May 21 2005
Dear Fluxus performing members,
In the spirit of Mitzi Humphrey's beloved Fluxus concept I have decided to put
on a production in keeping with that genre, that is, a totally self subscribing,
self-relevant act of anti-art. But we have to have fun or we miss the point.
As appointed director of the Fluxus performance group I must ask those of you who have decided to join together for the Jul 1st event to promise or avow that none of the substance of any E-mails between us be shared with anyone outside this group.
Also do not give this url to anyone.
I am designating the following code words to be attached to all group mail: TANGO, Tango -4-3, Tango for Three, or tangotangotango, tangox3, etc. You can make up your own version of tango for three, Tango para tres, Tango dla tri, etc. but keep this code as a heading on all group E-mails in the RE: section.
The following people are signed on. Barbara Brown, Tom Humphrey, Jennifer Yane, Buddy Hensley, Eugene Brown, Cynthia Erdal, Marion Hollowell, Lew and Lynne Bailes and Valley Haggard for those Black Swan writers who wish to
participate, I would not wish to involve more than 15 people because of the time limit and need for subtlety.
Mainly our audience must not suspect what we are up to. You will be required to spread false info on the seriousness of this event. There will be several planned events taking place
simultaneously. You will decide on the details of those events, how you fit in. What I would like our audience to believe is that they will see a play with musical performances and poets, and a band will open for this performance, concluding with dancing and reception.
You will divide into three groups thus the code word.
1. Players (in a play by the Black Swan Writers)
2. Performers (musicians, singers, poets, dancers)
3. Audience (members planted to act like audience)
Each of you should think of ten things you would like to do that you think is fun, things you'd like to see people doing. Jennifer has suggested offering to feed people while the show is going on. We should also ask if they have been saved. Don't mention any saviors by name - keep it non-denominational. At the same time there must be a sense that some of the things going on are profoundly serious, artistic and important, which we will gradually pull the rug out from under.
The play I'm hoping will be fresh or not well rehearsed with the Title Tango for Three, about the parents of three school children who are being expelled from high school for dancing as a threesome. The play is set in 1960 but the costumes should suggest that no one has a clue what people wore in the sixties. The parents will be somewhat neurotic individuals who are unsure whose side they are on. For or against. You're either a tangoer or a puritanist.
Two girls and one boy have been expelled and the parents are confused and outraged. No children will be in this but when the band opens for the play hopefully we will have a guy and two gals dancing a tango together. As a play you must polarize the audience, who's with us, whose in favor, how many think it's immoral to dance as a threesome? I will leave it to the Black Swan writers to work this out while allowing the other members to comment on the writing or contribute suggested changes to the script and to comment on a lists of events planned for the unfolding scenario.
I can set up a secret website that no one will ever see except us. I will keep the minutes, keep the latest version of the script, the event list and new proposals. Also I will publish the handbills, playbill and Tango ads. The site will be at
I'm thinking we could make a feeble attempt at theater in the round which gradually ramps up to psycho drama and then goes over the edge. Part of the drama must hinge on players who object to the play being performed in the round. Asking the audience what they want. Act one could be lit from center by two gooseneck lamps on the floor.
Starting with act two there will be a fight over which of the house lights are to be turned on or off. People will be assigned to guard the light switches.
Things to research plays by Pirandello, movies:Last Tango in Paris, Footloose,
what it means to be evangelical, and events of the year 1960, pillbox hats, pink
clothing, JFKisms - let me say this about that..
Three 15 min acts. Act two should take place in the audience , while on stage a musical performance will appear to have superseded the play because a player is sick( someone run off stage and make sick noise in the toilet). An argument among players will escalate. Act three should have actors disagreeing on what the plot should be and how to end it. ( I think so and so should ..., no no the school principal should... )
I want the performer group to think long and hard about protest songs for and against dancing, religion, sex.
Or be in favor of all three. Do you wanta dance to get laid?
Is dancing sexual? Is religion sexual? Is sex religious?
We'll need lots of props, things we can print at home.
There will be supporting hand bills, playbill, ads for Tango World - dance lessons a fake
sponsor - we'd like to thank the folks at Tango World Dance Studios for sponsoring
this event, literature about the sins of dancing, we'll need an evangelical in the audience. Tango music in the background. Do you tango, sir, madam? Seating: Tango or non-tango. But it has to be subtle at first. Annoying in the concluding events. Audience plants should be righteously stirred up about the role of religion and morality in the schools.
I know that some of you were hoping to do something serious and personal but I
ask you to save that for another time... if there is one.
I will help you do whatever you decide but you must do most of the deciding. Hopefully by the end we'll all be tangoing together. Take some lessons.
or not. If you don't like this entire premise, don't hold back. I'm listening. Be prepared to voice all of your objections during the show
Later that same day
My suggestions are directorial only - I am not going to write your show, you
are. You have a number of constraints, people who want to perform, write. act,
read, dance, sing, play music etc. and the length of time it takes for the
unsuspecting audience to figure out we have chosen an unattainable goal and
the good ship Tango is going down.
I'm not sure what I fear more your silence or the distant rumbling of the
anti-tangoists. As a fellow fluxionista I must warn you that
there are less than 4 weeks in which to agree on the following items.
1. the name of the event, Tango, Tango43, Tango for Three, other?
2. time limit, one hour? 3 acts? more less?
3. division of production into groups, players (actor/writers),
performers (soloists, dancers) and audience (planted cast member) other?
4. number of things each person is going to do. 10? more less?
I would suggest that you limit yourself to 10 things to do per person. Do 3
things in each act or section and have one special thing that you want to do in
any one the three sections. If you want to do more things or less that's your
decision, but ten things means you have to schedule 150 things to be done in one
hour and not end up with a circus or la dolce vita.
I think you owe it to yourselves to do what you do best.
After the 4 weeks of writing, E-mailing, commenting and protesting all of the
material must be sorted out, voted in or out, and drafted into our production
and performed. There will be only two rehearsals. One read thru with discussion
and one dress.
Let me have my three tango dancers at the beginning
and at the end. I'll play sax to my tracks as they dance. What you do in the
remaining (+or -)55 minutes is entirely up to you.
I think for there to be any viscera or bite to this production we will need
both tangoists as well as anti-tangoists, not competing but oiling their actions
together like a dance.I may blog once a day, twice a day or only when something happens.
I will add your comments and responses to the blog as they come in.
Its ok to correspond outside the loop if you are trying to work something out
between you and another performer. I want you to collaborate. Send me the
substantive distillation not the blow-by-blow.
I want your list of 10 things or however many you decide, and a plan
for the first 20 min. (act one if you decide to call it that) by Sat. May
28. The second 20mins act two by sat. jun. 4th and the whole thing by
Sat Jun 11th.