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Advance Guard featuring Ben Kaufman, Mari Yamamoto, and Alesandra Nahodil (Photo KL Thomas)

Advance Guard featuring Ben Kaufman, Mari Yamamoto, and Alesandra Nahodil (Photo KL Thomas)


The term avant-garde comes from the French vanguard, a military term describing the troops moving at the head of an army or the forefront of an action or movement. During battle you would literally, “advance your guard.” Then, sometime in the 1900s, the word avant-garde started to be used to describe new and experimental concepts, particularly those with relation to the arts.

Among other inspirations, it was this idea of avant-garde art having a militaristic or political agenda that fueled a lot of the themes and actions throughout our play. And thus, the title of our new show, ADVANCE GUARD by Ming Peiffer (me), says a lot about what we, at Spookfish Theatre Company, are trying to accomplish with our artwork and with this piece in particular.

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What do you have to do to get noticed around here? It seems like all of us in the theater biz are permanently tortured by this question. Directors, actors, dancers, singers, designers of all varieties, not to mention writers, press agents, and critics, all clamor for a look, a nod, a glint of recognition in the eyes of Our Audience, even if that’s just some schmuck transferring trains at Union Square.

(You don’t think writers schlep their merch in the subway? Clearly you never met Donald Green.)
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Brian, Quinn, and Stu in the Man Cave

Three guys, three drinks, three acts: Virilia, Virility, Visectomy; beer, schnapps, whiskey; Brian, Stu, and Quinn. Three dudes, buds, bros from the old skool, do what bros do best — torture each other in a never ending test of masculinity and boner bona fides.
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Joanne Wilson as Jane in "Dirty Little Machine"

Miranda Huba’s Dirty Little Machine should be subtitled “Jane’s Ambivalence and Dick’s Dilemma.” Jane, the protagonist, is ambivalent about our “dirty little machine,” which is Huba’s elastic metaphor for the mechanization, specialization, technologization, and anatomization of sexuality in this (post)modern era. That is, porn. And the appropriately named Dick is her two-dimensional foil, he who she calls “The Weasel” because he has collapsed the Madonna / whore dichotomy into one misogynistic, incestuous, feminine catch-all category. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying sex in Dirty Little Machine is what bored people do to pass the time between permanent adolescence and senescent despair.

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