A concept for the show

A puppet documentary.  That is, a documentary that can be wildly inaccurate.  The action would unfold on stage as if you’re watching TV late at night in some hotel in some forgotten city on some depressing business, wondering what life’s really all about — you flip the channels and there you are, a documentary about cavemen that answers all your questions about the meaning of existence.

The narrator would be our hero.  He/she has that soft English accent you need to have to be a documentary narrator, and would provide an oddly poetic/surreal commentary on action on stage.  It would slowly become evident that the narrator is having some kind of mid-life crisis, and is drifting radically off-script, so that by the end of the show the narrator has entirely lost it/found it/lost it again.

So the format would be, essentially, disembodied words over action.  Caveman puppets, mastodons, dinosaurs (see: wildly inaccurate); segments entitled ‘the invention of Art,’ ‘the invention of Fire,’ ‘the invention of Self-Loathing,’ and so on.

About Judd Trout

Judd Palmer is one of the Old Trouts.

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5 Responses to A concept for the show

  1. Urvater says:

    Might be fun if the narrator, in a calm, academic British accent, occasionally comes on camera, classic documentary style, to explain various points. Taking the audience into his confidence, in subtle asides to the action. Maybe he reads short passages from books, with reading glasses, points out things on graphs with a baton or powerpoint light. Thing is, his appearance is rather drastically pre-Neanderthal primate. He’s clothed only in his hairiness. Maybe he holds the book in one foot as he reads.

  2. Urvater says:

    We’ve overlooked something. The cave paintings. (Picasso, upon seeing them at Altamira or Lascaux, exclaimed: “We have learned nothing!”) A Dr. Nigel somebody, who did a film series about art being the basis of civilization, makes a convincing case that the paintings were done in trances, by artists who were light deprived — daylight, diurnal disorientation — and probably lots of other deprivations so deep into the caves that you had to be off the deep end even to go. But they were really on trips. The book One River, in which Ivy League scientists go into Amazon and Andean drugs with the Indians. The drug combinations are scientifically complex. How did the stone-age Indians figure them out? Terminator talks about flipping channels. The Indians could dial up various kinds of trips with the drugs. The Ivy Leaguers tested them out, and had experiences beyond the fringe. Another aspect: I’ve seen village pageant performances in extremely basic Vietnamese villages. Actors with nothing you can’t find in nature as props, costumes, etc. Like “skin”, above. They aren’t pretending to be something, they ARE something. Transformed. These pre-modern actors and actresses hold their audiences absolutely spellbound. And I saw a poet once, using only a wire kind of dog-head shape on his face — the merest suggestion of animal — voicing a poem about dogs, about animal. The combination of the lyrics and the suggestion in the mask and voice was powerfully moving. Eery. So, this human ability to slip into other realms. I bet it goes way, way back. Like watching a dog twitching in its dreams. What’s it dreaming? I watch coyotes hunting from my house here. Who needs any human race whatsoever for the fulfillment of that realm? And how magnificently direct and noble the fate of the gopher! (Some gophers even get to ride in a chinook updraft up to a thousand feet, or thousands, before they die in the talons! Now, THAT’S got to be at trip of a lifetime, so to speak! Maybe kind of an out-of-body experience.)

  3. Terminator E says:

    with the channel flipping, this would be a mechanism to include the many great ideas that didn’t quite fit into the “documentary” format, e.g. the person with the remote flips through a few channels to check the weather, then flips back to the documentary, and maybe the shopping channel, muchmusic, or a scene from “Tooth Fairy” (dubbed in German) distracts them for a few seconds on their way.

  4. Jimmy D says:

    The Invention of Hope
    The Invention of Control
    The Invention of Betrayal
    The Invention of Redemption
    The Invention of Invention
    The Discovery of Frostbite
    The First Toilet Paper
    The Meaning of Grunt
    Nail-biting for Grooming/Sharpening/Catharsis
    The Invention of the Nap

    Might the caveman show some resistance to progress?
    What’s the big deal about standing erect?
    Oooh you have a spear…aren’t you gimmicky?

  5. Neandertaler says:

    I love the concept of a “puppetmentary” and of a person finding answers to his mid-life crisis (or totally losing it) in a documentary about cave people.
    Random thoughts:
    – it could be interesting if the person with the mid-life crisis is the viewer in the hotel room, and if through the badly narrated documentary his “inner caveman” connects to the “actual caveman” on screen, perhaps at the moment the latter is having a dreamtime epiphany about what the future holds for mankind…
    – I recorded the voice of an old Englishman for a fishing show once (bad karma in my past life!); he always sounded pompous and stuffy, but that particular time he was also drunk out of his skull, which made for a very interesting recording and subsequent editing session…
    – that reminds me of a Quebecois film (forget which one) that opens with some second rate actors doing voice-overs for a porn film; you never see the film–just their faces and off-mike comments as these very ordinary people try to impersonate sexual athletes in ecstatic encounters…