBI and Ku Klux Klan for her efforts on behalf of African-Americans protesting for the right to vote. The play stars Marietta Hedges and is directed by Eleanor Holdridge. 
The First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here

September 26-28
QUEER NY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
Curated by Zvonimir Dubrovic and Nicky Paraiso, the QUEER NY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL festival features contemporary performance and visual art that explores and broadens the traditional concept of “queer” in art. Featured will be DUOS with Darkmatter, Untitled Queen and Merrie Cherry, Jack Waters and Peter Cramer.
The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here

October 2-November 2 
TEMPEST
The world-premiere of a new musical adaptation of THE TEMPEST, adapted and directed by Karin Coonrod, with music by La MaMa veteran composer Elizabeth Swados (LA MAMA CANTATA). The international and intergenerational cast will feature Reg. E. Cathay (The Wire and House of Cards) as Prospero, and the 14-year-old star of Broadway's BILLY ELLIOT, Joseph Harrington as Ariel. Director Coonrod notes similarities between Prospero's world and ours today, noting, “Prospero re-enacts power games on an island – just as Manhattan is an island – and it is the non-human Ariel is fascinated by humanity's power to love and reminds Prospero of his humanity. The play demonstrates a juxtaposition of time present and timelessness – hence, we will begin the play with a pendulum swinging: a signal of impending disaster and a reminder of time moving forward. A warning.” 
The Ellen Stewart Theatre.
66 East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here

October 2-19 
THE ELEPHANT IN EVERY ROOM I ENTER
April 2014. Gardiner Comfort attends the Tourette Syndrome Association National Conference. Using an erratic and energetic performance style, and evocative details of his week in DC, Comfort shares his life as an actor with Tourette Syndrome. Created by Comfort and his frequent collaborator, Kel Haney (You're Not Tough: HERE, Dixon Place)
The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here


October 16-November 2
AdA: AUTHORS DIRECTING AUTHORS
Playwrights Neil LaBute and Marco Calvani – who teamed to considerable success two years ago at La MaMa to present AdA: AUTHORS DIRECTING AUTHORS return this year with the addition of fellow playwright Nathalie Fillion to present a triptych of one act plays centering on the theme of desire. In this newest version of AdA, each author will write a new one-act play to be directed by one of the other authors, and all characters will be played by the same three actors.  
The First Floor Theatre.  
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

October 24-November 2
THE DREAM VAULT CYCLE
Amulti-media performances exploring the evolution of a creative idea and the interpretation of its seed value as it journeys from art form to art form, conceived & directed by Christian De Gré & R. Patrick Alberty. 
The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!


November 6-23
WHAT TAMMY NEEDS TO KNOW 
ABOUT GETTING OLD AND HAVING SEX:
The Concert Tour
Conceived and Directed by Lois Weaver, SPLIT BRITCHES’ newest work has Lois Weaver's alter ego, Tammy WhyNot, a trailer park survivor who gave up a career in country music to become a lesbian performance artist, grapples with the difficult subjects of sex and ageing. This concert performance with songs written and performed by Tammy alongside her back-up singers and dancers with guest appearances by Peggy Shaw and Bette Bourne from the Bloolips. 
The First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!


November 7-16
DEAD END, DUMMY
A new work by Dick Zigun, the Founder & Artistic Director of Coney Island USA since 1980. Inventor of the Mermaid Parade & godfather of burlesque & sideshow revivals, he is a tattooed author of a dozen weird American plays, the performance artist known as the Mayor of Coney Island, and a legal New York State marriage officiant. 
The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

November 20-23 
THE TEMPEST/Mokwha Repertory Company 
The U.S. premiere of Seoul, Korea's Mokwha Repertory Company production of THE TEMPEST, adapted and directed by Tae-Suk Oh. Inspired by a true story from the Korean CHRONICLES OF THE THREE KINGDOMS, this TEMPEST is set in 5th century Korea and infuses Shakespeare's text with elements of traditional Korean folklore. With music played on Korean instruments and performed in richly layered costumes, this mind-bending production explores acts of nature as they are affected by acts of betrayal, love, forgiveness and reconciliation. 
The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here

November 21-30 
A RIGHT PAIR 
Bette Bourne and Paul Shaw (of Bloolips) have been partners both offstage and on since the late 1970s. This new performance explores some of their favorite scenes, some obscure gems and some things completely new and what it means to be 'A Right Pair' onstage and off. US Premiere. 
The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

November 27-30
KING OF HEARTS IS OFF AGAIN 
Performed by the Studium Teatralne, an ensemble theatre in the tradition of Jerzy Grotwoski, based in Warsaw, Poland. Directed by Piotr Borowski – himself a longtime student of Grotwoski – KING OF HEARTS IS OFF AGAIN  is based on a novel by Hann Krall, a true story about the life of Izolda Regenberg, a young Jewish woman who lived disguised as an Aryan Polish woman in order to rescue her family, trapped in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.  
The First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

December 4-7
THE SEAGULL
Chekhov's play presented by the Serbian National Thatre, directed by Tomi Janezic. Described by international critics as a 'theatrical phenomenon,' this 7-hour production began in 2012 and has become one of the most successful productions in the history of SNT, which dates back to 1861.  
The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

December 4-21
IF COLORADO HAD AN OCEAN
A new play by Mike Gorman, directed by David Bennet and performed by The Forty Hour Club. A poetic drama, OCEAN explores the punk roots of a commercial fisherman and his yearning for an imaginary place. With its rebellious rock and roll spirit, this play is the high energy finale of Mr. Gorman's trilogy THE HONOR AND GLORY OF WHALING.  
The First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

December 5-14
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 
OY HANUKKAH, 
MERRY KWANZAA 
An adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic “with old world accents and new world inclusiveness” by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre.  
The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!

December 11-21 
NELLA TEMPESTA/Motus Theatre
The U.S. premiere of NELLA TEMPESTA by Motus Theatre. Italy’s provocative and dynamic MOTUS Theatre Company explores questions of freedom, control and power in Nella Tempesta. Reflecting on the turmoil in our society – the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the consequences of the economic crisis and questioning of future landscapes -- Nella Tempesta is created from fragments of novels by authors including: Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Aldous Huxley as well as Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Une Tempête by Aimé Césaire. This version of THE TEMPEST imagines the play about a world not as it appears to be ending, but a world on the verge of a new beginning. 
The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: Click Here

December 20-21
CHRISTMAS IN NICKYLAND
The Club’s Programming Director, Nicky Paraiso, serves as the MC for this annual holiday celebration with all-star downtown guests. 
The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: On Sale Soon!


Once again, La MaMa is please to be able to offer our 10@$10 tickets for every performance at La MaMa.  10 @ $10 tickets must be purchased in advance via web, phone or at the box office - they are not available day of show.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominations


Last night, the nominations for the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Awards were announced at 42WEST.  Congratulations to all the nominees, including all of  the below those whose shows were presented at La MaMa:

Outstanding Director 
Kevin Augustine & Edward Einhorn 
The God Projekt, La MaMa in association with Lone Wolf Tribe 

Outstanding Set Design 
Donald Eastman 
The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions 

Outstanding Sound Design 
Tim Schellenbaum & Alice Tolan-Mee 
The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions 

Outstanding Innovative Design 
Jane Catherine Shaw & Theodora Skipitares 
For Puppet Design 
The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions 

Outstanding Original Music 
Alla Zagaykevych 
Fire Water Night, La MaMa in association with Yara Arts Group 

Outstanding Performance Art Production 
The Chairs, La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions 
The God Projekt, La MaMa in association with Lone Wolf Tribe 
The Maiden, The Nerve Tank

For a full list of nominees: CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bessie Award Nominations Announced!


The 2014 Bessie Award Nominations were announced and La MaMa artists were among the nominees: 


Radiohole's production of Tom Murrin's MYTH OR METH was nominated for Best Revival.  Above is a photo from the show at The First Floor Theater as part of the Tom Murrin Full Moon Performance Festival.

and 



Sean Donovan was nominated for Best Performance for his work of Witness Relocation (their show Eterniday was presented at The Ellen Stewart Theatre), Jane Comfort, Faye Driscoll, and others. 

Congratulation to all the nominees!  You can see the full list : HERE 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Artist Interview: Jaime Wright & David Bernstein

Jaime Wright and David Bernstein were last seen at La MaMa in The Tom Murrin Festival's Full Moon Show. This summer they are part of Carroll Simmons Performance Collective's TOO MANY LENAS 3: LET THEM EAT CAKE (co-director/performer & director, respectively). 

Sam Alper sat down with them in Little Skips, Bushwick, to talk about Lena Dunham's twitter bio, making shapes and getting seen.

but first -

TOO MANY LENAS 3 runs as part of THE ICE FACTORY FESTIVAL July 2-5
That's like right now... so get some tickets before you read.


ok cool, you can read now : )

How did Carroll Simmons get going? Can you summarize the history your collaboration up this point?

D: It sort of started with needing a name to call our collective while we were working on this show. So it was never conceived as a unit. But it gelled in a way that we never thought. We thought it would be a one-off super-team that would dissolve after TOO MANY LENAS. This was before TOO MANY LENAS 3 -

And there was never a TOO MANY LENAS 2?

D: There was never a 2.

J: No. But we did do a cabaret night in the Dixon Place lounge.

D: And we also did what we called a TML reduction. Like a balsamic reduction. We performed a ten-minute excerpt from TML 1 in a very new style that was an exploration of new territory. So I guess that was like TML 1.5 and TML 2.8. But no - there was no official 2.

J: And we also had to pretend it was a totally new thing for all the things that we applied to. So we had to really make it different.

Like, ‘There’s been a whole one you didn’t see. We didn’t even invite you to that one because we don’t want to be pushy.’

D: Exactly. ‘We’ve been working on this for decades now.’ So finally, with the third one we’ve really landed on something…Yeah, it’s also now collected into an aesthetic that we’ve taken into our other things as well, and it’s started a few other collaborations. It’s the tree that was only going to be an annual but turned out to be a perennial.

J: Initially, all the Lenas that you see, we all were friends of David from different strains of his “sordid history” at NYU. We didn’t really know each other at all.

That’s surprising to me, because there’s such a coherent performance style between all of you.

D: That’s good to hear. It was a steep learning curve, but after being immersed in it so heavily it’s hard not to pick it up. I think we all now have a sense of what it means to be Carroll Simmons.

J: The rules of the style weren’t really there when we did the first one. They were sort of half-present. [In TML 3] they are more rigorously employed.

The gestural stuff is great. It feels like there’s a whole underlying vocabulary being used that you’re not going to explain to us, but we can feel that it makes sense.

D: That’s cool. I was semi directing from afar, because I live in Toronto, but we have this system of notations and charts for all the gestures. It was heavily interpreted by the cast, it’s not like, by my decree, but that’s where everything started from. Every time I wanted there to be a gesture I would notate it and give my vision of what I thought it would be and every single formation would be laid out in these little charts. I made a lego version of the set and had everybody placed on it.

Are you serious?

D: Yeah, we’ll send you the google doc.

J: It’s pretty stunning. Especially in the full color.

D: The full color really brings something to the table.

J: And then we would record everything we did and send it to David. And David would make notes and we would go back and work on it. It was a communication effort for sure.

What’s it like living in Toronto and having a hand in performances in New York? Are you performing in Toronto as well?

D: I haven’t really… There’s no downtown in Toronto. I mean there is - there’s a place called downtown - but not for theatre. I’m trying to think of a way to sum this up… The heritage of there being an alternative and an alternative to an alternative - a broadway to an off-broadway to an off-off-broadway - all these sort of layers under, under under, under, going down to the sort of queer underground we’re sitting in right now - there isn’t that in Toronto. There are different aesthetics and there are people doing interesting things with the straight theatre aesthetic, but there is no such thing as a performance party. There is no such thing as a Dixon Place, where you can try things out. There’s no ‘contemporary performance’ quote unquote where its kind of dance and kind of theatre and kind of everything in between. So it’s been tough. I’m trying now to work on projects that reference how that doesn’t exist.

Right - There’s kind of an opportunity there.

D: It’s so absent that you can claim to be the discoverer of it, in a way. I think maybe there’s more of that in other Canadian cities.

I wanted to ask about the challenges of creating work coming from GIRLS and Lena Dunham. Unlike… a 50's sitcom, it has a certain self-awareness - or a certain kind of irony - though to what degree can be hard to judge. What is it like to comment on / problematize / break apart from that starting point? Is it harder? Is it even more fun, because you can be even more mysterious in terms of the level of irony in your own commentary?

J: At this point the show is still called TOO MANY LENAS, but I feel so separated from actual Lena Dunham and actual GIRLS. When we originally did the show it felt very much like we were responding to the GIRLS phenomenon and now it feels like we’re responding to the wider cultural zeitgeist. A lot of the content - all of the content is her, and we use her biographical information and plagiarize her, essentially, but she is now the source material.

She’s the palette.

D: Exactly. She’s the colors we have to paint with. The impetus of TOO MANY LENAS was always that in talking about Lena we’re talking about ourselves, but I agree, we’ve moved past that even more.

In TML 3 there’s the recurring line: “My life is my art and therapy is my palette.”

J: That used to be her twitter bio. It was “My life is my art and therapy is my palette. JK, I make videos and shows.”

D: Most germs of the content can be traced back to something like that where it’s an obscure reference to her. It’s not designed to be digested as like, ‘oh that refers to Lena Dunham’ but that’s where it comes from. Like the ‘The Pussy is Mine’ song she tweeted about as being really refreshing because it wasn’t about male ownership, it was instead about male insecurity. So we just made a dance from that as soon as we read the tweet in rehearsal.

J: As for GIRLS - we do source a lot of our material from the GIRLS scripts, and TINY FURNITURE.
D: But then also things like when she was on the cover of Vogue - there was a video made telling the story of her “finding her pose” with Hamish Bowles, and that sequence at the end [of the show] was ripped from that verbatim. The idea is that if the references are eclectic enough then it will keep you guessing and it will all feel like it’s from the same world even though it’s all stolen - though it’s not all stolen. Not that I would care if it was, but some of it comes from us.

Have you guys seen the episode of BILLY ON THE STREET where she is put in a pop-culture trivia contest against this very not pop-culture oriented older woman?

D: Lena is?

Lena is, and she beats the older woman, just kills her, and then that woman is made to milk a cow and is sort of yelled at and humiliated. I guess I’m bringing it up because it was a moment that made her look sort of nasty, because it was really punishing this person for not knowing about TV and music -

D: Though, that is sort of Billy Eichner’s whole thing - these games that are needlessly aggressive. But right, I can see how that’s nasty because Lena is this powerful figure, even though that’s anathema to her fictional persona. When you see things like that it reminds you - you know in the back of your mind when you’re watching her do anything - that this is a rich woman that has gotten richer and an artistically influential person that is only getting more influential.

That’s the seed of a really interesting conflict. There is a sort of embrace of jealousy in your work. One of the things that’s so fun about it is that we all have feelings about famous people and you’re drawing very clear connections - this makes us feel like this, etc.

D: In our company bio we listed one of our main aesthetic tenets as ‘productive envy.’

What makes me the envy productive?

D: Part of the reason why - and maybe this isn’t quite answering the question - but part of the reason why we’ve gotten the attention we’ve gotten, which is not a ton but it’s a little bit, more than the average indie theatre show, is because we chose to do it about Lena Dunham. It’s someone everyone has an opinion on. Frankly, if we’re gonna get seen in the way want to be seen, we have to have an angle. Everything that I think of to do and end up following through on, usually has that same element of, yes I’m interested in it, yes I think it would be cool and fun, but it also has an angle that I feel like people can access it through. That, for me personally, is what gets me past the thing of ‘will anybody care?’ Right before we started working on this I was writing this un-performable piece about Slavoj Zizek, the philosopher living with Vinnie from the Jersey Shore -

J: Called WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN.

D: Thematically it had a bit to do with them, but it really was just this weird thing that I wanted to do. But to say ‘it’s about Slavoj Zizek and this guy from The Jersey Shore,’ that’s a way for someone who isn’t just coming to see our stuff because they are our friends to access it, get excited about it and have a lens through which to view it. So invoking Lena, it’s exploitative, frankly in a way that I don’t feel bad about. It uses our sort of underling, envious relationship to catapult us a little bit towards her. We’re searching for that same legitimacy that she has and may or may not deserve. That thinking about legitimacy and may-or-may-not deserve reflexively applies to us. Which is why there’s this element [in TML 3] where we’re sort of tongue-in-cheek giving ourselves an award for being so good at theater.

Right - because in TML 3 and what I see a lot your peers doing, there is the question of - what is legitimacy? Who gets to give it? Can I just grab it? I also think that piggybacking on existing pop-culture phenomena is an increasingly practical and accepted move. In video comedy especially, you see a lot of sketches that have a pop-culture entry point: Batman goes to a kid’s birthday party, or whatever.

J: But also - I grew up in this environment that was very stuck on the 60’s. Like, did you ever watch the show American Dreams? It ran for two seasons and it was about the 60s. It had all the turmoil in the background but it was about this nice suburban family. And it was the suburban family part that was latched onto as the most interesting.  I was sort of raised in that environment - you’re in the 60s but you’re in the nice fun part of it with fun hair shapes, and pretty dresses. So a lot of the work I was making when I was in college was very referential to American History - like I used to make plays about Richard Nixon all the time, which to me felt so prescient.

D: I think it’s worth noting that one of Jaime’s first plays was WRIGHT / NIXON in which they were all playing Richard Nixon, right?

J: No -

D: The three women?

J: No, I was playing myself and then someone was playing Richard Nixon and Julia and Nora played the ensemble, they played like Henry Kissinger and Nelson Rockefeller.

D: But there was some very - like three women in the same dress, in a way that really invokes TOO MANY LENAS, that Jamie was doing way before we met.

So there’s been this impulse to use public figures for a long time. But it was all from this one decade?

J: I had this very stilted view. They were all presidents. I was, and am, obsessed with US presidents for some reason.  I couldn’t understand why people weren’t really grabbing on to some of the stuff I made and it was because my reference points were always slightly too obscure.

Like they felt current to you because you were raised with them being very present -

J: Yeah, I guess the point I was trying to make was that I had to look a little bit outside of my own emotional reference points to make things that were grab-able for other people.

But there is a through line of taking figures that people know and finding yourself through them. Do you ever have thoughts about why it is you work that way? Because that’s a very specific thing.

J: I don’t know. I’ve always been interested in cultural figures, but not for the things they’ve done. I always thought it was so funny to say “this is Richard Nixon” but it’s just this man who’s crying about his dog. I don’t want to talk about the political implications, or whether the things he did were good or bad, I just want to see him eating chicken wings.

D: There is something really satisfying about using these figures as short-hand. A joke, for us, is not structured like a traditional joke. It’s imagining a scenario in which we’re at The Smile and Terry Richardson and Fabrizio Moretti walk in and Terry Richardson is like shouting at the New York Times while ordering a granola. That’s not a joke, but it will have us absolutely in stitches, and I think the reason why - thinking about it now - is that Terry and Fabrizio are short-hand for some general concept we think is funny. Rather than saying, ‘Isn’t the upper class in Manhattan such an absurd place to live your life?’ we’re just like ‘And then Terry Richardson walks in!’ Powerful man eating chicken wings is not nearly as exciting a joke as ‘there’s Richard Nixon eating chicken wings.’ Something about the way that it’s both very specific and very banal.

J: It’s sort of about the idea that Lena Dunham can post a selfie on Instagram, a picture of herself napping, and it will get thousands and thousands of likes because it’s ‘Lena Dunham napping.’ It’s not ‘girl napping.’ Suddenly there’s LenaDunhamnaps.tumblr.com

Editor's note: There isn't, but there is this, and this.

I was listening to an NPR short recently, and it was just a guy talking about Drake’s Instagram. He was trying to make a story about how Drake has a remarkable Instagram account because he ‘likes’ these kind of pictures - but it never got interesting. There was no thing he was saying, he just wanted to talk about Drake’s Instagram.

D: The funny thing would just be saying ‘and then Drake comes in and Instagrams it.' Talking about what’s on Drake’s Instagram, not so much. But just picturing him doing the task of Instagramming, I’m almost laughing out loud.

There’s a very basic desire there. If these people get all this outsized attention for doing normal human things - to be able to grab them and play with them like puppets and make them do normal human things in the way that you think is funny is satisfying.

D: It doesn’t only enhance the comedy, it’s also this fun displacement from the original gesture. It isn’t only the literal thing - someone eating chicken wings - it’s Richard Nixon doing it. So you’re experiencing it on two levels, a micro and a macro.

J: It gives it a shape.

D: Exactly. Which is what we call our staging method.

J&D: Shapes!

D: ‘Watch your shapes’ - ‘the shape work is great’ - ‘we need another shape there’ - ‘take out three shapes.’

I wanted to ask about the voices in TOO MANY LENAS 3 which the actors drop in and out of - British accents, robot voices. Is there a logic to those?

D: Those kinds of choices are similar to what we were saying about ‘Lena Dunham doing this’ vs ‘girl doing this.” It’s just another level slapped on. Rather than interpreting the line and making a cohesive performance that gives the illusion of a character, you have the line, you have a shape and you have these other elements and they’re all working independently to add texture. It’s more about texture than character. We’ve been talking a lot about that in terms of enhancing the comedy, but it isn’t only about the comedy.

So in place of psychological realism, you have all these layers, or filters.

J: We’re really deconstructing our -

D: I know. I’m learning a lot about what we’re doing. I didn’t know we were doing any of this.

Getting back to the wider view, there is an element of tweaking the institutions of downtown theatre in TOO MANY LENAS 3 and some of the other work I’ve seen you do - like, David, when you performed in Chris Tyler’s Total Rejects Live as part of the Under the Radar Festival. Is that impulse another layer in a piece like TOO MANY LENAS 3? Does it relate to the larger themes?

D: For me that whole enterprise of TRL getting presented at The Public made me feel like, ‘yes we’re a part of it, but we’ve also now got all the problems that come with that.’ We’re a part of it but we’re now brought into a space where there are all these restrictions on us. In the case of TRL, where we were paid $20 to perform on the same stage I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman do JACK GOES BOATING in high school, those institutional restrictions are not coming with any further reward. So what, besides the initial ego boost, are we really getting out of performing at institutions? What does this legitimacy that we strive for really give us in the end? There’s that push-pull of attraction and repulsion in searching for this elusive legitimacy, which is maybe a through line.

Because you guys have this realist, pragmatic element where you want to find a hook, you’re thinking about a way to get this seen and that’s fundamental to the way you create - once you get a look at what institutional validation is like, what it means to get it, you’re positioned to instantly have the thought ‘what is this actually doing?’ I think some people have a lot of barriers to having that thought. Questioning approval or organizations, it can be painful.

J: Well, and we really want it too. We just hate ourselves for it.

D: That’s really what it comes down to. We’re all here because we want to be, we’re doing this thing that we want to be doing, that we like doing, but there are some problems with it. If you’re at all realistic you can’t help hating yourself for it. ‘Couldn’t I want something else?’

J: Something useful... But what is useful?

D: That’s what’s so slippery about it. It’s hard to define.

J: ‘We’re all on the same message -’

J&D: ‘Which is no message at all!’

J: That’s me misquoting myself.

D: MISQUOTING MYSELF. That will be the Carroll Simmons retrospective.

After TOO MANY LENAS 37.

D: Oh god.