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In fiscal year 2005, 528 applicants sought cash from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for various projects. Sometimes they got what they wanted.

NAME: Marc Nelson (aka Marcus Kyd)

GRANT APPLIED FOR: City Arts Projects; city offers up to $4,500 to “expose the arts to the broader community.”

MONEY NEEDED FOR: The Devil in His Own Words, a solo theater performance

BACKGROUND: Kyd, 34, has worked in the professional theater since 1988, according to his application. He holds an advanced degree in classical acting from George Washington University and also sang and played guitar in posthardcore band the Most Secret Method from 1995 to 2002.

PLAN: The performance would consist of monologues from ancient and modern texts that explore the idea of the devil. “Why does he exist? What does he explain? Why do we still need him?” Kyd wrote in his project description. “Through the manifestation of evil that we call the Devil, I want the audience to examine the problem of evil.” He booked the Black Cat Backstage as a venue.


STATUS: denied

UPSHOT: Kyd pulled off the Black Cat performance in December 2004 with no budget. “I’m an artist. We find a way,” he says. The Devil in His Own Words was the debut performance for Kyd’s own Taffety Punk Theatre Company. Without the grant, though, the show did suffer cutbacks—for example, Kyd cast a paper bag to play the role of God. “He was a huge hit,” Kyd says. “I’m so pleased with the paper bag, I would never cast anyone else.”

—Rachel Beckman