by Jai Arun Ravine
“The Fox and the Donkey” starts almost accidentally. While the audience is still milling about, chatting, getting drinks at the bar and finding their seats, Danny Nguyen (The Donkey) separates himself imperceptibly from the crowd at the front and stands unassumingly in the corner upstage. About 30 seconds later, Andrew Ward walks from the back of the space to stand behind him. Then from the audience follows Melecio Estrella with his guitar, and Mo Miner (The Fox). Now it’s clear: they’re all waiting in line.
This image evokes a host of cultural expectations and rules of social etiquette around how we’re supposed to interact with other people while waiting in line, including how much distance is acceptable between yourself and the person in front of you. Polite ignorance is custom. Contact is expressly forbidden.
Each person waits with a distinctly different tone. Nguyen is very patient, quiet and still, arms crossed in front of his body. Ward is the non sequitur of the group, the one who takes a very loud phone call. Estrella minds his own business with his guitar. At the end of the line, Miner fidgets with visible annoyance and impatience. Ward nudges Nguyen with “Hey, don’t I know you?” and starts talking about doing a manual labor job together. At the end of their conversation, Nguyen squats and Ward jumps on his back and they lumber off, transforming the image from two people waiting in line to a man on a donkey. Continue Reading