Nominations: Outstanding Performance Art Production; Outstanding Solo Performance, Dandy Darkly; Outstanding Original Music: Rachel Blumberg, Dandy Darkly, Bryce Edwards, Adam Tendler
About the Company: Dandy Darkly is a critically acclaimed, alt-cabaret satirist and storyteller. His work skewers traditional Southern gothic storytelling with a decidedly non-traditional style. His exquisite corpse of eccentric recitations examine the timeless themes of sex and death, how the two mingle together -- origin and ending, creation and destruction -- and, in particular, how these themes informed Dandy, and a generation of queer people, who came of sexual age during the AIDS epidemic. Dandy further focuses each solo show he crafts on a selection of secondary themes that allow the storyteller to compare and contrast additional elements through his gloriously ghoulish, surprisingly poignant, allegorical tales.
About the Production: Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth! is a spoken word show that begins and ends with the tale of Cha-Cha the Caveman, humanity's premier popinjay and a drug addled con artist ultimately corrupted by his own fame. Along the way there's tales of Persephone, the goddess of Spring cast as a woke party princess, Laika the Russian Cosmopup who is Mankind's only defense against a fleet of Martian space cats and the harrowing tale of Professor Gif Jeffries, a virtual reality addict who travels the darkest corners of the web in search of virtual love.
What first attracted you to this project?
Dandy: Whereas past shows have focused on more specific subject matter (for example, 2015's Dandy Darkly's Trigger Happy! examined gun violence and emotional triggering) with Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth! I wanted to broaden my scope and examine storytelling itself -- mythology, tall tales and the very nature of belief. I've long been obsessed with myth, in particular Greek myth and the academic writings of Joseph Campbell on the subject. This show represents my most personal work to date as I also explored many of my own personal vices (sex, drugs and rock and roll) by considering the similarities of chemical highs and religious ecstasy. Faith can be as addictive as any intoxicant. Finally, I was most excited to explore the very nature of creativity itself and to consider our cherished pantheon of queer artists as pop culture gods and goddesses who resonate and inspire long after they've left the mortal world.
Bryce: I love making soundtrack music and I love working with Dandy Darkly because I think he's brilliant.
What was your favorite part of working on this production?
Dandy: My most favorite part of the process is undoubtedly the writing of the stories. At the heart of any Dandy Darkly show are the words -- the rapid fire alliteration, breathless run on sentences and poetic profanity are the hallmark of every show I produce and easily the aspect I'm most proud of.
Bryce: The collaboration aspect. I love hearing the words and being challenged to come up with sounds and leitmotifs that work within the context of the show.
What was the most challenging part of working on this production?
Bryce: The main challenge was working within the confines of structure of the pieces. The time restraints inherent in scoring a 55 minute show.
What did you want the audience to take away from their experience with Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth!?
Dandy: The highest compliment ever paid following a Dandy Darkly show is when an audience member approaches me and offers, "I had no idea that's what you do!" Too often the image of a leering drag clown understandably sets an expectation of what's to be seen, but the poetry and power of the storytelling really amazes those who see my work. I want audience members to leave Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth! with a desire to set expectations aside and simply see art to experience the absolutely unexpected.
What is one of the most noteworthy aspects of this production?
Dandy: Past shows have often been written in response to current events, but funny enough, one of the tales in Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth! has become more and more relevant as revelations of our President's possible collusion with Russia are revealed. "True Story" focuses on Laika, the first dog in space, and her actual mission as a combat space puppy sent to stave off a hoard of marauding Martian cats. The story examines faith and the power of indoctrination, but also skews Cold War era Russian/American relations, fake news and believing in something despite factual evidence to the contrary. It has proved resoundingly popular the more we learn about the 2016 election.
What is it like working with the nominees of Dandy Darkly's Myth Mouth!?
Dandy: It's been my honor to collaborate with three astounding musicians, Adam Tendler, Rachel Blumberg and Bryce Edwards, for Dandy Darkly's past four shows. While the words I write initially inform the sound we improvise together, its the music that eventually becomes the backbone of the piece, allowing me freedom to pace the tales and uncover unexpected moments in which to play with the text. They are world class, professional musicians in their own right and the generosity of their talent and eagerness to collaborate with whatever project Dandy's working on, year after year, really blows me away.
Bryce: Dandy Darkly is brilliant!
Rachel: I am always delighted to work along side these wonderfully talented folks!
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