I saw more plays than you, if you count the one I watched in my dreams...
This Saturday, I combined a Centerstage late night review with the Stages new musical theatre festival at the Theatre Building. And of course, the one play I dreamed about. Let's go backwards from the top, shall we?
Don't Spit the Water: Ah, how I love the bastard arts. This was very much like the burlesque shows I've seen, only without any naked girls. Guys- it's still totally worth it! It's a game show, essentially, where you try not to laugh. You try especially hard because your mouth is full of water. Three extraordinarily wacky comedians each get a crack at three contestants, who are normally plucked from the audience. (This week, there was a trio of NPR comics on as contestants, which caused that familiar 'Who's the straight man' phenom. There's a reason why audience participation comics never pick people who REALLY want to do it.)
There was a very sweet, very authentic jug band as an opener. They played a lovely song with the refrain "You may leave- but this'll bring you back." And I will find it, and I will purchase it. The jug band's best moment: their bassist disassembled his instrument and used its top half to swiffer up the water on the floor.
Finally, I must say a word for the host: Sasha, a pitch-perfect inept Russian schlockmeister, with a mute, traumatized, sweet-faced sidekick named the Noob. Also, the announcer, the urbane Big Dummy. Also, the Interrogator, who might be my favorite gimmick comedian ever. Heh heh. "Mustache."
Earlier that day I caught two concert performances of new musicals during TBC's completely insane festival. I mean, theatre at 9am? On a Saturday? Anyways, fun and interesting, but I haven't found the new musical I can root for yet. "The Devil and Dexter Webster" had some nice tunes, and might make a good late night production with generous helpings of kitsch. It could definitely afford to lose a few songs.
I also saw a double bill of one-acts. "The Big Ending/ The Big Beginning." Very odd. The first one was about a musical producer with a brain tumor that caused him to hear music all the time. The second one, written by a different team, was about the first one. Really- about a struggle to get the first one produced (except it was not written by the people who actually wrote it, but by a dead guy). Number one was all right- even had a song I wanted to take home. Strong performance by the squishy faced lead. Number two was awful. Broadly caricatured, and yet not funny. Even performers who did a decent job in number one were transformed into indigestible hams by number two. Just a pointless, dumb 'satire' of musical theatre production.
On that subject: oh Stages festival, what do you have against producers? Everything I saw today had a producer villain-- or at least a producer main character who was a total jerk. In the case of "Devil and Dexter Webster," a producer was actually Satan. What gives?
Finally, at maybe 10am last morning (I slept till noon), I went to one of those apartment plays that are in vogue now. I went while sleeping. It was quite good, even though I was the only audience member. My dream actors really gave it their all- I woke before intermission, but I think it concerned a ram-rod matriarch with a vicious secret, a disabled, possibly murderous daughter, and a good hearted sister trying to hold it all together. Straight-up southern gothic.
God, I should probably go see a movie or something.