A Taxing Time

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C Nicholas Johnson in “1040” Nick Johnson, cooling off in “1040” Nick Johnson arriving to the office in “1040”
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“Hat Trick” in “1040” Nick Johnson tells the taxes to ‘take that!’ in “1040” C Nicholas Johnson, ending it all, in “1040”

Circa 1988, a piece was performed for my Master’s Dance Concert in Tucson, Arizona, entitled, “1040,” about a man going crazy doing his taxes. Oddly, this piece resurfaced as I was cleaning out my tapes the other day. Though a bit dark, and certainly not in stereo, this solo danced by C. Nicholas Johnson, aka, Nick, depicts the ordinary man who sets out to do his taxes, then becomes overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, slowly crumbling under the pressure. I remember all the props and the schlepping of the desk in and out of the studio every time Nick and I rehearsed.  I can’t imagine pulling that off in NYC!

A trained mime and dancer, I capitalized on Nick’s talents, and had a blast creating this piece with him. I remember in 1985 I started an improv with this same premise, and when my dancer was performing it at the not-so-new Community Education Center in Philadelphia, the plaster from the ceiling started to crumble and fall all over the stage, the props, and the dancer–no coincidence there, as it perfectly fit into the theme of the dance.  Alas, “1040,” was choreographed in the heat of the desert  for my dear friend, Nick, to whom I am eternally grateful!

Upon my return to the East after my graduation, I met with the producer of a new Broadway play, “1040,” (I often have Broadway show titles for pieces, long before they make it to the Great White Way), who had met my father at a staged reading. Of course my father talked up my dance to him, as if he could use me as a choreographer for his Broadway show of the same title!! Well, he met with me at the Edison Hotel Cafe (how appropriate), and we had a nice chat. He didn’t need a choreographer, but I think he was intrigued by the work, nonetheless. His play never made it past the previews, so I guess I can confidently keep my title. Have a good time doing your taxes, click here to see “1040,” and do your best not to go crazy!