"Live theatre, it's more of a rush than movies"
Rascal: Michael Hulburt
First Agile Rascal Tour
Role: Actor and Musician
Lives: New England
Go-To Biking Snack: Trail mix with lots of M&Ms
Cyclist Rating: 5 out of 5... 80 miles and 6 flat tires no problem.
Favorite Song to Sing while cycling: Chemical Brothers: Hey Boy, Hey Girl
Why did you choose to join Agile Rascal for their Florida tour?
When I saw Sunlight on the Brink in 2015, I thought, “I would like to do that.” Then in 2017 I was in a bike shop in Missoula and I saw a flier for We Called it Resonance, which I missed by a month. Two days later Paola Pilnik sent me a link to the Agile Rascal website where there was a request for new folks to join the Florida tour. It happened almost on its own.
Should the need arise, what is your strategy for wrestling crocodiles?
Give me a rope and a rodeo clown, I’ll ride it for 8 seconds
What makes you excited about performing and biking in Florida?
Florida has this wonderland quality to it which—to an outsider—feels part ad campaign and part dangerous swamp monster. The south I grew up in is not what someone from Florida would call the south, so I’m looking forward to having all my preconceived notions disrupted, including the ones I have about how easy biking will be. It may be flat, but I keep having this twinge of fear concerning weather. And bugs. The truth is that I have no idea how any of this will go, which is the most exciting part.
Please tell us an embarrassing performance story.
I was trying to play it really cool as a middle school kid cast in a college play; Love of the Nightingale, directed by Michael Rohd. One scene had me running out and swinging a staff around while talking about how my uncles taught me how to be strong and how I was a man. At fourteen I felt ready to enter manhood, though I realize now that I was typecast to a degree: a sensitive boy trying to look tough. The show was a stark, modern Greek tragedy with intense adult themes, which were totally undermined when I swung the staff directly into my own forehead. My neck snapped back and I heard a little snicker out in the audience. Tears sprung to my eyes, whether of embarrassment or surprise, I can’t remember, and through quivering lips I struggled through my next lines. I often wonder if it looked intentional, this boy trying to understand manhood and realizing he’s just a gangly awkward youth. I find it hilarious now, but at the time I remember being absolutely horrified.
And what's a funny story from the road?
A hammock, is fine for the redwoods, but in farm country it’s flat and dry and there are very few trees. I found a spot in the Central Valley, but felt very exposed. Luckily it was getting dark, so I set up and went to bed. I turned on my headlamp to read and saw ants crawling everywhere on my rainfly. I brushed them off but they came back—there were nests in each tree and they were crossing my hammock to fight each other. I took a dollop of honey and spread it on each tree to dissuade them but the next time I checked, ants were boiling onto the honey onto my hammock into my sleeping bag; I can feel my heart racing as I remember it.
Frantically I brushed them away, but it was futile. In an absolute rage I shook off the ants, got dressed, and threw everything into my trailer. Ten pm found me biking down the highway shouting my frustration back at honking cars until I found a high school baseball field with trees landscaped beyond the outfield.
Why do you choose to do live theatre?
It's more of a rush than movies.
...and what will it mean to intersect bicycles, environment and theatre?
I honestly don’t know if I have the words to answer this. This tour will be hard. This show will be hard. I can’t believe this thing exists and there’s a group of people who also want to do it.
And yet I can’t get over how it’s the perfect thing. When I tour, I like to have a purpose, a destination. Though biking is one of my favorite things, I’m not into just riding to ride. But with this project, I get to ride to a destination each day where I will get to do my other favorite thing. This is going to be the best, y’all.
Do you have a personal goal for this bicycling theatre project?
Yes, get ripped.