For Those About to Mock-Rock...

Don't Call Them Spinal Tap! The Theatre Collective Banana Bag & Bodice Love Myths and Beer.

Following the rehearsal, I accompany Craig and Catlett into Manhattan for an after-party for Rotozaza, a British theater group they like that had been performing at P.S.122. As we walk, we discuss the frustration of funding. "We're not trying to help people through a social message," Craig explains. "We're making stuff that appeals to us and people of a like-minded aesthetic. We're not a moralistic theater company. So it's really hard to write a mission statement with that in mind." Art for art's sake doesn't foot the bill.

Outside the Lower East Side club the Box, Craig and Catlett greet their friends, but none of the Brits have their passports to prove their ages, so we wind up at the smaller, quieter Lotus. "What's with your group's name, anyway?" someone wonders. I'd asked the same question earlier in the evening. Like rock veterans, Craig and Jelliffe described the story behind the name: For a Halloween outing they wore fat suits with bodices, and Jelliffe carried a handbag with a banana peeking out. A snapshot from that night, coupled with the urgent need for a press image, produced the group's alliterative name. "It's pretty dorky," they admitted, but like any good magic trick, they pull it off gracefully.

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