An Open Letter to Campbell RobertsonReturn to previous page.
(Written August 2008)
Last night was a triumph!
I know because artists and theater people told me. A brilliant painter said that this was the most moving night he has ever had in the theater. He said he had never seen anything else that so clearly represented his struggles as an artist. He stayed afterwards to help us strike and pack up the set.
The cast was magnificent and seemed to get a laugh on every line. Maria correctly pronounced “cyanide” and Joe and Anthony got a standing ovation for the ten songs that I compared to early Jerome Kern or, perhaps, Rodgers and Hart. Sidney’s head did not fall off.
We are more polished. I fear we are rapidly moving up the ranks from rank amateur to lieutenants. We still refuse to learn our lines though and the cast refuses to rehearse…and is more adamant about this than ever. We will never be professionals forced to suffer through the heartbreak that Arthur has known.
Arthur sat in the back and to the side, the worst seat in the house. He was gently tentative at first. After five minutes I caught a sparkle and a chuckle. After ten minutes he leaned forward toward us and quietly rocked back and forth in his chair. I knew that for the first time he was hearing the lines he had written, perfomed as he had intended.
At the end, Arthur gave a speech comparing me to Yahweh. Favorably. More helpful. Evoking God was a nice counterpoint to John Simon’s inferno. We have finally exorcised the ghosts that have compromised The Eugenia Room. “Moose Murders” is now just a play that didn’t find an audience. It is no longer the worst.
Our abilities were abetted by your article. By acknowledging the worth of our story through your time and attention, you made us take ourselves seriously as artists. I’ve told Joe and Anthony that if they do four more shows and albums, they’ll have a permanent place in musical theater. Their wit, their post-modern wordplay and their unerring instinct for melody will be with them now no matter what they do in life. Nurse Dagmar is about to be the subject of an article in El Pais. And all of us have performed on Broadway under the portraits of those who have been successes but are now abandoned by time-lapse fame.
We perform in Central Park today, but the show has achieved its purpose. We opened and closed on one night once again, but this time in triumph. And we have acknowledged the precipice that artists stand on every day.
It remains ours and ours alone…still naive and ersatz showbiz. But this moose has some new owners. The moose has been returned to Arthur who has shared it with me, the composers, the cast and crew, and you. We’ve become your provincial bastard theater children. Every time anyone internets Campbell Robertson, “Moose Murders” will be lurking.
And now, to Central Park.
Best, John W. Borek, Producer of “Moose Murders” and part-time conceptual artist.