Incident At Vichy

Michael Imperioli and I decided to put on a production of Arthur Miller’s Incident At Vichy in response to disturbing government policies of the Reagan/Bush era. We never imagined an acting role for either of us, we just felt the play explored ideas we felt the public needed to consider again. We named our company Machine Full after a repeated phrase of the Bangladeshi dishwasher we befriended in the chili kitchen where we worked. His English was very sketchy but we three managed to have long philosophical discussions cobbled together from bits of several languages. When I was cooking I would ask him if he wanted something to eat and he would respond by rubbing his stomach and saying , ‘no, no, my okay–Machine Full.’ His name was Loulou. 

The production had a wonderful cast too enormous to list here and was produced by Michael Imperioli and directed by me. The graphics were designed by the amazing Jon McCafferty, (with a little help from me), who had done album covers for REM and Stars Of The Lid. We made more money off of selling the posters than from ticket sales. We had a little problem at the printers when the (justifiably) worried owner saw the swastika and wanted to make sure we weren’t Nazis. The idea for the poster was to question a visual relationship between eroticzed ideals of masculinity and the mindless obedience of both marketing and fascism. It seemed a distant worry at the time —who’d ever want to be a Nazi?–but we went and talked to the printer about our intentions and he thanked us. If it were today, we probably wouldn’t have done it, for obvious reasons.

The set was built by Dave Ferdinand of One Dream Theatre, the materials for which came entirely from a construction dumpster Michael, Dave, Fernando Gomes and I raided late one night. The opening ‘music’ was Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music played backwards and slowed down. The production was financed by a benefit concert at Maxwell’s in Hoboken by Miracle Legion and The Feelies.