'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Friday, March 11, 2005 ]

Tonight, finally, we open "Welcome To The Terrordome." Here's some art I was playing around with that we may not use for the front window. Click for more info on the show.

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It's been a long, fly-by-night, occasionally stressful, ultimately rewarding journey, but we're here. I honestly don't know how the show will do or what to expect tonight, but right now, I feel pretty good.

Okay, so last night was our last rehearsal, at the Atwood Community Center.

We get to the scene where Casey punches Molly in the stomach, and Amy's big entrance, when we hear a sharp knock at the back window.

I look at Kathy, the director, who, judging by the look on her face, thinks the same thing I do: It's some drunk hassling us.

I go to the back door, and looking through the window, I see three female police officers, one wearing body armor and readying an AR-15 assault entry rifle, another with a 12 gauge shotgun resembling the one we use in the show, and the woman I assume is the lead officer (she's the one who knocked).

As carefully and as non-threateningly as possible, I open the door, and as I do, I see that the lead officer is pointing what looks like a 9mm Sig Sauer to the ground in one of those two-handed grips we've all seen cops do on TV, as she says to me, "So...rehearsing a play, huh?"

They come in to give a look around.

Casey, who didn't know there were cops at the door, is just sort of standing around with his hands in his pockets, and the second the lead officer comes in, she instantly says to him, "TAKE YOUR HANDS OUT OF YOUR POCKETS, SIR."

Casey, faster than the eye can see, pulls his hands out of his pockets and raises his hands, the universal sign language for "please don't shoot me with that AR-15 assault weapon."

"Haven't you people ever heard of blinds?" The lead officer says.

Kathy and I try to explain that the room we're in has no blinds, but we're kind of frazzled.

I look to the body-armored woman with the AR-15, who looks at me and smiles, sheepishly. Kathy, hours later, will refer to her as "the cute one." I smile back, just as sheepishly.

The lead officer asks, "What's this play you're doing?"

I tell her that it's called "Welcome To The Terrordome."

The cute AR-15 woman in body armor chuckles and says, "what?"

I repeat the title and the lead officer gives her a look, points to the back door, and says, "uh...yeah," in the kind of tone that could say, "it's possible that you're freaking these people out," but probably says, "there's no need to use that assualt rifle today."

The AR-15 woman walks out, quickly. As she leaves, it occurs to me that she's the youngest of the three cops, and was probably smiling more out of relief (that the situation didn't call for deadly force) than anything.

The lead officer walks forward. "So, do we have any weapons here today?"

R. Peter Hunt, who looks very relieved he made the decision to put down his shotgun before the cops came in, sort of points at the shotgun with his elbow.

I tell the officer--who instantly recognizes Peter's shotgun as being real (it used to be the shotgun of a Madison cop, in fact)--that the shells in the shotgun are dummies. She carefully unloads the dummy shells from the shotgun, but one of the shells won't come out.

"Whoop! We got a feed jam, here," she says.

I swear I am not making this up.

"Okaaaaay," she continues, "any other weapons?"

Casey indicates the plastic sawed-off shotgun prop he has for the show without touching it or going anywhere near it. The lead officer checks that too. Casey has to show her how to break it open.

The other cop, who also seems generally amused (we've all gone from being freaked to being relieved), notices the beer cans we use for the show.

The lead officer says, "so do we have alcohol here, tonight, or is that--"

"It's watered down apple juice," Casey says.

As the second cop looks at the beer cans and ascertains that they do not have beer in them, she notices something on the table: "What is this?"

Kathy, the cast and I, all simultaniously say, "Oh."

I say, that's a spring-loaded police baton. It's made so--

"--It's been adapted for stage purposes," Kathy says.

Yeah, I say. Yeah.

The second officer picks it up. Amy Sawyers, who plays Nyx and has been training with it, looks as if she's debating whether or not to show her how it works, but decides not to.

The lead officer smirks a little, and says, "Okay, so we got two shotguns...beer cans..." She points to the baton on the table. "...That thing..." she notices Molly, who's been quietly watching this whole thing with her hands cuffed behind her back with my handcuffs. "Nice handcuffs, ma'am."

"Thank you," Molly says.

"...So, yeah, I'm thinking you could have invested in some curtains."

So, I guess somebody called, huh?

"Yup," the lead officer says, "he and his wife are outside."

They are?

"Yeah, along with half a dozen other officers."

Peter looks out the window: "Holy--"

Just then, another female officer wearing body armor comes in, holding open the door, and a man in a suit walks in, smiling and relieved, and saying "I gotta see this play!"

He apologized to all of us, but we all say, no, no, that's totally okay, and I admit to the lead officer that, yeah, we probably should have contacted the operations officer.

"Yeah," she says. "We probably still would have come, but we would have called you first."

"We honestly didn't know we could be seen from the street," Kathy says, and notes that this rehearsal, she for some reason sat in such a way that although you could see the actors, you couldn't see her.

The man who called the cops introduces his wife to us, and Casey shakes their hands, assuring him that he really is a nice guy. Kathy offers him tickets to the show, and I give him (and the cops) a handbill.

I notice an odd-looking gun in a holster on the lead officer's belt. It looks like a Glock 26 at first, but when I look closer, it looks more like one of those disc-guns from the 1960's, but black.

Excuse me, I say pointing to the same point on my own body, but what's this gun you have here?

"Ah. This is the controversial Taser gun they just had the big meeting about." She takes it out of the holster and shows it to me, taking out the green front-piece, unloading it.


"Yeah," she says, "They're fun."

"Oh, man," Kathy says, "we're gonna be here all night, now."

I gave the cops a handbill, they take our numbers, and everyone leaves, smiling.


We all look at each other.

I say, Well, that's making my weblog tomorrow.

"Did you see the size of that fucking gun that cop had?" Peter says.

The AR-15? Yeah. Holy shit.

"Dude," Casey says, "they sent a SWAT team! We got SWATTED!"

Amy asks Kathy, "what do we do now?"

"Just pick up where we left off."

"Can we have a cigarette, first?" Peter asks.

Kathy wholeheartedly agrees.

"You know, they were probably waiting out there for a while before they made their move," Casey says, "they came in about five minutes after I punched Molly. How did the punch look, by the way?"

"Dude, that punch was fucking awesome."

Yeah, that was a good punch.


Dude, I say, it was so good it forced the police to MAKE THEIR MOVE.

Anywho, it opens tonight. Please come and see what all the ruckus is about. Enjoy some more rehearsal photos below.

Oh, and if any of the ten officers who showed up should happen to be reading this, I think it goes without saying that you're comped.

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Casey putting Molly's bruise makeup on. Aw.

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Amy stretching while Peter gets some notes.

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Yeah, I think it was somewhere in here that the cops showed up.


posted by Rob on 12:14 PM | link



High?Good ideas. I have to agree with your point. See http://www.insuranceapropos.com/ for some more good info.

By Anonymous RJ, at Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:04:00 AM  

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