BWW Blog: Michael Milligan of Off-Broadway's MERCY KILLERS - A Leap Into the Void!
That quote, minus the "confidently" part, sums up the wild ride that has brought Mercy Killers from a rented community theater in Columbus, OH., to a Dr.'s living room in Toledo, a Comedy Club full of medical students, at the State Capitol for an audience of Minnesota state legislators, small towns across Ohio and Minnesota, Philadelphia, the Edinburgh Fringe, a radical "anti-bedroom tax rally" in rural Scotland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Virginia, and most recently, a 14 venue tour of California with the California Nurses Association and The Campaign for a Healthy California... to its Off Broadway premiere.
Not exactly the route I would have imagined.
As artists we tend to lurk under the table living off falling crumbs from the table of plenty. I know an absolutely brilliant painter from my hometown, absolutely brilliant, whose artwork decorates many a McMansion- he is well loved and regarded by swanky circles, and he has never been able to afford insurance. After a couple surgeries and bankruptcies, this fine artist has to deal with debt collectors and the unending anxiety, of not only possible relapse, but also, the accompanying financial devastation. I have a hundred stories like this, this is just the one that came into my head. Some of them are very personal. Some about former partners, friends, and myself. And they all fill me with rage and the urgent need to keep on performing this play until the American heart finally breaks. And we can take the health of those we love the most out of the hands of those who see potential profits in human misery.
So, anyway. I was one of these artists living on crumbs. We are so used to giving, to adapting ourselves to whatever circumstances to please a director, or an agent, or a casting director, or a producer, or a managing director, etc. etc. Until it becomes a kind of virtue. Until there are actually classes you can take to practice how to fawn and kiss backsides in a more effective manner. I'm not sure this is the way to make great art, by the way. But this kind of habit of kneeling and bowing, has made us too adaptable and accepting of inhumane conditions. People who give so much, who create so much love and joy in the world, should not be left out in the street when the wheel of fortune turns against them. Least of all then, when help is needed most.
Come check it out. I wrote it for you.
Mercy Killers is written and performed by Michael Milligan, presented by the Working Theater and Harold Clurman Lab Theater.
For more information, visit: http://www.theworkingtheater.org
Post Show with Mayo Med Students and Representative Tina Liebling of Minnesota
"Joe" giving his testimony to Minnesota Legislators, House of Representatives Hearing Room, St. Paul
Post performance with PNHP Dr.s and Senator John Marty, author and sponsor of the Minnesota Health Plan, which would offer universal coverage to all residents.