Leo Bloom in The Producers observes "I'm not going into the toilet; I'm going into show business!" and gets a big laugh. Bob Ernst hopes for the same with his new one-act, The John, set, literally, in the toilets at San Francisco's Maritime Hall. The site-specific solo performance opens June 18.
In The John, middle-aged theatregoer Alvin wanders out of a performance of King Lear to use the restroom. He little suspects that the man sidling up to him in the stall next door is Death. For an hour, the two argue, swear and sing at each other as Alvin fights valiantly for his soul. Ernst was inspired to craft The John from watching Bergam's great film, "The Seventh Seal."
A co-founder of The Blake St. Hawkeyes, Ernst began creating solo work in 1973, performing ten works since. On Dec. 13, 1987, he broke the non stop solo performance record in the Guiness Book of World Records by performing for 24 hours and one minute. Recently he won acclaim for his role in Sam Shepard's Eyes for Consuela.
The bathroom seats 20 on chairs placed between the first and fourth stalls. For reservations, call (415) 978-2345.
— By Christine Ehren