Local bohemian Kenneth “Cottonpick Christ” Howe (pictured left) has, according to experts on the cutting edge of dramatics, achieved what was long thought to be impossible.
After years of progressive experimentation, Howe’s latest play has apparently “broken through the fifth wall”, according to Tiffany “O’Vary” Hendercourt-Lazzano, Montreal avant-garde fixture. “It’s simply unprecedented – he has turned his penetrating intellect inside, and given birth to the very future of human civilization.”
Hendercourt-Lazzano explains, impatiently, that the first three walls are those that separate the stage from the “multitudinous backs-of-stage – though, in the global sense, all backs-of-stage are themselves stages”. The fourth describes the divide between the audience and the stage, and is the “ethereal rapist of experience”, in Hendercourt-Lazzano’s words.
Howe’s work had opened the fourth wall up wide in the past. “I’ve done plays where the actors watch the audience, plays where the stage is a big mirror, plays where the actors look at the audience in a really big mirror… you know, shit like that”, says Howe.
His “fifth wall” breakthrough was not completely unexpected, though. In recent years, avant-garde playwrights had noticed that their more experimental plays had an unusual effect on the theatres they were performed in. When the first four walls were broken down, many playwrights saw many audience members streaming out the backs of the theatres, hinting at the possible existence of a post-fourth wall. Hendercourt-Lazzano’s 2002 production of her own “Scream Scream Dare to Dream” saw a very large portion of audience pass through the back wall this way, yet she and many others claim that Howe’s most recent work is a milestone in the field.
“Cottonpick Christ’s new play, ‘Tower of Bi[b]le’, has clearly shown the fifth wall to be that separating the audience from the parking lot, and it has smashed this wall to pieces.”
Security cameras in the Prostheticum Arch theatre lobby verify that, in the middle of Howe’s play, the wall was indeed broken, and dozens of audience members poured through, appearing confused and irritated, rushing for their cars.
“What they experienced was the complete abandonment of self, other, life, death, halo and bowel”, claims Hendercourt-Lazzano. “The actors entered the audience violently, like mighty Uranus into serene Gaia, while the fed-back sounds of brake failure raged against their sense of comfort and eternality. The world around them collapsed, and they noticed freedom where imprisonment was before. They were liberated, in the very Kabbalistic sense, from the shackles of expectations that a ‘theatre’-bound experience should be ‘light-hearted’ or ‘enjoyable’. They entered a theatre, but they exited in ecstacy.”
Another interpretation is offered by Barry Price, local mechanic: “They grabbed me really hard, forced me to the floor, and screamed ‘Father Crystal Chakra Cock’ at me, while somebody’s brake pads were squealing. It was basically the worst play I’d ever seen – and I saw Cats 2: Dogs. I never expect great birthday gifts from my son, but this is it – never again.” When asked how it felt to be a part of dramatic history, Price claims he would rather have gone to the hockey game with his friends. Price does not plan to return for the Friday show, nor continue funding his son’s university education.
Clearly, the ramifications of this revolution will take many years to fully appreciate. For the future, Howe has stated no particular inspiration or direction for his next work, citing his “difficulty reorienting himself in a world with no clearly-defined ‘theatres’.” Rumours that he will spearhead a campaign to bring the avant-garde arts to impoverished, malnourished African children are as yet unconfirmed. Hendercourt-Lazzano believes he will begin an interpretive journey into the “polyps of the soul, where saints and sinners intermingle and poison the spiritual space-time”, assuming he can get vacation time from his sales position at American Apparel.