Bad Theater: Coping 101

Creating a new play is not easy.  Creating a new musical is even harder.  But it has to start somewhere, and our local theater troupe bravely tackled a never-before presented musical.

So our expectations were well-managed before we agreed to attend.  Andie, who played my “little sister” in the Trailer Park musical in 2009*, had a role in this show, and was also making sure that we had sufficiently lowered expectations before we arrived…

“You probably want to turn this into a drinking game.  It’s really bad.”

That suggestion was roundly accepted within a fraction of a nanosecond.  But what to drink to?  It’s not like it’s a political debate, where it’s completely predictable, and you can always default to drinking when someone uses the “knuckle point” maneuver…

“The Diva hasn’t bothered to learn her lines.  She’s hidden them all over the set, all over her props.  And she STILL messes up…”

We knew we could work with that.  After confirming that it wouldn’t run over two hours, we made plans for packing in supplies.  Good sized flask** of whiskey in my hip pocket.  Another friend pre-gamed at a local pub.  Studley prepared a vodka tonic concoction that he wore in his “Beer Belly“.

Other than the fact that he looked pregnant, no one could really tell that he was loaded with distilled potatoey goodness!

When did we drink?  Whenever The Diva was obviously reading her lines from a prop.  Or, whenever she flubbed one despite the fact that she had them in her hand.

Four of us were hammered by intermission.

Leonard Pinth-Garnell.  Courtesy of Saturday Night Live

* Andie and i were in the Trailer Park with The Diva.  Yes.  And it is the same Diva in the current show that has made a difficult situation worse.  At least she’s consistent…

* i didn’t wear my “Wine Rack”.  We had plans to go out to the local dive bar for drunk karaoke afterwards, and i was afraid of a blowout…

35 thoughts on “Bad Theater: Coping 101

    • it requires some careful wardrobe choices — something that looks good as a “DDD” may not fit as well when the wine is gone and it’s just a “D”…

  1. Somehow, I missed that wine rack post. So I went back and read it, plus comments. And y’know what struck me? No one mentioned that “ladies’ trouser funnel” apparatus. Thinking about it, it’s just about essential to go equipped for drainage if you’re going equipped for drinking!

    I’ve worked with drinking divas and forgetful divas and tantrum divas and wish I’d had a rack back then. 🙂

    • Fantastic! i think you’re right — one begets the other. care must be exercised not to cross the tubes, however! for men, the ‘drainage’ device is in the form of a ‘stadium pal’. and Studley has porto-potty packs he uses while flying his plane. yes. there’s auto pilot for short periods of time….

  2. Divas are over rated. This is one reason that the only time I’ve been in musical theatre was when I was in the orchestra. What always amazes me is that after two rehearsals, the dress rehearsal and one performance, the orchestra has the entire play memorized. So how come it is so hard for the cast to memorize their lines? I suppose it has something to do with also having to remember timing, blocking, and such.

    the wine rack is brilliant.

    • i’ve done both – having played clarinet and guitar in various orchestras and pit bands, and performed on stage in a few shows. it is much harder to learn the words. orders of magnitude. i don’t really know why, but learning music can become more instinctive – but memorization of words that aren’t your own? learning your cues? adapting when the other performers don’t say exactly the same words for your cue? takes a lot of work. a LOT of practice.

  3. ‘Four of us were hammered by intermission.’ which sounds like the only option which was open to you. At least the whole night didn’t go to waste.
    I have gone back and read both the Diva and your wine rack. The one sounds suspiciously like an oxygen thief and the other an act of genius.

    • as you are a very wise woman, i am quite certain you correctly identified the oxygen thief…. in retrospect? i’d rather have the entire evening back. but the voices in the show were very good, and the rest of the cast (and director) did the best they could. but rather than us attempting to make lemonade from that big pile of lemons, we went for margaritas.

    • mercifully, no. the majority of the cast? amazing. one of the leads quit 2 weeks before opening night – so another cast member stepped into that role, and a friend was called to back-fill the empty slot. they did a nice job. but it’s sort of like trying to make a casserole with stinky cheese… you can only do so much.

  4. It’s good to see that there are still dedicated actors willing to make sacrifices for their art. Be careful not to spill during the curtain call.

    • oh, we weren’t on stage – just being assholes in the audience. text from my friend – who was in the show – during intermession asked if we were drunk yet. i was too drunk to reply…

  5. I think I’m drunk or stupid or something. I had to read this post a couple of times.

    Are you saying you, and others, were drinking during a performance while being part of the performance?

    Anybody YouTube the show?

      • went to the theater thing on Friday. blogged it on Sunday. there were two other drinking sessions between events… it is entirely possible i was drunk, but not “still” drunk. sure. it’s a technicality. but i have my pride… or something…

    • the wine rack is awesomeness – but i’m not crazy about drinking liquids that are at body temperature. filling it with ice cubes, however, creates an entirely different pair set of problems.

    • i bought a lovely flask with 50’s beehived women waterskiing. they are having fun! that makes me want to drink! you need a cat flask. flasks are awesome….

  6. Wow, that’s a courageous endeavor- writing your own musical.. I think I’d have to be hammered just to attempt such a thing. Bet you had a blast! I admire your enthusiasm.

    • have to agree – something i’d never have the ‘nads to consider. local theater critic sent ’em packing, though. said they’d collaborated on an earlier one that was far better. i still give them credit for trying, though. i write random, stream-of-consciousness crap on the internet — hardly makes me a writer.

  7. One fine saturday morn i was going to start playing a drinking game where every time Nick Disaster said “daddy” i’d have to drink but then i realized i’d be shit-faced by 10am, and that’s not even tossing in the I-mac.

    • drinking games while babysitting is sort of like the “X-Games” version. and your two would figure it out pretty quickly and start with the “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! DaddyDaddyDaddyDaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy!” stuff before too long.

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