Sunday, February 3, 2013

I'm a produced playwright! Who knew?

"Is this the end of Zombie Shakespeare?"  - A classic scene from The Simpsons

So here's what happened.

A couple of nights ago, I started seeing that there were a lot of TV commercials for the upcoming DVD/BluRay release of Disney's Peter Pan. I thought this was as good a time as any to write an article about that film and about the Peter Pan myth in general -- something I may still do in the future. Anyway, I was pretty sure I'd already written a mini-review of that movie on a message board somewhere, and I went to Google to find it. I never did, but I accidentally found something even more interesting in the process.

Apparently, in 2011, a script I'd written back in the 1990s called The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show was actually performed on a real stage by real human beings as part of something called the KC Fringe Festival in Kansas City . As you might guess from the title, the script is a crossover parody in which that lovable cartoon moose and squirrel, along with other characters from their series (including Boris Badenov and Dudley Do-Right), act out The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The script was something of a viral hit back in the era before Google, Facebook, or YouTube even existed. And I guess, it's had a life of its own since then.

Here is the article which alerted me to the existence of this show.

And here are some photographs of the actual production, along with my guesses as to what's happening in them based on my own memory of the script.

Boris Badenov doing his version of "Sweet Transvestite."

The whole cast doing the opening number "Animated Cartoon Features."

Various cast members as Nell Fenwick, Boris Badenov, and Natasha Fatale.

Possibly the narrator conversing with Snidely Whiplash.

The whole cast performing a scene called "The Floor Wax Show."

This is all really trippy -- seeing people actually do stuff based on a script I wrote as a joke years ago. It's one thing to sit down at a computer and write that the show begins with a kazoo fanfare. It's quite another to learn that people really did play a kazoo fanfare at the beginning of the play.

What can I say? I'm baffled yet flattered. It's a funny old world sometimes.

 And did someone ask for a clip? No?  Well, here's one anyway.


  1. I know how you feel, Joe. Sure, I've had plenty of my short plays produced and even participated in some of the productions, but I was most surprised the day I received an email from somebody asking me for permission to perform -- and film -- my old MST3K one-act parts: the lowercase horror. Since they asked in advance, my one stipulation was that they send me a copy of the final product, but I never heard back from them after that. Still, I'd like to think that somewhere out there, there exists on video a performance of a play I wrote based on a movie that was featured on my favorite cowtown puppet show.

  2. That's very cool. I've never asked for or attempted to get anything of mine produced. That's what made this so satisfying -- the fact that I didn't have to do anything for it and that it just happened without me. I've not been nearly as involved in theater as you've been. Not even close. My theatrical experience begins and ends with being in three elementary school plays. I don't even go to plays. A festival like this would have been completely off my radar. The MST3K project was conceived specifically because theater is so foreign to me. That was the initial joke: my almost-total lack of knowledge of the theater and how odd that whole world seemed to me. In a weird way, though, that project kind of presaged where theater was going. It seems like there are more and more goofy, absurdist, pop-culture-based plays and theatrical events now. Chicago seems to have a bunch of stuff like that every week.

  3. Is it wrong that I want to see this show?

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