The play I act in, The Brothers Booth, was featured on @PIX11News this morning! Thanks Julie Grauert!
Two delightful girls who loved my books (Three and Dee) and the painted envelope I made for them. This beats all rewards for hard work- true happiness for all!.. well, I’m sure the puppy just wants the food, but still! Books available at my shop: http://silentjames.com/shop.html
The birthday so nice, I wish it twice! Happy Birthday to Alexandra Abene and Juli Abene, the twin costume designers for Sleep No More NYC. I love their work and am enamored by their incredible personal style! I also had the pleasure of interacting with them in character at Speakeasy Dollhouse, they made that show stand out in my mind as very special. Their outfits here are from Santa Sangre.
BOTTOM LINE: Journey to a glamorous party in 1919 in this interactive theatrical event.
"While standing around waiting for the show to begin, I meet Silent James, who communicates with us like a real life silent film actor! Silent James points to the flapper girls’ dresses in front of us and signals to us that he had trimmed them."
Sketch of our illustrious host. Drawn in the middle of a party bus in motion late last night, after performing in the Brothers Booth. The most insane night of the last 5 years. Gatsby Lives!!!
Illustration of The Squeaky Cleans! (aka a scrubbed-up version of Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen) which are having a show April 14th at the Slipper Room. Jennifer Harder and Charley Layton have been friends for years and they are so talented and entertaining. Info and tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/632609
Sleep No More 03/24/14 AD
This was my first trip to Sleep No More, here are my thoughts- which range from first hand accounts, to vague and bizarre notions.
Let me start by saying I’ve been a professional immersive actor since 2011, starring in Speakeasy Dollhouse and the Brothers Booth. I’ve wanted to go to SNM for years and have avoided all information about it, which is tricky because most of my friends have seen it and I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting the twin costume designers Alexandra and Juli.
I sort of apologize in advance that this account will be very uninformed as I do not know most of the character’s names or the actor’s playing them. I also experienced no 1:1 but I still feel entirely satisfied by the experience. Alas, here we go…
I love The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Vertigo, the 20s-40s, and being silent -so it’s no surprise I loved SNM. The most surprising part was that it so reminded me of Legend of Zelda. Yes, an NES RPG. Exploring a dungeon, getting lost in mazes, picking up items, losing HP from running, and gaining HP by drinking potion (rye and bitters).
But the part that most reminded me of Zelda was seeing something you can’t get to right now but making a mental promise to find a way to get to it at some point down the road.
I loved the sets, music, costumes, lighting and the acting. This is a huge show, even bigger than I could imagine. I was pulling open drawers, I found a book in Malcolm’s cabinet and opened it and his card came flying out of it. I found a bedroom with a mirror… or so I thought. As you get closer to it you realize it’s not a mirror but a window to a locked room. I didn’t see anything happen inside but just discovering it was a highlight of the night for me.
I went with 2 Esthers and a Solomon; a merry band of travelers! I was coming from a 4 hour rehearsal for Brothers Booth, so my HP was already a bit low. The initial walk in darkness to get inside the place really disoriented my poor mind. My drink was very good, it filled up all of my hearts and I was ready for high adventure. The first loop is kind of a blur, but I shall try my best.
Right away, Esther W was pulled into a 1:1 and I found myself alone until the end of the first loop. I went to the 5th floor, found someone on the floor writing in chalk, I followed him (I think) to a window overlooking the hedge maze which he looked out to, so I went into the hedge maze with him still watching, made it to a little hut where a nurse came out and did a dance opposite a gent which evolved into a chase and ended with him disappearing in darkness and her distraught. I had no idea where to go and ended up in a soft floored room with 3 hombres playing cards. As I watched them I thought “I could see myself in this show.” 2 of them left but I stayed in the room and some bloody man came in and they had a very elaborate showdown. I was VERY impressed by the fight choreography! Then some guy put a brick on the table. I did a lot of snooping and sneaking, finally I ended up at the banquet and this is where I became most impressed with the acting. The slow controlled movements reminded me of Jodorowsky in the Holy Mountain. I love that stuff, the effect of slow motion and freezes take very precise acting. I was in awe of that moment.
The 2nd loop I decided to follow people more, so of course I ended up seeing more scenes. I followed Malcolm, not sure why he held the razor up to his neck before cutting his note to put on the bird but I guess we’ve all had one of those moments at work. I’m used to being silent and being ignored, so I felt very comfortable following people around. It was tricky running after them sometimes and as the night goes on, people get very aggressive and lose all sense of the word: polite. But I roll with the punches and roll under their punches, so fear not readers and fans! I saw the scene of the guy shaving his father, which I very much enjoyed, but imagine my shock and horror as he dressed him in a clip-on bow-tie! A true tragedy of Shakespearian proportions!!! JK, haha! But I digress. I saw the entire rave scene, I especially liked the opening with the witch breathing heavy to the music. I guessed the Ram (I think) helmet symbolizing a pagan ritual. The strobe light takes me back, yes- young James was a party goer. I always loved the strobe light, no matter how ugly people are or how bad the music is- it makes everything look like claymation. I so wish to live a Tom Thumb experience! I also saw at some point a big ball room dance with most of the actors and a bunch of trees moving.
The 3rd loop I saw a maid making out with a guy, then dancing with a door and getting dragged away. I saw witches dancing on the bar, and I was lucky enough to follow the guy witch and see his performance of “Is That All There Is” which Esther and I swayed to and caught his gaze the entire song. That was another one of the high points for me. I saw a woman dancing around a big bedroom and wash a bloody handed man. I ended up in the rave again and, am happy to say, got some blood on me. I also saw the burgundy server get into a fight with someone at a bar, I can’t remember when that was. The final banquet with the surprise at the end was quite exceptional.
I cannot complete my write-up without mentioning the problem I have dubbed: Sleep Nose More. The mask pressed up against my nose all night in the sometimes humid rooms with me huffing and puffing in outbursts of run causes this terrible affliction. Your nose is so slimy all night and the dew collects in the mask creating another mask… of slop.
In closing, this show is very different than the shows I’m involved in. At Speakeasy Dollhouse, we are talking and interacting with the audience all night and, in many cases, we bring new meaning to the term immersive. Part of me just wanted to be free of my mask and jump into the action- haha, I had a blast though, it was all really cool.
Again, I semi-apologize for being so vague in my account. If you want accuracy and informative insight, I highly recommend my delightful friend Victoria’s blog: http://evenghostandhorse.tumblr.com.
My painting of the mighty Miesha Tate! She’s outstanding! Her match against Ronda Rousey at UFC 168 is my favorite UFC fight of all time. Her site: http://cupcaketate.com
My painting of the great “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey! She is a true fighting champion! Her match against Miesha Tate at UFC 168 is my favorite UFC fight of all time. Check out her site: http://www.rondamma.com
Photos by Jeremy Daniel of my silent comedy act (“Tea for Two” with Hannah Rose and Ashley Grombol) and audience sketching at Brothers Booth last saturday. Next show is April 5th, tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/506776
Silent James Draws A Crowd at Speakeasy Dollhouse The Brothers Booth! This immersive theatre experience, set in the Players Club, called upon me to play the part I was born to play… myself!
As Silent James, I gave a completely silent performance of physical comedy and sketching audience members. I bruised my left knee pretty bad, but I feel that I have entered that prestigious group of silent comedians with my first performance boo boo!
I was part of the “Variety Show” in the first room- I kept the best company with the Taxi Dancers, Burlesque Performers and the wonderful band. Ashley Grombol did a marvelous job as host, singer, dancer and musician. I did an act with her and the super talented Hannah Rose to their musical performance of “Tea For Two”. Before this, I had only heard the song from the film Bronson (which I love), so it was a true pleasure for me! Lots of love to the Variety Show of Alexandra, Sara, Laura, Delysia, Francine, and the band Grandpa Musselman and His Syncopators.
It was wonderful seeing familiar faces, from past Speakeasy Dollhouse Bloody Beginning shows, in attendance. My lovely friend Victoria not only graced us with her presence, but dressed up as John Singer Sargent’s Madame X! It was incredible, as Sargent is a character in this show (played by the amazing actor E James Ford). Esther was wearing the most fantastic head piece of a jeweled peacock and feathers. She also made my boutonnière with a real callow lily, which many people were hesitant to sniff lest they be squirted with water. They have such imaginations our audience! It’s safe, I promise!
Solomon was also there dressed to the nines, no… tens! He got some in depth dancing lessons from the taxi dancers. Speaking of, Esther and I had a funny act going dancing around. I also had an epic 3min dance with the extraordinary WPIX traffic anchor Julie Grauert. I pulled out every dance move in my arsenal and she not only kept up with my nonsense, she kept me on my toes… literally! She’s super tall!
The second half of the night, I drew portraits of audience members. Let me just say, I was on fire. It’s not easy to entertain and draw and get it right the first time quickly. The guests crowded around to watch or wait their turn. One drawing I started of 2 wonderful lasses was cut short by a scene where the lights go out, but I finished the drawing in the dark. A lot of couples stepped up and the guys would step aside, I’d push them to get in the drawing. I have to tell you, the women were all so beautiful and elegant and the men were all chiseled hunks with classic good looks. It was so ridiculous, I REALLY hope some guests repost my drawings of them somewhere. If on twitter @SilentJamesL and on Facebook http://facebook.com/silentjames
The woman in one couple I drew loved the drawing but told me she’d rather have one with just her and I in it because her role was to flirt with Silent James. I took the drawing I did and threw it in the fireplace to hurry and start the one of us, all as a joke- there was no fire except for the burning passion for me her role suggested!
It was a very surreal experience, the nature of my part keeps me out of a lot of the story scenes so I didn’t get to spend much time with the actors in those. They are all so talented and I’ve gotten to know a few of them. It was also odd to be in a play with fellow actors I spend a lot of time with in the other show, but in this one I rarely see them. It’s like an alternate universe.
After the show was over and I could speak, I talked to Julie and she asked me if I should still be in jail (in reference to my character in the other play who gets arrested), to which I replied, “The police told me I had the right to remain silent!”
Apropos, I’m featured on page Three of “The New York Herald”. Joining me, are an extraordinary lot of gals and gents. The delightful and talented Taxi Dancers have got the moves, that really move me! Tickets for The Brothers Booth: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/506776