denial of self

CoG’s Jack StockLynn and her puppet pat prepare for a curtain call.

PUT TO REST that old saw about monkeys typing the complete works of William Shakespeare. Local performance-art troupe the Collective of Geniuses (CoG) has fashioned its debut production, Denial of Self, by inviting fledgling playwrights to its website for some direct input. Instead of counting friends on MySpace, CoG set up a wiki site where visitors can add to the play by discussing the merits of its dramatic thread in the comments section.

“We are very excited to work with this style of public art and to continue to explore its possibilities,” says co-director Smitty Amabilis.

The show is billed as a black comedy, and it’s rife with puppets, clowns, and aerial dance performers who will kick around ideas about ego, narcissism, and identity. Apparently, though, most of the visitors to the CoG site suffered from stage fright. “The pressure to create something that is viewable publicly is certainly scary for some people,” Amabilis says. More than 100 people visited the site, but only 17 offered any suggestions.