Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Get me an axe, I see a door

Somebody told me recently that Johnny Cash used to cut doors in the walls of the hotels he stayed at when on tour. He used a fire axe to do it.

According to this perhaps apocryphal story, Cash'd stare at a wall and think, "There's a fucking door on this wall, I know it."

When he got tired of reaching for the knob that wasn't there, he'd just go out to the hallway, get the damn axe out of the glass case next to the elevator and go to work.

Eventually, everyone could see the damn door he was talking about.

And that he was crazy.

So often, however, we're all standing in front of a wall and think, "Hey, there's a fucking door here."

Once we're done with the play or poem or whatever it is, we step back and say to anyone nearby, "See. There's the door. I told you."

Depending on how good you are with an axe, they see it.

And maybe that you're crazy. Which you are.

A little while ago, Isaac Butler asked me to show him a door that I'd made with an axe in the wall of the little hotel room up behind my forehead.

He wanted to see: Dressing the Girl.

The play's been workshopped at the 78th Street Theatre Lab and the Soho Think Tank with Matthew Arbour, and worked on with Michael Kenyon when he was still at the Public. It's also had some readings at places like the Magic in SF. (Please take note, anti-development people.)

It's not an easy play - particularly as a read since the second act is quite visual.

I got an email from Isaac about the play after he read it. He liked it. But he also cited it in an interesting and worthwhile conversation with George Hunka about the kind of theatre that's being made today. He used it as an example of the kind of play that George might like to see more of (or a play anyway that might be worth watching eventhough it was written by someone with an MFA in playwriting - apparently a dirty credit for half the blogosphere - though George hasn't read the play so who knows what he'd think, MFA or no).

For me, it's nice to know when someone not only sees the door you made, but goes through it to the room you have beyond.

And that you're not crazy.

Except that I am.

Check it out at: Parabasis

Here's a brief synopsis of the play. If you're interested in reading it, just shoot me an email. I'll pdf a doorknob to you.


Anne and Ian, once romantically involved, still emotionally and intellectually entangled, try to pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, Anne hates sex and Ian’s recent decision to quit drinking has left him thirsty for just about any diversion he can find. Searching for a way into Anne, he starts buying her the same dress over and over again even though it doesn’t fit. His relentless pursuit eventually pushes him into the arms of a dress shop girl who shows him just how dangerous a dress can be.

1 male, 2 female

In the meantime, I'll be in the next room making a lot of noise.

Sweet dreams.


Adam said...

you said you were gonna send it to me. will you?

Malachy Walsh said...

Sure thing. It's on its way.

Laura said...

Can I request a copy too? :)

Malachy Walsh said...

Yes, Laura, of course.

But where do you want me to send it?

J.D. said...

I'd never heard that about Cash before! Says it all, doesn't it? We are mad. And not just in a Stephen King'ish Shining kinda way.

I already sent ya an email with my request.

Malachy Walsh said...

J.D. - I was also told by this person that before cutting the doors in the walls, Cash would become so concerned about finding the doorknob that he would wear his hands raw reaching for the non-existent knob.

This is what makes me a little dubious about the story - though it makes for good copy: He'd have a lot of trouble playing guitar with ruined hands.

But who knows?

J.D. said...

It certainly sounds like behavior that's alcohol or drug induced. And you know how strong some of us can be. I'm referring to being able to play guitar, afterwards, of

Mac said...

Hi, Malachy. I'm a terrible blogger who nonetheless reads your site. Isaac was raving about your play in rehearsal the other night. I'd love to read it. If you'd send it to, I promise to delete the file when I'm done.

malachy walsh said...

Mac - it's in the mail....