Tuesday, April 22, 2008


May 11, 8:31 p.m.
Curtis’s flight from Oklahoma City arrives at LaGuardia. He’s picked up by Ms. Taymor in Discombobus, a “shared transportation experience.” All of the seats in the former school bus are occupied by students from a BAM performance art technique class, of which Ms. Taymor is the visiting professor. They all sit upright, eyes closed, wearing black body gloves. Fluorescent purple Picasso-style eye designs adorn their eyelids, which are lit harshly by multiple black lights. Ms. Taymor is in the brainstorming phase on a musical remake of The Brother from Another Planet for Finnish television. She shoots Curtis’s reaction with a pocket video camera. When Ms. Taymor blows a whistle, three of the actors are cued to open Curtis’s suitcase, scrambling to put on as many of his shirts and pants, one over the other, as possible.

May 12, 9:02 a.m.
Curtis watches Ms. Taymor shoot her American Express commercial at Mama Fothrou’s restaurant in Soho. The day in the life spot follows her through the redesign of the space kabuki-style. Select tables and patrons, the latter buckled into safety by steely marionette arms around their waists and shoulders, hydraulically sink into the basement, while the other diners, who were originally seated in the basement, rise to the first floor. Every two minutes the process is repeated, while a word is announced over a speaker, in sync with the grinding hydraulic action (“Reproach,” “Focus,” “Forget”). All patrons will be asked to wear bibs from Bibs, Whatev—a boutique bib store owned by Ms. Taymor’s costume designer, who also owns the restaurant.

May 12, 2:12 p.m.
Curtis is put to work in Ms. Taymor’s studio, alongside twenty students from SUNY Purchase, building soft-clay mask demos (to be applied onstage by the actors mid-performance) for her production of Schiller’s most reviled play, Lambstein, written (according to a confidante’s diary) while the author was ill and partially unconscious.

“That’s exactly why I picked it,” says Ms. Taymor, “so that Schiller’s universal dream state may continue to, if only for a moment, expand boundlessly uninterrupted.”

The play premieres at the Taymor-favored Annex-Trios Theatre. The theatre has three identical locations throughout Manhattan, only one of which will actually house the play; the others will install in their façades six smirking Danish mimes wearing straitjackets reading: The theatre of the absurd is a crack’d mirror. All posters and press material for the production will contain one of the three addresses. Tickets start at $1800.50.

May 12, 1:45 a.m.
Ms. Taymor and brother attend a candlelight vigil in a Bowery flophouse; the cause supported isn’t immediately clear. Ms. Taymor takes endless Polaroids and finds several residents who are perfect for roles in the B.F.A.P. remake.

“So, so real, these men. Men from Planet Real,” says Ms. Taymor.

Ms. Taymor spots Jane Campion, who is videotaping the vigil from across the street. The two exchange curt nods.

Curtis is asked to play Basquiat in a neo-happening, staged by a troupe of ungratified, former Law & Order character actors. Ms. Taymor conducts them through gymnastic improv into the wee hours.

Mr. Hunter would honestly like a respite from all the glad-handing and buttery promises.

Rethinking Kosher Wines What to spill at your Seder, from Manischewitz to MD 20/20.

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