Twenty years ago, Z Space burst onto the scene and offered The City a place for artists to revel in their process. Audiences did not mind, either. Since then, Z Space has produced an array of compelling works, from music and visual art to dance and theater.
To commemorate the milestone, Josh Kornbluth, one of the Bay Area’s most prolific monologists, brings back his hit “Love & Taxes” in a two-night engagement benefiting Z Space beginning May 22.
The show, which was created and performed at Z Space — along with other memorable works including “Citizen Josh” and “Haiku Tunnel” — came from his own personal experiences dealing with tax issues.
“That was the original idea,” Kornbluth says. “And then I connected creatively with falling in love with a woman who’s going to have a baby. She sets this deadline for me to solve this tax problem before the baby is born.”
After it opened, it was dubbed “the first-ever pro-tax romantic comedy,” which may be more than enough to lure people in.
“I guess most people consider me to be a late bloomer in terms of what I ended up doing,” Kornbluth says of his longevity. “I had no ambitions or experiences performing throughout my early life. I was planning to be various things I had failed at — like a mathematician, or leading a revolution in a country, which is what my dad wanted me to do.”
He laughs before adding: “I was occupied with those futile pursuits.”
But something happened when he was a copy editor at the now-defunct Boston Phoenix. He “got this weird idea” to be a performer, and then a friend brought him to see Spalding Gray.
“That was the turning point for me,” he says. “That was when I learned about the form of autobiographical monologue. I love Gray’s work. He really introduced me to form.”
If there’s a secret to being a good monologist, Kornbluth says, it has a great deal to do with being authentic.
“For me, even though I incorporate a lot of silliness into what I do, what’s driving me is to tell these stories and explore these aspects of myself and my experiences,” he says, quickly noting that he is not just trying to be clever or to “entertain.”
“I’m really trying to connect with people on the deepest level I can. Theater can go much deeper and theater audiences can go much deeper than I am capable of going. Once I discovered that, I realized the form can hold an infinite amount of complexity and richness.”
Josh Kornbluth’s Love & Taxes
Where: Z Space, 450 Florida St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. May 22-23
Tickets: $25 to $70
Contact: (866) 811-4111, www.zspace.org