Rumor has it that Kathleen Akerley is the artistic director of a local theatre company, Lung Acres, Lee. Apparently they produce cerebral work with a physical flair. This sounds vaguely communist so I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this nonsense once and for all. I sat down with Ms. Akerley at a local antelope farm. What transpires is probably not for the weak of stomach or heart. You have been warned.
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Strange: You are the artistic director of Long Ache Her Lee, can you explain what you artistically direct and who gave you permission to do such a thing?
Akerley: My permission such as it is derives from the Right of Discovery and Conquest. I direct people repeatedly to do things they spontaneously did without my direction, and then take the credit for their inventions on ‘opening night.’ It’s artistic because I’m wearing a smock.
Strange: So, unlike the cruel dictators of old, you are comparable to the shrewd diplomat directing your actors with a cunning smile?
Akerley: Thank you Mr. Strange! I thought the most apt comparison was Jabba, inert and bloated and greedily feeding off the labor, and reptiles, of others! In a smock!
Strange: My impulse was to compare you to Jabba, but thought you might be offended being compared to an individual eventually chain-strangled to death by their bikini-clad slave. I should probably also consider the impact of comparing you to a vile alien slug, but I’m truly not that thoughtful. Do you ever eat your actors?
Akerley: I once tried to make Jason Lott into a kabob but he resisted and the impulse passed.
Strange: Moving on, if you could re-direct one famous moment in history which would it be and why?
Akerley: I would direct the nurse to dip the soldier in the famous kissing photograph instead of the other way around.
Strange: Playing against type?
Akerley: No, just so it would look less like a lusty yin yang symbol.
Strange: That’s the conspiracy! It was a daoist photographer?
Akerley: Leaving messages of balance, duality and battery all over our media.
Strange: Okay . . . Ghana?
Akerley: If only its desire to develop a wind energy program was matched by its actual winds.
Strange: No, I was just asking if that’s the name of a real place, sounds funny when I say it out loud.
Akerley: That’s because you mistakenly pronounce the N. The N is silent. It’s supposed to sound like you just accidentally sipped some too-hot tea.
Strange: I do often find myself exclaiming “GHANA!” when sipping my oolong. With hot soup it’s “LAOS!” Do you like soup and tea?
Akerley: When they’re YEMEN-good.
Strange: If you had a christmas calendar, a single men’s sandal, a spinning top, and a shark tooth, where are you?
Akerley: A dollar store in Miami.
Strange: Would you buy anything?
Akerley: The lava lamp, duh.
Strange: Correct answer. A dollar for a lava lamp is an incredible deal! Would you like to take a Miami road trip?
Akerley: Count me in. We can bring a u-haul for all the kitsch we score.
Strange: What is your production this summer? On a scale of 1 to 14 how much will I hate it?
Akerley: It’s a new play called Goldfish Thinking, and I anticipate you will hate it at exactly the same numerical setting as ‘simmer.’
Strange: Is it about small, delectable cheesy snacks and our perpetual desire to consume them?
Akerley: Inasmuch as a murder mystery set in a woman’s dreams is merely Freudian imagery for that most basic of human appetites, yes.
Strange: I hate goldfish and Freud. Do you have time to change it to another snack and psychoanalyst?
Akerley: Un-Jung Rings it is.
Strange: On that note, how would you describe our relationship?
Akerley: The reason I get up in the morning.
Strange: Does that make you sad or hungry?
Akerley: Hungry, always hungry, and living under the curse of hating cheese, so, like the Ancient Mariner, I wander with a wheel of gouda around my neck telling about our relationship to anyone who’ll listen.
Strange: I’d listen, but I suppose that would defeat the purpose. Or I could eat the gouda, being a particular fan of rotten milk products.
Akerley: Please walk before me in life eating all cheeses before I can see or smell them.
Akerley: . . .
Strange: Ahem, would you prefer making people forget how to ride bicycles or the personal ability to turn into an envelope?
Akerley: Envelope! It would finally give a purpose to the irritating gummy strip that runs down the side of my left leg.
Strange: Really? Wouldn’t you prefer that when people say in reference to activities, “It’s just like riding a bicycle” you could respond knowingly with, “Oh, really?” This is your final chance to take back your hasty answer!
Akerley: My flaps are sealed.
Strange: But I want to know what you . . . oh . . . an envelope joke. You cunning stoat!
Akerley: You should see my standup Stamp Act.
Strange: You’ve convinced me! Well, thank you Ms. Akerley for taking part in this brutally revealing interview. This Summer I look forward to decimating any fragment of creative confidence your troupe of roustabouts might have left in them.
Akerley: With all due respect to Jane Horwitz, this has been the most edifying interview of my life.
Strange: I know, please leave now.
Readers, please see Goldfish Thinking at Longacre Lea beginning performances in August at the Callan Theatre in the Catholic University Drama Complex. This is Ms. Akerley’s recommendation, not my own.
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Learn more about communism and the show at Longacre Lea’s website.