Saturday, March 26, 2011

The UnderGroundlings

Many Subway Cars in New York City Have Been Spray-Painted by Vandals. 05/1973

For the past few weeks, I've had an idea cooking in my head. I want to do Shakespeare on the Subway cars. It's not an earth shattering idea. It's not even a particularly original idea.

Every time I hear a barbershop quartet sing to a car of people, I think that could be me. Every time the kids come around selling candy that I'm allergic to, I think this could be so much more engaging.

Performing the Bard in a subway car feels, to me, remarkably true to the way the words were written to be performed: we're in a dank hole in the ground full of garbage, piss, and rats. Furthermore, fully half of the audience is actively not listening to what we're saying- they're here to do something else.

It's as the great Eddie Izzard says about starting out as a street performer: "what I learned about street performing hugely informs my stand-up talents. “It gives you this confidence that you develop standing on a piece of street where no one wanted to look at you in the first place, so it stays with me always."

Does that make this partially a selfish endeavor? Maybe. But no more selfish than any of the other interruptors on the subway, and I plan to not ask for money. The worst that can happen to me is a cop tells me to knock it off and move along, or I run into a real Shakespeare nut who tries to correct me. Or I get kicked, like the group who did this before me did.

The best? Well, I get some work. I get experience. I get to play with my friends. I get something to look forward to.

In any case, I shall attack this with all the vigor I usually give to new endeavors. That means list-making, planning, blog-writing and annoying phone calls to friends. Most of my writing on the subject will be on the Blog and Twitter I've registered for the group, and I hope to invite friends & fellow actors to be guest bloggers. It's not a movement, it's play.

-Chose scenes, number of Characters. Make cuts.
-Find out length of time between (specific) stations.
-Create t-shirt.
-Rehearse, once. In public.
-Just do it.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Great idea!! Even with your own admittance...not an original thought. So………. Express or local, downtown or uptown?? So many trains-so many scenes………