Us. In New York City. Dancing. For you.

We’re making our NYC debut, folks.  IT’S EXCITING.

starts at 8pm
59 Jefferson St. #301 Bushwick
Admission is a contribution to the free bar where everyone drinks for free all night long!

We don’t have a lot of friends in New York City, you know? Probably has something to do with living in Minneapolis.  So even if you can’t see the show, spread the word!  Tell everyone you know that Mad King Thomas is the most ridiculous monarch of ever and that they’d love our work.  Assuming, of course, that you think those things are true. We’d never ask you to lie (well, almost never.) (Unless you like lying.)

Monica & Theresa will be showing excerpts from The World Is Your Oyster Eat Up, Little Pearl, which debuted in June 2010 at Bedlam Theater.

Laura Holway said this about the show:

I was simultaneously confused, turned on, and filled with awe.  Monica Thomas has an amazing tongue! It makes noises! She can control it almost effortlessly!

Ben McGinley said this:

But holy hell if this isn’t what performance is supposed to be like. Passionate, active, engaging, fucked up, imperfect.

Monica and Theresa superimposed in front of NYC.
Awesome photo of Monica & Theresa by Megan Mayer.
Awesome photo of NYC by joiseyshowaa.

A new nation, conceived in liberty (and women)

Since we didn’t bring our A-game to the 9×22 talkback last night (might have had something to do with glue, cold pavement, and adrenaline), I figured I’d throw out a bunch of facts about the piece.

Laurie asked for a list of our influences before the show. Here’s that:

People we know, Wheel of Fortune, our bicycles, radical women, Christianity, Gypsy Rose Lee, Pauline Kael, Graham Greene, veneration of flesh, the human creation of gods and celebrities, this quote about famous people “once they’re in our hands, we decide just how famous, and for how long,” suffragettes, bicycles, Vegas, Guy DuBord, the human spirit.

These texts also influenced the piece:

We watched Gypsy Rose Lee (a lot).

Our pieces, for all that they are based on what we read and watch and see, are moving into a realm of feeling, using the stage to create things we want to see exist in the world. I don’t know what it means to say that; almost nothing in the show is something I want to exist outside of the stage (Creepy high school teacher? Tuberculosis-ridden strippers?)

We talked a lot about “the picture of free untrammeled womanhood”: how do each of the images read in the context of freedom and liberation? How does pursuing desire support or distract from the work of liberation? Does glittery gold fabric titillate or empower? In a culture that encourages and denies desire, what does it mean to pursue any desire at all?

Being part of Mad King Thomas means I get to construct realities, can obscure myself with Vanna White, can talk about what I like, do what I like. And sometimes other people want in on the conversation. For which I say thank you a million times.

Here’s our piece, Fish on Bikes: A Picture of Free Untrammeled Womanhood:


Mad King Thomas is seeking dancers for their upcoming Momentum show in July of 2011!

WHEN: Sunday, April 3
WHAT TIME: 5-7pm
WHERE: Zenon’s studio 4B in the Hennepin Center for the Performing Arts
, 528 Hennepin Ave. Mpls, MN.

What’s that you say, you’ve always dreamed of wearing gold lame’ and high kicking your way across the Southern stage? Well then THIS is the audition for you!

We are looking for 9-20 dancers and performers. Practitioners of all dance styles are welcome, and people of all genders are encouraged to attend. You don’t need to come with a prepared monologue or headshot or any of that fancy stuff. Just wear clothes you can move in (sparkly costume elements always acceptable.)

Must be willing to commit to rehearsals (still to be set) and performance dates July 21-23 as well as tech times (yet to be set) the week of July 18. Rehearsals are unpaid; dancers will receive a small stipend for performance.

Spread the word! PLEASE! Feel free to forward this e-mail OR share our FACEBOOK EVENT. E-mail us with any questions.

Bikes, freedom, fear.

Some context, for those of you who aren’t at rehearsal twice a week: There’s something in the piece we’re working on for July about bicycles & freedom.

What DO bikes have to do with freedom?  Riding in the summer, yeah, I get the freedom. I can go forever, anywhere I please.  And bicycles were heavily tied to the suffragette movement.  But riding in winter is mostly just scary. Some days more than others. The amount of willpower it takes to get on my bike when the world is full of ice, snow & angry drivers is sometimes nearly impossible to gather.

Sometimes once I’m on the bike all that falls away and the sense of freedom pervades. But sometimes I have to work hard to defeat those fears, to be aware and to remember at all times where I am and what I am doing. I wouldn’t call it pleasant, but it’s important. Good practice. Like having rehearsal, dredging through the crap of our lives and our fear and excitement to make shows. Good practice. Like blogging here. Practice, practice, practice.

Why Make Performance

It seems like everyone is talking about Gob Squad, so why not take it as an excuse to indulge in their YouTube channel?

Why do I make performance?

It has something to do with standing in a circle of rocks with my eyes closed, Cheetos in my hand, and deciding to make performances.  Something to do with Judith Howard’s Dance Improv and Dance History classes and Jerome Bel. It has almost nothing to do with Swan Lake, except when it does (like last night, when I tried to learn the Pas d’Quatre in my living room).

I make performance because I don’t know why I make performance.  I want a show/thing/event that fills out the spaces between people. I want to love that show/thing/event. I love and hate that performance evaporates when it’s done.

Somewhere in me is a reserve that knows its own measure.  I don’t know what that means, but it developed while I was busy reconciling the fact that I want to do weird things with the fact that I don’t feel comfortable doing them in front of people. 

Phew. I have gotten nowhere. Maybe it’s just that stage lights make me giddy.

Doing things you’ve never done before.

There’s an article up at by Max Sparber about chaos in theater that (of course) piqued my interest.

A line will be flubbed, or there will be some accident onstage, and suddenly the cast will find themselves winging it. And, with unexpected frequency, these moments don’t hurt a show, but suddenly send an electric charge through it. … In their way, it’s these moments that make live theater genuinely live. We’re no longer seeing actors mostly duplicating what they’ve done the previous performance and the performance before that. We’re seeing them do something they’ve never done before.

I like encouraging people to do things they’ve never done before, or that they want to and CAN do, but feel held back by imaginary concerns (“culture” as the anthropologist likes to call it).  Mad King Thomas doesn’t often (ever?) include strictly improvised moments in our pieces, but we do present pieces after only a modicum of rehearsal. 

(Don’t tell the theater police, but we’ve even gone on stage with nothing more than a vague blocking run in our living room. Also, we’re completely unlicensed to practice performance art in the state of Minnesota. Shhhh!)

There’s a connection between rawness and a sense of freedom, isn’t there? At least, I want there to be a connection. Maybe letting people see you figure it out makes us all feel more comfortable with occasionally looking foolish as we try something we’ve never done before. 

Feeling foolish, and a little cold.

Hi, Walker patrons!

Maybe you came here from the blogs at the Walker, about Betontanc/  If so, welcome! If not, you should go see Betontanc/ this weekend…and hello anyway. We still love you.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the show, but to say, hi, hello and welcome. Here’s an introduction to what we’re doing on this site.  Theresa wrote it.  She’s great, isn’t she? The long and short of it is that we’re going to write here, about particular shows, about the form in general, about the world and…about other things!

Here are some dances we’ve got online:

Every day I die a little bit, and I get that much colder

Fish on Bikes: A Picture of Free, Untrammelled Womanhood

Throw a Big Boulder on the Stage (you are so beautiful you are so beautiful you are so beautiful)

Excerpt of GTFO

What else? I want Mad King Thomas to ride bicycles down the Las Vegas strip while wearing bikinis. Can you imagine? Man. Sounds great.