So unbeknownst to you all– we have a third member of the family.Â You know about AA, you know about our cat Joey, but did you know about the third member of our clan?Â He stands about 10 feet tall, he doesn’t say much, and he lives in the garage.Â (no, I’m not talking about Fonzie!)
He’s Carlos.Â Carlos is a giant puppet that I won in Los Angeles at the Rat Conference (Regional Alternative Theatre)’s High Cheeze Challenge in 1999.Â The full story of the challenge I’ve hidden below the break.Â It includes an inventive script of how we sunk the Los Angeles Theatre Center like the Titanic for a little over $12.
Because I won the puppet, but had flown there, Nick Fracarro of Thieve’s Theatre (and one of the primary RATs)Â agreed to take the puppet back to the East Coast in his RV.Â I would then pick him up from Nick sometime.Â The night of the transfer, we nicknamed him Carlos.
I picked up Carlos 3 years later in Philadelphia.Â Along the way, he had become the mascot of the UnderMain Theatre in Dallas, performing in a number of shows there.Â As well, he had many untold adventures that may later be made into a movie by Pixar.
For the most part, Carlos has been living in our garage, a relatively sedate and serene life.Â I got a call a few days ago from Nick asking if Carlos could come with him to the Jon Stewart March To Restore Sanity.Â Who am I to say no to political activism?
This morning, I got an email from Gaby, Nick’s wife, with this photo, explaining that Carlos and his entourage was getting the royal treatment from Ariana Huffington.Â I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this story soon.
THE HIGH CHEEZE CHALLENGE– Cunning Cheap Solutions for Impossible Stage Directions
The High Cheeze Challenge was a contest/theatre event at the RAT Conference Los Angeles 1999. Groups of theatre artists from all over the country were asked to create (between Thursday and Saturday Night during the conference)Â a theatre piece with the following attributes:
A) Contains at least 3 sections
B) Contains a surprise
C) Contains a musical element
D) Contains the Beckett line “If I don’t kill that rat he’ll die.”
E) Contains some kind of audience participation
In addition, each group was given their own unique secretÂ impossible challenge to fulfill.Â Five teams were formed (Yellow,
Green, Purple, Red, and Blue) the Blue team ended up not participating due to participant time constraints.Â Â At the end of the night, the audience determined the winner.
My teamÂ (The Purple Team) ended up winning the challenge.Â Our challengeÂ was “To sink the Los Angeles Theatre Centre like the
Our piece cost approximately $12 in props to put on, and we had a team member drop out 4 hours before the performance (due to a
medical emergency)Â (So we went from 4 actors to 3 actors)
Here’s the script and its participants
HIGH CHEEZE CHALLENGE– THE PURPLE RESPONSE
written and performed by
Adam Gertsacov (Acme Clown Company, Providence, RI)
Elisa Miller (Night and Day Productions, NYC, NY)
Lisa Jodrow (sp?) (Los Angeles, CA)
with additional writing assistance by
Lisa Payne (Moving Arts, Los Angeles, CA)
and musical assistance by Julia (last name?) (Circle X Company, Los Angeles, CA)
Copyright 1999 by the artists.
1.Â THE ENTRANCE
Audience is in the office part of upstairs at the LATC..Â They are asked to come in to the space and descend
the stairs two at a time.Â As they descend, their names are called out by Adam.Â They are met by greeters at each level, who
help them down and are generally polite and respectful.Â They are asked to lay down “in their berths” slightly in front of the LATC
balcony so that they are looking up at the ceiling (back on the floor)
“Watch your step on the Gangplank”
“The steward will show you to your berths”
“This is your berth, please lie down and make yourself comfortable.”
2. BON VOYAGE
After everyone is seated (lying down) Adam clangs the metal pipeÂ as the other actors hurry to the top of the balcony.Â Â People are
yelling and screaming. “ALL HANDS ON DECK!”Â “ANCHORS AWEIGH!” Etc.
The actors go to the top of the gangplank and wave goodbye!Â Â “Seeya!Â Bon VoyageÂ Give my regards to Kaiser Wilhelm.Â Enjoy
Europe., etc.”Â Â They fade backwards in unison.
Adam steps forward and assumes a Leonardo Dicaprio like position.Â He yells out “I’M KING OF THE WORLD!!!!”
Lisa J. steps forward and says “If I don’t kill that rat, he’ll die.”Â and shoots Adam with a watergun.Â Elisa pops a balloon,
signifying Adam slowly dies, melting down the railing so that the last thing you see is his hand, quivering.
Adam pulls his hand away, and then announcesÂ “This is your Captain speaking, We’ve run into some turbulent water.Â Â Please
lie back in your berth and close your eyes.”
Audience closes eyes.Â Titanic music by Celine Dion music starts.
We squirt water onto the audience, using spray bottles and squirt guns, making boat sounds.Â We then dump 200 Blue balloons
over the side of the balcony.Â Adam says “This is your Captain speaking.Â The danger has been averted. Please feel free to open
The Blue Balloons are dropping. Some people are laughing, and a couple of balloons are being popped.Â When the furor has died
down somewhat.Â Â Elisa steps forward in a red dress and saysÂ romantically “the Heart of the Ocean” From behind her back she
pulls a red balloon, and tosses it over the balcony. It slowly floats down to the bottom.