Douglass Truth woke up after 3 days and didn’t remember anything of the time, but it was like he had been taken somewhere and given something to bring back. The journey from here Douglass found himself on was unexpected to say the very least. One of change, discovery and realization. Tonight we meet Dorothy and learn that only Death herself can tell the story.
Douglass was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, into a family famous for its mechanics, brick layers and lawyers. He was cursed from the beginning with a heightened sensibility combined with very poor taste.
Attempts at remedial education through out the years have met with uncertain results, leaving him with a reputation as mixed as his media.
He has worked as a civil engineer and surveyor during the pipeline years in Alaska, a chef, a truck driver, building dismantler, English teacher, and a software salesman in Taiwan.
I was living in northern California, small town, in the nineties.
I had a screen-printing business in the garage. I had just started painting, too.
Easter 1998, I got very sick while my friends were at a dinner. They took me to the hospital, and I was out for 3 days. Bacterial brain infection – flesh-eating kind – had destroyed my temporal lobe and I should have been dead, my verbal capacities would very likely never return.
When I woke up after those 3 days I didn’t remember anything of the time, but it was like I had been taken somewhere and given something to take back with me.
In 2005 I have a piece of graphic art that cries out for the title, “Death As A Salesman” – and then I think, that title is good, I should write something. And so in 2005-6 I started writing Death As A Salesman. I’d written lots of things but never performed anything at all.
In 2006 at The Dreamaway Lodge in Becket MA. I did it, having no idea what I was doing. But people liked it, and the owner of the Lodge, with a theater background told me – there’s something there, but it needs a lot of work. And so for the next 10 years I’ve been working on and off on it. Now it’s the central focus of my work. I still paint, but mostly it’s the show.
I didn’t want to tell the story of me getting sick and almost dying – nothing interesting there.
It was more that I wanted to deeply entertain people, and at the same time maybe plant the idea that Death isn’t something one needs to fear.
Death as a friendly – but tough! – old waitress appealed to me.
And the love story that develops in the later versions of the story, between Tod (death) and Dorothy, is super interesting (and fun to perform) in the context of feminizing death.
A Friendlier Face for Death is one of our business slogans.
That there was nothing to fear from Death is one of the things l learned on my 3-day tour.
The others are: we’re all in it together, there’s nothing to – really – worry about, and it’s up to us to make the world the way we want it to be.
You absolutely must discover Douglass Truth’s art and purchase his book here.