Loving Wally

"I think there was a night when I got worked up and cracked somebody's windshield." Matt Hislope recalls Physical Plant Theater's 2004 production of Wallace Shawn's The Fever atop a parking garage. In putting on a mere monologue, Hislope and his partners in crime, Josh Meyer and Carlos Treviño, not only hijacked a dozen-odd car radios for every show but generated at least one insurance claim.

"Yeah, I guess even on that one, we were headed for a physical confrontation," Hislope admits. Never let it be said that these guys don't know how to fuck shit up, so perhaps their staging of the 32-years-late American premiere of the same author's scandalous A Thought in Three Parts comes more as fulfillment than surprise.

"Figuring out how to stage it is an interesting challenge," says Meyer, a co-director and actor in this production under the auspices of Rubber Repertory, which he founded with longtime collaborator Hislope. He isn't kidding. One early stage direction reads: "Stripping, he approaches her. Then he slowly penetrates her and makes love to her until she comes." And if you can believe, it gets more bluntly complicated from there.

"It's actually been easier than we thought it would be," laughs Hislope, the performer and co-director whose job it is to actually execute the aforementioned moves.

"It's about finding our way into it through style," says co-director Treviño, "because it is at once realistic – psychologically and emotionally realistic – and yet also clownish and farcical, and the different ways those things meet is really interesting. It's not just sex and nudity, but what's right to show and when and from what angle, because you need it to be exciting and pointed and funny when it should be but not unnecessarily unpleasant or titillating in a way that stops it from doing what it's supposed to do and also not boring from just watching people standing around jiggling their junk. And then there's finding how to fit this one part in with the other two, which are very challenging in completely different ways."

"Yeah, I think it'll be weird even for the people who basically show up for the sex, because it comes in the context of these pieces that don't make a simple fit," says Meyer. "It unsettles you just by changing up at various points; you can never get a handle on how it's supposed to work. That's one thing we love about Wallace Shawn, and in this case, it's especially exciting that we can do something that we know nobody will have seen before."

  • More of the Story

  • Mr. Not So Frivolous

    Wallace Shawn bares all about writing, why he does theatre, and that play with all the sex in it

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