— by guest writer Tonee Bollocks —
Have you ever seen a show that’s so bad, it somehow becomes good? You might laugh because you can relate to all those horrible moments on stage. You may even cry through the laughter because it’s all just a little too familiar. The D.C. State Players want to relive these visceral moments with the audience in full-force as this “community theatre” guides them through the rehearsal process and into a show in The D.C. State Players Present Agamemnon at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival.
The concept for the show originated from a production of Agamemnon done by Gabriel Sweetbottom in his freshman year of college. It was terrible! There wasn’t a single redeemable part in the show. The script was “translated” by someone who clearly didn’t read Greek. The director was inexperienced and quick to anger. And the actors, although enthusiastic, had no idea how to deal with the poorly translated heightened language.
On top of that, everything that could go wrong during the show did just that. An actor was stabbed in the eye with a wooden sword, Gabriel broke three toes whilst attempting to die on stage, audience members were quite audibly discussing things in their personal lives due to boredom, a par can fell from the ceiling, the black curtain that surrounded the theatre was torn down by an overzealous actor making his entrance, and the list goes on. The audience and critics vehemently hated the production. But the actors were having the time of their lives!
When I first heard about this, it immediately struck me that “bad theatre” can, in fact, be good if presented properly. Just as the actors were excited to be there in that appalling freshman year production, it seemed that the audience could be coerced to enjoy the ride as well if they were in on this massive joke the actors couldn’t help but tell.
Gabriel and I went into development, creating this far-fetched, Christopher Guest-esque parody of theatre as a whole. During the pre-production, many drinks were spilled as theatre stories poured out of them, their friends, and their cast to pull together all their terrifically terrible theatre tales into a single, finished product: The D.C. State Players Present Agamemnon.
The production centers on a community theatre troupe called The D.C. State Players as they present a brand new adaption of the Greek classic. This company is new to the D.C. theatre scene, and headed by myself, Tonee Bollocks, and Gabriel Sweetbottom; two ego-maniacs who believe their theatre is really the only good theatre, and that they are the shining example in a sea of artistic mediocrity.
by Tonee Bollocks
at GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square
3333 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
Details and tickets
The show itself looks at how internal conflicts, poor planning, and general ignorance so often interfere with the supposedly enjoyable act of producing theatre.
The audience has the opportunity to see the growth of the show in the rehearsal process through excerpts provided by an aspiring film crew in the days leading up to the opening. We see in these pre-production videos (entitled Community Theatre: The Rise and Fall of Western Culture) conflicts that arise amongst the cast, crew, director, and producer as tempers and egos flare. These conflicts become deep-seeded as they enter the production run and slowly tear a once promising show into a mess of mediocrity that they so wontenly avoid.
If you go to theatre, then you’ve seen bad theatre. Everyone and anyone who has ever been to or been in theatre in some capacity, will be able to relate and laugh at those ridiculous idiosyncrasies that make theatre so horribly glorious. But The D.C. State Players Present Agamemnon wants to remind the world that “bad theatre” can, in fact, be “good theatre,” if you look at it the right light.
Presented as part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, D.C. non-profit Capital Fringe.
Our Guest writer is Tonee Bollocks, a local D.C. actor, playwright, director, and wedding D.J.
Fringe Peeks is part of our ‘in their own words’ series.
More? Visit the DC State Players Website