The Casket of Passing Fancy
One man’s experience is only a hint of what Rubber Rep’s offering newest entails
Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Fri., Oct. 24, 2008
The Casket of Passing Fancy
Through Nov. 1
After going 'round and 'round in an attempt to communicate exactly what this production is, I decided to describe, as precisely and succinctly as possible, my experience attending and allow that experience to speak for itself.
At the Blue Theater, Josh Meyer, a Rubber Rep co-founder and one of the show's directors, met me and my companion at the door, asking us to sign a kindly written release of liability form. We then took our seats in the Duchess' parlor, confetti covering the floor and colorful streamers hanging from the ceiling. A man, wearing an intimidating captain's mask, dressed in white underwear, and strangely resembling a potbellied pig, stood by a curtained doorway. After a happy song sung by the Duchess' domestics, all decked in white underwear in a window above the parlor, the Duchess herself entered, to great fanfare. After a few brief remarks about pleasure and fear, the Duchess explained: "The rules of the game are simple: You will hear a series of offers. You are expected to choose one." She told us that the offers – printed on what appeared to be large playing cards – were limited in number to 500 and that 149 had already been taken, giving examples of the latter, such as "Who wants to examine an uncut one?"
The first offer taken that night was "Who wants to help an alcoholic mother change her baby's diaper?" The woman who took the offer wrote her name in a book and was given a plastic drawer, presumably full of props, and escorted through the curtained doorway. Some offers that weren't taken: "Who wants forgiveness?" "Who wants me to call their mother?" "Who wants to be blindfolded, led into a darkened room, and ..." (here the Duchess slapped her wrist three times). When the offer "Who wants an intermission?" was taken, the Duchess gave us a 10-minute intermission. Then, before more offers were given, we played a parlor game called Poor Pussy.
I took the offer "Who wants to have a song sung on their body?" I signed my name, was given an envelope, and went through the curtains, where I met Kris, who took me to a small corner of the theatre, lit only by a single dim lamp, and told me I could remove my shirt. I did so and was then told I could remove my pants, as well, if I so desired. I did not. Kris asked me to stand against a wall and then, pressing her lips to my chest, began to sing George Gershwin's "Summertime," moving her mouth all around my chest and belly. For the second verse, she turned me around and sang all over my back. When she finished, she thanked me, as I did her, and I put on my shirt. I was escorted to a waiting area and told I could wait there or leave, as I chose. On the way I saw an actor, with buttocks bared, telling a woman she should write her name on one of his butt cheeks, after which they would drive across town and he would have it tattooed accordingly. In the waiting room, I met the woman who had helped the alcoholic mother change the diaper (which, of course, had real poop in it). I also met people who had painted with their tongues, listened to a history of the whores in Austin, and masturbated onto a map of the United States (I kid you not). When I was fairly certain my companion was almost finished (she chose the offer "Who wants to experience winter?"), I left the theatre.