In the incubator: “Two Left Feet”

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by Matthew A. Everett • I didn’t even know there was a Museum of Bad Art until Chris Kidder of Commedia Beauregard told me about it – www.museumofbadart.org

They’ve published a book – Masterworks

single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of five bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

“Located in the basement of a theater, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a unique institution dedicated to the celebration of artistic effort, however misguided. The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks presents a pulsating collection of more than seventy never-before-published pieces of artwork from MOBA’s permanent collection. Comprised largely of canvases found discarded on curbside trash piles or obtained for a pittance at thrift stores, this innovative compilation occupies a niche previously ignored in the international community of art collection, preservation, and interpretation. If the subjectivity of art appreciation were ever in doubt, this astonishing assortment of artistic commentaries will fan the flames of controversy. It is clear that many of these artists suffered for their art; now it’s your turn.”

From this book, six pictures were chosen.

From the Twin Cities, six playwrights were chosen. Among them, me.

Each was assigned a picture.

Each was told to write a short play (10 to 15 minutes) based on that picture.

The results of those efforts are currently being rehearsed.

The finished product will be onstage at the Bryant Lake Bowl as “Masterworks – The MOBA Plays” the last two Sundays in January, and the first two Sundays in February – January 18, 25; February 1, 8. All shows at 7pm. Doors at 6pm. Tickets $15, $12 in advance or with Fringe button. You can call 612-825-8949 for reservations or make them online at brownpapertickets.com

The other playwrights involved – Greg Bonine-Giles, Bill Corbett, Lisa Day, Dan O’Neil, & Nick Ryan

The directors involved – Directed by Leah Adcock-Starr, Robin Johnson, Natalie Novacek, Scott Pakudaitus, Katie Willer, and Laura Leffler-McCabe (who’s doing my script).

My picture was a sadly rendered drawing of two feet – one of them inexplicably blue. (It’s posted currently on the ludicrously long front page of my website, part way down)

It was entitled, more sadly, “My Left Foot.”

I was not going to title my play, “My Left Foot” or “No, Not That Left Foot”

I settled on “Two Left Feet” – a short play about loss.

Three actors – characters non-gender specific.

Jamie – the bereaved

Taylor – the foot

Third – all the others

Could be three women, three men, or a combination of the two. The casting note says, “Love is love. Grief is grief. War kills everybody.”

The epigraph is four lines from a Mountain Goats song that was in heavy rotation while I was writing my last play “Leave

“And I am coming home to you
With my own blood in my mouth.
And I am coming home to you,
If it’s the last thing that I do.”

It was one of those ideas that came to me so quickly and so completely, and was so odd, that it scared the crap out of me. It’s either going to be really funny and equally sad, or I’ve completely cocked it up.

Here’s the way it begins…

“A figure, TAYLOR, clad from head to foot in black – hands, head, perhaps even face.

The one exception, the left foot is covered in a long blue sock.

That foot stands in a tiny coffin (it could be as simple as a shoebox), draped with or decorated like a small flag of the United States of America.

Standing by TAYLOR are JAMIE and THIRD (currently in the guise of a military officer)

THIRD (military) – This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States military as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.
Oh.
And here’s the foot.”

More on all that, shortly…

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.

Published on 1/4/09.