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TFN Video Blog - Oliver: "Gormanzee"

TFN Video Blog - Oliver: "Gormanzee"

Hi, this is Oliver Lehne for Theater Fantatic, and I'm here to tell you an off-Broadway theater story. The typical theater-goer in New York can expect to see a lot of theater: something that runs the gamut from amazing, and profound, and life-changing, to silly or ridiculous. But for me, the experiences that usually stand out are the weird ones, the strange, unusual ones where the playwright and the director challenge the audience, subvert their expectations, make them think in a different way. One of those experience for me was a show at The Flea about two years ago called Gormanzee and Other Stories by Anna Moench, and it was directed by her creative partner Meredith Steinberg. It was set in a sort of lab, and there was a lab technician in a white coat, you know, she wheeled on her tray with all her implements and goes outside and brings in a gorilla. And this gorilla is this massive puppet manipulated by three people, sort of like Japanese Bunraku puppetry, you know, one on the head, one on each arm, and you can see the puppet ?puppeteers - but you're completely focused on the puppet because it's that life like, and that, you know, real and surreal at the same time. So she leads in this gorilla, she goes out again, she brings in this guy in his underwear who's freaking out, he's monologuing about, "What are you doing? What are you doing to me?' And - So we have a girl and a man, she goes out again and she brings out a girl in a chimp costume. And so there's a gorilla, a man, and a chimp: "gormanzee." She takes the gorilla, tethers it somehow, and starts lathering it up with shaving cream and starts shaving it. And this was really cool because the gorilla was made of Velcro or something, so she could, like, tear the fur off it after she's lathered it up. And then it was all pink and exposed and vulnerable all over and it's limbs its arms it's legs, it's belly, you know, shy and scared. She lays it on the slab and takes out a scalpel and cuts it open. And this is when it got really cool because instead of having a blood pack or having some red lighting or something - the direction was just so creative because she had every possible kind of red substance come out of this gorilla. You know, there was confetti, there was silly string, there were balloons, there were red paper airplanes, there were those, like, bouncy balls, those rubber balls, there were handkerchiefs, there were little hats, I remember little bowler hats, it was the funniest thing and every time you thought they'd topped themselves there was one more thing, and these things were just flying everywhere and coming at you in the audience. And this was that wonderful moment in the theater where you know that it's something ridiculous you know that's it?s a balloon or a paper airplane and you're laughing, but at the same time part of you really believes that it's blood, and you shy away and you jump and you try not to be hit by it. So finally the gorilla's dead and everything's subsided and she turns to the man and somehow manages to convince him to lie down inside this gorilla, you know, inside the open belly of the gorilla. Kills him in a similar fashion, more of, you know, sprays of red confetti and stuff, then she turns to the chimp who's cowering in the corner and says, "Have you ever tried turducken?" Thank you for watching. This has been Oliver Lehne for Theater Fanatic Network.