It all began when Theo Ellsworth met with Scott Morris and Josh Wagner in Charlie B’s to talk about doing a new show together. Theo already had the first illustrations. He brought them in two manilla envelopes that had a “?” written on the outside. “It’s a mystery mark,” Josh said, and the story’s title was born before any of them knew what it would be about.
Over the next few months Theo and Josh conspired with imagery, characters, and concepts until the story of Clay emerged in a process both creators describe as “organic and subconscious”. Theo kept working on illustrations as Josh transformed the concepts into a narrative. Three drafts of a play were written. As Scott worked out stage, mask, and puppet designs, director Rebecca Schaffer and dramaturge Kate Morris dove into conceptual development, and a first phase installation began to take shape.
Mystery Mark is a cartoon exorcism. It’s the story of Clay, a man who is being stalked by the star of his favorite childhood television show. Clay desperately wants to surgically alter his terrified facial expression because he thinks it will help him deal with his emotional problems. He just wants to get past his anxiety and settle into a normal life, but the voice in his head has different plans.
Mystery Mark will be the result of a collaboration between a wide variety of creators: writers, illustrators, designers, filmmakers, animators, actors, musicians, and masters of the organizational arts.
A Kickstarter Campaign has launched to help provide the resources we need to complete the book and theatrical installation:
The book: An 80-100 page illustrated novella with a full-color cover, written by Josh Wagner and illustrated by Theo Ellsworth. Funds will allow us to have the book professionally edited, designed, printed, and promoted.
The installation: A looping theatrical installation incorporates the main characters and themes from the story–with actors, masks, and puppets–and features an original score by long-time Missoula band, “Cash For Junkers”. Funding will support design, build, rehearsal space rental and other production costs including set pieces, costumes, masks, puppets, and props.
Mystery Mark will launch as part of the Missoula Fringe Festival in August, 2014. Following the debut, Viscosity plans to continue development and take this show on the road.