Why not? seems as good an answer as any. Do they really ask that question about The Sound of Music? About The Tempest? About The Mahabharata? Maybe they do. Maybe because a text is royalty free, hasn’t been done in a while, or the playwright is dead and won’t complain about the production. All of the above is applicable in my case—well, the last one is partly true. Royalties? Chortle! This play hasn’t been staged in 19 years, no one in DC has seen it, and I promise, as the playwright, not to interfere too much with Kerri Rambow’s direction. Unless she is totally off the mark or simply being churlish.
To be honest, the impetus for dredging up the world’s largest metaphor was a chance conversion with a friend back in January. As we walked to brunch, she mentioned that her nephew told her that 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. I assumed he was right as I could never remember if the ship hit the iceberg on April 12, 1914, or on April 14, 1912. But one thing I was certain about: I had beat the “top-of-the world” director by four years. Granted, James Cameron had planned his 3D re-release before I did. Okay, his initial box office receipts surpassed mine by a paltry $1.84 billion. And, yes, he won the Oscar for best picture and best director and nine other awards from the Academy. But let’s not forget: I was nominated for a Storer Boone Award (not to be confused with the Big Easy Awards) for best original play. Sadly, I lost to a play about Rapunzel and soon thereafter presciently fled New Orleans nine years before Katrina.
Raising the Titanic
To remount Cortical Titanic is going to take steamer trucks of cash. Staging a play in DC without a producing theater company is slightly more complicated than putting together a production in New Orleans. Our initial fundraising event was held on April 14 of this year, the last night the Titanic was afloat in the North Atlantic. We read a few scenes from the play, were upstaged by an excellent presentation by Ole Varmer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and lifted many a glass of champagne in memory of the victims of the most celebrated maritime disaster of all time. In August, we presented a preview concert of music that I wrote and arranged for the play, and drank many a gin and tonic and Pimm’s Cup in memory of something. Global warming and rogue icebergs adrift on the Potomac aside, our production will run for four weekends in October—that’s four times longer than the Titanic’s original outing. The cast, crew, and I look forward to sharing our reflections and ruminations concerning the unsinkable ship, the last word in simulacra. This version of Hemispheric Dysfunctionalism and the Cortical Titanic is exciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting you.
You should purchase a ticket now.