All You Need Is Love
by Michael Perazzetti
as printed in AntiMatters, July 2000
Dizozza writes and sings of many things, inhabiting his world as playwright, lyricist, and composer. He favors strong female leads and is well-versed in mythology of all kinds, children’s literature, leather-clad comic books, and so much more. All are freely mixed up like Thursday’s leftovers into a lovely poetical mess that will strike you as not quite right, not quite normal, but very dizozzaesque.
Anything can happen in the world of Peter Dizozza. Let’s look at his Prepare to Meet Your Maker, last performed on consecutive Sundays in February of this year at Baby Jupiter. It follows a very old but reliable premise: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, and they live happily ever after. But this is a Dizozza love story, remember. The boy is a gravedigger, and the girl is a corpse. It is a world similar to Dante’s. Their place in this heaven is not determined by saintly deeds but by unsaintly promises to a variety of nefarious denizens of the Ordered World. Their place is a spacious house with a picket fence around it.
Along the way, we are treated to an irreverent look at pop culture through the Dizozza looking-glass. It is a look forward that simultaneously looks back at the Last Supper, the Original Resurrection Myth, and Spanish Mystery plays of the sixteenth century filtered through twentieth century Spanish porn comics. It is all part of Peter Dizozza’s quirky charm, lovingly influenced by American musical theatre, the Golden Age of cartoons, and Lach’s Antifolk scene in New York City.
Much of Dizozza’s work seems unsentimental and often sexually explicit. It has a gruff attitude on the surface. But listen to the energy. There is a strong current of the happily ever after underneath and around the edges. That’s Antifolk musical theatre. And it’s fun.
Such a current runs through The Last Dodo, a Dizozza play without music. Although, I suspect he will have added some wonderful insanity by the time it’s finished. It had its first run at La MaMa e.t.c.’s "Experiments ’00, Concert Readings of Experimental Plays" on April 15th. Inspired by the H. Rider Haggard novel and the Warner Brothers cartoon of the same name, The Last Dodo is oozing with surreal anarchism.
It follows the standard Dizozza formula: All you need is love with strong female leads. And it has all the requisite Dizozza touches. But this time the lead is a very charming, sexy, proud… dodo bird. Did I mention that the male lead, the human lead, is strongly attracted to her? In her own way, she is attracted to him, but she is mostly interested in the preservation of her species. This is a Dizozza work after all.
But The Last Dodo is a Dizozza work in progress. Indeed, Dizozza invited everyone’s comments and suggestions afterwards to improve the charming little piece. In spite of dragging in spots and some verbose moments, it is quite colorful and charming. With a little imagination, The Last Dodo could be translated to the screen as an animation or live-action/animation hybrid. With such deliciously vivid music and lyrics added by Dizozza, and a little script doctoring, it would be a delightful anarchy for most ages.
Fairy tales of all kinds have provided Dizozza with plenty of fertile adaptation material. But it’s always unsentimentally ever after with that sugary sour aftertaste. Dizozza’s The Great Enchanted Forest premiered in Dizozza’s quaint hometown of Forest Hills, NY in Queens on the 7th and 8th of April this year. It is Jacob and Wilhelm with a few twists: Mother Goose and the Wicked Witch are sisters, and Mother Goose must scare the kiddies of Forest Hills into submissive obedience and teach the little ones a lesson with funny, brutal, tart little truths.
They are scared, yes, but not everyone seems submissive or as obedient as the grown ups would like. Don’t forget those little dizozzaesque trademarks. It’s the boys that seem to be cowered into submissive obedience. Most of the girls in this one are smarter and seem to take the fork in the road with the least resistance. The girls do return home but they seem to do it on their own terms, and their reformation is a mischievous twinkle in their eyes.
While we are in The Enchanted Forest, we are treated to everything we have come to expect from Dizozza. It is a most twisted retelling of The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, and the fertile imagination of Peter Dizozza. It is all stirred up into a delectable ice cream-like mess that we all played with in front of the TV on a Sunday night.
Peter Dizozza may be Patrick Dennis in disguise. He feasts on life and a quite unfathomable and unlimited supply of world literature. He digests it…and returns us to song, dance and drama in that sick twisted Antifolk fuzzy sentimentality that everyone eventually learns to love. Even fungus can be affectionate if given half a chance. The works of Peter Dizozza are a banquet and most poor suckers ARE starving to death. Come make the world a better place: Feed your poor selves at the next Dizozza pot-luck.
the July 2000 Anti/Matters index page
Michael Perazzetti is a publicist.