Paying Your Dues was Ken's first and only completely solo production. Not that he did it without help. Most of the crew from the P3 productions were on hand. In fact PYD was the largest production to date. At least 20 people were involved including actors, musicians, scam artists, and other helpers of all types. PYD was an exciting production, but it had its costs; many friendships were badly buised by this experience.
The play was based on money. Monetary situation. Lack of monetary necessities. There were four scenes with musical interludes surrounding the action. Head Case-O-Matic performed four pieces written specifically for the play. HCOM consisted at the time of Ken, and Cooper Hazen. The duo took on JD Schreiber as a guitarest for the project and he became a permanent fixture in the band.
Scene 1 took place in a post apocalytpic nuclear bomb factory under ground somewhere. The factory workers were a motley crew of enslaved citizens. Somewhere between Laverne and Shirley and the Three Stooges. Their job was a meaningless one. The bombs didn't generally even work. Not one in ten thousand was sufficient to blow anything up. They were overseen by a nazi-style boss who attempted to rule over them with an iron hand. When one of the workers spurred the others on into an attempted escape all hell broke loose and Justice, as God(yet another cooped up slaveworker) puts it, "is one in ten thousand".
Scene 2 is a operatic bank scene during which all the lines are sung by the actors. The main situation occus when someone attempts to close their account and is informed that new legislation has passed rendering it illegal to close bank accounts. After he goes berzerk and attempts to steal money from the atm machine out front, the cops come and haul him away to the sounds of the bank staff singing "If you're not a member, if you're not a member, and if you're not a member you can GO! TO! HeeeeeLLLL!!!!!
The history of scene 3 is very autobiographical. In the summer of 1990, Ken and a friend of his decided to attempt a few get-rich-quick schemes. Unimaginatively, they all were based on the selling of drugs. They were uniformly unsuccessful, except for one weekend that June, when, after many failed excursions (including a drug-addled trip to Seattle that saw the boys get pulled over by the cops in three different states, on three different hallucinogenics), they finally obtained a cannister of nitrous oxide and sold balloons of it to hippies at the Dead shows at Cal Expo in Sacramento. This scene is a fictionalized version of that event, complete with overdosed addicts and Jerry Garcia induced reincarnations. Many dollars fly through the air, only matched in quantity by hits of acid injested by the illfated crew. One interesting side note: Kif Scheuer, on of the main organizers and a motivating member of the production staff, actually cut a VW Bus in half at a junkyard so that PYD's set would be authentic. We returned the piece after the show and gave the junkyard propietors free tickets to the show. Video of the weld exists. Inquire within.
Ah, scene 4. This was an attempt to put the demons to rest. Ken has always heard the Woody Allen comments. Of course the similarities do exist. Short, neurotic, Jewish. They end shortly thereafter, yet...So, in scene 4, Ken decided to play Woody in an existential Fencing match that pitted little Woody against George Bush. Woody dodges, is cut, dodges further, and finally whips out a pistol and shoots George down. Ah, yes, fantasy is a wonderful thing.
An article in the City On The Hill about the play. An article in the Spotlight about the play