by John Stoehr
Since Saturday's opening of 1927's Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, I've had occasion to socialize with the London-based theater troupe — animator Paul Barritt, director Suzanne Andrade, actor Esme Appleton, and musician Lillian Henley. I've learned since then that they are not too far removed from their on-stage characters, just more gregarious and willing to go out for drinks.
Though they're not getting run over by trains or being struck by lightening in real life, they do wear a macabre sense of postmodern humor on their sleeves. The Shining and Eraserhead, for instance, are movies they think are hilarious. They love finding the absurd in the really obvious.
More facts from my strictly legit fact-finding missions: If she could get away with it, Andrade would wear her mime make-up all the time. Barritt pined for a seersucker suit but plans to buy a linen one in Singapore (where they are heading next). Appleton loves the white and red stripes from the popcorn boxes at the American Theater. Andrade says that you know where the audience stands when you turn a brownie troupe into a circle of goatmen. And they loved the touching humor and sweet sadness of Happenstance Theater's Low Tide Hotel. After Tuesday night's performance, both companies ate and drank at Basil to carouse and share ideas.
(Barritt, in profile, Andrade, Appleton, and Henley at Basil Tuesday night after Low Tide Hotel)
(Barritt, drinking an American lager that to him always tasted more like an ale, and Andrade)
(Appleton, with wine glass, Andrade, and Henley at the Devil party Monday night)
(Henley, Andrade, Scott Sedar and Mark Jaster of Happenstance, Appleton after the performance of Low Tide Hotel Tuesday night. Afterward, they all went to Basil down the street from the American)