Blog #2 on the Closing of Imago’s infamous shows.
2016 will mark 30 years of international touring by Imago Theatre. “FROGZ” and “ZooZoo” are seeing final days come to a close this season. “FROGZ” closed last season, and “ZooZoo”, a spin-off of “FROGZ” closes this season.
Here’s some bloopers on Imago’s history with these shows.
On the way to Broadway in 2000, to play at The New Victory Theatre, Imago had a “Penguin” problem. The newly created piece was not going well. In three days we would be playing at the legendary Shubert Theatre in New Haven, a place where in the good ole days Broadway-bound shows would reveal their upcoming success or failure. After three days of brainstorming rehearsals that took place in the Yale University gym (with lots of athletes looking in with astonishment) the “Penguin” problem was solved. In The Shubert performance the Penguins stole the show. Imago arrived at the New Victory assured they had fixed the “Penguin” problem.
An Orb (one of Imago’s creatures) chewed on Jerry Lewis’s leg during his infamous MDA Telethon in the early 90’s. It was 5 AM but the cast was excited to be on live national TV with the legendary comic, even though they were chewing on his leg from within a giant costume. Ha!
When touring through Los Angeles, in the mid 80’s, the company was asked to come to Roger Corman’s studio to shoot sequences of our mask work which would later end up on the cutting room floor of the film “Frankenstein Unbound.”
If you look into the first Imago masks made out of paper mache you can still see fragments of the Oregonian of 1979.
Imago was “inches” away from appearing on the Jay Leno show in 2000 after appearing at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway.
The first presentation of mask theatre by Imago took place in Scottsdale Arizona in 1979. It was to be 30 minute performance. However, the troupe only had 10 minutes of material! Solution? Write, rehearse and create work in highway rest areas on the drive on the way there!
One of the first important reviews came from The San Francisco Chronicle in 1981. We played an 800 seat theatre in the Mission district. There were only 8 people in the audience, and because of bad front of house policies, the 8 audience members were seated in the back of the theatre! The reviewer was seated amongst them – yikes!
In the early 90’s, right before going onstage to play Sloth Circus in a show of all masks, Imago performers backstage at Northwestern University realized that the masks for the piece were left in Portland. We had no masks for one of the most crucial parts of this all-mask show. What to do? Go on with without masks! In a review of the show, Sloth Circus was considered one of the highlights that night! Go figure.
In the last two seasons Imago played Jordan and Egypt, bringing our wordless wonder to people of the Middle East. This added another continent to the globe trotting group – North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
ZooZoo plays it’s last run in Portland from Dec 11 – Jan 3