Contemporary Performance TXTS - Evan Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Evan Johnson I am the co-founder of 1 1 11 Art Group and I am currently living in San Francisco, CA.

 

I work frequently in physical theatre forms, nightlife drag/cabaret venues as well as professional theatre. In Winter 2010, we produced "Don't Feel: The Death of Dahmer" written and performed by myself. The show was produced with 1 1 11 Art Group, in conjunction with Mama Calizo's Voice Factory's DIY Residency Program. 

 

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about 
1 1 11 Art Group:


Drawing from physical theatre practices, text-based experiments and sound installations, 1 1 11 Art Group exists to focus the efforts of the group and to engage the world, both local and at large, with evidence of a vibrantly queer artistic lens.

1 1 11 Art Group was formed in June 2009 by Evan Johnson and Ernesto Sopprani and includes both founders, as well as an ever-growing list of short and long-term collaborators.

 


For "Don't Feel" I invited my director, Eric Wilcox, in as an outside eye, he helped tremendously while we both discussed the material and how to hack away at it and when to write more, organize it differently, etc. Eric has a background in mime and buffoonery and I knew I could play towards the grotesque with him, in fact much of our process consisted of me secretly trying to gross out Eric, or make him feel uncomfortable.

 

I also collaborated with Sean Malroy, the sound designer, and picked clips from Youtube and the internet, footage from Dahmer's trial, news footage, an interview with 20/20..also children's sounds, television advertisements, Disney songs..Sean created what we dubbed "sound collages" and this broke my performance into fourths, giving me chances to breathe and also to allow key moments to sink in for the audience by accentuating choice moments with sounds of real-life footage.

 

Rehearsing in an orange prison jumper helped me get into Dahmer's energy every day, that stance. And the text allowed me to spiral off in all different types of energies, manic, stoic, sad, sexy..Eric and I worked with mirrors a lot to find the shape of the character and we used music. I rehearsed with period music to create the cruising in a bar atmosphere in places, it was an incredibly productive and fun process.

 


 

 

SOUND LINKS:


Example of a Sound Collage

 

Another Example of a Sound Collage

 

Designed by Sean Malroy, 2010

 

 

VIDEO:

 

 

Trailer: DON'T FEEL: The Death of Dahmer from 1111artgroup on Vimeo.

 

Evan Johnson Interviewed by In Studio SF: On Jeffrey Dahmer and the... from 1111artgroup on Vimeo.

SELECTION FROM THE TEXT:

 





...

SCENE ONE: 

THE DEATH OF DAHMER


 

 

LIGHT CHANGE - House lights fade 
SOUND CUE: Static Noise - Sustained 

TEXT ON A WALL:

"In 1994, a few days after Thanksgiving, 
Jeffrey Dahmer died almost instantly 
as a fellow inmate who called himself "Christ" 
battered his brains out with an iron bar."

LIGHT CHANGE 

SOUND CUE: "Welcome To My Dream" by Tiny Tim

Breaking through the static sounds.

 

DAHMER sits against the wall, bleeding from the brow. He's obviously been struck. He is wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and gold rimmed glasses. He turns to see the space as if for the first time and acknowledges the audience. This is the moment after his death and what follows is his experience:

 

LIGHT CUE:  “Grandma's Light" 

An amber glowing lamp flashes on, illuminating a nostalgic domestic scene, an embroidered rocking chair, a tea set on a tray, an old fashioned telephone perhaps.

SOUND CUE: “Music Box” - Live sound from an actual music box onstage.

DAHMER:

[grandma:]

(old and weak) -- and not just because you're my grandson.  no jeff.  you are something special you are.  look at the way you painted those birdies there in the sky.  those are nice little birdies sweetie.  look at them flying so so high.  up up up.  yes those are good ones.  what an artist jeff.


SOUND CUE: "Music Box" stops.
LIGHT CHANGE

He picks up an old box and begins to Show and Tell, addressing no one in particular. 

 

[jeffrey as a child:]

 

(soft like a child) bird ribs are smaller than cat ribs which are smaller than deer ribs and that makes sense.  cat ribs break too though, like the birds, just as easy.  I can do it with my hands, crack them open. bones makes sounds when you drop them in a bucket. when you knock them together, when you shake them in a box. listen. 

 

He removes the lid and shares his favorite bones, he has an extensive collection of animal skulls, odd bones and pieces of fur. He fondles them as he speaks.

 

they used to have a lot of stuff attached to them, before i boiled them clean. you know, cat slime gets all over, it gets everywhere the slime  you have to wipe it on your pants as you take away the stuff... i like them best this way, all clean. (sniffs)


He picks up a patch of fur.


through the microscope on this piece here, there's all these little parts still alive, organisms and tiny things still living, and moving around all inside and outside too just eating it all up, mmmm! not aware that the thing is dead yet at all. heh no. they haven't figured it out yet! haha! they don't care anyways they just want to munch munch munch. why would they care? it's none of their business i mean come on it's dinner time! eat it up yum yum! eat it up!


and and I keep the heads because I like them. the way they are, the way they were built. all the parts are okay by me. i like them looking at me. little faces.  I mean if someone's gonna run over 'em cause they weren't lookin or nothin, weren't paying attention, then I might as well keep them with me and pay good attention to them, and love them even. 

 

They just stay here with me in my special hiding place, the heads looking my way like I said not on anything bad or ugly or scary. Just me. Waving hi!


I keep them safe here...with me. forever. 

LIGHT CHANGE



 

 

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