AATC is promoting the world premiere of Gotanda's play as:"It's a play that has a kind of postmodern vaudeville where it is both serious and clownish at the same time. It plays with language, and there are ultimately very funny characters. The structure is based loosely on Waiting for Godot. The title of the play comes from a hamburger joint that was called Murder Burger. After there were complaints, they reversed the order of the letters in the word 'murder' to make it Redrum Burger. I liked that name.In producing, if you have an abandoned garage space, car headlights, and a willing actor, you're good to go and everything after that, cream. In writing, it can mean:
- Forcing yourself to get out of the way.
- Stewarding the primary impulse to end times.
- Letting the immediacy of the play's life tumble out.
- Not over-handling the raw stuffiness of it.
- Permitting the dots-connecting traditional narrative to have wider gaps than usual.The hope is that, in this process, there is an alternative aesthetic that comes into play for the audience. Does it always work? I don't know. But I do know that the Garage Band Series process is creatively most invigorating, full of pitfall insights, and a great muse-antidote to my larger, multi-year projects. My GBS plays are works written with the overriding principle: Just get the work out. Out of the body. Out on the stage.
I like this play a lot. It’s a fun, disturbing, comedic romp. It’s what small theaters should and can best offer – an indie theatrical experience [as opposed] to the slick and expensively produced. Very talented artists whom you may not have seen before, but should and will, doing work that bends minds with a world of dirt, blood, bad jokes, guns, cross dressing, human sacrifice and great love, in no particular order. This is not your mainstream critic’s choice. This is the extreme people’s choice, the retro community organizer’s choice -- hip, slapstick, violent. And yet, with a heart."
"The story of two amnesiacs determined to survive with style amidst a post-apocalyptic universe gone mad. When a mysterious drum appears, it awakens their lost memories and inspires them to create a new society. #5 Angry Red Drum is a tragicomic parable reminiscent of an early David Lynch film that features a live original sound score using traditional and found instruments, mis-remembered fragments of Bob Dylan lyrics, and post-post-post modern dance. This is where Beckett meets Burning Man."
Others in the cast included Rich Bianco (doubling as Truman and a Dark Angel), and Micael Uy Kelly as a Backwards Soldier. In his director's note, Matthew Graham Smith confessed that:
"My reluctance to preface this exciting new play stems from my hesitation to rob the audience of their own experience with this impressionistic, primal howl. The play fuses the story of mankind's entire evolution in 90 minutes along with a Cain and Abel story imagined as the Siamese Twins and a meditation on the Bush/Cheney years, all while paying homage to Beckett's Waiting for Godot -- and yet you don't really need to know any of that. The piece does its real work on a deeper, subconscious level, the level of vibration that we respond to when we hear the beat of a drum.
Some of the best plays ever written respond immediately, though indirectly, to recent troubling times and what they portend for the future. Waiting for Godot contemplates the horrors of World War II by giving us the vaudeville routines of two homeless tramps. #5 Angry Red Drum responds to our contemporary culture of war, celebrity, and loneliness without bringing us any of the familiar narratives that accompany these themes. Philip Ken Gotanda gives us the opportunity to rediscover the issues we grapple with by making them unfamiliar, twisted."
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