"Weimar culture was the creation of outsiders, propelled by history into the inside, for a short, dizzying fragile moment"
-Peter Gay, Weimar Culture
-Peter Gay, Weimar Culture
Leaving no time for the inevitable post-partum depression which follows any Stolen Chair show (I mean, come on, the show "gestates" for nearly as long as a frickin' baby so we're bound to get at least a little bit weepy when it's all over...), we've already started hunting for our next idee fixe. So today I wandered into my local Barnes and Nobles to buy some clutter for my coffee table. $30 later (with my nifty faculty discount card) I'm the proud owner of The Complete Works of the Brothers Grimm, Erich Kastner's Emil and the Detectives (an insanely popular 1929 German children's book by the author who penned another children's novel about two identical twin girls that meet at a summer camp...um...which has been turned into quite a few Disney movies bearing the moniker The Parent Trap), and Peter Gay's Weimar Culture. These will keep good company with Glitter and Doom, the stunning catalogue of Weimar portraiture currently on exhibit at the Met.
So, in case you haven't pieced it together yet, a few of the Chairs are leaning heavily towards some Weimar-inspired handling of childhood. The absolutely terrible working titles: "Wrestling with Children" and "Why More Weimar?" (the latter should be pronounced with a German accent and the former should probably not be pronounced anywhere near local authorities). Imagine the love child of Shockheaded Peter, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Cabaret, with Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and William Golding's Lord of the Flies thrown in for good measure. We want to create a piece which will be racier and edgier than anything we've ever done but simultaneously more "child-friendly." We're digging for that deeply f*#ked up wonderland where pure id meets, I don't know, cold and calculating capitalist exploitation, where all of the agency that has been traditionally stripped from children (I know, I know, I should stop with the child handling and wrestling and stripping!) can be thrown back into adults' faces in a celebration of how wondrously perverse we all long to be.
If the project of Commedia dell'Artemisia was to provoke "real" outrage (about sex, gender, art, fame, etc) whilst tickling some giggles out of the audience, and the project of The Man Who Laughs was to create a truly devastating "real" melodrama with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and the project of Stage Kiss was to blend the "real" of arousal with irreverence, and the project of Kill Me Like You Mean It was to create a world of "real" suspense which deconstructed itself through comic absurdity...then the mission of this upcoming piece would be to experiment with how "real" revulsion and laughter might mix to celebrate the elements of humanity we collectively sweep under a rug of propriety.
...Now, we haven't even had the first company meeting for this project and we're a month away from the first creative retreat, so all of this hyperbole might prove to be a tremendous waste of your time and mine, but I think it's so much easier to transfer inspiration from one obsession to another than to wait until the stars align into a perfect project. As long as you're turned on and looking at the world as your canvas, it doesn't really matter what you're painting...yet.