Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Theater notes

No, really. The other day the Post's John Moore had a roundup of the political theater taking place in Denver during the DNC--not in the streets, but inside buildings, as political theater should be, shielded from the eyes of innocent passersby. Highlights (for want of a better word) include:
"Iraq War, The Musical!": Musical-comedy satire about the obstacles the Bush administration overcame to get its war in Iraq going — and keep it going. Wacky musical high jinks.
It's a riot! (Oh, sorry. You can put away the crap cannon.)
"The Eyes of Babylon": Honorably discharged Marine Jeff Key tells how he used the military's ban on gays as a way out from a war in Iraq that he came to believe was morally corrupt. Written and performed by Key.
The only thing I like better than having a stranger tell me how sensitive, heroic and all-around wonderful he is for two solid hours is paying for the experience.
"Home Away From": In this new satire of Hollywood Republicans, an aging screenwriter and an aspiring actress rent rooms in a Los Angeles house where the boundaries between race, politics, Hollywood and reality blur.
Three's Company meets Barton Fink! Cutting edge. And let's see, Hollywood Republicans: There's Jeff Zucker and Jon Voight and Ron Silver and Patricia Healey and James Woods and, uh . . . Chuck Norris. . . and . . . Matt Damon . . .

I'm done. Can't be what you'd call a broad satire.
"Allied Witches' Presidential Election Convention 2008": The Mercury Cafe's resident theatrical witches poke their broomsticks in the satirical belly of our democratic process. Characters include everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Dick Cheney to Michelle Obama.
Too horrible for mockery. (And how about that "satirical belly of our democratic process"? Nasty writing.)
"Convention": A series of lowbrow satirical sketches about running a presidential campaign by some fairly novice improvisational comedians. The audience votes between the three buffoons up for their party's nomination.
And finally, the San Francisco Mime Troupe's "Red State," which Moore thinks warrants a loooong talk with the Troupe troupe's "head writer," Michael Gene Sullivan, who says many dull and sententious things like:
"The sole purpose of any play should be to change the entire world. That's it. Because if everyone in the world sees your play and understands it, then everything in the world should change. You shouldn't shoot for anything less than that."
and (though not a direct quote):
From the start of storytelling, Sullivan contends, the purpose of all art has been either to challenge or uphold the status quo. And that makes all art political.
What I want to see is an audience that is so outraged, you have no choice but to laugh about it - and then go out and make the world a better place.
Awful to say it, but I wish he'd stayed a mime.

Update: Kelsey Grammer!

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