How to Necromance


Thank you for your interest in Necromancers of the Public Domain, in which a dusty old book is resurrected as a low budget NYC variety show. Here’s how we do it:

0. Sign the LOA Ayun sends you!

1. Read the Book. Or at the very least skim the book to identify a section or chapter that calls out to you and read it closely

2. Create a piece 4-10 minutes in length to be performed in front of a live audience. Sweet spot is about 7 minutes.  (Don’t freak if you’re not off book – the audience gets that this is a world premiere and lyric sheets and scripts and notes are all part of the fun.)

3. If it’s not a solo piece, find collaborators and rehearse with them. It’s up to you whether you pay them, and how much. Make sure Ayun has the names of these performers, so we can list em in the program. Speaking of that, what’s your website? Theater of the Apes will hyperlink to it perpetuity.

4. Prepare your tech elements and communicate in advance and tech / equipment questions.

sound: mp3s

projections: jpegs or mpeg4 – if you want them to fill the whole screen, they should be formatted as a 4:3 Presentation. The free website, Canva, is a great place to make these, and very user friendly.

if you have more than one cue, put the files in order, labeled thusly:

01YOURNAMEdescription  (for example 01AYUNhat, 02AYUNcookies – please put zeros in front of the first 9 cues – it’s a help w/ QLab, which is the program we use.)

if you have more than one cue, please bring a tech script for the booth operator, with cues clearly marked

If you need a stage hand, no sweat! That’s what we’re here for!

5. Clear some time to tech your piece the day of. We’re usually in the space by 3pm. The audience enters at a 7:45. The earlier in the day, the more luxurious your tech time will be.  This is when the final running order is set, but it’s helpful if you can let us know in advance what your piece is about, whether it’s funny or serious, and of course if you have a practical concern that makes it imperative that you go first, last or somewhere in the middle

6. Help us promote the show via social media, email and word of mouth. THIS IS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE! You’ll receive an email with links to the box office, the show on both The Tank & Theater of the Apes’ site, the Facebook event, and all sorts of social media worthy ads. We’d be much obliged if you help us get the word out!

7. If you have any golden press contacts that might lead to some advance ink, we’d be much obliged if you’d help us secure that. Gold star example is Necromancer Katie Fricas, who contributes to Hyperallergic … she hipped them to her participation and it lead to a nice little write up! Look!

8. Each act’s lead performer (ie creator) gets a princely pittance of $25. Our arrangement with The Tank doesn’t allow us to offer comps, but we’ll figure out a way to get you a discount for broke friends who can’t scratch up the standard $15 ticket price.

Important contact info and links:

Theater of the Apes

Upcoming Necromancers of the Public Domain (ie your upcoming show)

Archive of Past Necromancers  718-415-8552 917-378-7333

The Tank, 312 West 36th Street / First Floor / New York, NY 10018

(the elevators start at 6pm. Prior to that, enter one door west, and text Ayun to be let in at the 1st floor landing)

Tank equipment (hint: yours is probably better, so if you’ve got it, and it’s not too much hassle, bring it)

many chairs

music stands

a little table

a tall stool

2 mics

2 micstands (boom and standing)

projector & screen (uh, no need to haul this from home) 4:3 ratio

piano (ditto)

at least one dressing room


If you can’t see the show before you necromance with us, here’s how it goes: Ayun opens the show with a bombastic arena rock style intro from the book, then explains the concept. Performers sit in the audience unless they need to spend time warming up or getting in some insane costume. It’s very informal in between acts. Ayun usually reads a few sentences from the book to prime the pump / kill time. About five minutes from the end, each performer is invited to plug an upcoming project (or something dear to their heart, such as a reminder to vote) We close things out with a semi-tongue-in-cheek final recitation from the book, everyone joining in to return the book to the vortex. Our purpose is to make the audience feel like they too have read the book, like they have unexpectedly learned something. Thank you for coming together to make this a reality.


Don’t drop out of the show at the last minute unless it’s an emergency

Don’t NOT read the book

Don’t bring in an existing piece that’s sort of related to the book thematically (like don’t use a biography of James Whistler as an excuse to trot out that funny monologue about the time your mother went on a blind date to a paint your own pottery place.)

Don’t embody racist or homophobic tropes of the book’s period, even if you think the audience will get that you are making a wry comment or comparison with today’s standards. Please note that while the books we choose are antiquated, we steer clear of those wherein the author deliberately minimizes the humanity of any other human group (ie – humans of another gender, race, or sexual preference)

Don’t shirk from promoting the event – the size of the audience depends on everyone doing their bit to get the word out.