It was almost one-thirty in the morning Sunday when we heard host Victor Isaac enthusiastically announce the words we were praying to hear.... "Coming back next week... THE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE!!!"
We were tired. We were sore. Our adrenal glands had been running on tilt all day. My mind had been spinning for a solid week. But in that moment, all we felt was euphoria. And relief.
And then a realization that... oh shit... we were about to do it all over again.
Okay, wait. Let me back up for a second....
In case you didn't know, I'm currently developing a new play in a very unique incubator.
Well, "incubator" isn't quite the right term for it.
It's more of a crucible, really.
A crucible called Serial Killers at Sacred Fools.
Here's the basic concept - each week, five ongoing storylines enter this theatrical Thunderdome, but only three shows leave.
Who decides which stories continue on, and which ones are killed off? The audience.
If that sounds nerve-wracking to you, well, that's because it is.
This is a straight-up competition to see if you can survive long enough, week-to-week, to complete your storyline.
As a writer, it's been fantastic. The twelve minute limit on each scene keeps me honest and keeps the pacing tight. The competitive format also forces me to make the ambitious and daring choices (logistics be damned) to increase our chances of survival. For instance, I'd never written a scene that called for a devised movement piece before. But last week, I did just that. And then we made it happen. And it killed.
As a director/producer, it's been... challenging. Nothing like sitting down with my team and going, "so, here's the crazy idea I came up with at about 5am this morning and wrote up. We have no budget, and less than a week to make this happen." And of course, because it's me, I refuse to make it simple. First week featured multiple fights and almost fifty light and sound cues (okay, we cheated with our first episode by porting over exactly what we'd done at Short+Sweet Hollywood. But it looked incredible!)
For Episode 2 though, we devised, learned, and perfected an original movement piece set to a monologue I'd written, in less than three hours of rehearsal. Then, because karma, I had to jump on stage this past weekend and perform it, replacing one of my actors who had booked a job.
But these guys have been doing it. This cast - Graydon Schlichter, Denise Nicholson, Seth Thygesen, Mark Lopez, Jenny Ashe, Danielle Janco, Carey Matthews, Emily Donn and choreographer Lindsay Anne Braverman - have been Killing. It.
They've been coming in for late-night rehearsals for more than two weeks now, jumping directly into the fray without question or hesitation. We work together to overcome every setback. We celebrate each victory as one. This is a cast and crew the likes of which I've never encountered before. Their enthusiasm and passion for this project knows no bounds.
They deserve the chance to finish their story.
But to do that, we need your help.
They deserve your help.
I know it's in Hollywood. I know it's Saturday night. I know it's a late curtain and most of you would rather be out drinking, or doing... well, damn near anything other than seeing a show. But this is Something Worth Seeing. And I'm not just saying this because I wrote it. This incredible cast is earning that distinction.
Admission is only $10, curtain's 11:30pm, and it's over with enough time to grab a nightcap at any of a dozen bars in the immediate vicinity (The Three Clubs being my personal recommendation).
Please come on down. We've succeeded thus far by winning over the regular audience, but every week, two new challengers enter the Thunderdome, and at three episodes, we're already the second-longest running show alive right now.
That's how fast fortunes can turn.
Details for Saturday night's show can be found here, along with a summary of our story so far.
Also, Graydon (who plays our protagonist, M-Pulse) has created a pretty awesome video recap of our first episode, which you can check out here.
See you Saturday night at Sacred Fools!