Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater
"...Right, see, we figured you'd want to know a bit more about Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope, the Rubber Repertory duo who (along with Rebecca Beagle and a particularly enabling cast and crew) have created The Casket of Passing Fancy. Thus do we provide this Web Extra of a few unpublished chunks of the interview that was mined to create "The Choice Is Yours," by Wayne Alan Brenner..."
"...You might have guessed that the preceding section is a sort of metaphor for Rubber Rep's upcoming show at the Blue Theater. If not, let me tell you a little about the unique and theatrical but at-least-as-real-as-Luby's spectacle called The Casket of Passing Fancy..."
"...Most recently, Rubber Rep won a 2007 Rockefeller MAP Fund grant (intended to encourage "extravagantly creative impulses" – like these guys need encouragement) to produce The Casket of Passing Fancy, a piece in which each audience member chose his or her own experience – one each, to be experienced alone and never offered to anyone else again. Who wants to go on a Hansel and Gretel adventure? Who wants to have a song sung on his or her body? Who wants to help an alcoholic mother change her baby's diaper? According to Meyer, Biography "uses some of the same ideas as Casket to greatly different effect."..."
"...6) The Casket of Passing Fancy (Rubber Repertory) Speaking of fully realized ... Rubber Rep's Matt Hislope and Josh Meyer teamed with playwright Rebecca Beegle and a handful of talented performers to present what should have been a nightmarish tactical clusterfuck but was more of an extended dream of sensual fulfillment..."
"...2) The Casket of Passing Fancy (Rubber Repertory) As audacious a theatrical work as this city has seen, I think, one that crafted 500 individual experiences for its audience and made each member choose just one. You couldn't help but confront your own desires, but ultimately, the show was wondrously communal, as audience members lingered to share their experiences...."
"...Two shows in particular grabbed my heart and played badmitton with it. Rubber Rep's The Casket of Passing Fancy and the Rude Mech's I've Never Been So Happy..."
"...She's not Josh Meyer or Matt Hislope: They're the artistic directors of Rubber Repertory, the company behind Biography of Physical Sensation and The Casket of Passing Fancy and Wallace Shawn's X-rated, never-before-produced-in-America A Thought in Three Parts. But Meyer and Hislope – that adventurous Mutt and Jeff duo who also brought clever Dial-a-Tune songster Dick Price back into the limelight – are friends of La Ganga's..."
"...Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope, founders and directors of the Rubber Repertory theatre company, had gone on indefinite hiatus following their original, stunning Jubilee at the Off Center in April 2012. After 10 years of bringing this city such odd and compelling spectacles as the Biography of Physical Sensation and Surprise Annie and The Casket of Passing Fancy and Mister Z Loves Company, the two University of Kansas alumni staged their final public show and parted ways: Meyer to L.A., to ply his commercial-acting trade and reignite a romantic connection there; Hislope to return to a gig among the hardworking jesters of Esther's Follies on Sixth Street...."
"...Jennifer Underwood, The Casket of Passing Fancy/ The Beauty Queen of Leenane Acting in a Supporting Role..."
"...Jennifer Underwood, The Casket of Passing Fancy/..."
"...And yet, consider the most elaborate and transformational productions from that theatre company: The Casket of Passing Fancy and Biography of Physical Sensation. These were brilliant anthologies of human experience, of art, engaged via the machinery of live showbiz and parlor games..."
"...They seemed willing to go anywhere. They were all really committed." At this point in the company's career, Rubber Repertory is likely to attract the sort of performers who find being "up for anything" and "going on a journey" to be especially appealing: This is the company that built its reputation on performances including the "X-rated self-help odyssey" Mister Z Loves Company, the outright pornographic A Thought in Three Parts, and the audience-participatory performance pieces Biography of Physical Sensation – which involved an audience member wearing a vibrator throughout the duration of the show, among other experiences – and The Casket of Passing Fancy, in which audience members were offered opportunities like "Who wants to be made into a sandwich and eaten?" and "Who wants a one-on-one yoga session in the nude?"..."
"...The Casket of Passing Fancy..."
"...Oh my, yes, there's some simulated butt-rapery and faux shit-eating that occurs as part of this disgusting, brilliant spectacle from Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope of Rubber Repertory. The company that most recently brought us The Casket of Passing Fancy – and, before that, Wallace Shawn's A Thought in Three Parts – is not a company to eschew the sexual, the scatological, the relentlessly squicky...."
"...After all, Meyer and Hislope were responsible for bringing the world Wallace Shawn's A Thought in Three Parts – a live-action pornography (at least in its second Part) that moved the visiting playwright to tears with its power & verisimilitude. More importantly, in the river of years now downstream, the duo premiered their original works Red Cans and The Casket of Passing Fancy and Biography of Physical Sensation and Surprise Annie and, most recently, Jubilee. NB: No, we haven't forgotten Mister Z Loves Company, you sick little monkey. They brought a long run of productions that didn't go unnoticed among all the other spectacles in this relentlessly burgeoning urb..."
"...These works asked us to be active, to step out of the temples of art and see it out in our world or take part in its creation ourselves. And they followed a host of like works from last season, projects that let us walk through buildings and spy dramas staged in different rooms (Vestige Group's Muses III: Memories of a House, Secondhand Theatre's Rooms, Displaced Theatre's Red Light Winter), to troop to a street corner to watch a scene play out (Hyde Park Theatre's Bombs in Your Mouth) or through Downtown to discover dancers wedged into the cityscape (Bodies in Urban Spaces), to imbibe during a show's built-in drinking game (Yellow Tape Construction Company's Warpstar Sexysquad), to type a love note and have it hand-delivered to a special someone anywhere in the city (Jaclyn Pryor's pink), to attach New Year's wishes to a 34-foot wooden clock and then see it burn to the ground (Community Art Makers' Resolution Clock at First Night Austin), and, in the grandest extreme of this kind of work to date, to choose from a list of handcrafted experiences and have one created personally and individually for you (Rubber Rep's The Casket of Passing Fancy)...."
"...9) The Casket of Passing Fancy (Rubber Repertory) While it felt somehow incomplete, this parlor game-cum-interactive theatre piece was the most original production I saw last year. Directed by Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope...."
"...The Casket of Passing Fancy (Rubber Repertory) Finally, and most spectacularly, a theatrical feast that pushed the comfort zone of its audience, drenched them in consequences, and ultimately turned an evening of individual choices into the most collective artistic experience to be found this year. Afterward, the question for your fellow watchers wasn't, "What did you think?" It was, "What happened?" And anything could..."
"...Shuman Award for Fiction). She is a company member of Rude Mechanicals theatre collective in Austin, and with Austin-based Rubber Repertory received a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund grant to develop a new work called The Casket of Passing Fancy, which premiered in October 2008...."
"...As with so many aspects of our society, the focus on the individual obscures our view of the collective; "What show am I seeing?" trumps "What show are we seeing?" September 11 shifted that in the theatre and concert hall as elsewhere, but since the national unity we felt then eventually faded, it isn't surprising that it faded in the arts as well. In the decade since, I've experienced that affecting bond among audience members a handful of times – during The Laramie Project at Zach Theatre, Blue Lapis Light's Requiem, Forklift Danceworks' The Trash Project, the Rude Mechs' Decameron Day 7: Revenge!, Rubber Repertory's Biography of Physical Sensation and The Casket of Passing Fancy – but mostly that's been because the creators have made an explicit effort to incorporate into the work a sense of community, and even active participation...."