Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Excruciation of Bad Theater - Part 2

It was gratifying to have someone ask me what show I was talking about in my last post. It's nice to know that someone's reading. This person (Allen Lulu) encouraged me to write every day, so I will try to.

I didn't want to mention the title of the show because the show was so friendly in it's awfulness, so sincere and appealing, that I grew to like the performers despite their complete lack of talent.

But the short run is over and I'm pretty sure they won't read this.

On Friday night, I went with Zander, Apollo and Yogi to Anaheim to see a Rock n Roll version of A Midsummer Nights Dream at an outdoor venue in a park. The ride down was nice. We played 20 questions and the boys really loved that. We got there in safely and in good time and found the park and the venue to be lovely.

Then we walked in the venue.

The show was a mercifully truncated version of A Midsummer Night's Dream with some fifties Rock n Roll songs thrown in. The band was a four piece (piano, guitar, bass and drums) and when we walked in, they were playing. They were pretty terrible. I didn't think it was possible to do a passionless version of Great Balls of Fire until I saw them do it. Then there was a speech from the Anaheim Performing Arts Center. I didn't think it was possible to talk me out of building new facilities for the artistic expression until I saw them do it.

Then the play started.

With a few exceptions, the acting was mostly terrible. The band was awful, as I said, but they shined in comparison to the singers. During several numbers a random collection of ballet dancers from the Anaheim ballet would come out and do balletic swing dance. This was atrocious. During one of these excruciating numbers Zander leaned over and apologized to me. It was his idea to go.

By that time, however, I was enjoying it. I realized I was watching a fiasco unfolding. It was as fascinating as a train wreck. The performers were all well intentioned people who were doing their best. They couldn't sing or act but they were giving it the old college try in a friendly, unpretentious way. The boys enjoyed it and it was free.

Then the fireworks started.

In the middle of the play we started to hear the boom of fireworks from Disneyland. The experience had gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. The lights started misfiring and the wireless microphones started acting up. The only thing that didn't go during the performance was the set. It wasn't a problem until a tree fell over during the curtain call.

By the end I was weeping tears of joy. Actually, not really but the production was a quick two hours and it didn't get too cold. We ate some buttery, salty popcorn after intermission. We had another kick ass game of 20 questions on the way home.


Something about the whole experience wasn't as horrible as bad theater usually is. I think it was the lack of pretense and the casual nature of the venue. I felt like I could leave at any time if it too awful and Yogi had no problem asking me questions during the performance. I think I didn't feel trapped and punished.

And the lady who played Puck was good.

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