by Mary Notari · June 16, 2014
Indie Artists on New Plays #114 Mary Notari looks at Mining the Moon part of the Comic Book Festival at the Brick Theater
The Comic Book Theater Festival at the Brick Theater (until June 29th) is an amazing opportunity for artists and fans of comics and theater to come together, create, and experiment. The possibilities in combining two forms of sequential art–one a replicable visual medium and the other an ephemeral physical medium–are endless. The bizarre and hilarious experiment that is Mining the Moon does not disappoint.
A word of advice: familiarize yourself with writer and director Matt Thurber's work before seeing the show. It will help make some sort of sense of the proceedings.
Watching Mining the Moon is like watching a surreal comic book come to life. Indeed Thurber credits a couple of granddaddies of surrealism–Raymond Roussel and Alfred Jarry–in his description. Its tag line is "A musical adventure in modern geology" but this play may more accurately be described as a fantastical exploration of existential rage towards the political corruption that fuels genocide and the extraction of fossil fuels–with musical numbers, great costumes, and fun with moving backdrops.
President Furzedown (Ric Royer) is the werewolf president of the United States in his 6th term. He's addicted to urine and diamonds–amply supplied by the fossil fuel lobby–and his best friend and voice of reason is a talking horse name Mr. Colostomy (Leah Wishnia), a recurring character in Thurber's oeuvre. Mr. Colostomy, concerned with the amassing piles of corpses on the lawn of the White House, tries to confront his old friend about his lycanthropy, but before the intervention can happen, a group of Native American activists successfully overthrow Furzedown's presidency. On the run with Mr. Colostomy across a scrolling backdrop of an America returned to its people, Furzedown journeys far and wide, meeting an eclectic cast of characters, to come to terms with himself and carbon emissions. Hilarity ensues and he eventually makes it up a giant escalator to the moon.
This is an ambitious piece undertaken by a group of friends who clearly are having a great time together onstage. A stage director would've really helped the overall coherency of the show but, honestly, there needs to be way more crossover between genres like this in theater. A little confusing can go a long way.
If you're interested in seeing experiments on stage and are a fan of absurdity, then this is the show for you. I don't know what you're expecting going into this, but whatever it is, leave it at the door. And remember: we're all carbon.