Welcome to the website of Asher Hartman's Gawdafful National Theater, a loose cabal of highly trained, strongly gifted actor-artists-insects committed to making complex, poetic, crass, and finely crafted theater. Learn about upcoming performances below, and read all about past Gawdafful productions, and meet members of the Gawdafful company.
Mr. Akita is an abstract poetic and comedic dialogue written for painter and performance artist, Cliff Hengst and the op art painting Sunburn (Split) 1 by Emily Joyce. Hengst's magnetic portrayal of a comedian, hustler, and one-time painter gives voice to an understanding of the elusive nature of art making while Sunburn's aura returns a silent response.
Mr. Akita strains the complexities of the artist's role with regard to labor, class, desire, and to art institutions, issues splintered by the artist's internal struggle in a society still ambivalent about art. Yet the painting's delicate, hard-edged void attracts Hengst and draws him into memories of a relationship with a fallible, possibly malicious, teacher named Mr. Akita, a suspicious composite of the painter de Kooning and a dog.
Written and directed by Asher Hartman
Performed by Cliff Hengst
Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber