It hit me around 2:31 on Sunday June 2nd, standing in a living room in Malden, drinking water from a jar given to me by a stranger (it was his living room).
I’d come to this man’s house to deliver a painting he bought. He saw the painting in the lobby of FROM DENMARK WITH LOVE, a show he’d come to because he likes James Bond. He bought the painting, done by a local artist in conjunction with the show. The man and his wife have wanted art for a while but never agree on a piece, until they saw this. They liked the colors and that the skull matched the one in their living room.
So here I was with a stranger, laughing over art, marital balance, and James Bond, and theater.
All day I’d been working to be done with this show. It’s a script and production that I have thought of and worked on every single day for the past 20 months. (Freakishly, to the day: I had the idea for the show on October 2, 2011, exactly 20 months prior). Saturday night we closed to a full house, said goodbye to the cast and crew, struck the show. And all morning I’d been driving carloads of scheisse back to my apartment where it’ll live till we do a brief remount at a festival in July.
And I just wanted to be done.
But suddenly with this glass of water and this stranger, something clicked. I knew this day was not the end of the show, but the beginning of something, for me. And that made me very happy.
If there were a gospel according to J-Rex it would go something like “Have fun. And play well with others.” Okay I need to rewrite that. But “fun” and “community” are not just words to me but ideals, holy targets. And as an artist and human something I know I can do well is get people in a room together to have a good time.
And that was the goal of Denmark. But not just the production – we wanted to do a lot of things around it.
So we got 7 local artists to create original artwork inspired by lines from the show.
And we got 11 local bands to write original James Bond theme songs.
And we somehow convinced 90 people to give money to this project before they really knew what it was, in our IndieGoGo Campaign.
And we had an as-yet-uncounted number of people come check it out. (Around 750; our target for the run was 500).
To list the names of individuals without whom this coagulation of events and awesomeness would utterly not exist, would be phone directory-like, and futile. The thought of making that list drives me to Kafkaesque tremors. But the fact that the list exists makes my heart a sieve.
I believe in the interconnectedness of all things. And never before have I had a moment that spoke to that more deeply for me: standing in the room of a stranger, talking about the play I wrote and the painting Lynn made, and realizing that none of this would have happened without all those people: without Lisa donating money; or without Meg calling me, or without my grandfather passing away, or sitting in Granddad’s lap watching ninjas repel down a volcano, or Ian Fleming getting married and being scared, or Shakespeare’s son dying, or … you see, I hate words because at times like this they feel so utterly useless. I can’t tell you how I feel right now, any better than a grasshopper can dance about sex.
I’m just saying: Interconnectedness. COMMUNITY.
Overwhelmed, I left the house and sat in the car, shaking for a moment. When I finally drove off, as soon as I did a song came on the radio. My favorite song. It fills my body with dance and bronzes a smile on my face. And exhausted, overwhelmed, fueled by coffee, dreams, and silliness, I had a dance party as I drove out of Malden.
The Gospel According to J-Rex: Community Fun.
Everyone asks me what’s next.
I have no fucking clue. But it’ll be fun. And I want you to be a part of it.
I’ll be in touch.
Love, Laughter, Light
* - Tak is Danish for THANKS.