Zen and the Art of Shattering Laserdiscs

by Esther Emery

This is the fifth and final installment in our series of process posts on the Listener, by Liz Duffy Adams.  Official opening is Saturday, at which point I’ll have to think of something else to write about.  Yikes.

As I walked in the Lyceum the other day with Milo on one arm and his exer-saucer on the other, the San Diego REP artistic director asked me what I was doing there.  

“I’m helping Amy mosaic the last few feet of the Listener set.”  

He laughed.  I wasn’t sure why, since I wasn’t trying to be funny.  We had a few hundred square inches left of space that needed to become absolutely Amy-licious (that’s a Delicia term, can’t you tell?), and I was responsible for supplying the adhesive.

Remember these?

(Note, the child’s foot in the picture is clearly included to give you a proper sense of dimension.  Completely intentional.)

We’re turning them into these…

…via the following methods:

  • Hammer
  • Hammer over 2×4’s
  • Sledgehammer
  • Bare hands
  • Bare hands over 2×4’s (karate chop)
  • Bare hands and matte knife (score then break)
  • Bare hands and matte knife and shoe
  • Both shoes
  • Both shoes and primal yell
It’s much harder than it sounds.  I dare you to try it, except that I don’t want you to damage your movie collection.  (Incidentally, the laserdiscs were easier to break than CD’s, which presents a reason why laserdiscs failed so miserably to capture the market.)
Here are Delicia and Liz Duffy Adams on what turned out to be the last day of the Junk City build.  If you don’t recognize that second name yet, she’s the playwright, who is here for the week from NYC.  We’re delighted to have her here, and we immediately put her to work.  

At this point Liz was painting, but she soon became the expert of the ‘hammer over two boards with primal yell’ method of shattering.  I preferred ‘bare hands through plastic’ myself.  Liz and I made a decent team, though, until this laserdisc stopped her in her tracks:

“That’s the original,” she pointed out.  “The pilot.”

Indeed.  And we summarily saved it from the hammer.  The cardboard cover, at least, will receive its due respect for the duration of our run.  Laserdiscs may be lost to history, but Star Trek lives.

Credit to Liz for the post title.