Monday, February 23, 2015

Relief at last

I sat through the last performances of the dread short play festival and I hated the other three plays even more the fourth time around. I will never make this mistake again, entering my work into an evening of 10-minute plays. Just not worth it to be forced to sit through the other plays to get to mine. Why didn't I make this a rule for myself like 10 years ago?

Final thoughts on those plays:

Play #1

The guy cast in this is such a big-bellied schlub, he must be a friend of the director. He has no business calling himself an actor. And the other actor was so annoying - but it might be the way she was directed. She was naming some New Orleans bars and one had the word "Meow" in its name and instead of saying the word "meow" she made a meow sound. That maybe doesn't sound as annoying as it really was, but trust me, it was incredibly annoying. Just so utterly cutesy.

Maybe the most annoying moment in that play though was during the "flirty" exchange about cats in literature because the guy keeps trying to get the woman to give him her pussy, and the guy mentions T.S. Elliot and the woman says something like "there are no cats in T. S. Elliot."

I assume that was meant ironically, but neither of the actors played it that way, so the audience could be forgiven for not laughing - especially since it was such an inside-theater joke - T. S. Elliot is the author of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the inspiration for the musical CATS.

I imagine the author was patting herself on the back for getting that joke in there, but the audience completely failed to get it. This was no thanks to the director, but even if the actors had delivered the lines perfectly only the most fanatical musical theater audiences would get it, so what is the point?

And yes, the guy is moving to New Orleans with his wife because his wife is doing her residency there. There's a "deep" moment when the woman character says something like "you can do well in school and fail at life." Well hell yeah, this play demonstrates the truth in that although not, I think, in the way that the playwright meant.  This intern headed for New Orleans is driving a car around a block while her complete asshole of a bartender husband is hitting on some woman he just met because she was having a yard sale and came out to talk to him without any pants on. All that medical training and she's married to the world's biggest douchebag.

I'm thinking of writing a play about the intern just so she can get a divorce from this asshole, maybe even have her find him in flagrante delicto with Maggie the Cat. Damn I hate this play.


Play #2

I hate the two characters in play #2 almost as much as I hate the characters in play #1. Especially the guy. He's just such a horrible human being - although he's gay he was married and has two children, whom he refers to as "A and B." I noticed he didn't do the offensive Chinese accent this time around. I don't know if it's because the actor just forgot or the director finally got a clue. But the impersonation of a stroke victim is still there. And speaking of impersonations, at one point the woman tells the guy he could be the next Bradley Cooper, and the guy thanks her while doing an impersonation which sounds like it's supposed to be Sean Connery. Why?

Possibly the worst aspect of this play is that the most dramatic moment in it happens over the phone, when the asshole gay guy's boyfriend calls him to break up. And the guy's response is to sulk briefly, and then agree to have sex with his female roommate. I guess that's the level of emotion you can expect from someone who refers to his own children by letters of the alphabet.

Although let's not forget the idiocy of the fact that these two contemporary thirty-somethings don't realize that you can use an online service to call your cell phone. That's even lampshaded in the play - I missed it somehow in the first three performances - the woman can't find her cell phone either and she stupidly says "you could call my cell phone from your cell phone." I mean granted, the playwright is over 70, but the director looked to be in her 60s, surely she should have a clue - or one of the actors could have said something. What is wrong with these people?

Our play was well received in the last performance, but the audience was laughing at everything, so...

Play #4

They laughed their heads off for play #4, which was extremely irritating, it's such an absurd, unfunny play, trying so hard to be zany, about a couple of asexuals who force themselves to have sex with each other so they can write a realistic sex scene for their novel - and based on their reading parts of it during the play, it is a very bad novel indeed.

I believe we are supposed to think that by the end of the play, they've forced themselves to feel sexual desire by describing sex acts to each other. But this makes no sense - they clearly don't have any sex drive at all, so much so that the guy doesn't even know what the word fellatio means.

And we are supposed to believe that there are two college-aged people who also happen to know each other, who are so uninterested in sex they've never looked at pornography, ever, let alone never "made out" with anybody ever.

Back when I used to run readings with feedback sessions for NYCPlaywrights, this would be the moment where somebody says to me that I "think too much." Theater audiences never seem to have a problem with thinking too much.

Now I realize that many playwrights are also blissfully unafflicted by an excess of thinking. This festival has convinced me of that.

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