In today’s questionnaire, our questions are presented to the individual in the best position to answer them the way they were meant to be answered. That’s right: I, Jeffrey Alexander Lewonczyk, Associate Artistic Director of The Brick, Artistic Director of Piper McKenzie Productions, Curator of the Pretentious Festival, and Director of Macbeth Without Words, am finally going to show you how it’s done. Rejoice and/or Despair! (Note our production photo at left. None of those people are me.)
What exactly makes your show so damn pretentious anyway?
For those of you who may not have been reading this blog with the regularity it requires, I was quoted in the New York Times recently, calling William Shakespeare a hack, a livestock molester, a flash-in-the-pan, and, most damingly, a closet Catholic. (Why anyone would want to take credit for his plays is beyond the really rather vast scope of my comprehension.) We are improving upon his unfortunate play Macbeth by doing it without the pedestrian, sophomoric “poetry” with which it has long been associated. Your average first-year creative-writing student has better self-editing skills than this long-dead solipsist.
Name some obscure influences on your work – extra points for unpronounceability.
What influences we will confess to definitely do NOT include Shakespeare. Let’s admit to a glancing relationship with the greats of silent cinema (Griffith, Keaton, Pabst, von Stroheim, etc.) and throw in Busby Berkeley to make everyone scratch their heads in wonderment. (We will not cite anyone within theatre, because we despite theatre.) I will also list the names of those most influential to this production: ourselves. Fred Backus, Katie Brack, Hope Cartelli, Bryan Enk, Stacia French, Robert Pinnock, Robin Reed, Iracel Rivero, Ryan Holsopple, Qui Nguyen, Julianne Kroboth, James Bedell, and, of course, Jeffrey Alexander Lewonczyk.
The late Roland Barthes once wrote “For the theatre one needs long arms; it is better to have them too long than too short. An artiste with short arms can never, never make a fine gesture.” Explicate.
In a show as gesture-heavy as ours, adequate arm length is a prerequisite that is thoroughly examined during the audition process. That being said, the correct explication of this quote is “Roland Barthes was smoking opium one night and scribbled something down, and the rest of us are falsely expected to find it interesting and relevant.”
In what ways do you plan on alienating your audience? Cite an intentionally opaque or confusing moment within your production.
We deny them the warm, comforting teat of language – is that not alienating enough?
Which other Pretentious Festival show will you declare as your sworn ideological enemy, and why?
We originally considered the speaking Hamlets as our enemies, but that would be jejeune. Instead, we settled upon The Mercury Menifesto, because A) their ethic of stillness contrasts sharply to our aesthetic of movement, and B) they have betrayed their presumptions of “silence” by doing a show in which they speak. Silver-faced, forked-tongued hypocrites!
Please give us the gist of the acceptance speech you would use were you to win one of our Pretentious Awards.
Our acceptance speech will be to present the entire show for the audience, free of charge, on the stage at the awards ceremony. The only adequate way to pay tribute to those who would honor us is to give them more of what they so desperately need.