Sorry that took so long. I had to drive a ways to deliver the last cake. I got a few text messages on the way up, one reading:
When are we gonna know about the theater award? You've got me in a tizzy!
And Comte wrote in the comments on this post:
C'mon, when are you going to announce the Theatre Genius? Give 'em the damned cake already! The suspense is KILLIN' me!
Your long, theater-geek nightmare is over. The winner(s) of this year's Stranger Genius Award for theater are these guys:
As I wrote in a short-list entry for the Cody Rivers Show a few years ago:
Andrew Connor and Mike Mathieu say they perform "high-octane sketch comedy," but that undersells their uniqueness. "Avant-comedy" would be better. A stream of delightful weirdness burbles through the Cody Rivers Show.
There are tight Fosse-style dance routines with kayak oars and Viking costumes, infomercials in French about how to deal with "les gens difficiles," and boys manically and nonsensically destroying everything onstage while trying to make a present for their mother. Then there's the one I like to call Chez Fuck-With-Your-Head: An audience member is selected to sit at a small table on the stage. Strange, alien noise rumbles over the theater's speakers. The boys come out as excruciatingly clumsy, slow-motion waiters dressed in full biohazard suits. Their actions are simple and stupid—pouring the water glass to overflowing, making a viscous concoction with a blender, glaring at their increasingly uncomfortable guest—but their indescribably ominous presentation pushes the bit past comedy into something disturbing and great.
They've only improved with age—the Cody Rivers Show is a generative duo that doesn't just make comedy: They make performance art that just happens to be funnier than most comedy and more physically precise than most dance. They've also begun to take over as producers—SketchFest, the Suitcase Festival, and so on.
They began in Bellingham, have wooed Seattle, and will soon belong to the world. They've already conquered the Canadian Fringe circuit and next month Andrew Connor will tour Japan.
I showed up at the deli of Bellingham's Community Food Co-op with their cheap, highly processed sheet cake. The boys were eating figs and soup and had a pile of collards they had just bought. They looked at the cake—which read "You're a Friggin' Genius"—and began beaming. Mike stood up. "Can I hug you?" he asked.