Stage One

I’ve taken a tiny bit of flack for my last few posts, and I promised to talk about my bowel movements, so I hate to disappoint you. Trust me, when I actually get to it, it will have been worth the wait.

But not today. I gotta tell you about the *FUNNIEST* play I saw last night. It was during an evening of one acts, and it was the smartest premise. You see, a supernatural character named “Snafu” is looking for a job, and she goes to a bar to interview with a man named “Mr. Mephisto”. And right away, I know what you’re thinking. Mr. Mephisto, unless I misremember my Greek lessons, sounds like he could be THE DEVIL!

Turns out you’re right, and “Snafu” is looking for some work. It is established that it’s the year 2000, and that’s done by the hanging of a sign at the back of the room that has the number “2000” on it. Does the devil have work for Snafu? You bet he does. In FLORIDA!

Wait a minute, you say. Florida? 2000? If I’m putting two and nothing together, they’re talking about the election!

But it gets even more fiendishly clever. The first part, where Snafu gets the job, takes about five minutes, although nothing more than the above actually happens. After a moment of black out, the sign is changed on the back wall to read “2004” and Snafu is back to talk to the Devil. Turns out, after “Enron, the Stock Market, the Middle East” her guilt is getting the best of her, and she can’t work for the devil any more. The devil says she has to, something else happens, and the play ends.

When I say “something else happens” I’m not protecting the ending, I just don’t know what it was.

Now, this is merely a shitty ass piece of theater. It’s so bad that I’m announcing how bad it is in this blog without making any attempt to hide it, and normally I switch genders or dates of plot points to throw off potential future employers. But this was a profoundly stupid piece of theater that all the people I agree with politically laughed their asses off at.

Here’s the kicker. My in-laws and my grandfather-in-law drove in from Long Island to watch the evening with me. Sitting next to me were two Republicans and one undecided voter. And they heard that leftists believe that the worst thing that has happened since 2000 was Enron. The devil was behind Enron and the Stock Market. Since 2000.

I wanted to die. Not because it gave them fuel for their Foxnews lives, not because they drove an hour each way to watch a play, on the insistence of their kids, and ended up being served up a turd and not because this is all the leverage that they need in disregarding the left. I wanted to die because it might have helped make up the mind of our grandfather, a life-long democrat. I don’t know if it did, but it might have.

So, when I desperately cling to the possibility of civility in political discussion, it goes double for the fire breathing choir preaching rhetoric. Preach to the choir as if there were unsaved souls at the window, that’s all I’m asking. Maybe downtown Manhattan is the wrong place to find rational discourse, but if that’s true then why do any of us go there?

Skip the next bit, it’s ranting. The above is the end of the official blog.


(((((I’m sorry, but did you understand that? The DEVIL is one of the CHARACTERS of this play, the time span is 2000-2004, and he says he’s behind *ENRON*. Fine, don’t mention the world trade center attacks, fine, but Jesus Christ, you aren’t gonna talk about any of the other global disasters? I don’t believe in the devil, I don’t believe in evil, but I understand what it is from a dramaturgical point of view. *ENRON*? That’s run of the mill greedy business guy stuff. What about Darfur? What about the starving millions in North Korea? Fucking ENRON?

And Snafu? The character? She had her shirt MISBUTTONED. That’s right. That’s how she embodied “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.” She midbuttoned her shirt. The devil…

Oh my God. The devil. He had a goatie, right? Sure, of course he did. He’s the devil. Fine. But then, for some reason, when the time changed to 2004, he was wearing a ridiculous faux-punk leather jacket, with Purple Rain studs all over it and graffiti. What is better than this? What is better than him wearing a ridiculous leather jacket that is expressly *not* indicative of the time indicated by a sign on the back wall?

You’re gonna have to wait, because I’ll tell you what’s worse. What’s even worse is that they were blocked to wander, to “use the space” they would, during their own lines, pace back and forth, aimlessly, nervously, like neurotic tigers, across the small playing space. And then, during their own lines, they would stand stock still. They were like dancers, staring at their feet, lips moving as they count…

And, despite the fact that they had thirty seconds to load in and load out their set, they chose to bring out *multiple bottles* to indicate where the bar was, and then they made the bartender face *UPSTAGE*. When Mephisto comes in with his 1980s leather jacket on to indicate that it’s 2004, he orders a drink from behind the bar, where he and the bartender must talk over their shoulders in order for the audience to hear.

But what’s worse? What’s worse? Oh God, it’s almost precious. When the play was over and we went out in the lobby, the guy who played the devil WAS WEARING THE LEATHER JACKET IN HIS HEADSHOT. Sure, his face is also blurred because he’s blowing out a lungful of smoke, but the leather jacket that just made no sense in the play suddenly made sense.

When I was seven, I had a suede “country” vest with down on the inside and snaps. I wore it all the time. I loved it. My mom took it away from me to launder it once a month of so, and then I’d go back to wearing it. Little fat kid in short shorts, an OP shirt and a suede vest with snaps and I thought I was awesome.

I was ***SEVEN***!!!!!!!

I can just imagine this guy putting on this jacket and saying, “I… look… GREAT!” and then going to the director, “I have the best jacket for the second scene. Seriously, it looks so amazing. Perfect for the devil.”

I wished I was dead for about twenty eight reasons. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.)))))