Some of you remember the fervor surrounding Irish Lesbian Vampire 2. Some of you were part of it, either as instigators (hi Rob!) or fanatics (hi, members of Us!). Some of you, on the other hand, have no idea what Irish Lesbian Vampire 2 is. And, of course, I imagine that there are a couple of you -- and I s'pose I'd better not point fingers -- who are covering your eyes and shaking your heads and going "why? It's not even Rob's best work."
Irish Lesbian Vampire 2 (or ILV2K) was a play by rob_matsushita which ran at the Broom Street Theater in the Fall of 2000, and for six weeks it filled a social void for me and several of my friends. The Rocky Horror Picture Show had played at the Majestic Theater until March of '99, and we missed it sorely for more than a year. ILV2K, while not an audience participation show, gave us something similar to look forward to during its six-week run. We went opening night -- theenigma42, inle_the_rabbit, crabmoon, lord_alucard, poriginal, mlitiagrl, chromwolf, and a few others. Most of us came back more than once. It's funny that I have all of these people listed as livejournal friends; it wasn't long after that first viewing of ILV2K that much of the group split up. It's only been in the last year that many of these friendships have renewed. But I digress.
ILV2K was the sequel to a previous play written by the late Joel Gersmann and predictably titled Irish Lesbian Vampire. I never saw that show, but I did read the book it was based on (that's J. Sheridan LeFanu's Carmilla, for those keeping score at home). ILV2K took the same approach to sequeldom as, say, Gremlins 2 or Army of Darkness, in that the sequel and the original are so unrelated as to make comparison impossible. ILV2K probably did not function well as a sequel, but it did make for fantastic entertainment, and I saw some things on stage that I never thought possible.
The story is straight out of a good B-movie, and follows a group of unrelated characters -- a lesbian couple, two detectives, a hitman/priest, an actual, genuine vampire hunter, and others, as their lives intertwine and they all find themselves at the grand opening of a horror-themed hotel run by the titular Irish Lesbian Vampires. It was a really weird show, and it's hard to explain its greatness to someone who hasn't seen it. Simply, it was an action movie on stage. Special effects. Bullet time. The best fight sequence ever choreographed. If you took the best aspects of Quentin Tarantino, John Woo, and uh, Mel Brooks, you'd have some of the appeal of ILV2K.
The ideas behind the spectacle were even better than the spectacle itself, but that's hard to explain. It's hard to explain the potential of a character who can spontaneously generate music until you've seen it done well. It's hard to discuss the play in terms of entertainment, and then point out its weighty subject matter (child abuse, civil rights...). It's hard to explain that Come On Eileen is the perfect soundtrack for a gunfight, or how the addition of telekinesis and mind-control can elevate a fight scene from the station of Pointless Time-Filler to Best Thing Ever.*
Rob gave me a copy of ILV2K on VHS which had been shot from above the audience during one of the performances. The quality isn't great -- the sound is lousy, and the camera tends to reach the sudden visual flares just after they happen. It would be a very poor introduction to ILV2K for someone who hadn't seen it, but watching it last night made me and Lindsay very nostalgic.
I have often wondered how Rob feels about ILV2K, and the localized lump of stardom it generated for him (i.e., my friends and me). It is unlikely that ILV2K will be the work for which he is most remembered (heck, it's probably already been supplanted by something newer), but ILV2K is the only one of his plays that most of my friends were willing to go see. I've seen much of Rob's work since then, and I find it consistently impressive and entertaining, but theater is always a hard sell for my friends because... well, I don't know why. It shouldn't be.
Anyway, where was I going with all of this? I don't know. Rob, if you're reading this, Lindsay and I think you oughta muscle your way into Hollywood (or maybe Troma) and start making movies. We figure that ILV2K could be easily enough adapted for screen (couplea hints: find somebody else to kill in the opening sequence, cast Jason Lee as Helsing and Janeane Garafalo as Rice. Possibly Tilda Swinton as The Woman, though possibly not). It'll be a good way to get your foot in the door. After that you can do new stuff, though if you ever wanted to cater directly and only to me, I think your remake of Psychos in Love could easily secure the title of Second Best Thing Ever.
Oh, and while we're all waiting for Rob's 15 minutes, I'd like to point out that he is featured the character Lloyd in the very excellent Chad Vader: Produce Manager.
* This statement, though not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (why would they bother) is probably true.