Stuff We're Saying

We read a lot of stuff, steal from a lot of sources, and collage them all together to make experiences for you. Our blog, Facebook, and Twitter feeds are the best way to find out what we’re thinking, saying, and doing — and to talk with us about it all.


Posted on September 15, 2015 by Haymaker


I want to live! Writing prompt

Instructions: Tonight. You will die suddenly.

What are the life moments you will miss tomorrow?
• Star the one you will be the most sad to miss.
• Circle the one that your family/partner/best friend will be most sad to have you missing from.

What are the life moments you will miss this year?
• Star the one you will be the most sad to miss.
• Circle the one that your family/partner/best friend will be most sad to have you missing from.

What are the life moments you will miss out on were you to have lived to 100?
• Star the one you will be the most sad to miss.
• Circle the one that your family/partner/best friend will be most sad to have you missing from.

Staying Alive:
For one of these events, lobby the devil/god/science to keep you alive so that you may witness this event.

For one of these events, invent a way to come back and see or participate in this moment after you have died. How does it feel? Is it the same?

For one of these events, describe the reunion in heaven/afterlife/hell with an “other” who is involved in this life moment.

Write your own obituary for if you died tonight.


Posted on September 2, 2015 by Haymaker



-Thanks so much for being here! (Haymaker)
-Who are we? Haymaker, Roles in the room, etc. (Emily)
-Who are you? (performers)
-What are we doing here? History of project, etc. (Akiva)
-What are you doing here? (performers)
-What we’re looking for from you? Expectations, etc. (Dan)


-Walk, breathe, smile
-Pair up. What comes next? (storytelling game)
-Play a game called Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts, Clones. (make it up, play together, there is no winner)


-Read each scene of Phase 1 script
-Would one of your songs pair with any of these scenes? How so?


-Pick one of the following prompts:
1. When did you first realize you were going to die?
2. Tell us about when you wouldn’t give in to great pressure. Preferably, this will be an extended length of time – more than a moment or a minute. Like the time I held up a boulder for six hours so the town of San Pedro could escape certain destruction.
3. Share a story about when you felt invincible.

-Write a 3-5 minute monologue with the intention of performing it for the group. Be descriptive. Chock-full of sensory detail, memory, any conscious thoughts at the time, subconscious motivations (hindsight revelation of course), etc.


-Read scene 10 on our feet
-Perform scene 10 without script, intermingle monologues



-Walk, breathe, smile.
-Patterned walk – The Chase
-Play a game called [ ]. (make it up, play together, there is no winner)

the POOP Prompt

1. Tell us about a shit you took today.
2. Consider starting the story when you first felt the pang of pressure. If there is an associated ritual, please mention that. Please include the progression from first feeling that you need/want to poop, to visiting the bathroom (or wherever), to the act itself, then to wiping, and the sensory details of the waste. Please include the details of flushing, i.e. did you close the lid? What sound did it make? A gurgle perhaps?
3. Conclude the story with how your body felt afterward – be specific about body parts or if your entire body was affected please describe it to the best of your ability.
4. Conclude your story with the statement: Any questions?

***Idea for POOP Prompt comes from Ernest Becker – see text below.


Dying practice solo style: Choose a cause of death. Let this be your ideal death. Say to yourself, “How would I like to die?” And then give us a bit of show and tell. Be so descriptive with your words and your body parts and your movements that we want to die like you. Be a rock star, the Iggy Pop of croaking. ***This exercise is sorta stolen from the Rude Mechs’ “Fixing King John”

Helpful hints:

1. Determine length of time it will take you to go from healthy to dead (Is it seconds? Is it minutes? Days? Years? Decades?).
2. Maybe set the scene? Where are you? When is it? What are you wearing? Etc. etc.
3. When you show us your death, please focus on location of pain, magnitude of pain, physical transformation thanks to pain, and breathing.
4. Maybe die three times? Maybe announce each death: This will be my first death! Or this will be my second time dying! Or something better.
5. Die perfect.


Depict a scene of complete terror from your life. Dan will give helpful hints and/or instructions next week.


We’ll stage Jacob wrestling with the Angel.

***Please be familiar with text below.

POOP Prompt – Ernest Becker “The Denial of Death”
p. 31 –“The anus and its incomprehensible, repulsive product represents not only physical determinism and boundness, but the fate as well of all that is physical: decay and death.”

Jacob and the Angel — At the Beginning 32:23-32 // Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses

He arose during that night,
took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children
to cross the Yabbok crossing.
He took them and brought them across the river; he brought across what belonged to them
And Yaakov was left alone–
Now a man wrestled with him until the coming up of dawn.
When he saw that he could not prevail against him,
he touched the socket of his thigh;
the socket of Yaakov’s thigh had been dislocated as he wrestled with him.
Then he said:
Let me go,
for dawn has come up!
But he said:
I will not let you go
unless you bless me.
He said to him:
What is your name?
And he said: Yaakov.
Then he said: Not as Yaakov/Heel-Sneak shall your name be henceforth uttered,
but rather as Yisrael/God-Fighter, for you have fought with God and men
and have prevailed.
Then Yaakov asked and said:
Pray tell me your name!
But he said:
Now why do you ask after my name?
And he gave him farewell-blessing there.
Yaakov called the name of the place: Peniel/Face-of-God,
for: I have seen God,
face to face,
and my life has been saved.
The sun rose on him as he crossed by Penuel,
and he was limping on his thigh.

Oh, hello there audience!

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Haymaker


Occasionally, we cheat on GoHaymaker to update our joint blog with PearlDamour, HelloAudience. We created that blog as part of our Network of Ensemble Theaters Exchange Grant project. We head to New Orleans today to “exchange” with Katie and Lisa, attend some great theater during New Orleans Fringe, and to present two draft performances of I Know You Are But What Am I?

Today on Hello Audience, Akiva, Dan, and Emily share some reactions to a draft performance we had last Monday, and what they are excited to try during the upcoming performances in New Orleans.

Read the post here:

Stay tuned to HelloAudience over the next few days for updates from the Big Easy!




From Behind the Lens

Posted on October 6, 2013 by Haymaker

From, oh, day three on the ground in Durham, we’ve been blessed to have Allie Mullin on our team. As our resident photographer and super-fan, Allie has been in the room with us as a collaborator on press photos, as a photographic archivist, and as an audience member.  A week after the 3rd draft performance of our Elektra Project, we thought it would be interesting to get her take on Elektra so far.

“Be intense. Be committed.” -Dan’s directions to the actors before Draft 3 of Elektra.

It is very interesting to watch Haymaker’s process. Dan, Emily and Akiva have chopped convention into bits and rebuilt Elektra. The play, in their hands, has gone from a Greek tragedy to a boxing match to a never-ending day to a roomful of angry ghosts and back again.

This isn’t your typical play. The line between audience and performance is blurred. I’m drawn in as I watch, forcing me to shed my fly-on-the-wall photographer perspective. We get close, so close that tears are falling on my camera (mine and the actors’). Emotions I thought I had compartmentalized ages ago are rushing through my body: rage, sadness, even a touch of nostalgia.

This play unfolds much in the way our lives do: in chaos.

We walk in to be shown a new world, and to hold a mirror up to ourselves.

We walk away with more questions than answers.

What makes a play? Is it the characters, the plot, the set design, or simply the feelings that come up?

What kind of story do we want to see, and does it match the one that is told?

What do we see in ourselves when we experience a performance? And what about seeing that on stage makes us so damned uncomfortable?

You can see more of Allie’s awesome work on her website, as well as her documentation of Haymaker’s journey from our hipster band photoshoot to our Tiger vs. Mr. T party to our Field Trip to the Carolina Tiger Preserve to our Elektra press photoshoot to our 2nd draft performance of Elektra. Wow, Allie, you make us look pretty cool! Thanks!

Overheard: Elektra Draft 3 Performance Talkback

Posted on September 24, 2013 by Haymaker

We had such a great talkback last night, with some funny, surprising, and very thoughtful comments. We thought we’d share with those who couldn’t make it.

“I’ve never been to a theatrical production where I actually felt nauseous.”

“She was conducting a psychological experiment.”

“Well, I was completely confused by who was who until the last ten minutes, then I was like, okay you are dead and you are dead and that’s why you have eye liner on.”
“Right, red-eyeliner equals ghost.”

“It definitely felt like an initiation into the family.”

“What about Orestes?”
“Fuck Orestes.”

“New title: Hell is Where the Heart Is.”

“I think you could use more jokes.”
“I wrote a whole lot of Elektra jokes, and they got cut!”

“I felt like I was one of the dead children reliving my life as I bled out.”

“That was unexpected.”

“The story was really left out. We understood the relationships really well, just not the story.”

“Some people might not be able to handle this sort of performance.”
“Some people may not like the performance.”

“What are you guys trying to accomplish with this? What is your vision? Are you trying to tell a story?”
“We want to get you close.”

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated, and a special thanks to those who stayed and offered their opinions. See you in March!


Posted on September 18, 2013 by Haymaker


In our adaptation, Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon with an axe. Actually, it’s a maul.

Imagine that act. Go ahead. Close your eyes and visualize it.

Now tell me what it looks like when she actually splits his head or plunges the axe in his chest. What is the sound? Where are her hands? How would she technically accomplish this? How does it feel for her to sink the head of the axe into his chest? Or his shoulder? Or neck? Is it one swing? Does she have to push down on the end of the handle to get the axe head out of his chest to swing again?

I moved to Idaho when I was 11 years old. My family stayed long enough for me to graduate from Rigby High School and then come back for holiday breaks during college. Idaho has grueling winters. Our first Christmas, it was -15 F without the wind chill. Wood stoves and firewood are an absolute necessity. All this is to say, in my life I’ve split close to 20 cords of firewood.

Have you ever split firewood? It’s surprisingly technical. To get the most effective swing, your hands and feet need to be placed correctly. You need to know where to release your dominant hand to slide down the handle so the maul does the work. You should also know that when you split a log, it’s a wonderfully carnal feeling. There’s a visceral pleasure to exerting your will over something, to splitting that piece of wood. It’s an application of violence that gives you a reward. If you win, you’ll stay warm.

Because I’ve split so much wood, it’s easy for me to imagine aspects of Clytemnestra’s murder of Agamemnon. I can recall with relative ease what the weight of the maul feels like in my hands, the crack of the log dividing into two, and the magic of the maul head sinking through what moments before was solid. This imagining is a matter of transposing my experience to hers. Her act becomes a kind of realist fiction for me.

Our goal with your experience of Elektra is similar: to make myth reality; to make tools weapons; to make the unfamiliar personal.