Know Theatre Goes Out of the Box with “Andy’s House of [Blank]”
Sneak Peak by Erica Minton of Andyâ€™s House of [Blank]: Sneak Peak
An Interview with Co-Creator Paul Strickland
Without spoiling the story, how would you describe Andyâ€™s House of [Blank]?
Thereâ€™s a fellow with an oddities house. People bring him stuff, and he goes and finds stuff that is super weird, like Tom Thumbâ€™s favorite chairâ€¦ that just happens to be average size, because Tom Thumb likes to sit in average size chairs. Heâ€™s got six skulls of Houdini. Different sizes, different ages. Right? Thatâ€™s the kind of stuff thatâ€™s going on in his oddities house. Very quick synopsis: a lady comes in with a box, he doesnâ€™t know what it does. He flips the box on, she goes and dies in aâ€”this all happens in the first seven minutesâ€”she goes and dies in a fire, and then heâ€™s real sad about it. The next day at 3pm when he flips the box on, she walks back in the door. And then the musical is about him trying to figure out what that is. Is it going to happen again? If it happens again, whatâ€™s he going to do?
Andyâ€™s House of [Blank] was initially developed during the Know Theatreâ€™s recent Serials production, where 15-minute increments of plays were performed weekly and voted forward by the audience. What was that process like?
The Knowâ€™s new motto is that itâ€™s â€œCincinnatiâ€™s theatrical playground,â€ and the Serials program that they established gave Trey Tatum and I an opportunity to get together and have a bunch of drinks and write a play…that ended up being of quality. Andrew saw the process that was going on at Serialsâ€”traditionally, a theatre company wonâ€™t take a risk on something thatâ€™s of that level. Itâ€™s a full-scale musical, itâ€™s an hour and 45 minutes plus an intermissionâ€”itâ€™s virtually untested outside of the Serials audienceâ€”but Andrew wanted to take a chance on my and Treyâ€™s script. […] The way that Serials was treated as an opportunity to workshop a thing that then became part of the Knowâ€™s theater seasonâ€”really opens up and gives the artists in Cincinnati a sense of hope that someone cares that theyâ€™re doing work.
If someone saw the last round of Knowâ€™s Serials, how different will this story be?
It will be as if they saw the middle 4 episodes of Twin Peaks. The framing device is entirely different, there are five completely new pieces of music, and thereâ€™s also more reprises. The original show ran an hour and ten minutes, this runs and hour and 45, plus the intermission. Sadie is more of a real character. We ran into a problem during the Serials processâ€”you only have 15 minutes to get through a lot of material, so what ended up getting sacrificed was character development. So the character of Paul had really no backstory, there was no explanation as to why he cared about any of the things heâ€™s singing about. Well now that exists. The character of Paul has a real backstory, the character of Sadie has a real backstory. We get to know Andy in relief to those two, as well as all of Andyâ€™s storyâ€¦ on the whole itâ€™s just a filled-out story. So you saw the Cliffâ€™s Notes at Serials. Youâ€™ll see the entire production.
Is there anything else that theatre-goers should know about Andyâ€™s House of [Blank]?
Iâ€™ve only been in Cincinnati for a year and some change, so I havenâ€™t seen many musicalsâ€¦ but I donâ€™t think this is a thing youâ€™re going to see all the time. I think what weâ€™re doing with this piece, both musically and in terms of it being a high-fuel comedyâ€”I mean itâ€™s a very funny thing, that also has a fairly tragic storylineâ€”I just think itâ€™s a piece that I certainly have never seen before.