Joe Brack is the youngest actor in Washington DC to climb Mount Ararat carrying a crab basket of despondent Guinea pigs on his back. But this is so commonplace within the artistic community, I’m not sure why I lead with that information. I could also be thinking of someone else. Regardless, he’s a well-respected actor despite his obsession with the plight of small rodents. I sat down with him in an abandoned roller derby arena to learn what makes him work, other than food, oxygen, human contact, and liquids.
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Strange: Good morning Mr. Brack, what is your show at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival?
Brack: ‘My Princess Bride’: one man’s take on S. Morganstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure.
Strange: As eye-clawingly boring as that sounds, I saw the show. How do you prepare for such an amaz . . . I’m very sorry, I misread that question . . . were you purposely trying to hurt my feelings?
Brack: If I had any impact at all on your “feelings”, whatever those are, I’ve done my job as an acting person. Least, that’s what I’ve heard around the Baldacchino tent.
Strange: It was a trick question I have no feelings. Because there was no effect one way or the other, have you done your job or failed? Further, do you still have a mind after I blew it to pieces with that paradox?
Brack: Sorry, I got a call on the other line. Did you say something?
Strange: You are astoundingly rude. Moving on, what is your next theatrical/artistic/revolutionary endeavor and how can we avoid it?
Brack: I am playing Rossencraft in Taffety Punk’s bootleg of ‘Hamlet: The Bad Ass Quarto’ . . . avoid it, HA!
Strange: So, why exactly are you an actor?
Brack: The simple fact that it grants me a profession that requires no “real world” skills. Zero responsibility. Amazing hours. That and all the attention.
Strange: So you’re saying you’re a societal leech?
Brack: I am a leech in the medical sense. I help society to bleed for it’s own betterment. To remove the fever from the masses is my true goal. I suck to aid in healing.
Strange: Well, you’ve certainly got the suck part down. Oh, so droll. Society hates you and your artsy brethren. Do you think we should be concerned about theatre artists?
Brack: Concerned, no. Make pretend can pose no threat unless provoked. Jealous of and voraciously attracted to, without doubt.
Strange: Speaking of voracious attraction, how would you react if you found out we were related?
Brack: I’d demand unquestionable, infallible, absolute, DNA proof and valid photo ID from all your/our female relatives.
Strange: I preemptively made calls. Again, just entertaining the possibility, would you call me Uncle Xander or some other term of endearment?
Brack: I don’t believe in titles. All my true blood uncles have nicknames given to them by their siblings when the newest addition to the family is born. Judging by the names given to my existing uncles: Jucifer, Pecker Blossom, and Disappointing Stain, I assume you’d be given a name reflective of your more likable qualities.
Strange: Superfluous Arm Nipple does have a nice ring to it. Can I still come to your family gatherings until we get word one way or the other?
Brack: You’re always welcome to the ranch, but beware of Uncle Initiation.
Strange: I’m curious Mr. Brack, what effect do the words of critics have upon you?
Brack: They are the only voice of reason. They are the note inside the bottle that floats aimlessly across the seas of self-indulgence and moral depravity. Judging an entire community, without actually being a contributing part of said community proves one’s superior abilities as a…uhm…as a philanthropist?
Strange: I wholeheartedly concur. If I wasn’t here to tell you how to feel about yourself, where would you be?
Brack: I’d love to try playing ‘Operation’. As a child Father never allowed battery operated devices in the house. He said it was a distraction from Mother’s duties. I remember in the school yard my fellow classmates would rave about this buzzing light up game, where one would attempt to remove vital parts of a hobo’s anatomy without touching the sides. Sounds intriguing and I’ve always wanted to give it a go.
Strange: My father and I played a game similar to your ‘Operation’ but it involved dissecting exhumed cadavers. While it was a spectacular father/son bonding experience, your version sounds much more satisfying. I also probably could have avoided my years of what I like to call “dark corner cowering fun time!”. These hobos didn’t light up after all.
Brack: . . .
Strange: Hooray! . . . Hypothetical Round: You wake up in waterbed, painted from head to toe in cottage cheese, next to Calvin Coolidge, why?
Brack: If I awoke with the chalky after-effects of my Dramamine/Lactaid cocktail, I’d think it would have to be Thursday, 7am central time. Otherwise; “C.C.” drunk dialed, I probably forgot the dry-cleaning again, and one of the little matadors had better have cab fare. Hypothetically.
Strange: Do the words “I have photos” evoke anything in you?
Brack: Topical cream and perhaps a daiquiri of the fruity variety…
Strange: So, you’re saying you’re not easily blackmailed or you want to take me on vacation and heal my stubborn rashes?
Brack: If you went camping, and one morning you woke-up to find a condom in your ass, would you tell anyone?
Strange: No, I wouldn’t.
Brack: Want to go camping?
Strange: . . .
Brack: . . .
Strange: . . .
Brack: . . .
Strange: . . . I think we’re done here.
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You can see Mr. Brack in ‘My Princess Bride’ at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival until today July 29th, 2012. Taffety Punk’s ‘Hamlet: The Bad Ass Quarto’ will be performed at Folger Theatre on August 6th, 2012 at 7 pm. I give you this information for your own safety.
Learn more about Mr. Brack and his evil plan at his website Joe Brack Takes Over the World