GoodTime Studios plays host to dead birds, dead French poets and very-much-alive sexually charged anarchy.
In the early 1970s Patti Smith and Sam Shepard illicitly shacked up in the notorious Chelsea Hotel and co-wrote a play in just two nights, literally shoving a typewriter back and forth across the table until Cowboy Mouth was complete. Forty years on director Emily O'Brien Brown and Exhibit A: Theatre pay homage to the self-destructive lovers' attempt to immortalise their young wild selves through the play’s two characters, Slim and Cavale.
Cavale is French for “escape” and Slim is “a rock ‘n’ roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth” — a far cry from Slim Shady. Cavale and Slim fight, drink and wrestle with their own egotistical fantasies of themselves; their unravelling mental states mirrored by the literal deterioration of their decrepit, rundown hotel room. Like a rock royalty version of Vladmir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot, both express a desire to leave but neither follow through. Instead, they play games or musical instruments and survive, barely, on dreams, Cavale’s stories and lobster take-out.
Adorned with a baseless mattress, tatty drawings and a drum kit, the stage at GoodTime Studios is cleverly used to show the two characters trapped in their perceived corner. Cavale cuddles a dead bird and tells stories of dead French poets as she avariciously stalks Slim across the stage. He is edgy and practically aquiver with artistic torment: he’s left a wife and child (or she’s left him) for Cavale’s feverish artistic blatherings.
Partnered in psychotic torment the two ricochet from happy to wretched, from lustful to fearful, from psychiatrists to podiatrists. Comic relief comes, happily, when they call up the Lobster Man — an inarticulate delivery dude outfitted in full crustacean uniform.
The theatre group has breathed new life into this rock ‘n’ roll tale of psychotic infatuation with two impossibly attractive leads, an eclectic soundtrack and even a Rock Lobster. Regardless of whether Cavale and Slim are drunk, demented or simply defiant of spiritual demarcation it's surprisingly easy to relate — we all know what it's like to look around and find ourselves trapped in a corner.
Image via Exhibit: A Theatre
Want to live near this spot?
Check out our handy Neighbourhood Guides to find out how you can.