Local playwright and performance artist Ernest Hemmings will stage the latest installment of his ongoing TSTMRKT series at the Bunkhouse Saloon Downtown during First Friday, June 3, from 8-10 p.m. Titled “DVDA, Part 1” this edition of the comedic theater experiment returns to Las Vegas after a tour of northeastern and Midwestern U.S. cities. The separate sketches of previous versions have evolved into one continuous presentation, with auditory effects still replacing sets and props for scene-setting and other traditional theatrical functions.
“We’re beating a few dead horses again in this one,” Hemmings says, noting that popular numbers “Fast Food” and “Grocery” (known to fans as “ghetto nuggets” and “Ernest getting naked at the grocery store,” respectively) will return, but everything else is new, including his co-star, local actor Maythinee Washington.
Taking the show on the road has also given Hemmings a fresh perspective. “The biggest thing we get from it is when we visit art museums in other cities,” he says. “Like the show we’re doing tomorrow is inspired by the Andy Warhol Museum (in Pittsburgh) and the exhibits at the Walker Art Museum (in Minneapolis). So we’re trying to build out the visual art aspect of the show based on those experiences.”
He says he’s also learned a lot by connecting with members of avant-garde theater communities in other places, which have been surprisingly receptive to the Vegas-based piece. “In Madison, Wisconsin, we had a bunch of people show up just because they want something to do on a Saturday afternoon,” he says. “Maybe because it’s 10 degrees below zero all the time.”
TSTMRKT is $10 at the door and $7 in advance at tstmrkt.com. It’s for people 21 and older only. Asked whether he had any other disclaimers for the raunchy show, Hemmings says: “There’s coarse language, but they’ll hear worse entering the place. Other than that, anyone from Vegas can handle it.”