Barry Smith: Irrelativity
September 20, 2010
VANCOUVER, Canada – I’m down to the last few days of Fringe Festivals for the year. I have one show left to perform, which happens to be the very last time slot of the entire 10-day festival. I will be the last person on stage. That’s me. Bringin’ it all home. I don’t know if this a good time slot or not. Maybe people will turn out in droves to catch my last hurrah, or maybe they’ll have seen enough experimental theatre to last them awhile and will be home trying to process it all, muttering to themselves, “Pretending things are a WHAT?!” With that somewhat in mind, here are a few random notes from a random summer.• There’s this one joke in my new show that consistently doesn’t work, and I don’t know how to fix it. There’s something just so disheartening about knowing that you’re about to say something that’s supposed to be funny but that has never, ever, EVER made anyone laugh. Really, can I even call it a “joke” at this point? Oh, but don’t worry, I’ll have it all fixed up by the time YOU get around to seeing the show.• It’s hard to keep up with day-to-day admin stuff while on the road. There’s an item on my to-do list that reads, “New bubbles.” I have no idea what this means or is supposed to remind me to do, so I’ve just crossed it off the list without actually “completing” it. I hope I haven’t made a big mistake and that at some point my lack of new bubbles doesn’t wreak havoc in my life. If this bubble-related disaster is going to happen, though, it’ll definitely be this week. • While handing out fliers I find it nearly impossible to NOT say to each lucky recipient, “My show’s called Every Job I’ve Every Had … which, conveniently, is also what it’s about. Ha ha ha. But seriously …” I was convinced that my show title was the most self-explanatory title imaginable. But I’m wrong. There’s another show in this theater festival that’s titled, “Pretending Things are a Penis.” Except that the word used isn’t “penis.” It’s the C-word. No, the other C-word. I won’t even type it out with little $%@&-s, because this is a respectable newspaper, but Google it if you don’t believe me. The premise is exactly what the title would imply – a guy photographs himself holding ordinary household objects in a way that would imply their penility, in addition to traveling around taking pictures of himself positioned in a way such that landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument appear to be his, well, you know … The posters, displaying the non-censored title along with one of his “pretending” photos, are everywhere. When I got here last week I would see this poster and think, “Well, THERE’S something you don’t see every day.” Except that now I’ve seen it every day. Every. Single. Day. Not only does it not seem normal, but I’m even starting to feel jealous that I didn’t think of it myself.• I’m about to get in my van and make the 20-hour trip home. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, I always create little artsy projects for myself while driving in an effort to keep things interesting. During my most recent driving stretch I would take a picture every time I stepped out of the van, even if it was just to fuel up. Some project ideas for this final leg of my journey:• Take a picture of myself every 45 seconds for the entire 20-hour trip.• Take a picture of something other than myself every 45 seconds for the entire 20-hour trip.• Combination of the above two ideas, meaning a picture needs to be taken every 22.5 seconds. You know, give or take. • Talk constantly for 20 hours and record (audio and video) myself doing so.• Paint landscapes as I drive through Montana. Watercolors or acrylics. Oil painting is too detailed and would probably be dangerous.• Send random texts and/or phone calls to people for the entire time by just constantly pressing my thumb on the surface of my iPhone without looking. See how many friends I have left by the time I get home. • Pay careful attention to the road. Kidding!(Next time – Driving a long ways. And you are there.)
Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays.
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