Monday, November 30, 2009


As the Mammals Theatre company get ready to open our new show BREED WITH ME, I am going to focus my FavoriteThings on some of my favorite genre websites, artists, etc

This is a great site for discovering all kinds of retro genre outsider gems.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Do I Decide what to Direct/Produce with the Mammals?

I was asked the other day if I could ever conceive of directing plays other than my own. The answer was yes. "In fact, I did that this year, remember?"

He clarified, "I mean with your theatre company... the Mammals."

"Well, do adaptations of other's count? We did a production of Strindberg's Dream Play and adapted Emily Dickinson's Poetry into a American Vampire Gothic?"

He wasn't satisfied, "Not that, I mean plays by living playwrights. I just think it would very interesting for you and others to see how you would direct someone else's play."

Sure. However, if I have an odd half dozen projects I am currently striving to produce, then why would I suddenly bring that to a halt and instead directing my own work... direct someone else's?

I have limited time, energy, resource. I can only raise so much money specifically for projects that the Mammals do. I can't add onto that resource (at least not at this time) say another 2 thousand dollars to pay Sam Shepard for the rights to that production of Geography of a Horse Dreamer I have wanted to do since I was 19. It would be great, but now is not that time. If there is another company out there with folks who know and trust my style and abilities and are looking for a free lancer to direct their ensemble, well that would be wonderful.

But with the company that I founded, we have always been a DIY sort of company, and part of that DIY has been making/writing our own plays instead of paying outside artists to allow us access to their scripts.

Mostly I've done the writing in the past 7 years. One of the other co-founders has attempted a few projects that he then decided to table. Another co-founder (way back in the day) said that she wanted to the Mammals to do a musical (imagine a Mammals musical... well actually a Mammals musical would be cool, but I think she wanted us to do something else...something a little more BiC).

The company roster has changed a few times since then, and it will change again in the future. But to its current members and future members, I would say... if you have a project you are writing that fits our mission statement ...let's talk about it. If you have a published/royalty based play not in the public domain you want to produce under the Mammal banner, we can talk about that too (including how you plan to raise the extra money for the royalties). But, if you want to talk about me directing a published/royalty based show with the Mammals as well as me raising the funds for it... well understand that isn't really where I am at right now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I've been sick!

I've been out sick most the week. Food poisoning. I am getting back on my feet. Whereas we don't have a ton of new stuff here this week, there are new posts over at my theatre's blog. Meet Dennis and Sara!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This makes me happy!

This makes me happy! Chairs! Zoo Studio has new chairs!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

You're Wrong About Dickens!!!

Confession time... I love Christmas Carol. There I said it. I love it. I adore the ghost story turned into holiday redemption. It is without a doubt the most important and most established tale of humanism told. If the planet were to blow up 2012 style, I could not excuse myself from forgetting to put a copy of Dicken's classic in the rocketship to the new world.

As universal narrative goes, it probably exceeds anything in the English language. Everyone has heard the name Shakespeare without necessarily knowing his works aside from the titles. Many a blue collar worker out there would rather witness a hate crime than sit through any production of one of the bard's plays. But, everyone... everyone knows Christmas Carol. If you ask someone who was Hamlet, you'd get everything from a well read intelligent response to a night on Jay Leno's show. Many many more people know who Scrooge is, who Tiny Tim is. Put on the little brit accent and say "God Bless us" in a crowded room. Someone will finish the quote.

My point, I think it is time for us as theatre makers to get over our own over exposure doldrums when it comes to a Christmas Carol. I say the more productions of Christmas Carol there are at this time of the year the better. In fact, I'd like to see dueling Christmas Carols. I'd like to see a flash mob production of Christmas Carol where hundreds of Ebenezer Scrooges are walking down Michigan avenue on Christmas morning each holding his (or her) own Tiny Tim or Tiny Tina up on shoulders making sure that every homeless person on the street has a piece of bread and something warm to drink.

I'd like to see Black Friday Carol, where they close the shops on the most important day of the year (according to the Markets) Where everyone refuses to shop and instead goes into the homes of the people they see everyday and exchange well wishes and embraces and introduce their children and extended families to each other. I would like to see people performing improvisational Black Friday Carols on the streets and in the parks that Friday morning and all through the night.

I would rather sit through a dozen sincere amateur productions of a Christmas Carol, in community centers across this country, then sit through one "sponsored" 5 to 6 figure production of a star studded Happy Shopping Day extravaganza.

Too many productions of a Christmas Carol? Wrong? Just too many of the same kinds of productions! I'd like to see every child in America watching a production of a Christmas Carol... But, I want us as artists to use these productions as a rehearsal for change. I want to see Reverend Billy's production of a Christmas Carol. I want to see the state of Connecticut create dozen of youtube versions of Christmas Carol where Ebenezer Lieberman wakes up Christmas morning and gives Tiny Tim a public opinion. I'd like to see a Blue Man Christmas Carol that inspires the audience to get up out of their seats regardless of what language they speak and to go out an do something for their fellow man before the evening wanes.

Let's stop chiding the greatest story ever given us to inspire humanitarianism. Lets use it. Lets use it in new ways!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Mammals new show - BREED WITH ME!

The Mammals Theatre Company presents


written and directed by Bob Fisher

"I was alternately fascinated and terrified by the wonderfully perverse story" - Jack Helbig w/the Reader

Aliens, Ghosts, Noir... BREED WITH ME (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, Chicago Reader) is the Mammals' Hardboiled story of a man whose sexual appetites have forced him to run away from his past into the American desert where he falls into the clutches of the ultimate femme fatale.

BREED WITH ME is the first of three plays in a cycle entitled THE NOIR TRIPTYCH. Part Two was DEVILS DON'T FORGET, previously presented in Spring of 2009. Part Three, THE MEATLOCKER is currently targeted to premiere in spring of 2010.

To find out more go to the Mammals blog at

Cast: Ron Kroll, Don Hall, Sara Gorsky, Jim Hicks, Anthony Stamilio, Dennis Frymire, Meghann Tabor

Asst Director: Jesus Contreras
Costume Design: Adam Dodds

Performance Dates are as follows

Dec 4,5
Dec 11, 12
Dec 18, 19
Jan 8,9
Jan 16 (no show Jan 15th)
Jan 22, 23

Industry Night Monday Jan 18th

All performances are at 10pm – BYOB
Zoo Studio
4001 N. Ravenswood Ste B-1
Chicago, IL 60613

Performances From Dec 4th thru January 16th suggested donations $15.00. Jan 22nd and Jan 23 will be closing weekend fundraisers. Tickets for Jan 22nd and Jan 23rd are $15.00 (post show party and drinks included)

Reservations can be made by calling 866-593-4614

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where I've been... Where I'm going

The (edward) Hopper Project with WNEP
Well, Hopper starts rehearsing this week. I've had a couple of my scenes included. From here on out, I expect to participate solely from an advisory position. I am coming to the first few rehearsals to hear it all out loud. After that, I suspect I will disappear until much later... just get out of the way of the actors and director. Probably sometime closer to opening, I duck my head back in and see where things are. Don has asked me to be there to help with a rewrite of one of my scenes (maybe less a rewrite and more to play around with action with the actors there on their feet).

Storming Heaven with Greyzelda
All the contributing writers have read the material, and Greyzelda has assigned the books. I am going to be adapting the first of four parts. I am looking forward to this project. The story is incredible. And whereas, I don't get to tell it's most dramatic events (rising action you know means that the book's conflicts come closer to resolution) There is such a wealth of detail and poetry and beauty to the first book that I think if my co-writers arent jealous... they should be! There is a blog were we will all be writing about the process.

Personal Apocalypse with Tympanic Theatre's Bastards of Young Festival
This show closed this past weekend. They have had some great houses. I've had the good fortune to get a bit of positive mention for my piece. Any accolades have to be shared equally with the cast and director. They have done a great job.

Chicago Cryptozoological Tour with WNEP
More on this soon. However if you have read about it already and want to know more, drop me an email.

Breed With Me with the Chicago Mammals
Ahhh yes. Much more about this over the next few weeks here and at

Monday, November 09, 2009

From the Mammals Archive - BREED WITH ME

April Lynn Baker and Ron Kroll rehearsing for the premiere 2003 production BREED WITH ME

There is this post plus lots more about the Mammals remount of BREED WITH ME over at our blog

You can also check out of twitter feed at