Why? Because I had just come across The Frogs and knew that just a few years prior to me entering the program, that Equus was presented on the main stage, starring former classmates Jason Galvas and Sarah James. And then, in the way my mind works, I asked myself what it would be like to replace the horses in Equus with frogs.
And that's pretty much how it went down. That's a big difference, I've found, between myself and others in my position. And I'm not suggesting that is either good or bad, I'm not distingushing between relevant and irrelevant. I just happen to be someone who never ever leaves an idea abandoned. For better or worse, I pursue it, for nothing else but to see what happens.
One must understand that at the time I felt as if I was the king of U of M. Earl the Vampire was on the radar for ACTF, I was getting scads of attention, and was taking advantage of what people thought of as a gift. So, to me, it made sense to just write what I wanted to. Just to see what would happen. And if I could get a bunch of people to come along on my trip, then so be it. The more the merrier.
And it did happen. Brek-Ek-Equus was performed. I directed. I had my wonderful friends say outlandish things and perform outlandish acts. It was bliss. I don't think anyone involved in that production had a bad time, save one of the frogs, who was a wild card having never done theatre before, and I wish I could remember who she was, so I could apologize to her via facebook.
So, there it was, on stage, partying like it was 1999, which it was. A comedy without consceince. Not trying to say anything important, not trying to send a message, just a cavalcade of hoopla. There was Jason Bretzlaff, who I can't find on facebook, and Marie Glenn, and Greg Nicolai, and Paul Schott, and Jon Kelly, and Hurley, and JenRu, and Alberts, and Cam Knight, and Sauvie, and Matt D. And we had so much fun that we didn't give a shit that the audiences were unresponsive.
And, about that... it was a summer show. No one was around. He had half-filled houses filled with people who actually clamped their hands to their mouths to keep from laughing. A lesson learned. A full audience will laugh because others are compelled to. A half-audience will become self-conscious, and laugh only when they can't help it. But the difference will always be whether or not there is a real story to be told. And upon reflection, and for gloriously anarchic Brek-Ek-Equus was, there was nothing to be told. It was funny for the sake of being funny. At heart, the audience always wants some sort of investment. And, for all the joy we had in performing it, that was the one thing lacking.
So, fast forward to the now. When I've had fifteen years to think about it. I never abandoned the concept. Like so much of my early work, it sticks to me, it begs me to be seen again. And I am not one to leave dear friends drunk on the side of the road. I did my research, I played with concepts, I asked myself if there was a story worth telling in this rampant silliness.
The answer I came up with is this: there is ALWAYS a way to make even the most random humor light up with a good storyline.
I think for those who saw the original version, they would find a few points of nostalgia to cling to. For me, it feels like something brand new. New ridiculousness, new pointlessness, new anarchy, but with a sense of truth buried deep within it. And that may be grandstanding on my end, but give me a break, it's just a second draft.