As the president of a community theatre organization, I have the opportunity to see a lot of shows. Many of them I will be reviewing and rating as part of our awards program. I recently went to see a musical with my sister, and gave her a glimpse into a world that is really best entered only after you drink the Kool-Aid.
We walked into a pleasant theatre space and were greeted warmly. I was introduced to the head honcho, whom I've never met before. Without further ado, he launched into a well-rehearsed, yet nervous speech, about one of his ingenues who was puzzled as to why she had not received an invitation to perform at the awards ceremony. His eyes were wildly rolling around their sockets and his skin tone was quickly going from white to pink. With hands flourished in some type of interpretive dance, he kindly inquired as to whether this was some "difference" from years past.
Ah yes, I moved the trash can. I have been told that your first year in any new leadership position, you should maintain the status quo. Don't move the trash can or paint the walls. But I did. I changed the format of the ceremony from having our musical actress and actor nominees perform to having the nominated shows select something to present.
I did this because of a snafu we hit last year when one of our performers dropped out at the last minute due to a recently-discovered extra-marital affair. Her soon-to-be-ex explained to me over pasta and chianti at the after-party that one reason for the split was some faulty equipment issues on his part - but he adamantly assured me that everything was working again. It was one of those conversations where you keep a very calm, still face on the outside, but on the inside you are screaming, "Didhejusttellmeabouthispenis?!!"
But I digress.
As I explained the ceremony changes and apologized for the confusion, I heard my sister behind me making sympathetic noises and soothing tones towards the man. It's a natural reaction, to sing a lullaby to a crying baby. Once placated, he then told me about the great sacrifices he was making to attend the ceremony this year. And with a turn and a two-step, he was gone.
My sister and I had excellent seats for the show, a raunchy tale that promised profanity and brief nudity. Since we were front and center, we were able to observe every ripple and dimple on the dancers' scantily-clad rear ends. Our neighbors probably thought I had a nervous tic, as I was constantly averting my eyes so as not to catch a glimpse of a stray pubic hair or part of someone's hoo-ha. There were some stand-out moments, but also so much to deconstruct and explain to my sister.
For instance, the longer an actor's program bio is, the larger their ego. There were people in the show with no more than a few lines who took up several paragraphs discussing their "celebrity" "artistic talents" and "triple threat" status. The amount of awards they claim is proportional to the number of times they've gotten laid. And if they don't thank the cast and crew, it's because everyone hates them.
Another thing is nepotism. People get parts all the time because they are best friends or brothers with the director. Such was the case for at least one poor soul, who, after we realized he was a man with a girl's name and not a woman in drag, demonstrated that he had never danced before in his life. The choreographer had created such a complicated routine to showcase her genius, but this guy just flopped around the stage with his eyes glazed over and his mouth hanging open. It was both uncomfortable and fascinating, and segued into a locker room scene that provided more unwelcome views of hairless chests and the revelation that puberty may have been severely delayed in some.
The show ended with a whimper as the grand finale song withered on the vine, but we did get one last peek at the women's "cheeks." Then my sister and I bypassed the receiving line and the eagle eye of the pinkish head honcho and high-tailed it out of there. We were on sensory overload and needed to decompress.
Sister: "Is it always like this? I mean, how do you handle it?"
Me: "It makes me feel normal." And secretly, I can relate to all of these people more than I care to admit.
So, with that, the season has begun and I look forward to sharing it with you. But not too much ....
Until next time, keep crowin'!