TSTMRKT is a random act of cheap theatrics that incorporates time, minimalism, absurd theater, film, and audio collage. Each show is formulated and prepared with no regard for audience reaction. The set is constructed through sound, and the sound is pre-recorded in "real time." This recording is played back during the live performance.
"How great would it be....No props. No set. Just pure imagination and a suit case!"
"What's with the suitcase?"
"To carry our clothes! And the tape recorder!"
The original "Test Market" performance had us entering the stage nude. We opened the suitcase, took out the tape deck, and pressed "play". The tape started with a recording of me:
"Welcome to Test Market. The show that you have seen, will see, or are currently seeing has already been done. You are now experiencing 'Real Time'"
We put our costumes on as the anouncement continued...
"All sounds have been recorded onto tape and will be played back in 'Real Time'..."
We did this in the middle of a junkyard. There was a concrete slab in front of a broken down trailer home, and it served as our stage.
Brand new in town. No friends. No relatives.
Forty people showed up, and when the stunt was complete, we got drunk on malt liqour and passed out in an art gallery.
TSTMRKT has been a "thing" since 2001 and calls Las Vegas "home," even though the birth of Test Market actually happened on a Greyhound bus, somewhere around Indiana. It's a really long story and if you corner me with a free drink, I'll tell it to you in graphic detail.
(TSTMRKT is written and directed by Ernest Hemmings and performed by Ernest Hemmings and a rotating cast.)