Author Donald L. Brooks and cast of "Superfreak", 1969
Subtitled "The Death of Joe Cino" the production caused an uproar
Off-off-Broadway.
Go to criticism of "Superfreak"
Return to Donald L. Brooks Index

JOE CINO AND/OR THE RINGMASTER:  Ladies and gentlemen, “The Death of Joe Cino” written and directed by the Vampire of Cripple Creek with the assistance of everyone!

(A sign descends reading “The Death of Joe Cino” and without pause, rises.)

(Ravel’s Bolero has begun to play.  The Ringmaster removes his mask, shakes hair, stares into flys -- then into audience, eye to eye.  Oedipus Tex, covered with a plastic drop-cloth
passes, Cino does not notice.  Witch/Pope Screw passes in the opposite direction.  Screams.  Cino walks as if an animal in a cage about the stage and winds up in the Madness of
Lady Light set.   A pause.  He circles again and again around Euphelia, drags her into the set and caresses her dead body, finally realizing she is dead he pulls the cover over her
and withdraws in horror only to see the dead St. Christopher.  St. Christopher cuts himself down with a large butcher knife from the noose from which he had been hanging and
hands the knife to Cino.  St. Christopher kisses Euphelia and carries her offstage.  Cino then tries to escape his shadow which is seen on the wall.  He faces the audience.  He looks
again at the audience.  He caresses his flesh with the knife feeling the sensuousness of the edge of the blade -- this mime/dance has taken us through the Bolero and upon the final
crescendo, Cino cuts his own stomach, wrists and neck, and continues to stab himself during the music’s climax.  Thunder and sounds of rain.  He falls with one hand in the air
holding the knife, as a drowning man.  The lights remain, dimming slowly as a sign descends, “The Vampire of Cripple Creek, Part III“.)

(Thunder and rain sounds continue, Witch/Pope Screw enters in the regalia of a Pontiff, selling apples.)

WITCH/POPE SCREW:  Like that?  (Sniffs from a vial of nitrate.)  It stunk!  Cheap theatrical bitch!  Actually, I don’t care on way or another.  I have my own life to worry about --
besides, I have few emotions -- except sight, sound, touch, taste and smell -- and the only emotion I can feel now is smell -- there is no sound, I don’t intend to touch, I’m not
cannibalistic -- and I’m certainly not going to look -- he might not even be there -- I really didn’t notice, was he here tonight?  Really, the only emotion I feel is smell -- and it’s blood and
it doesn’t come from the stage, it comes from the streets -- I’m going now, and you should do the same -- emotions are wasted upon emotions -- thank God, he’s dead!

Oh… I’m supposed to tell you -- Oedipus lives in Death Valley where he eats shit and never speaks -- before he left, he took over the Cripple Creek Saloon and kept it open nearly a
year -- but it was never the same, it’s one thing to have a vampire in the wings and quite another to have one running the show.  The trouble with Oedipus was he wasn’t a true vampire,
he was just a junkie.  Looking for an oasis, he created a poisonous pond and thus Cino died.  Goodnight.  I know when to leave, I don’t suck out my own blood -- this place is all dried
up -- I haven’t seen a virgin arm in weeks -- everyone is bats -- they all suck!  So go -- veni, vedi, vamoose!  Balls!
 (Cackles.)

Oh, again… one very last thing.  Have you ever thought, I mean really thought about what it takes to cut your own throat -- have you ever tried it?  Oh!  The icy blade against your
flesh!  God, it takes a lot of strength!  Try it sometime -- try it!!!

(Hideous cackle, a deep breath, then back to business, as he exits out the front door of the theatre.)

Apples.  Fresh red apples.  Apples!

(During the time Witch/Pope Screw speaks, the signs of the different plays of the evening slowly descend around the stage, including a new sign in the foreground, “SUPERFREAK”
and a spinning skull hung from a string as a spider.  As the Witch begins his/her exit selling apples, the Beatles “All You Need Is Love” has begun to play.  On the opening fanfare,
the signs rise in disorderly fashion, the lights click out one by one and the skull alone remains in a single shaft of white light, spinning slower and slower as the lights fade
imperceptibly, creating a hallucinatory glow which disappears completely only upon the song’s final strains of “Greensleeves” -- darkness.)

The End


Copyright © by Donald L. Brooks, written permission required for use.
Superfreak, The Death of Joe Cino by Donald L. Brooks -- Cast photograph with the author -- 1968
Program cover with Superfreak cartoon by Lincoln Swados.
Superfreak, 1968 -- The Vampire of Cripple Creek (Oedipus Tex) played by Arthur DiMario.
Superfreak -- one of the plays within the play, Lames at Sea
Superfreak -- St. Christopher cuts himself down from the noose upon which he hands the knife to Joe Cino
Superfreak, the Death of Joe Cino, 1968
Advertisement placed in newspapers under the aegis of Ellen Stewart who had never seen the production, nor read the script -- this action was taken upon the advice of associates who had presumably attended a performance of the play.
Superfreak by Donald L. Brooks, Irene Schaeffer as Euphelia, the Soul of Joe Cino, photograph by James Bidgood
Superfreak by Donald L. Brooks, Reynolds Callendar as Lena Horne, photograph by James Bidgood
Superfreak by Donald L. Brooks, Arthur Dimario as Oedipus Tex, photograph by James Bidgood
Superfreak by Donald L. Brooks -- Don Signore as Lady Light or Dragonfag, Reynolds Callender as Nameless Trick, photograph by James Bidgood
Superfreak by Donald L. Brooks, the cameo appearance of Carmen Miranda
Superfreak -- play within the play, The Madness of Lady Light with Dragonfag and the Nameless Trick