Artists love to talk about being “experimental”, and it rightfully drives scientists nuts. We artists obnoxiously brandish that word whenever what we really mean is “avant garde” or “edgy”or “provocative” or “abstruse”. Any actual scientist understands that true experiments have rules and consequences. Experiments are tests of hypotheses hoping to become theories; and theories, in order to prove useful, must be falsifiable. In other words, true experiments by definition contain the possibility of failure. However, all too often in the arts, especially theatre, work gets described as “experimental” that is, in fact, incapable of being “falsified”, because it never had a truthful purpose in the first place. Consequently, the worst kind of “experimental artist” will blame the audience for every failure of meaning or impact.
I promise I will not be doing that this coming Monday evening at the Bathhouse Theater on Green Lake. Instead, with the help of my truly gifted colleagues Susanna Burney, Amy Love, William Salyers and John Q. Smith I will be performing a bona fide artistic experiment by reading aloud my very latest play Philosophical Zombie Killers. I attempt things in this script I have never seen tried before in the theatre, and thus the ominous likelihood looms that some of these things I am trying can, and most likely will, fail.
I am not asking you to come see my greatest latest triumph, which I happen to have dubbed “experimental” cuz it sounds cool. I am asking you to come see my latest experiment, and help me make it better, by watching where it fails, and letting me know.
Here are the details:
The graduate level seminar is about human conscious-ness. Or at least that’s what you thought when you signed up for it. Now someone’s telling you that you’re 45 years old and you’re dying. You certainly didn’t sign up for that. Now this alcoholic professor is asking you to explain consciousness to him. And this depressed ex-cop from Missouri is telling you about the epidemic of decapitations in Seattle. And this weird lady from Omnisoft just wants you to admit that there’s no such thing as consciousness and no such thing as you for that matter. Could she possibly be right? Might make dying easier. Who said you were dying?
Who: Susanna Burney, Amy Love, William Salyers and John Q. Smith
What: Philosophical Zombie Killers by Paul Mullin
Where: The Bathhouse Theater in Green Lake
When: October 15, 2012, 7pm
How: Pay what-you-will, including nothing at all. You’re doing us a favor by giving it a listen.
Reserve seats at Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/278468