This weekend, John Doyle takes the stage at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA with a new performance, X-MEN SCREEN TEST, LIVE AT MASS MoCA. John describes the performance below. Come out and see it live at Mass MoCA this Saturday, August 4th at 9:00 p.m. John’s piece will be followed by a courtyard screening of Girl Walk // All Day, and a dance party with DJs King Roomie Rock and CDR.
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In May of 2012 I was solicited by Hollywood Producer. Hollywood Producer said he was developing a number of projects and wanted to know if he could be in touch regarding opportunities where movement and physical characterization were pivotal to the roles. In late June, he asked me to put myself on video for a new blockbuster but he couldn’t tell me the title or share details about the script. THis is very common in Hollywood. When preparing to make THe Dark Night, the studio released casting notices for what they called “Rory’s First Kiss,” but many cracked the code when they continued reading, “a Warner Bros. production directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christopher Bale and Gary Oldman.” Hollywood Producer told me I would be in consideration for a film “based on a major comic series featuring a group of young misfits who carry a gene that gives them extra strengths.” I felt that recording a live performance would be more exhilarating and riskier than making a heavily staged and edited reel. With a live, outdoor performance scheduled at MASSMoCA, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to film the screen test.
GZA’s 4 solo albums played a large role during the creative process for this screen test. They evoke stories of young warriors choosing their path and the character I will play parallels this in that he has recently discovered why he is different from regular humans and is not clear on what to do with his powers. In “Life Is A Movie” GZA and RZA deliver graphic lyrics about the high stakes of filmmaking by cleverly including details about all aspects of production, from script details,”I got scientist killas that’ll jam your cell phone, send a text message, kill you off with a ringtone,” to production, “Gaffer slapped with the slate for being late, craft services got nervous and dropped 100 plates,” to finances, “Box office hit and Blockbuster smash, two hundred mil’ budget and still recouped the cash.” The chorus laments, “And sometime’s I feel like my life is a movie,” which is an awesomely post-modern declaration about living intimately with media and entertainment. This is the era of living as a show. I think about the people who go to Comic-Con and similar conventions to live for days as the characters they are in love with. I think about the victims at the Batman screening in Aurora who initially thought the killer was an actor hired by the studio to give the midnight premiere more impact. There was a sensation that they could be part of the Batman experience, that the movie was not contained to the screen, that the thrill might come right off the screen and into the theatre, and that was a totally reasonable explanation for the toxic gas and bullets. I probably would have thought the same thing.