'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Saturday, January 08, 2005 ]

Hello, darling. Haven't seen you in a while.

Yes, it's true. One of my horseshit New Year's Resolutions was to post up here more often.

One of the things I've been doing lately is working on some pre-publicity for my next show, "Welcome To The Terrordome," which is going to be this March at the Kanopy Dance Center.

Part of that meant a new poster, as well as one that would look good in black and white (so that it can be easily photocopied).

I've always liked posters. Working on them, looking at them, whatever. When I go to the movie theater, I always like to budget in some time to look at the new posters.

Now, I've already done a quick-and-dirty poster for "Terrordome," but that was never really intended to be the end-all-be-all final poster.

Even so, I thought it might be interesting to see the development of that poster. Here's the first draft:

I wasn't crazy about it, and neither was Kathy Lynn Sliter, the director. It's a bit too comic-booky, considering the work. I liked the idea of having the character of Polly trapped by the two shotguns, but...a little too...something.

By the way, none of these are the actors involved with the production. The shotgun-holders I lifted from a picture of a shotgun comptetition (I digitally shortened the barrels of the guns to make them look more like combat shotguns), and the woman I got from typing "woman tied to chair" in a Google Image Search.

Yeah. Just see what you come up with.

So, yes, indeed, the woman in the poster is from some bondage porn site, and I had to digitally add clothes to her, as well as making her look white, instead of Asian.

Here's the second draft:

This was closer to the idea of what I was thinking, but the stylized "shotguns-as-prison-bars" look just doesn't work at all.

So, I abandoned that and went with the final image, deciding to go pulpy:

I like this, but I'm still not crazy about how she turned out. I tried redoing her hand, but it just looked weird.

Somewhere along the line I saw this poster for a movie coming up called "The Night:"

I don't know how good the movie's going to be, but I was inspired by the idea of taking a simple image that conveys the spirit of the overall work, plus leaving enough to the imagination that it would make you curious.

Hey, I was curious enough about the poster to visit the website, so that should tell you something right there.

I started looking around one of the coolest websites ever: Internet Movie Poster Awards.

It's sort of like The Internet Movie Database, but for just movie posters. Really cool.

So, inspired, I put together a new poster, having an idea of making it look sort of like a 1950's pulp novel cover.

Here's the color version of the new poster:

And here's the black and white version. I had to move the blood spatter over so that it didn't obscure the type (not a problem in the color version).

Also, I came up with another idea for advertising for Sledgehammer Party.

Now, here's the original poster, again:

Then I had this idea to sort of go with another look, using items used in the show and going with sort of a product-oriented campaign:

Admittedly, I was kind of inspired by the "Fight Club" campaign, and I thought this might be eye-catching.

Still, I'll need something in black-and-white, and I'll probably need to do something that more explicitly gets the tone of the show. This is more of a "tease" kind of campaign, or, really, more of a "collectable" rather than practical advertisment. Maybe I'll make t-shirts and stickers with them.

Here's a very early design for that most infamous of play ideas of mine, "Hitler Was Right." Inspired by this exchange from discussing a certain BST show:

Hey, I'm not saying don't see it, or even whether or not it's going to be a good play--part of my point is that when it comes to the image of the theater, the damage has already been done.

BST has always been known for making plays from strange, controversial, or taboo subjects, but in this case, this may be BST's first impression on a lot of people--and it's a negative one.

Here's a heavily loaded analogy: Let's say I wrote a play called "Hitler Was Right: The True Story Of Why The Niggers And Kikes Should Be Wiped Out On The Great Day Of The Rope."

And then I turn around and say, "Wow, so many people seem upset and they haven't even seen the show yet! I can't imagine why. Besides, the show's really about these three teenage girls and a shopping spree."

Like I say, a loaded analogy, but my point is the title was chosen for a reason. To get attention.

But at the same time, I don't even remember the name of the group that did "Unabomber: The Musical." So maybe I'm just taking it all too seriously.

Concept plays are pretty much as old as theatre itself, so it's likely that BST will survive, and just be considered an interesting footnote in the Audrey Seiler saga.

Rob Matsushita
Jul 29 2004, 09:38 am
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So when are the auditions for "HWR: TTSOWTNAKSBWOOTGDOTR"?

Fountain Al
Jul 29 2004, 10:17 am
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Depends on whether we can get Hyperion next Tuesday. Mercury's production of "George W. Bush Ass-Rapes Babies While Dick Cheney Masturbates On The American Flag While Both Of Them Sing Along To 'Die Fahne Hoch,' Plus Marilyn Quayle Paints The Whole Thing With Her Own Feces" may have the space that day.

That show, by the way, is a costume drama set in the 17th Century about a teenage boy and his horse, named Chastity.

Rob Matsushita
Jul 29 2004, 10:30 am
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Anyway, here's the poster--with a changed title based on a suggestion from my mom:

I'm feeling a bit like Doris Wishman, a trash filmmaker who would often come up with the title first, then devise the poster and ad campaign, then start shooting, and then think about writing the script.

I'd actually like to conclude this with the poster I just sent fellow playwrights Doug Reed and Lisa Konoplisky, in order to assure them that there really was a movie called "The Boneyard," that featured Phylis Diller and a giant killer poodle:

Just keep telling yourself: It's only a poodle...it's only a poodle...it's only a poodle...

For a look at a couple of posters I made for Matt Gryzbowski's upcomping "Proper: The Series," check out his Upcoming Projects page here.

posted by Rob on 1:37 PM | link



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