John Fleck’s A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (1992) was a response to the experience of being thrust into the spotlight of controversy as a result of the defunding of his previous work Blessed Are All the Little Fishes (1989) by the NEA. Fascinatingly, neither of these works has ever been performed in New York City. For this program, Fleck hosts a screening of documentation of these notorious works and discusses plans for a potential future premiere of A Snowball’s Chance in Hell in New York City. David Schweizer, the director of the original production of Blessed Are All the Little Fishes, responds.
Blessed Are All the Little Fishes reveals Fleck’s attempts to grapple with the two biggest factors in his childhood: alcoholism and Catholicism. “It’s the story of this man’s binge, which is also society’s binge—man at his lowest point of alienation,” says Fleck, who, in the course of the show, dresses as a mermaid, urinates on stage, hacks up a dead goldfish, talks about bisexuality, and makes a toilet bowl into an altar by pasting a photo of Christ onto the lid. For his drunken character, Fleck says that the toilet is “the center of the universe, a place of miraculous visitation.”
Part Beckettian nightmare, part channel-surfing mindfuck, A Snowball’s Chance in Hell humorously/feverishly addresses the existential horror of trying to sustain oneself on mediated realities while lamenting the impossibility of ever being able to escape such mediation, foreshadowing today’s anxieties around the death of privacy (e.g., social media, smart phones, airport security, internet shopping, etc.).
Also featured in this program will be an excerpt from Kevin Duffy’s forthcoming documentary John Fleck is Who You Want Him to Be.
Presented in conjunction with “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.”