“Order! Order!” senior Maddie Fischer exclaimed as her co-director, senior Tyler Young, banged a soda can on the coffee table for emphasis. “I demand order!”
The row of actors, who were all crammed onto the couch in the Fischers’ living room, quieted down. Fischer faced them, perched on an ottoman and signaled for the March 4 rehearsal for the upcoming Goats of Denmark performance to begin.
The cast, made up of five girls and five guys, has been meeting most Thursdays and Sundays since early February in preparation for the shows, which are scheduled for April 28 and 29.
“Our first session we came together and we brainstormed,” Fischer said in an interview. “I have these huge sheets where we wrote down things that could be funny—things like ‘part-time suicide bomber’ or ‘broadcasted human sacrifice’—I don’t even know where we would take that; its just a bizarre idea that could go somewhere.”
The brainstorm sheets were present at the March 4 rehearsal, as well. The cast was still in the process of writing a script, and, as the rehearsal progressed, Fischer used the ideas scrawled on the sheets, which were taped to the cabinetry behind her, to assign scenes for the different cast-members to write.
“Everyone acts, and everyone writes,” Fischer explained. “Last year, there were a few star writers that wrote most of our really funny skits and everyone else helped out or threw out ideas.”
This year, it does not appear as if any “star writers” are being assigned a lion’s share of the writing—as Fischer went down the line of cast-members she assigned each one a scene in turn. The brainstorm sheets she drew from were covered in ideas for skits and general guidelines for the production and included phrases such as “people who are too happy,” “racist grandparents,” “amateur terrorists,” “mythical creatures—fauns,” “no Justin Bieber” (underlined once), and “masturbation” (underlined twice).
Due to the potentially controversial nature of the production, co-directors Fischer and Young opted not to apply for club status this year.
“We’ve had Goats of Denmark both ways,” said Associate Principal Sharon Bartlett. “They have been chartered some years as a club and not chartered other years, but if it’s a school club, we need to approve the content that is presented.”
“Although we had the choice of being a club, which would have given us the easy option of just performing at Miramonte, we would have had to sacrifice freedom of the script, which is just not the point of Goats of Denmark,” said Fischer. Instead, the cast is operating completely independently of the school. This means all rehearsals and performances have to be held off-campus.
The cast currently rehearses at the Fischer home, but is still trying to decide on a location for the performances. They are considering local venues, including the Lafayette Town Hall Theater, the Rheem Theater in Moraga, the Orinda Theater, and the St. Stevens Church in Orinda.
Fischer explained that the format of the performance would be “like a Saturday Night Live sort-of-thing.”
“It’s a bunch of little skits that are sort of isolated and funny, but we’re going to try and weave them in together,” she said.
At this point, the cast’s goal is not to make any sort of statement about politics or culture (in fact, one of the guidelines scribbled on the brainstorming sheets is “no pop-culture”). The script, at this point, has no real theme—the cast’s main (and only) goal seems to be to live up to the standard set by the Goats of Denmark performance three years ago, which many students believe to be the best Goats of Denmark performance to date.
“I had never seen anything that funny,” Fischer said of the 2008 performance. “I peed my pants in the Rheem Theater.”
In keeping with Goats of Denmark tradition, each spectator will roll a dice to determine the price they will pay for admission.
“Every person pays a different price,” said Fisher. “You roll a dice, and then you pay one to six dollars—bring six,” she advises.