Theater archives

We Couldn’t Call It What We Wanted to Call It, So We Called It HOLY CRAP!!: Theater on a Toilet Seat at La MaMa


Holy Crap!!, a solo monologue by Inigo Ramirez de Haro, apparently provoked an audience member to try to torch the set mid-performance when it premiered in Madrid in 2004. Demonstrators outside the theater called for the production’s closing. De Haro says he was assaulted and later received death threats. (The nuanced original title was In God We Shit, according to the playwright’s program note.) But the piece certainly does not pack any punch here and now.

This American staging, directed at La MaMa by Erica Gould, struggles to find life for the awkwardly translated, dramatically inert script. Stephen Mo Hanan, the unnamed narrator, sits on a toilet and complains about his constipation; perusing reading materials to ease his suffering, he alights upon a tome about a saint. From this inspiration, his musings catapult into another dimension—as the production moves further and further upstage on an ascending series of platforms. The theme of this abstract, not-quite Beckettian fantasia is religiosity; the narrator interrogates and plays God (who reclines on a Barcalounger with a Schlitz), imagines a priest’s abuses, and eventually finds toilet-transcendence, declaring that “God is the best laxative.” Hanan labors to thread these agit-prop fragments together, but whatever countercultural aspirations lay in the Spanish original are hard to discern in this almighty bore.