Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Attendant

As one of his 11 performances at this year's Fringe Festival, performance artist Brian Feldman, decided to pose as a bathroom attendant. He set up shop in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater's men's and women's room. When I arrived at the men's room, Tisse Mallon was acting as an attendant in Brian's place since he was running late. He ran in with a rental tux slung over his shoulder and went to change in the handicap stall. Tisse helped him with his bow tie and cumber-bun. There was a large tip bowl and plenty of manly items for sale. Some items like Q- tips were complimentary. If you wanted baked beans, a pickle, condom or the latest copy of Jet magazine, there was a price list.

I had only sketched in a public bathroom once before. That time, the bathroom wasn't in use. This time men came and went frequently. Several men must have eaten something nasty from the vendors outside because there were some wet noisy gastric explosions. I suggested that perhaps there should be a quaint fountain sound track in case anyone was unable to concentrate on the task at hand. Some men turned away thinking there must be a line since some people stood around and gawked. I suppose having an artist sketch you while you pee could be distracting. Mark Baratelli came in and snapped pictures. Then he tried to coach Brian on how an attendant should interact with patrons. His examples were hysterical. When someone reached for soap he would thrust his arm in the way and say, "let me get that for you."

There were DVD's for sale as well like Mannequins 2, and films starring Silvester Stallone. I was surprised when one of the five hour energy drinks was sold. I erased it from my sketch. The oddest item was a crusty sea captain sculpture. Ear plugs seemed appropriate should a show be too loud and Advil would help the resulting headache. Tisse offered a tour of the women's room and I stopped my sketch to follow her. In the women's room there was a pregnancy test kit, stockings and an even wider assortment of goodies. It was an odd feeling being in there as women squeezed by to get to the stalls. As I was leaving a women was coming in. Her eyes widened when she saw me and she asked, "Am I in the right place." I said, "Yep, you're at the Fringe."

I rushed off to a show I had been invited to attend by the writers. It was pouring outside. Terry entered the lobby drenched. Through a series of volunteer mistakes and blunders, we were then turned away from the theater, our tickets given away to others in a completely sold out house. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Terry was furious at me for spending so much time in the men's room and not getting into the show I promised her we would see. I think I'm Fringe fried.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

1 comment:

Angela said...

"...wet noisy gastric explosions" LMAO! Glad I opted out. ;)