In 1984, the Walt Disney Company conceived a plan to create its own small-town Florida community, christened Celebration. When it opened to residents in 1996, the gated homes became a symbol both of an idealized slice of American living and the horrors of the corporate mind gone mad.
In October 1999, writer-performer Ethan Sandler traveled from the Disney Store in Times Square to Celebration, Florida, in a cross-country journey through the waysides of the American Dream. From Llewellyn Park, New Jersey (one of the oldest gated communities in America) to South of the Border in Dillon, South Carolina (one of the largest tourist traps in the country), he asked all the hard questions about American life on the road (Do I order porn in the hotel? Do I buy that little statuette of Pedro?), creating a multi-media piece complete with souvenirs.
The result, =celebration (pronounced "equal celebration"), is a collaboration between Sandler and Josie Dickson, and opens Jan. 25 at the John Houseman Studio for a run through Feb. 12. Daniel Goldstein (Williamstown's Camino Real) directs.
Sandler and Dickson have collaborated on SHOW/dog/SHOW at the Ontological Theater and PUNCH DRUNK. Sandler as an actor has appeared with Target Margin Theater and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Tickets are $12. The John Houseman Studio is located at 450 West 42nd Street. For information, call (212) 592-4005. The Horrible But True Project is on the web at http://www.hbtproject.com. -- By Christine Ehren