Everyone has a guilty pleasure movie — usually seen without much guilt. For Nick Abeel it's Jurassic Park, and when you are an actor and producer those guilty pleasures might become inspiration for your next big hit.
That is exactly what happened when Abeel decided to make a shot-by-shot remake of Jurassic Park roughly a year ago called Hold on to Your Butts. The Indiana native, now New Yorker, took the show to the People's Improv Theater in September of last year where it was named one of the Top Ten Comedies by TimeOut NY.
The show consists of two actors and one foley artist (someone who sits on the side making sound effects with a microphone).
"It asks a lot of the audience's imagination," says Abeel. "I have been surprised that people are very hungry for that — that kind of experience. I think it is because we are so inundated with manufactured experiences and CGI (computer-generated imagery) ... you really can do anything on screen and people have seen everything. There is something very nostalgic about using your imagination and seeing people create that same feeling that the movie gives you but with cardboard props."
Since the show did so well, Abeel and his co-creator Kristin McCarthy Parker decided to take it on a tour around the country. Stop number one is in Indianapolis, which is only fitting because that is where Abeel cut his teeth. Indy theaters like the IRT, Phoenix, Theatre on the Square and Footlite were all Abeel's first true homes for stage performances.
He also studied theater at the University of Evansville, where he and his roommate (now the other man in the show) almost always had Jurassic Park playing in the VCR. Abeel confesses that he is one of those people to opt for a movie he has seen a million times over something new.
"Jurassic Park (the original) is still very much in the Zeitgeist," says Abeel.
He and his co-star joke that you can go on Facebook once a day and find a Jurassic Park meme or something related to it.
"It's a move people know well, but forget that they know so well," he adds. The familiarity is something they rely heavily on in the performance.
He recalled one of his friends telling them after an initial performance, "Guys, it was so smart, so dumb. I loved it."
That's all he wanted.
Hold On To Your Butts
When: Nov. 4-8
where: Indyfringe Indy Eleven Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St.
tickets: $15, $12 Student/senior