Okay, so it's not Hamlet, but there's a hit show about to audition new cast-members, not only for its Off-Broadway production but for national and international touring plans.
Okay, so it's not Long Day's Journey Into Night, but the performance does require skill, dexterity and the ability to engage an audience.
Okay, so it's not Equus, but the nudity is non-sexual and there's no animal abuse to speak of.
Yes, as you've probably guessed by now, it's those two nimble-fingered pals in Puppetry of the Penis, and they're hoping that, in the not too-distant future, five different teams of penile puppeteers will be performing simultaneously across the globe. (The show can currently be seen in Toronto, Sydney and on tour in the UK.) As such, auditions are being held Jan. 17, at 11 AM at Off-Broadway's John Houseman Theatre, 450 West 42nd Street. Columnist and cable TV personality Michael Musto and Time Out-New York sex columnist Jamie Bufalino will be among the judges.
According to the audition notice, "Penis puppeteers should come to the auditions with a flexible working attitude and be ready to demonstrate their own genital installations." An information packet is available at the theatre advising would-be origamists on how to lift, support and separate to create such objects as the Loch Ness Monster, a hamburger, bow tie, wrist watch, bullfrog, atomic mushroom, windsurfer, wedding ring, sea anemone, slow-emerging mollusc, 3-wood golf club and the Eiffel Tower. Press and photographers have been invited to cover the auditions and are being advised that "crews must arrive self contained, there are no plug-in facilities."
In September 2000, London's Whitehall Theatre opened "Puppetry of the Penis," featuring two Australian men who "manipulate their genitalia into various shapes, objects and landmarks." Described in the show's UK press release as "well endowed," performers Simon Morley and David Friend (nicknamed Simon and Friendly) spend 70 minutes engaging in the ancient Australian art of "Genital Origami." To the layman, that means they bend, twist and stretch themselves to do these "installations." A video camera and TV monitors help ensure that audiences don't miss a single "dick trick."
Puppetry began previews at the Houseman Sept. 25 and opened there Oct. 5, according to production spokespersons at Boneau/Bryan-Brown. Like Blue Man Group, Puppetry has an ongoing search for new talent. One recently-cast puppeteer, David J. Foster, told BroadwayOnline, "Regarding male nudity, New Yorkers will embrace it as they have done with The Full Monty and Naked Boys Singing. Of course, our show starts where The Full Monty finishes!"
After debuting in Melbourne, "Puppetry" toured Australia, a long and hard journey documented in the film, "Tackle Happy," whose marketing slogan was, "2 Men, 2 Dicks, 2 Much Spare Time." Despite mismanagement early on, "Puppetry" went on to enjoy a hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is where producers David Johnson and Richard Temple caught up with it. They realized the show was something special when the woman sitting next to them became incontinent while watching Simon and Friendly's impersonation of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Strangest of all is the fact that the show kicked out of the Whitehall Theatre to make room for Puppetry sounded even more bizarre: Cooking With Elvis, a dark comedy about a teenager whose father, a part-time Elvis impersonator, is reduced to a vegetative state by a car accident. That show was to have extended its own successful run, but the King was dethroned by the Puppeteers.
For information on the Puppetry of the Penis auditions, call the hotline at (212) 592-4623. For tickets and information on the show, call (212) 239-6200.
— By David Lefkowitz