One last thing on the impending closing of the Red Room. I'm sure it will inspire a lot of eulogizing in the next couple months, but some attention should go to Clay McLeod Chapman, who not only wrote something lovely about the tiny, doomed theater—he wrote it first!
I did a lot of stupid things in the Red Room. It’s a bit jaw-dropping to look back and reflect on all the half-assed stunts me and my cohorts pulled off in front of a live, ticket-buying audience—all in the name of downtown theater. To think that we were allowed to do what we did on that stage, that no one stopped us, that we weren’t arrested, that more audience members didn’t walk out on us… That's what made the Red Room the Red Room, with its Lynchian blood red walls and its black corrugated tin ceiling—you could always expect the unspeakable onstage. Sometimes, you even saw some great theater. Sometimes. But it was always raw.
Now the Red Room's dead. Or dying. At the end of March, this 3rd floor stage will go the way of most black boxes here in New York City… dark for good.
“Intimate” would be one way to describe the Red Room. “Shoebox” would be another. Audience participation always went hand-in-hand with the stage, whether the script called for it or not. The main entrance to the theater was actually located right onstage, which usually meant any late-comers or drunken bar patrons looking for the bathroom would make their New York stage debut with whatever show was performing at that given moment.
There's lots more, and it's all good. If you've got any Red Room memories of your own, feel free to post them in the comments or mutter them into your scotch. Either way will work, catharsis-wise.