The Howl Enchilada

Chris Danowski seems tentative at the moment, even tendentious.  It is as if he has never been in this place before, and has just woken up from a map.
"Sorry I am so tendentious," he says, "I just woke from a nap, and this is a new place for me."
We are in that uneasy border between being in print and not being in print, and for this local theatre auteur, that's nothing new.
"I don't like the coffee here at all, this place is horrifying," he says.
Danowski agreed to meet me at this hot new coffee joint in downtown Phoenix.  What's not to like?  There are bikinis and there is espresso and there is twerking sometimes.
"I don't even know what twerking is," he claims. "What are those people doing with their butts? and why aren't we meeting at Jobot? You can smoke at Jobot."
The reason for the visit is contained in the photo above.  endofplay/7 the first production by the newly-formed theatre company, Howl Theatre Project, is in its final weekend at Space 55 (636 E. Pierce St., just south of Roosevelt off 7th street in downtown Phoenix).  It plays this Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 6pm, and tickets are available at the door for $10.  
Although there has been some press about the work, the press has not yet appeared in this plane of existence yet, but by the time this writing is released, it very well could be.  And although there has been some very strong critical acclaim, including moments where Lance Gharavi couldn't stop laughing, Ernesto Moncada was heard to whisper "yessss" under his breath, and Elli Danowski-U was seen to be grinning in what is, for her, a loud way, these have been stories that have been circulating in the underground theatre circuit and have not yet made their way to print.
"There was supposed to be something that was supposed to come out by now," Danowski says, "but it hasn't, and well, we have to get the word out somehow, and I decided that's why I would meet you here at this place, even though I think it's sexist and represents the worst of this city, a city I love, by the way."
I press Danowski on this, and he gets philosophical, the lines around his nearly-47 year old eyes betraying a wisdom of experience that is counter to his performed naive-ness.
"It's just hard to compete with articles about, you know, bikinis and kittens and stuff," he says.  "Not that this is anything peculiar to Phoenix.  I mean, even Berlin has a Hooters, and people talk about the wings, but there is a lot of art to see, and I think that's the same thing here, " he says.  "Not that it's the same," he says, "Phoenix and Berlin," he says, "but this," he says, "is," he says, "interesting," he says.  "Phoenix is interesting.  I mean, there's artists from here and from all over, I mean, it's fantastic, the mix of cultures and ideas, I mean, then you have things like MARS artspace, and Planet Earth Theatre, our godparents, really, I mean, cool things happen here, and it's really not that hard to find the cool things, but like, it's easier to find them when there's articles about them, and this is, I hope, one of those articles."
The above picture is a dog with mud on her nose.  It's not a mere coincidence.  Dogs are part of this imaginary, and have been part of the Danowski universe for a very long time.  When asked about this, he says, "Oh my god are we still having the interview, oh my god I need to get the hell out of here."
But the most important part of the interview comes when I ask about why he seemed to be in hiding for a few years.
"Oh, that," he says, "I guess you could say I was playing with new forms, and wanted to see what they did.  It felt like Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas, only my place of retreat was Berlin. I went to Berlin, and started to learn about things I thought I was already doing, only I discovered I had to go back to the beginning and start over.  That's what I did, I started over, and worked in close quarters for a few years, until I found the right people to make work that made sense, and that's what we're doing now."
Who are the Oompa Loompas, I ask?
"Je suit le Oompa Loompa, et Wille Wonka.  Y todos somos Marcos.  Arriba, arriba," he says, howlingly.  


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