Thursday, April 17, 2008

APOCALYPSE! - mar 05 2008

In the 1954 science fiction classic, THEM!, Dr. Harold Medford gazes upon the destruction wrought by giant ants the size of cars and remarks, “We haven't seen the end of them. We've only had a close view of the beginning of what may be the end of life as we know it.” I saw this movie at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh in 1995. The line stuck with me, at first because it was funny and melodramatic, but later because I wondered if I would be able to recognize “the beginning of the end of life as we know it.” That’s the thing about the apocalypse that gets me — the end of the world as we know it opens something completely new and unknown. For every time Michael Stipe proclaims that it’s “the end of the world as we know it,” Mike Mills’ harmonious counter-melody follows closely behind: “it’s time I had some time alone.”

Rec Room explored the unknown end on March 5th, with the theme APOCALYPSE! Genie introduced the show and explained her current friendocalypse, wherein Jeb Gleason-Allured moves to NYC. He responded by reading a story about a boy and his dad. Lauren Weinberg contemplated the “Left Behind” series, asking, most importantly, if an empire can be built out of those books, why can’t one be built out of good literature?

What happened next is difficult to explain. Fred Sasaki and Jacob S. Knabb, along with help from rec roomers Meg Barboza, Nicolette Bond, and Erin Teegarden, enacted the “End of Days…of Our Lives.” For anyone who ever spent many more hours than necessary watching the events of cardboard characters possessed by the devil, this dramatization was a must.

In the second half of the show we entered nuclear war territory. Julie Shapiro took everyone back to 1983 with audio recordings of different reactions to the made-for-tv movie, “The Day After.” Richard Fox ended the evening (but not the world) with a reading of poems.

The end of the world and its aftermath have inspired countless artists and writers. From the sci-fi classics of the 1950’s to “Jericho”, from “The Crazy Iris,” a collection of short stories and essays by Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs, to the stories, plays and poems by the performers at Rec Room, we’ve never ceased wondering not just how the world ends, but what happens then.


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