• A modern, theatrical interpretation of the Catholic Mass – created by Grapefruit Lab and Teacup Gorilla.

    OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY

    [a pristine set everything in white a sterile science lab a repeating tone]

    [throughout, the words are for the most part spoken by actors behind us lit with scripts and lecterns as the action plays out in the front and aisles]

    [black silence]

    [a hum grows the tone returns repeating there is a voice:]

    and then we separated the inside of our houses
    from the outside of our houses
    we all know the dust cannot be swept from the dirt floor
    we all know the bacteria cannot be scrubbed from our bodies
    from our skin
    from our selves
    and wash it down the drain
    down the hole
    down the mighty mississipp
    the muddy
    the ganges
    down the san andreas
    to the center of the earth
    the universe
    the veins
    in my eye
    wrong
    this ain’t grace
    this all fucked
    this old thing
    wrong
    wash me down
    wash me down
    wash me down

    [a harsh light a silhouette blood on a lab coat washing hands]

    and from within him stir
    the hell within him
    for within him hell

    [a pause]

    please continue

    [the washing continues it becomes jagged and stylized a repetition of itself the hum is feedback there is a scream from all directions the washing stops so do the screams and all sounds the silence is deafening]

    I can kill you but instead I hold you tight

    [the silhouette becomes limp]

    the trash requires that you continue
    the trash requires trash
    continue

    [washing / sporadic screams when the hands are in water stops has the water become blood?]

    it is absolutely essential that you continue
    it is absolutely essential
    continue

    [the washing is frantic the screams are frantic full body]

    it is only a job
    the job requires it
    the job
    there is a speck
    cut
    dissect
    a speck of dust
    cut
    on your father
    cut
    in your shadows and up your ass the contamination
    the cut
    cut out
    you have no choice
    dissect contamination
    it is only right
    it is just
    you have no other choice
    you must go on

    [soaked the body collapses as do the screams and the feedback]

    I’ve never dripped in punishment
    quite
    like
    this


    LADY GAGA: PRIEST

    [an explosion of light and music and people and Lady GaGa and confetti]

    [doors open and slam objects enter from everywhere in an orgy of sex/violence/things people in love and hate]

    [and someone has a shopping cart full of plastic toys and kitchen accouterment which they throw one-by-one against the wall while Lady GaGa sings us this song:]

    I fold you into my mouth
    that goes
    that leaves
    and now i will destroy it all
    I can’t help it
    it all embarrasses me
    and so I’ll fuck it
    and mourn it
    what?
    where was i?
    now now now nownownownownownownownownownownow
    crash
    oops
    crash
    fleeting
    tickle/giggle/fidget and bounce
    a blanket of sadness
    dropped on me from the gods
    from the ghosts of grandmothers and illusions and dead cats
    forget it
    can I put you in my mouth?
    because
    cuz
    I desire it
    drop it
    (I can kill you and take all your money)
    and hold you tight
    just lay on my chest
    feel the comfort of heartbeat in your ear pressed to my skin
    the weightedness
    the love song
    loins
    don’t look
    don’t behold
    me
    mememememememe
    a wish
    I am Prada,
    born among the demons,
    and of all that measures,
    I am time
    I am I am
    the cow that fulfills
    I am
    the power of sex
    and
    the king

    [by the end of which Lady Gaga has jumped from the acropolis to be carried safely to a soft landing on pillows]


    AN ARMY OF GOD

    The twin notions of microcosm and macrocosm neatly model the dominant orienting lens of Western thought. From the pre-Socratics on, thinkers who contend that they have discovered cosmological truths argue that man is a little world embodying the structure and traits of the greater universe. To know the universe, they say, look carefully at man, and all truth shall be revealed. As man breathes, so does the universe (Pythagoras). As man fights interior battles between good and evil, so they must exist on a grander scale (Sir Thomas Browne). And to affix such a connection: a maker to make cunningly. And so on it goes.

    [other voices and texts join in they are dictators and groucho marx and the scum manifesto and tweets and status update blog post personal diary literature and everything words:]

    Concentric circles in the mind. Interior in conversation with the exterior (or the inverse), and again and again we are re-creating what we know most intimately: cyclical motions from the smallest to the largest scale. Cycles of our hours, our days, the circular motion of my hand in the air is a mirror to this cycle of All We Have: aka life (unless we subscribe to the promise of After. Life. And isn’t this promise of Something HereAfter so much of what brings us back, circling back, week after week, to the Pew, the Alter, the Psalm, the Incense and the Water, Genuflection at His feet? The promise that, if we do this right, are appropriately sorrygood, then this is all just the white-walled waiting room, the cloak room to the AfterLife that counts?) . Creatures of habit, we find our pattern, conscious of duplication or un-.

    [the voices come and go forming patterns and rhythms fighting and joining soloing at times and fighting with and against the music in rhythms and sudden bursts and building to a unison:]

    Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people - yet we’re not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.

    We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of our enemies to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, the dark one and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

    The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

    Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations - and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming The Old Serpent now.

    As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike the Author of Evil, we believe the forgotten people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all humanity of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

    The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.

    That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

    Good night, and may God continue to bless America.


    RIPPLES WHEN YOU STOP

    [silence]

    [more silence]

    [lights up bodies still in mid-motion the motion is wrong the lights go out and up wrong and out up wrong again and out]

    [a note on the piano leads to another note and another]

    [a match is lit and lights a candle and another and several candles are lit]

    [someone in a bath:]

    I could say I believe in the world today
    that each day will follow the other like pots to pans
    that the cog of my life turns with some precision
    even that when I am dead I will die
    and stay that way
    I know this
    I know the skies
    black
    yellow
    black
    on and on that way
    and the old dragon and his crony angels
    are nowhere to be seen
    looking for guns and gold and gasoline
    I could say that I believe in this
    that it is

    [someone else attempting and failing]

    [stand up, sit down, kneel repeat]

    [someone making tea or combing hair:]

    on the way home from work
    I got onto i70
    I missed my exit
    but kept driving
    I noticed after an hour or two
    that I was no longer merely driving east
    past gaudy warehouses and outlet stores
    but driving back through years

    [while in the bathtub:]

    every day I cut back the rust
    my heart is a muscle
    the only thing
    left tensed when I sleep
    like a face down in the gravel
    I have to wonder
    after the workday
    I scrub at my hands until they grow old
    I am too young
    for this
    what I didn’t make or take still played out
    plays out
    every fucking day
    fucking federals,
    goddamn fools. Next time kick yourselves out
    cut your own damn faces up
    god doesn’t care, he doesn’t give a fuck
    he’s as tired as the rest of us

    [tea/comb:]

    I passed the room where I got my first blow-job
    the day I stopped going to church
    the bathroom I took my first pill
    the rundown church where the holy spirit entered me
    the airport I left for Africa
    the street I first got mugged
    the theater where I lost feeling
    for the first time
    to when I was eight
    and lived on a street with fuschia bushes
    and snail-slicked paths
    and football outside everyday
    and, you know,
    it never would have crossed my mind
    there as an eight year old child
    that I’d ever even make it to 29
    and be a man who stood 6’2 and 300 lbs
    with a shaved head and childish lips
    who lived a mile above sea level and laid naked with women
    and didn’t believe in god
    who had felt the pentecost
    believing in magic
    sitting with homeless on iona road
    reading bible verses at them
    whose mind, heavy with stalagtites,
    had, one day, just caved in.
    but then, I suspect,
    that no one ever ends where they expected
    or is not horribly changed
    by the arriving

    Some days I walk the 2.4 miles across the bridge,
    along the freeway,
    past the man in a Mad Hatter outfit
    spinning a sign selling BBQ Ribs,
    past 3 bus stops where a woman is stuffing her purse with blank slips of paper,
    just to buy a large coffee from the 7-11.

    Some days I get so lonely I forget my own name

    [bathtub:]

    I only notice the ripples
    when I am absolutely still

    [sex slow everything in rhythm to the sex breathing]

    [washing hands]

    [Lady GaGa prepares for her death]

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above;
    Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love;
    As I speak
    highly civilized human beings are flying overhead,
    trying to kill me.
    They do not feel any enmity against me
    as an individual,
    nor I against them.
    Most of them,
    I have no doubt
    are kind-hearted.
    Law-abiding men
    who would never dream of committing murder
    in private life.
    But
    if one of them succeeds
    he will never sleep any the worse for it.
    He is serving his country.
    He will be absolved from evil.

    [and hangs herself while saying:]

    my hell comes from inside myself. why fight this?
    no one’s gonna play the harp when you die.
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    [Lady Gaga finds a birthday cake and lights the candles and eats some frosting with her finger]

    I’m not fighting because I believe in it
    I’m fighting because I don’t know what else to do.

    [everyone lights candles the place becomes holy]

    [someone arranging fruit in neat rows across the entire space:]

    my grandmother survived the war barefoot, scavenging other people’s inedibles: rotting potatoes, discarded scraps of meat, skins, and the bits that clung to bones.

    food is not food. it is terror, dignity, gratitude, vengeance, joyfulness, humiliation, religion, history, and, of course

    love

    terror

    sacrifice

    [they begin to squash the fruit beneath their feet]

    animals and humans
    entrails
    guts on canvas
    kisses
    guts on canvas
    kisses
    bowing to the blood
    dissolution of the self/ves
    orpheus torn limb from limb
    a lamb’s head floating on a river
    dancing/fucking in the guts of a beast
    as man breathes, so does the universe

    [Lady GaGa is about to die]

    what happens when the heart just stops?
    no more to breathe, no more to grieve, coming home
    remember to live before you die

    [pause]

    make a wish

    [she blows out the candles on her cake]

    what else do I have to do today?

    [she jumps from the acropolis and hangs herself and is stoned and dies face down in the cake]


    A CONSPIRACY OF US

    [dark a sound followed by sounds from all around a cappella as there is light and everyone moves one at a time in single file across the room while jokes are told about suicide and death they each stop briefly at a wash basin, dip their hands in blood and spread it on their clothes before crossing to Lady Gaga and serving each other cake]

    [do they offer the audience birthday cake as well?]

    theater’ orgs

    Grapefruit Lab

    Co-Founder: multimedia performance laboratory & theater ensemble

    72 ‘theater’ episodes

    2019

    In loving memory of Tante Annie

    | theater

    Based on a series of interviews with Annie in 2003, this play was produced first by Goshen College as a runner-up for the International Peace Play Contest, and then in collabiration with New World Arts for my senior thesis production.

    Vagina Monologues @ Firehouse Art Center

    | theater

    I was invited to perform a Vagina Monologue, and ended up writing my own.

    Celebration, Florida @ square product theatre

    | theater

    an un-rehearsed play by Greg Wohead

    2018

    Outside The Room @ Denver Center for the Performing Arts

    | theater

    A family struggles to find humanity and normalcy in a world made uncertain and strange after the transformation and “othering” of one of their own. This physical theatre piece imagines what happens on the other side of the iconic door in Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

    JANE/EYRE @ The Bakery

    | theater

    We are not here to flatter egotism, or prop up humbug; we are merely telling the [queer] story. We value what is good in the book; but we believe in the existence of other, and more vivid kinds of goodness.

    2017

    2016

    The In-Between @ Rio Mesa Center

    | theater

    a site-specific performance in the Utah desert

    2015

    2014

    The Post-Obsolete BookELO Conference

    | project

    An archival rhizome ecology in ten parts, and a reflection on the obsolescence of obsolescence – documented on the cloud, and open-sourced as a defense against post-post-obsolescence.

    2013

    2012

    The Post-Obsolete BookSLSA 2012 – Electronic Literature and the Nonhuman

    | project | Milwaukee, WI

    The Post-Obsolete Book @ post-obsolete.com

    | project

    An archival rhizome ecology in ten parts, and a reflection on the obsolescence of obsolescence – documented on the cloud, and open-sourced as a defense against post-post-obsolescence.

    2010

    Missa Populi

    | script

    Missa Populi @ PackingHouse Center for the Arts

    | theater

    Combining the sacrifice, transcendence, blood, and circumstance of the Catholic Mass with history, live music, science, dance, literature, and pop culture to find a wholly modern communion experience. What we have left is our selves, broken and battered, but surviving together.

    Roller Skating With My CousinBINDERY | space

    | theater | Denver, CO

    Part science lab, part disco, Roller Skating With My Cousin is a lively, dark romp in which synchronized roller skaters build a tower under a star-flecked mirror ball sky.

    2009

    A Murder One LessBINDERY | space

    | theater

    She is a plain and pensive woman. He is a rather ordinary man who lives in an extraordinary house. This house does algebraic equations and plots violence. One evening, woman, man, and house collide; not all of them survive.

    RAIN/ of terrorBINDERY | space

    | theater | Denver, CO

    The citizens are easily roused and swayed, as a culture of fear infects the city with the constant threat of execution.

    2008

    The Anonymous Mr. W.BINDERY | space

    | theater | Denver, CO

    Inspired by Georg Büchner’s unfinished masterpiece, Woyzeck, The LIDA Project reinterprets the story of a young soldier returning from the horrors of war.

    (#9) The Resistible Rise of Arturo UiBINDERY | space

    | theater

    A parable play and fantastic spectacle, warning of the dangers of a desperate populace handing over power to a corrupt leader.

    Untitled #39 | Dresden Dolls @ Bluebird Theater

    | theater | Denver, CO

    We created this site-specific and interactive performance as an opening act for the Dresden Dolls – performed in the lobby.

    (#10) My Name Is Rachel Corrie @ Countdown to Zero

    | theater | Las Vegas, NV

    Rachel Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who traveled to the Gaza Strip during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. She was killed when she tried to obstruct a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer o perated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF.)

    The LIDA Project

    | theater | Denver, CO

    Founded in 1995, The LIDA Project is a meta-media art collective dedicated to experimental live performance.

    2007

    Countdown to Zero

    | theater | Denver, CO

    Countdown to Zero is a political theatre collective established in 2007 by Brian Freeland & Julie Rada. The collective has committed to a series of 10 theatrical works (10 counting down to zero) at which time the collective will disband.

    Bigger Guns III @ New World Arts

    | theater | Goshen, IN

    Founded in 1998 as New World Players, we produced original & alternative ensemble theater for over a decade – along with an art gallery and event space.

    2006

    Fear/Falling @ New World Arts

    | theater | Goshen, IN

    2005

    Sadomasochism @ New World Arts

    | theater | Goshen, IN

    2004

    2003

    In a Time of War

    | script

    Reflections of a Mennonite holocaust survivor after the war

    Antony & Cleopatra @ Oregon Shakespeare Festival

    | theater

    A glittering tragedy, a passionate romance, and an internship opportunity.

    2002

    2001

    No Degree @ Goshen College

    | education

    I studied theater, writing, and visual art at Goshen College – but never took those 2 final classes required for graduation.

    New World Arts

    | theater | Goshen, IN

    Founded in 1998 as New World Players, we produced original & alternative ensemble theater for over a decade – along with an art gallery and event space.