Three years

Three years ago today, I went to a theater show because my friend Tammy told me that I would love it.

I didn’t love it. The mask was uncomfortable, it was tedious to stand the whole time, and it’s just wrong to do “Macbeth” without dialog.

I debated whether to leave early or to follow the character who’d caught my eye. The ticket was expensive, so I stayed and followed.

Almost three years later, I found myself in an old postal sorting office on another continent, watching that same performer eat an orange in the messiest way I’ve ever seen.

What a strange journey this has been.

It was an opportunity to discover forms of art that I’d never understood before - mainly dance, but also installation art and music from eras I’d never appreciated. To see the most incredible performances, from the epic choreography to the tiny intimate scenes. Moments of hilarity and of adventure. Embarrassment, discomfort, and occasionally genuine terror. Happy tears and sad tears. Missing performers who’ve left, yet the excitement of discovering something illuminated by a new performer. That joy of seeing someone amazing in a role you never thought you’d be lucky enough to catch them in.

A world where I could pretend to be someone less shy than myself and experiment with coming out of my shell. Meeting such interesting, kind, and talented people. Friendships that have been so precious, if sometimes rocky. Jokes and secrets and tears, endless Facebook chats and long conversations into the night. Holidays and special events. The surreal experiences of being at the show with old friends, my parents, and my boss.

The fact that every time I think I’m done, something lures me back in.

The moments of connection and serendipity that can’t quite be explained in words. Whiskey shots, gin gimlets, silly costumes, dances with strangers. Dreams, and nightmares, and the fact that both have occasionally come true. That odd game when you interact with someone you’ve followed many times before, and you both know that the moment you’re in is created by the fact that you’re both committing to an illusory reality, but you let yourself believe in it anyway because you don’t want the magic to end.


Starring the beautiful Andrea Alden!


And finally…for now at least. It’s too soon to talk about it, and the recap may take a while.

Goodbye, Paul Zivkovich. I could have stood at that fountain and cried my eyes out. I didn’t though, because I was happy and lucky and privileged I got to see his final Fool and his final William.

Now all I really want is a nice cup of tea and a lie down, as it’s all been just a bit too emo for one weekend.

Fare ye well and thank you to all the performers leaving Temple Studios in recent times, and may only good things come your way…or else more roles where you get to dress in drag, get felt up in a phone booth, beat up a boy starlet, spatter blood everywhere, die in a car or kill your partner.

You know, the good stuff.

And for us white masks left behind…bring on the reset.

I look forward to your recap - if anyone can capture the beauty of those nights, it is you.

The show you get is not the show you expect.


For me at least, making big plans leads to disappointment. Whatever my plans, they are generally confounded in one way or another. Some with companions not being free, some at the first glimpse of the cast board, some as I find myself stuck in one of my own eternal loops trying to break out of it only to find flung into the path of my alternate loop. Sometimes the Studios are cruel, leaving you wandering empty scenes and lacking connections. Sometimes the Studios are benevolent and you wander from favourite moment, to favourite moment.

Last night I was just so pleased to be back through those red shutters after a bit of break that I just wanted to see Paul dance one last time and perhaps catch some time with Jude. And oh the treasures that were offered up that night.

Paul Zivkovich partnered with Rob McNeill for some of the most beautiful, perfectly weighted performances. Dancing that just flows exquisitely from one movement to another, no joins, nothing that looks like choreography, just a naturalistic push & pull, a falling and catching. Everything you need to know about the characters and their relationship in those movements. The struggle and the support, the madness and the frustration as William slips further away. Everything that I’ve come to love from these two performers, full of the grace, power and delicacy.

I came close to proving that I could easily watch these two for three hours, but I wasn’t the only one who wanted to say goodbye and there were others to send off as well.

Jude Monk McGowan gave me my first 1:1 in my third show, way back last Autumn. His Grocer was fragile and magnetic. In that store room, I would have given almost anything to be able to take his hand and lead him away to a better life. It took an age to identify him because I couldn’t remember anything but his eyes. In the shows that followed, he had seemed to vanish. I heard tales of him playing Badlands, Claude, Tuttle but never on the same nights I was there. He was injured, he was Barman, he was injured again, he was out of reach.

Of all the roles I wanted to see, it was Conrad that drew me most and on his last show, I finally got to see it. I ran towards Shangri-Las as soon as my ears caught it and gasped as I rounded the corner and saw just how beautiful he was. Yowser. Man, I hope to be that pretty when I grow up. And that powerful. Not the stereotypical fierce-strong command of the room that drag acts tend towards, he took control like he was born to it. In the motel room, he allowed each of the four nearest to attend to him in turn. This is true power; we did what he wanted and felt lucky to do so. All the more shocking to see him overpowered by the PA, and then unravel as he was sent to Studio 8, collapsing on the stairs, roaring at his fate. Such a contrast to Adam’s weary and jaded Conrad or Ben’s cold anger. A fascinating, fresh and now to be greatly missed Conrad.

There was no time to even visit the basement but that show had given me everything I’d wanted from it, and more than I’d hoped for. Oh and the bar stayed open for aaaages. All this and gin and dancing too.

A beautiful goodbye.

A lovely post. Paul as William and Rob as Andy had such incredible chemistry. The boardroom, the trees, the fountain… I loved William because Andy loved him, and I loved Andy because he cared about William.


I am SO lucky to have seen him in these parts.

Godspeed, Beautiful Storyteller.


Random question: Do you think the Punchdrunk blood will attract bugs? Never been bloodied at SNM before (despite attempts to find the premium spatter zone during the rave) so this hasn’t been an issue before.

I smuggled my mask back from TDM, and I want to keep it, but as I live in NYC and we already have more bugs than I am comfortable with (I.E. more than zero), I’m worried the sweetness of it will attract creepy crawlies. Thoughts?

(I feel like this seems like a crazy person’s question, so a justification for my paranoia: I came home from Thanksgiving, laid down to take a nap, and found a cockroach about an inch from my face on my pillow. I have dedicated my life to preventing this terror from every happening again *shudders*)

This is definitely my favorite Punchdrunk-related question I’ve ever seen on the internet.


Amazing photos and explanations!

Very cool. Although I imagine those letters to Dolores are going to start disappearing in droves…!

The thing I will miss most is Paul’s Fool’s snow room dance. It was so eerie and so beautiful, that choreography in that incredible space, with the perfect music and lighting, and Paul always performed it with such masterful movement and with so much emotion.

I know there will be other Fools and they’ll bring their own magic, but still. The show will never be quite the same again.




Adam Burton as Conrad

Wow. That’s awesome. It looks just like him. Thanks for sharing…



Adam Burton as Conrad

Wow. That’s awesome. It looks just like him. Thanks for sharing…

Andrew Garfield for Punchdrunk’s show, The Drowned Man (London, April 2014)

Apparently this kid plays Spiderman.

Andrew Garfield for Punchdrunk’s show, The Drowned Man (London, April 2014)

Apparently this kid plays Spiderman.

(Source: blondiepoison)