Shows with Chutzpah: Rubber Repertory

Featured Member Profile

Austin-based Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope formed Rubber Repertory in 2002. Since then, they’ve been pushing envelopes and blurring boundaries with the experiences they offer to their theatre audiences. Their unpredictability and, shall we say, sense of “adventure” might either excite your senses or remove you from your comfort zone. Or both. Theirs is theatre that prompts critics to add assurances such as “I kid you not!” to their reviews. The Austin Chronicle called their show The Casket of Passing Fancy (2008) “an extended dream of sensual fulfillment… Nudity! Dancing! Singing! Fire! Bodily fluids! Leeches!” When Josh Meyer tells me more about Rubber Repertory, I realize that they are doing their part to Keep Austin Weird.

As a way of introduction, what can you tell us about Rubber Repertory?

There are two of us. Our work is rigorous and devious and tends to betray our Midwestern upbringing.

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What type of play does Rubber Repertory gravitate toward, or leap on? Or flatly reject?

Shows that we’d want to see (At Home with Dick), shows that no one else will do (A Thought in Three Parts), and shows that have a real-time impact on the lives of those who attend (The Casket of Passing Fancy).

What is Mister Z Loves Company about? I have to ask because from the looks of it, it would give me nightmares…!

It’s about a mysterious tuxedo-ed gentleman who summons his inner self for an evening of abuse and pleasure. A reviewer described it as “a tapestry of id-plumbing,” which also seems apt.

How does a typical (if there is such a thing) Rubber Repertory production evolve?

an ill-conceived idea—–> countless hours of marinating ourselves in the public pool——> an exploratory workshop——> months of not writing——> more pool——–> weeks of writing—-> months of rehearsal———> showtime!

What is the theatre scene in Austin like at the current moment?

Bright ideas/dark warehouses.

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Who or what are your biggest influences?

2002 Judy Garland
2003 Paul McCarthy
2004 Deborah Hay
2005 Doing Laundry
2006 Anonymous
2007 Wallace Shawn
2008 The Duchess of St. Albans
2009 Eating Dinner
2010 Ann Liv Young

What has been your greatest success to date?

Probably The Casket of Passing Fancy. It contained just about everything in the world and was called “as audacious a theatrical work as this city has seen.” We drove the audience to Mexico. We tattooed their names on our asses. We named our first-born children after them. It’s our dream that we’ll someday find another company with the chutzpah to take on the challenge (HINT. HINT.).

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Do you have a pipe-dream performance?

Either Wallace Shawn’s lost masterpiece The Hospital Play

OR

a yet-to-be-created show called Headholes in which the entire audience places their heads in a huge ring of those carnival head-holes that give you a funny, painted body. We then want to somehow flood the center of the ring so that water slowly rises up to the audience’s heads. We also imagine some people’s heads being replaced with fake heads, which may or may not vomit…

OR

a hairy, smelly production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.

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How did you find out about Fractured Atlas and what motivated you to become a member?

Dumb luck. We wanted to apply for a grant and Fractured Atlas was the first organization we stumbled upon that seemed to really know what they were doing.

How do you use your Fractured Atlas membership?

We use our fiscal sponsorship to apply for the occasional grant and to manage our donation and grant monies.

Please finish the following sentence: “A world without art is…”

A world without art is just restaurants and toilets.

What’s next on your professional horizon?

Working title: Sensus Communis. A “sensory biography” of one person’s life told purely through the physical sensations they’ve experienced. A wildly personal journey of actual tastes, touches, temperatures, smells, and sounds. It opens in October at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

How can we find out more about Rubber Repertory’s work?

These are good places to start: rubberrep.org and Vimeo.
We also welcome any correspondence at rubberrep@gmail.com.


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