I met Lucas Maloney in November of 2008, when we were both Assistant Directing a production. He was introduced to me as the Artistic Director of Molotov Theatre Group, a company I was familiar with both in name and because I had previously worked with Alex Zavistovich on some other projects.
What I didn’t know at the time was exactly how fucked up these two individuals are. But I would learn. 11 months after that meeting, you could find me onstage, on all fours on a bed, with my leather pants around my ankles getting whipped with a belt and cut with a razor before having cocaine snorted off of my bare ass.
How the fuck did this happen?
In the 14 months since I met Lucas, I’d solidified my friendship with both him and Alex, graduated from the inaugural Disturbatory, performed in Blood, Sweat & Fears II, became a company member, got cast in the next production and was given the reins to direct the summer show (more on those two later).
“Ecsorbete Ignavi” indeed, bitches.
(I’m assuming most of you know what that means, since the last blog post has been up for seven months. If not, scroll down and educate yourselves).
Working in a Grand Guignol style is like nothing else in DC. Actively finding ways to be true to the story AND freak people the fuck out has a huge appeal to me. In Blood, Sweat & Fears II, there’s a moment where Alex whips out his cock, starts masturbating, and then furiously comes all over the audience. The reactions from audience members were priceless. And folks, I gotta tell you, if you go to see theatre, and the person taking the tickets and giving out the programs offers you a plastic poncho to wear for the show, you bloody well take the plastic poncho.
In a related note, I’d like to personally send a big old “Fuck You” to the critic who thought Alex was urinating on people in the above moment. I’m willing to bet that he was the only person who didn’t recognize cum for what it is. Maybe golden showers are what gets him off, I don’t know.
Getting shot in the chest, peeing in a bottle, shoving electrodes up a woman’s vaj; these are Molotov moments that are designed to make you go “whoa!” But in a recent review, Tim Treanor, of DC Theatre Scene (http://dctheatrescene.com/) had this to say:
“…modern urban Americans are pretty much inured to things that go bump in the night.”
He does have a point. We don’t play to 1890s Paris. We play to 21st Century Washington, DC. Things that worked 120 years ago don’t always work now. The result is that audiences don’t always know what to expect. Whether it’s a BDSM aficionado from Hyattsville or a 70 year old married couple in town on vacation from Arizona, our audiences are diverse. When they walk into a Molotov show, they may or may not know that they are seeing the second oldest Grand Guignol company in America. When they walk out, they certainly have a better understanding of the style. And hopefully they’ve got some blood on them.
Looking ahead, Molotov is diving into 2010 balls first. After adding two new company members (Jenny Donovan and myself), we’ve got a season lined up that’ll blow your fucking minds, wimps. In March, we present “Mondo Andronicus,” an edited version of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus that focuses on the gore and leaves out the crap. Originally written and produced by our friends in California, The Thrillpeddlers, the moniker “Mondo” was attached to the title as an homage to the documentary-style films of the 60s (think Mondo Cane, John Alan Schwartz and the Faces of Death, and Angelo & Alfredo Castiglioni, among others). You’ll also see Skinhead Hamlet, a four page retelling of Hamlet done in a way audiences just won’t expect.
In July, Molotov presents “The Horrors of Online Dating,” a world premiere musical by resident playwright and genius Shawn Paul Northrip. Horrors is Molotov’s first musical and audiences will see just how well the Grand Guignol style of theatre can be utilized in a modern piece. Audiences will meet Judy, a femme fatale of the highest order. If you’re familiar with the writings of Mel Gordon, you know exactly what to expect. If you imagine Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, as a serial killer, you start to get a handle on what this show is about.
Finally, in October, Molotov will put up “Blood, Sweat and Fears III.” This night of theatre has become a Washington tradition, and arrives just in time for Halloween.
Time to get excited, kids. Every year, Molotov pushes the envelope a little further, and 2010 will be no exception. And it you’re not down with that, I’ve got three words for you.
“Suck it, wimps.”