Exit the King – Interview with Stuart Bousel

graphic design by Cody Rishell

Directed by Stuart Bousel

Movement Direction: Margery Fairchild


King Berenger is a 400 year old narcissist who has traded his old wife in for a new and has lost sight of what truly matters. However, neither his second wife’s cloying love, his first wife’s harsh truths, his servants’ devotion, nor his  quacky doctor can save him from demise.

I saw the play last night, which was raucous good fun, complete with an audience that laughed most of the night. It is worth watching but prepare yourself for a certain style in which you will not have an intermission and it will be fairly long. But that’s okay, just bring snacks!

Here’s the thing about Ionesco that I realized: you can read the plays and they’re fascinating but it isn’t until you actually watch it that his plays seem to be like a body of water. They have ripples, they have waves, they move constantly, there is very little stillness or down-to-earth moments. The gravitational pull from one character to another: this play is full of one-on-one moments between characters that are filled with emotional uproars, chiding, and brutal honesty which reminds me of scenes from Rhinocerous that are also great.

Stuart Bousel talks about directing the play in the interview posted below which provides more in-depth analysis of the play itself. Stuart did an excellent job directing, having plunged into the deep with not a lot to see. I say that because Ionesco loves to challenge anyone holding his script.  However, it does seem possible to come out of it feeling revived and with a lot less worry about mortality, or stuff in general, which feels fresh to me!

As Stuart touched on in our talk, the piece would not have stayed afloat without the movement direction by Margery Fairchild, who did a stellar job in creating choreographed movements that felt so natural to the characters that it was hard to find the seams between what was staged and what may have been instinctual. I enjoyed that aspect because, though the play feels quite lyrical at times, it was still nice to have such seamless transitions.

The relentlessness of this fun-filled yet sometimes dark and stormy sea is what makes the play so engaging, but also makes it a challenge. The challenge to me is not for the audience as much, because Ionesco actually does know how to entertain them while still spooning them a few bitter vegetables of truth and whatnot. No, the challenge is for a director and the actors who all, in this case, delivered very seasoned and thought-out characters with great physicality and impressive intensity.

The overall challenge is keeping the momentum going at all times. They are all making high-frequency ripples of their own, which are needed in this format. There is no mistake that a vaudevillian sensibility lies in this piece, as Geoffrey Rush touched on in an interview regarding his portrayal of the king in the Broadway revival production. That vaudevillian sensibility means there is going to be slapstick, physical theatre, slight-of-hand, and a heightened style of acting, which some might say is too much, but I enjoyed. There is no room for flatness here. The actors’ grasp and commitment to this idea seems to keep the audience deeply entertained. Yes, Ionesco is entertaining you in a grand old style, while injecting you with Modernist thought.

As long as they keep doing what they’re doing, this will be a memorable and successful revival.

*please excuse the static- we are busy, remote-style people.

Watch Ionesco call Sartre a political poseur here:

So interesting!

Faces of Silence – Shedding Light on Solitary Confinement

Interview with Christine Shields about her illustrations for Voice of Witness’ new release, SIX BY TEN – Stories from Solitary – “SIX BY TEN: Stories from Solitary explores the mental, physical, and spiritual impacts of America’s widespread embrace of solitary confinement. Through stories from those subjected to solitary confinement, family members on the outside, and corrections officers, Six by Ten examines the darkest hidden corners of America’s mass incarceration culture and illustrates how solitary confinement inflicts lasting consequences on families and communities far beyond prison walls. Edited by Taylor Pendergrass and Mateo Hoke.”

Portrait of Brian
Portrait of Brian, Christine Shields, from SIX BY TEN
Portrait of Sonya
Portrait of Sonya, by Christine Shields from SIX BY TEN




Say hi to Christine

Peterson vs. Zizek 2019

It’s like the WWF – but with words.

Peterson vs. Zizek 2019

Someone also described Zizek as “a trash panda who was transformed into a human witch” but he is probably fine with that:


Word on the street is this trash panda is going to mop the floor with JP. but is it really a competition?


Toronto’s Sony Center on April 19. The topic? Happiness: Capitalism versus Marxism.

The Latest Commentary

Ooh, burn.

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchers?”

“Many commit the same crime with a very different result. One bears a cross for his crime; another a crown.”

“For no deity is held in such reverence amongst us as Wealth; though as yet, O baneful money, thou hast no temple of thine own; not yet have we reared altars to Money in like manner as we worship Peace and Honour, Victory and Virtue”
~ from “The Sixteen Satires” by Juvenal

“Disconnected and weird”

The Biebs is depressed.

Who hasn’t felt disconnected and weird before? I could probably say I have felt disconnected and weird for most of my life but, back to the Biebs.

I predict that his marriage will end at some point and he will go through a second bad-boy phase, really going on a tear.

Do I want the Biebs to suffer? Of course not, he’s adorable. Do I want to see him go on another bad-boy rampage where he gets rebellious and flips off society? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, I’m a Subterranean. He has such vibrant bursts of youth, it is hard to be upset. The time he got all sloppy and peed in a bucket for all the world to see? Or when he got scrappy outside a club and picked a fight with with Orlando Bloom. It was hilarious.

The Biebs is looking for himself and it’s very hard to do because he became famous via YouTube when he was just a young boy and now he’s lost.

He was molded by the entertainment industry to fit a certain image, to sell records, to make people happy, make people $$$, and to basically be ON at all times. I sense that he once really enjoyed his fame quite a bit but he was still, again: a young boy who’s going to go through identity, social, and sexual crises. He just happened to go through all of this with billions of people watching. And he still is going through it, he’s only like 25, but he’s lived such a complicated and full life already. It appears that he enjoys the excitement but he also longs to just be a normal dude sometimes. He’s probably never going to have that.

I could watch the Justin Bieber roast over and over because it was brutal in all the best and most controversial ways and it demonstrated that a lot of other famous people realize how vulnerable he is and try to keep a support system around him. It’s also a bit endearing to watch Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg instantly fall in love with each other in a haze of pot smoke but that’s a whole other story.

I’ve never had much interest in his music, I think I’ve only heard a couple of songs, one of them was pretty damn funny though. If he actually wrote the lyrics to that song I would say he’s a talented comedian as well.

I saw a video of this 5 year old girl who was talking about how much she loved him. His dancing, his voice, how sweet he was to the audience, she was gushing. Then he walked into the room and surprised her and she totally lost it. She just burst into tears as he picked her up and hugged her like a sweet, older brother. He appeared to be a genuine, goofy kid.

Sure, he has made some mistakes and has said some really dumb things, but we all do. Luckily, most of us don’t have sociopathic paparazzi hiding in bushes; documenting our grave acts of idiocy in the name of passion.

I wonder if he feels disconnected and weird because his clothing line just came out and the deeper spiritual side of him was suddenly like: “I don’t give a fuck about this stupid shit” or “why, why does any of this matter and why am I here?” I remember asking myself this sometimes when I was a young ballet dancer, killing myself over things that suddenly seemed trivial and pointe-less.

I eventually checked out, went to strange lands. and observed the intense pressure to succeed just melt off of me. To witness extreme human suffering and understand that your life is beyond lucky. Maybe Biebs will do that too. I would love to see him go to a mountaintop and let the breezes wash over him while he reflects on some deep-ass shit. That would be amazing. But no, I take it back; I don’t want to see him. Let’s not watch him do this. Let him have “me time”. He has not had it in a while, if ever.

People go bananas over the Biebs. It’s a phenomenon. It must be hard to be surrounded by followers but feel so alone at the same time.



The Biebs with his mom.

Going into the lion’s den.

Having been called to do a mediation on Weds. evening has me reviewing briefs/scripts and settling into the summary: “neighbors fighting due to call to the cops.” This could be anything from a mild disturbance to a full-on war. I am ready to let it neutrally wash over me when they recount their sides and then take it from there.

“The mode of founding a college..

is, commonly, to get up a subscription of dollars and cents, and then following blindly the principles of the division of labor to its extreme, a principle which should never be followed but with circumspection, -to call in a contractor who makes this a subject of speculation, and he employs Irishmen or other operatives actually to lay the foundations, while the students that are to be are said to be fitting themselves for it; and of these oversights successive generations have to pay. I think that it would be better than this, for the students, or those who desire to be benefitted by it, even to lay the foundation themselves. The student who secures his coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble and unprofitable leisure, defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful. “But”, says one, “you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?”  I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, nor study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?”  ~ from Walden, Thoreau