I can’t explain

I don’t know at what point people will find this blog. God knows there is no way for me to hide what I’ve written about in here, and there is also no explanation that will suffice. If there is anything I’ve learned over the last month it is that communication, actual communication with the written, spoken or sung word is basically useless. We are masters of deception, us humans, and we constantly talk out of both sides of our mouths.

One of the things that I take some pride in is knowing that my friends and family know that I am incapable of lying. I am definitely capable of saying things that aren’t true, but I won’t say much that I *know* isn’t true. Half the shit that comes out of my mouth is patently false, but I generally believe every word of what I’m saying, I’m just, y’know, ignorant.

My friend Mac is the greatest liar I know. He has a wonderful ability to somehow totally mishear what you’ve just said, or to miraculously miss something that he doesn’t want to hear, and yet, later, he will be able to recount *every single syllable* of what you’ve said back to you. He has invented this fantastic other-worldly persona that has you totally conned unless you’ve spent as much time with him as I have. He’s faking it. And he does it so well that I can blow his cover right here, right now, and you’ll still think he isn’t paying attention next time he tells you he missed what you just said.

Jordana is the worst liar I’ve ever known. Her contempt and her delight are both so transparent you’d swear her face was drawn by John Kricfalusi. As a matter of fact, if she is even slightly uncomfortable, you’ll swear she wants you dead, and if she’s even a little bit thrilled, she looks like she has fallen in love.

Between the two of them is me. I can hide what I feel, but only for a very short time. And it’s because I have no inner monologue. I have a blog, and on that blog, I just keep writing and writing until people I work with beg me to stop. I am a really good actor, but that’s because I can purposefully forget large quantities of information and replace it with fantasy, and I can do it fairly quickly. Maybe it came with moving so much, maybe it’s because as a musician my art has always been algebraic in nature and replacing loved ones and memories feels to me like switching keys or, more likely, I’m just a juvenile, obnoxious show off with mild retardation.

In any case, I probably should have handed out a sheet of paper with each program to our show, just to make sure nobody missed the salient points. Despite the fact that *all* of our press material promised a love affair with the statue of Liberty and the Captain of the Coast Guard as the fated duo, we still got reviews that claimed such a union was impossible, and, even worse, seemed to take a real leap in logic.

That’s right. We had people complaining about a leap in logic during a musical.

So, let me explain just a moment. The show isn’t about Coast Guard Spastics defeating terrorists. It is about assuming your identity, the one you actually have, not the one you have fashioned for yourself. We wanted to say something about lying, about living inside a lie and about the ways that we can live beyond them.

It’s a musical, and we live in an absurd world, so we chose to feature the relationship between the two as a counterpoint to the sailors. You know this because they sing about what they were like when they were young, and the mistakes they made, and they describe *exactly* the young sailors in the play.

Now, maybe we should have had the two of them watch the sailors and comment on the sailors directly. We didn’t, it didn’t even occur to us that it was necessary. Maybe we should have named the song “Back When We Were Like The Other Characters In The Play”. I think it would be a touch blatant, but it seems absurd to miss it.

No-one knows us from anyone in the world, so maybe it’s all right that people watch the play and assume there are mistakes instead of wondering *why* things are said the way they are. There isn’t a single person who is aware of the Statue of Liberty who doesn’t understand that she is very large, very old, and doesn’t actually date, so I don’t understand how someone could watch the show and think we didn’t know that.

We have a girl dressed as a man so she can fight in the Coast Guard. Why, that doesn’t make any sense. No, no, you’re right, it doesn’t make any sense at all. Every single person who is familiar with the Coast Guard knows that women can serve in the Coast Guard, so I don’t understand why someone would think we were the only ones who didn’t know this.

Let me explain. There is a woman dressed as a man to serve in the Coast Guard because there was a time when women were not allowed to be soldiers in the military, and in our minds this archaic idea is just as ludicrous as the denial of same-sex marriages now. We are going to look back on this time as only slightly ahead of post WW II America, the very American ideal that we are lampooning in our show.

We wanted to draw a direct corollation between the “good ol’ times”, which happened to be the height of the Hayes code and also the height of the American movie musical, the time in America that existed before Civil Rights, and we wanted to compare that with our current mindset. Now, it’s “terrorists” instead of “commies”. It’s “Arabs” instead of “Blacks”. It is the subjugation of gays in place of the subjugation of women. When we made the terrorists from Martinique, we felt sure people would think it was sardonic.

Now, virtually everything we tried to do with the play was designed for laughs and songs. There is a girl tied up for half an hour in the second act because we just thought that was horrible and funny. “Seaman Ravioli” is one of the most disgusting jokes anyone has ever come up with. (I found an earlier draft where one of the sailors was named “Seaman Sandwich”. I don’t know how that got lost…) And there are some huge mistakes in the play, mistakes that can be addressed with fresh eyes and a willingness to add eight minutes or so to the running time.

But if you think we are faking something, if you think we’re glossing something over because we want to get away with something, just think about it for a minute. We’re terrible liars, we really are. We said what we wanted to say here, it’s in the words and music if not in the production, and there’s a reason for any of it. If you want to know why something in the play is there, well… ask me. I’ll tell.