Salvage Vanguard Theater is dedicated to the growth and development of the American artist, fostering a collaboration between all artistic disciplines in a theatrical context. With an emphasis on work that breaks new ground, Salvage Vanguard is committed to the development and production of new works by underproduced artists, both locally and nationally, and to providing cheap tickets.
To do list:
a. Total art work.
b. Theater of Infiltration.
c. Burn bridges.
d. Explode preconceptions of performance.
e. Abandon the difference between theater and rock and dance and speech.
f. Create new forms to teach the next generation.
g. Make the stone stony.
h. Do it live.
Theater of Infiltration deserves a second look. Theater of Infiltration is taking the show on the road. It is performing in your living room. It is performing in your hangout. Theater of Infiltration is the stuff that legends are made of. It breaks the rules and takes theater out of the theater. It challenges the audience to kick it out. It send rats through your sewer. It makes you uncomfortable because you never know where it will be next or what it will be next. It takes the things you are comfortable with, sets them on fire, and throws them in your face. It is a rock show in your bedroom with the lights out. It is an index of explosions. It is live and it is here and it is now.
Did you hear about the riot?
To enter the Manifesto Destinies Two-Step, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Salvage Vanguard Theater is at email@example.com
Back to RAT Table of Contents
THIEVES THEATRE, BROOKLYN, NY
Moron! Vermin! Curate! Cretin! Crritic!!
Waiting for Godot
Rumor and legend have it that eunuchs more than made up for their lack of function in one area of lovemaking with expertise in another. The eunuchs could do amazing things with their tongues: so much so that all the harem women found their true pleasures not in the occasional couplings with the king but with their daily, secret trysts with the eunuchs.
The power structure within the harem/eunuch family was quite complex, necessitating secret pacts at every level. Becoming the king's favorite was not enough for the harem members, for the harem itself was testament to the king's need for varieties of religious experience. And although technically the eunuchs were servants to the harem, they were in many ways the masters, able to give or withdraw the secret praise of their soothing tongues at will--tongues that brought such exquisite momentary pleasure and illusionary relief from the tyranny that ruled all. These tongues were ever so objective in their scholarship of pleasure. Incapable of pleasure themselves, the eunuchs had extraordinary insight into the aesthetics of power and illusion that the need for pleasure and its satiety produced.
It came about in this little family of King's Players that the most powerful and influential individual was a certain eunuch known for his "biting tongue." However, this biting tongue technique--as honed and satisfying as it was--also became this eunuch's downfall. Other eunuchs became jealous of his profound influence on the harem. So much so that they willingly compromised their own secret trysts with the harem by reporting the eunuch with the biting tongue to the king. Taking a stance of moral indignation, they told the king of the perversity to which the whole harem was falling prey.
In his "investigation" of this eunuch, the king discovered a whole new world of pleasures that had previously been unknown to him. Soon the king's nocturnal pleasures were satisfied equally by his eunuchs and his harem. However, the eunuch with the biting tongue was executed. Speculation was that his technique was better suited to the harem than the king.
An so the power structure within the harem/eunuch family changed again. Some harem members became mere servants to certain eunuchs; some eunuchs devoted themselves solely to certain harem members; but all was well in the kingdom. The king's pleasures became more democratic and encompassing. The eunuch with the biting tongue was dead. And now it was unlikely that any new technique and attendant conspiracies would develop from a covert liaison with the eunuch/harem family. The king was privy to all, and all was in his service.
In the momentary escapes that pleasure provided the king, an illusion mingled with a kind of nostalgia as he came floating back to reality. He would awaken with a sense of loss and vague premonition. Similar were the daydreams that preoccupied the harem and eunuchs in this new world order. More reality than dream. On the outskirts of the kingdom, the harem became again, as always, a coven of witches, the eunuchs became again, as always, warriors.
This strange tribe of Critics and Artists is again, as always, brewing and perfecting the delivery of a plague called Theater.
a mammafesta? i'll try:
"The Unbearables...a free-floating band of neoists, nihilists, immediatists, and various incarnations of literary and artistic anarchists...gathered in a Temporary Autonomous Zone of Beer Mysticism and Literary Hijinks...disorganized around the notion that consumerism and corporatization has become the insidious evil of our time...pranksters who devalue the institutions held in such high regard for no reason.
a man who used to have a long signature,
but now has decided against it in the interest
of not boring you, the dedicated reader, to tears. in the event that this
signature DOES bore you, i'd suggest maybe you stop reading it now. but
apparently you still haven't so i guess you do not have the courage to
stand up for your convictions.
The Harlequins don't tour. We leave our clubhouse only when there's a bad moon on the rise. Let The King Tut Exhibit and the other mummies tour from town to town, museum to mauseleum in their little airless glass showcases. If The Harlequins roll into Austin on their machines, we'll be flying our colors and looking for action. Straight from our last gig for gas money ( Was it The $mall of America that hired us for the Grand Opening of their new Post Apocalyptic Barter Town Theme Park?) We need nothing but food/fuel.... Lodging? Build us a humongous Circus Tent from the skinned and tanned hide of that strange beast we're stalking and we'll live under it forever. Otherwise don't bother.
Let "Showboat" and "Cats" tour and serve the homebound Club Med tourista their dinner theater. We belong to the nightmare and wetdream that rule their sleeping soul. Always they'll awake wide-eyed in the middle of the night to the roar of combustion engines tearing through their front yard, listening in a rapture of fear and longing until that roar becomes a faint buzz. Safe now, The Harlequins are finally on the road out of town.
We propose and promulgate Funky Theatre: theatre that deals with the messy, the cloudy, the rich and earthy, the underneath. Funky theatre is where both the fun and the dangerous collide.
One way to make Funky Theatre:
Funky Theatre must dispense with all non-essentials--become leaner and meaner. The days of Ibsen, Chekhov, Williams, O'Neill, Miller, Simon and Inge are, for better or worse, over, and the 70-year-old experiment of Stanislavski and the Group Theatre has failed to produce a continuum of cultural impact. If the theatre community continues to produce work that has only emotive and historical value, it can never be essential to humanity. It must change. Another production of Death of a Salesman may be interesting, but it can never be artistically indispensable to the people of the 21st century.
Theatre today must reflect its place among other media (television, cyberspace) and among other art forms, (film, visual art), rather than ignore its cultural surroundings. The effect of popular culture on our lives is inescapable, and Funky Theatre has no need to exclude its effect from the artistic process. The elitist snobbery of many in the professional theatre community towards popular culture makes much modern theatre both a histrionic bore and an irrelevant windbag. Theatre must exist within an understanding of the cultures that surround it to be compelling. To do otherwise is irresponsible and egotistical.
This does not mean a wholesale embrace of technology in the theatre. Indeed, the personal connection of actor to audience, of a common shared space, of a modern ritual, must be moved to the center of the artform, rather than de-emphasized. An awareness of our culture allows one to make changes.
What is Funky Theatre, then? Narrative, both linear and non-linear.
A gestural language unrepeatable in film or television. An awareness of
culture(s) outside the theatre space. An understanding: Identity is not
character, and character does not create identity. A return of ritual and
exploration. An implosion of social taboos, an explosion of stale theatrical
tradition. A focus on action, on what is happening, not on Method or the
ego-driven indulgence of emotional recall. A rejection of safety.
Q: What do you want your work to be?
A: I want:
My theatrical work to be exciting vibrant and multi-levelled, to engage the audience and the actors in an event that will never take place again (at least until tomorrow night)
The plays I direct to be as clear as rain and as thick as mud, to settle into the soul like an old shoe, to resonate and surprise and reapproach the commonplace from a slightly different angle
My plays to play, to take off into the stratosphere and descend at random, to blow up in the faces of bureaucrats like cigars, to be serious and comic and tragic and farcical and clear and complex all at once
My work to marry spectacle with intellect, farce with tragedy, the clown with the king.
Everything and anything to happen in my plays. I'd like to banish time and regulate space, to make the impossible happen, to put the lens of the clown to the fabric of society
The stories that I tell to be epic and at the same time personal, like the mythology you create around your parents when you 're five years old. and your mother is the prettiest woman in the world and your father is the fastest driver, and YOU are the center of the universe
To make plays that celebrate the absurdity of living, the pain and joy of growing older, the rise and fall of human beings that could have been contenders if they'd only given up what they held most dear
My work to be understood at a glance and pondered for hours. Young children and old men and older women should be drawn in like water from the well, a little at a time
My audiences to be involved in my plays, to root for their favorite characters like they do at the wrestling ring, to cheer and boo, to laugh and cry, depending on their mood.
The audience to go "WOW! I could never see THAT on TV, and even if they showed it, it just wouldn't be the same."
I want my plays to be fun to watch and more fun to do.
W h a t W e B e l i e v e I n
We believe in developing provocative and imaginative new works for the theatre. We believe in the power of collaboration and the importance of communication. We believe in sharing visions and dreams with one another. We believe in workshops.
We believe that an audience should be challenged and rewarded by compelling and dynamic work. We believe that an audience should react strongly to what they’re experiencing. We believe that an audience should participate and feel excitement. We believe that an audience should have fun.
We believe that theatre should be accessible to anyone who’s interested in it. We believe in removing the obstacles between a person and a live theatre space.
We believe that a person has more value than a thing. We believe in treating people well and with the respect they deserve. We believe in caring for our artists as friends and family. We believe that artists work hard and should be paid for their hard work.
We believe in other theatres. We believe in supporting other theatre works both locally and globally. We believe that if theatre is good anywhere, theatre is good everywhere.
We believe in drinking lots of coffee. We believe in snacks. We believe in “all-nighters”. We believe in rehearsal. We believe in risks. We believe in laughter. We believe in parties. We believe in tubing. We believe in New Year’s Eve. We believe in dreams.
We believe in making a positive difference to our community.
As in Yoruba ceremony, we begin our work by honoring our ancestors: We give thanks to the first storytellers, the mothers and fathers of young children; to mythmakers, the creators of gods; to teachers, subversive growers of character and reason; to Plato, crafty playwright and secret champion of the arts; to Euripides, destroyer of worlds; to the first comic actors, uniters through laughter; to protestors and outsiders, creators by necessity; to traveling players, servants to the crowd; to Shakespeare, inspired scribbler; to those swept by vision into a movement beyond their own making: the Surrealists, the Dadaists, the Cubists, the German Expressionists, the Feminists, the Magical-Realists, the Performance Artists, the Fringe.
Next, we honor Eshu (or Ellegua, or Esu, or Exu, or Papa Legba), the deity of the crossroads, of chaos, of confusion. And finally, the litany of deities: Divine Mother, Holy Father, Beloved, Teacher, Friend; The 11th Hour Muse; and all Saints of all Religions. We give thanks.
In war-time, the most honorable act an artist can do is to make the waters muddy (vs. making the pie higher). Propaganda serves the needs of the moment; art serves the needs of the ages. There are enormous powers in the surround demanding our attention, demanding that we refer to them as good or evil, and depending upon the color of our skin, we generally only get one choice. Art is an ideological wedge in the stone heart of the world, revealing a spectrum beneath the black & white surface.
Not everything should be revealed; we believe in secrets, but we can't tell you why.
The last century was the bloodiest one in history. The 21st began when the richest nation received its own bloody initiation into the world. Since there is no end in sight, our art should reflect this state of affairs. Unfortunately, there are more than enough models to draw from (from the surrealists to the post-colonialists, feminism as a tool to investigate and dismantle the practices of nationalism, rules of rebellion from Northern Ireland, West Africa, Southern Mexico, etc.). We are also aware that each tragic epoch needs its own rules, and its own art. In the U.S., however, we've been in the habit of pretending that we're the only game in town, and that our art has no ancestors. As a result, we've produced a lot of bad art. So, we're decided on creating art that is specific to our time and place, but we know that no great rite can take place without a prayer to the ancestors first.
We're counting on the day that the U.S. values artists; much like in those backwards countries where they have time for these things; places like Mexico, or the outback of Australia, or Berlin. We're not opposed to moving to Berlin.
We live in a desert. A new theater here, that does mainstream work (a good bet business-wise, or at least a better bet, but rather impractical now that the world is changed), is like bringing more bread. There's nothing wrong with bread, in fact, some people can really use it. But we also need water, and there is none. We consider ourselves Water. This is based on personal experience of having been extremely thirsty. It's our turn to find the thirsty people.
What is water? What is the nature of water? What makes our water better?
It's unfiltered. It comes from a well that runs in the center of the earth, like a cenote in Yucatan, like blood in the veins, like the marrow in the marrow. Our water is so good, you'll be drinking it long before you need it, so you won't become dehydrated.
One function of art is to entertain. We've found it impossible to be entertained by most of what's offered, even before 911 but particularly afterwards. We refuse, then, to create art that actively or subvertly addresses only white, upper middle class audience members with a judeo-christian world-view. This includes most of the art made today in the U.S. We do not pretend to speak to a universal sensibility, since one does not exist. Our aesthetic is based on multiplicity; not tolerance, since this connotes a putting-up with. We like to be face to face, and get everything on the table. We believe in warts. We also think that warts are more entertaining than Andrew Lloyd Weber.
We are inclusive. That is, we are not making difficult work accessible to the average audience member, but changing the demographics of audiences in general; in other words, to make an elitist art form available to excluded audiences, and make the elite audiences eat themselves. We're dedicated to access for anyone: the homeless get in free. We'll even bring theater to them. We actively recruit alternative audiences. Tattoo and piercing nights where those folk pay half price. Acid head night. Dilated pupils get $2 off. Objectified Other night: bring a testimonial of your own oppression, and your friend gets in free.
We believe that cannibalism is entertainment, and we practice this when we eat vegetables that grow from the ground which is made from the bodies of our dead. We honor the dead by burying them, and then eating them. One day they will do the same for us.
From buried traditions--artists and thinkers of the past--we create theater
that provides sustenance for the living.