It all started when I read Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. I realized I had no idea about how the world economy worked. That was in early 2008. At that time, if you were paying attention, it wasn’t hard to see that something bad was on its way. And so, as money matters all over were spiraling out of control, I was writing a show about it. Available Light was ready, in early 2009, to help people understand what was happening, and why.
Of course, we staged our explanation of those intricate topics as a conceptual trip through the 20th century, filled with music and movement, plus nods to Buster Keaton, Douglas Sirk, and Rambo. We even explained the housing crisis by drawing it out on the floor with chalk. One of the highlights was this rap tune, “The Economic Hitman,” based on Perkins’ book. (What, you thought all that history-rap started with Hamilton?.)
Bootleg Radio (written and directed by Jennifer Schlueter and myself) is one of the productions that most fills me with pride. It was a gloriously weird theatrical collage. We put together a huge team of incredible collaborators from all over the United States and made sure that each of them left their mark of the finished production. It was overflowing with music, movement, poetry, and hope.
After making John Cage 101, I finally felt like I knew what I was doing in the theatre. (At that point I’d been doing it for almost 20 years, but who’s counting?) In the play, we celebrated the 101st year of the Cage era with a theatrical mixtape – just think of it as 38 Short Plays About John Cage – reflecting the renegade life and controversial ideas of the 20th century’s most influential experimental composer.