For better or worse

Although i’ve abandoned my personal theatrical pursuits, i still try to support friends active on the stage.  Chasing this show or that, i have generally been delightfully surprised with high quality performances in our local community theater community.

Today?  i knew it would be challenging… Not a show of great interest*, i had a couple friends on the stage – including one friend who had one of his first leading roles.  Word on the street was that “there are issues”… 

Snagging two of my Tuesday night drinking buddies, i booked three seats.  RJak and BS are relative newcomers to the local theater community, but have been enthusiastic supporters.  Over the past year, they’ve had the opportunity to see many fine shows, and were looking forward to yet another theater outing. 

i e-mailed them yesterday, strongly suggesting that we “pre-game” with a few drinks at my place before the 3:00 pm matinee.  RJak phoned to say she was running late – i told her i’d prepare her a flask with gin and tonic.  BS arrived in time to have a beer, and i was slamming bourbon when he got here…

As we were leaving, i offered to smuggle in an extra beer for BS – he declined.  Silly, silly BS.

When the curtain closed after an hour an 20 minute long Act I, we grabbed cookies from the lobby and escaped to the parking lot for fresh air and cigarettes**.  We worked hard at finding the bright spots – and there were a few.  A few “Family Groups” were performing together – on-stage and behind the scenes.  That always makes me happy.  Our friend was doing a nice job with his performance.

BS:  That was pretty painful.  Would it be rude to leave? (as we watched one minivan full of patrons skulk from the parking lot)

RJak (draining flask):  We could come back in an hour and just greet the cast in the lobby.  Maybe they wouldn’t notice?  Nice bar across the street…

daisyfae:  Ugh.  No.  We have to suck it up.

BS:  Really wish I’d taken you up on that smuggled beer.

We scarfed a couple more cookies as we made the death march back into the theater for Act II.  The performers were giving it their best.  The show had moments of “cute”.  Sets were fine, band was ok, some nice harmonies in a few songs.  Act II was mercifully short – well, less than an hour.

i’ve been in shows like that.  i know how it feels to be there – trying your damndest to make it work and knowing it’s hopeless.  You still try.  Weeks of rehearsals, set construction, practice.  These folks worked hard – and seemed to be having fun.   And i guess that’s the point… 

Sadly, it takes just as much effort to put on a bad show as it does to put on a good one… The next time you are staring down the barrel of two-hours of “Ouch”?  Don’t forget to pack the anesthesia.

“You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”

* i tried to sink this one when i was on the play reading committee.  i failed…

** BS pointed out the ‘logic failure’ in this, as he sneered at the home made clove cigarettes proferred by RJak.

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15 thoughts on “For better or worse

  1. I’d like to know the name of the show as well. I’ve got three shows in the can I haven’t written about; a revival of THE GLASS MENAGERIE with Judith Ivey, Sam Shepard’s AGES OF THE MOON and a review of Stephen Sondheim’s music. I haven’t written about them because, aside from you, I don’t think anyone gives a shit about my theater posts! Perhaps I’ll just dash off an email to you.

  2. I went to an Edgar Allan Poe play which featured only one actor sitting on a stool reciting monologue from hell. Thank god someone else burst out laughing before me. For half an hour you could hear people snorting and coughing trying to avoid more laughter tickling their throats. Horrendous!

  3. Kudos for sitting through the whole production, even though you’ll never get those 2 hours of your life back at least you made the cast happy …

  4. UK – i’ve blocked it out… trauma will do that… (check your e-mail)

    manuel – the car was skulking! i swear! it was hunched down, and it’s headlights were darting left and right as it snuck between rows of cars…

    unbearable banishment – theatre is a specialty topic, isn’t it? i just hoarked this one up to get it out of my head and off my mind. forgotten now…

    syncopated eyeball – thank you. is it a ‘flask shaped medal’?

    nursemyra – there are certainly plenty of good reasons to stay home…

    frigginloon – oh, that sounds dreadful! “Nevermore”… i found myself TRYING to go to sleep, to make the time productive. a nap is better than wasted hours….

    tNb – it was worth it. RJak, BS and i had a chance to hang out, and we did provide some encouragement to a few of the folks on stage… but ouch….

  5. I love local theater, and used to go to many plays and such.
    Even the horrendously bad stuff.
    But the spawn have put the kibosh on that.

    Oh, and I ALWAYS come prepared!
    Have rum, will travel is my motto!

  6. But does it always have to be musicals? For those of us who no one wants to hear sing, it’s a huge disadvantage. Plus, I would rather see a good Stoppard, Shakespeare or Moss & Hart any day than any musical I can think of.

  7. writerdood – i like the way you think! but i have to be careful of the noise. ‘whippits’ going off from the back row might raise some attention…

    rob – yes. bourbon. bourbon is good.

    blazingfire – my flask has many miles on it. i should get it its own frequent flier account! when your spawn are older, perhaps one will have the ‘theatrical calling’ and you can re-engage!

    chris – no, there are bad ‘straight’ shows, too. it is just more painfully obvious with a musical, and they tend to run much looooooonger… you might enjoy “Avenue Q” or “Bat Boy: The Musical”. Two dark and twisty musicals…

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