(Ed reviews from the point-of-view of a dragged-to-the-show, theater-challenged friend of a theater lover)
While Ed is on a road trip this week, Dan stands in:
“I went to a stage show with my wife and it was really great. They sang and danced and stuff. Halfway through, I went to buy a beer at the convenience store and ended up at a movie instead. It was called GLADIATOR and I give it four out of four stars.”
Ed just got back from his road trip, and says:
“I recommend that you pass quickly through Ashland, Oregon before your spouse makes you stop at the Ashland Shakespearean Festival and see a show that no normal person can comprehend, let alone stay awake through, and men should not wear tights in front of your wife. But I liked the Redwoods when we got there, and I give them four out of four stars.”
Ed managed to avoid all live theater this week:
“I saw Mission Impossible instead of a stage show because there is no way you’d ever see someone rip off their own face on stage like that, and I dig that kind of stuff. Three out of four stars. My wife, who is a stage nut, says that the plot was icky and the dialogue stank, but I didn’t smell anything.”
“I saw NUNSENSE at the Villa’s Little Brown Theatre (which is really black, so I didn’t get that part). They weren’t too bad looking for nuns. Three stars plus one ’cause Miriam said I’d lose this job
“I had to go to Nunsense AGAIN this week because a relative, who’s name I will not mention, does this theater newsletter and is in the show, and we got free tickets. It was better this time because I was able to stay awake after drinking six diet cokes. You have to go through the nuns dressing room to get to the men’s room too, so it made the show more interesting for me. Four stars.”
“I took Miriam’s advice and went to the Sundance play “Violinist on a Hot Tin Roof” with the woman I love. I flopped down on the blanket and cuddled. It was a great show, although I have no idea what happened on the stage. Four stars”
Ed saw Comedysportz, an improv group at HCTO.
“I couldn’t believe I had to go and see another thing on stage, but my wife said the word ‘sports’ in there somewhere so I gave it a shot. I was disappointed at the lack of head bashing and break-out fights, and I couldn’t see the ball anywhere, but the guys up there made me laugh which develops your abs, so I figured that’s where the sports came in. Three stars.”
Ed is in Cleveland this week so Dan stands in again:
“I saw THE NERD at The Little London Theatre. I knew that guy in High School. I used to beat him up all the time. I can’t believe he’s still alive. He’s got more guts than I thought. Three stars.”
“I saw some show where it went on and on and on and the people on stage all sat around singing and looking WAY too happy. Don’t see this show. I can’t remember the name of it…something like “People Who All Sing On and On and On and Are Happy”. There is definitely something sick and wrong with this show. I give it one star (in case these singing people try to serenade me at night if I give them zero).
Today Ed provides a theater tip:
“No Doze is a great thing. 32 oz. of Coke or Jolt just makes you run to the toilet a lot, then your wife thinks you don’t like the show, cause you keep getting up. No Doze only takes a couple swallows, then you look wide awake during the show and everyone is happier that way.”
Another great theater tip today from Ed:
“People in theater always talk about THE METHOD. I have no idea what that means, but if you say it a lot, theater people will think you’re on the inside of theater know-how. SO I have written some sentences for you to use while talking to theater geeks… er…people:
- ‘I prefer THE METHOD’
- ‘THE METHOD is my preference’
- ‘I would have preferred THE METHOD’
I think that about covers it. Here is a sample conversation:
THEATER PERSON: “What did you think of the play?”
ME: “I prefer THE METHOD”
THEATER PERSON: (looking astounded at my reply) “Wasn’t the timing in the second act great?”
ME: “THE METHOD is my preference”
THEATER PERSON: (looking even more amazed) “Didn’t you like the sub context of the Such and Such character?”
ME: “I would have preferred THE METHOD”
THEATER PERSON: (flabbergasted) “I am so impressed with your theater knowledge”.
Ed has managed to escape watching a show again this week, so here is another theater tip:
“If you want to blend in with the theater crowd you have to be physical with everyone. Keep saying ‘The Method’ like I taught you last week, then go around hugging everyone. And if you’re a guy and another guy hugs you… after you accidentally punch him, just explain that it was ‘The Method’ that got in the way, and he might understand and even be impressed by your knowledge of theater. If he continues in a frenzy of hugs, and extends all that acting energy toward your wife… just knock him out, and when he wakes up explain that he went into an acting coma. He’ll be amazed by his own abilities.”
Ed saw Jane Eyre:
“I saw ‘Jane Air’ and I know why they call it that, ’cause that’s what it is: Air. Everyone sits around and sings about…nothing, space, air and then they all dance about nothing and talk about nothing. My wife says there is something, but I can’t figure it out. In fact I can’t figure how every one knows when to sing and then they all know the same dance. They’re just talking along and all the sudden burst into song, like they would know the words and music and stuff. I didn’t get it. But the concessions were OK and I got a good nap so I give it two stars.”
More theater savvy tips from Ed:
“If you want to be a part of the theater crowd, you have to speak in tongues or something… I really don’t get it, but theater people are just talking along and all the sudden break into different accents or ‘dialects’ as they call them. For what reason, I have NO idea. But you have to know how to do this to be a real theater geek and fit in, so I’ll teach you. There are two ways. They are both good. The first is to watch 100 hours of Looney Tunes and copy Mel Blanc. Bugs Bunny can even do an English/Brooklyn thing. Or you can use a few phrases that I will show you now. Here is a sample conversation that covers everything:
Theater Person: “So you like theater?”
You: “Right Toe” (British)
Theater Person: “How long have you been involved?”
You: “A boot f-eye-ev deez” (about five days) (Irish or Scottish or
Theater Person: “Do you like it?”
You: “Yah” (German)
Theater Person: “What have you learned?”
You: “nadda” (Spanish, I think)
Theater Person: “Are you here to stay?”
You: “Cwoll a Ceb” (Call a cab) (lower Manhattan)
THE HISTORY OF THEATER
Another theater tip from Ed:
If you want to be on the “in” crowd with theater stuff, you have to know about the history of theater. No one really knows, but it’s good to pretend to know. Some people say the Greeks started it, but I think it’s a misspelling and it’s really the Geeks.
A bunch of geeks were watching this confusing movie called Monty Python and the Holy Grail and decided it was humorous, so they got together every so often and watched it over and over until their brains were infused with the dialogue. (For those of you who aren’t as cultural as me, “dialogue” is stuff like “Your mother is a newt”) Then they went about quoting it and quoting it until people got sick of them and shut them in a dark, creepy theater. All the geeks just kept quoting and breaking into songs for no reason, and people heard them in there and felt sorry for them so they came to watch. Then after a while the geeks figured out that if they charged a large sum of money, people would have to like the stuff and would write reviews and things.
And that’s how it happened.
Another theater tip from Ed:
Now you know the History of Theater, how to speak in dialects, how to hug people, and all about THE METHOD… you are ready for an audition. I’ve never been to one, but I’m sure it’s a piece of cake after everything I’ve taught you. I hear they hand you sides. Sides of what, I’m not sure, but take one to be polite. And bring a picture of you at your best angle, unless that angle is from the rear. Then walk in and try to shmooze with everyone, giving lots of hugs and talk about THE METHOD with an English dialect. Break into song once in a while, like you know what to sing. If you do all this you will get a callback. That’s where they call you on the phone… even though you didn’t call them in the first place, they say that it’s a callback. Don’t gag on the audacity of it all, just say thanks. Then write down the time they tell you to COME TO the callback. This makes even less sense, but go to the theater again at that time anyway. When you get there, I hear that they make you dance. Maybe you better not go. That sounds wimpy.
Another theater tip from Ed:
Now that you’ve auditioned for and made a play, I will help you with what drama geeks call CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. The word “character” does not mean a Looney Tune personality, and the word “development” has nothing to do with your figure. It’s just what people say to sound like they are doing something worth while when they are in a show. You can blame all your actions on Character Development. If you stay up late watching T.V. it’s for Character Development. If you get caught staring at some one, it’s Character Development. If you trip and fall, talk to yourself, say something stupid, it can all be blamed on Character Development. I think drama people invented this to make themselves look smart and everyone else look dumb, so use it to your advantage.
Today I’m going to tell you about a new theater word that you need to know. TECHIE. Techie is what you are if you didn’t make that audition that I helped you with. I’m not sure what techies do, but they have serious wardrobe problems and own a lot of black clothes. They always look tired and laugh at jokes that no one, not even actors, understand. You are going to see a lot of techies wandering around if you become a theater geek, so you need to know that they are harmless and you don’t need to be afraid of them, even though after weeks of silence they step into a room and make big, commanding threats to an entire cast about touching this or that. And if you do become a techie some day… buy clothes with lots of bright colors. I think it will help.
I just found out about a new theater word that I thought you might want to know. DIVA. I thought it was an athletic shoe of some sort, but actually it’s an actor who has a problem with their neck, causing their head to tilt backward slightly and their nose to stick up in the air. DIVAS know more than the director, so their job is to inform the director of all the stuff that the director obviously doesn’t know. They also are in charge of helping their fellow actors by telling them how to act, and pointing out how they fall short of talent. The strangest thing about DIVAS is that, although they are the most incredible actors in a group, no one else really cares or even thinks so. So if you decide to become a DIVA, remember, it’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it. I hear there is at least one in every cast.
Since Mir did a list of fifty top Theater Thankfuls last week, I’m going to do my top ten since that’s about as thankful as I get over theater stuff.
I’m thankful for…
- Reclining, high-back chairs at theaters… only they never have them
- No Doze
- Theater guys who don’t talk like twinkies or hug me
- Long, romantic songs, when they finally END
- Really short plays
- Cell phones with games to play while you watch a show
- Good concessions
- “Joseph” playing AGAIN, because it gives me an excuse not to go…I’ve seen it
- Dogs… they don’t make you go to shows
- The Method… I prefer it
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Once again Dan stands in for Ed this week:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (playing just about everywhere) The show “Christmas Carol” is kind of like fruit cake. You have to have it at Christmas, and it’s only good with lots of rum or brandy poured all over to drown out the flavor. So even though you’ve seen fifty versions of Christmas Carol on T.V. or at the theater this year, I think you could still enjoy it if you drink a jigger or two of brandy or rum right before you go. I give it Sree Thars, uh… Three Stars.
P.S. I do not endorse Drive Drunking, and I only drink for pedicinal murposes.
THE JAZZ GAME
Mir stands in for Ed
I am a dragged-to-the-game, sports-challenged person who went to see a Jazz game Saturday night for the first time… and in fact it’s the first game I have “spectated” (besides my son’s soccer) in fourteen years! I felt like Ed must feel at a show, and decided to review the game for you.
There were a bunch of giant-type men down on the stage dancing around in a clumsily choreographed manner. They kept falling down and the music was sporadic. People in the audience acted kind of like drama geeks do at a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They yelled and jumped around a lot and wore silly things. I couldn’t follow the story line, and I kept dozing off. The only interesting part was at intermission when some real entertainers came out. I couldn’t believe it when people told me that the entertainers didn’t get paid as much as the giant guys. The cost of the ticket was about as much as a Broadway show, and I didn’t feel any life-changing stirrings the way I do at some shows, so I give it one star for effort.
ED’S TOP TEN LEAST FAVORITE SHOWS OF 2000
“Mir is doing a top ten favorite shows list for the new year, so I’ll do the top ten least favorite since that makes more sense in my case…
- JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAM COAT because anyone who has ever read the Bible knows that it’s David who sings, not Joseph… duh.
- FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. I didn’t get it. Why would you climb up on a roof to play an instrument… unless you lived in Manhattan or some place where there’s no where else to practice. And besides, playing the fiddle has absolutely nothing to do with the eviction of Jews from Russia.
- FOREVER PLAID. Oh please.
- NUNSENSE- I wished they had all eaten the vichyssoise.
- SOME SHOW- I don’t remember the name, but it was by Ruth Hale. What’s with the multiple marriages at the end of all Ruth’s shows? If there are three guys and three girls they’ll all match up. This is not real life folks.
- CHRISTMAS CAROL- I think Darles Chickens would roll over in his grave if he knew how people where overusing his story.
- THE SECRET GARDEN- A bunch of ghosts wailing about. Die! Die! Go away!
- SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS- Once again… why would the seven women match up perfect with the seven men in height, age and look, and how could they all just happen to fall in love? I’d like to see a what happens in a sequel depicting ten years down the road.
- MY FAIR LADY- Why did she go back to that jerk?
- ANY SHAKESPEARE SHOW- Don’t people know that Shakespeare’s brilliance doesn’t come from his “poetic” writings, or philosophies… it come from the fact that he wrote a bunch of nonsense and is now laughing hysterically while he watches everyone try to figure it all out.
Well, that’s about it.”
WHY PEOPLE GO TO PLAYS (Part One)
My New Years Resolution is to try and uncover this impossible mystery: “Why do people go to plays?” My search begins this week by watching the behavior of a person who likes to go to plays, and analyzing, step by step, what they do. So far I have this:
The first thing the play-loving subject does is get some sort of notion that there is a play out there that needs to be seen. The symptoms of this notion are, at first, subtle and trite, but grow obvious as time goes on. If you watch closely you will see the person casually looking at the entertainment section in the paper, or worse, looking up the Players Anonymous “Plays” page. At first this may seem harmless when you ask, “Honey, are you thinking about seeing a play this weekend?” and the answer is, “No, it’s your turn to choose the activity”. But then the subject begins to write down information and you have to think, “hmmmm…..”
My advice to you during this phase is to quickly come up with a precisely planned evening including dinner and a SPECIFIC movie. Then go on and on about HOW MUCH you want to see this movie. And you better do research on where the movie is playing and what time, and make sure it conflicts with all possible plays. Then purchase movie tickets ahead of time if possible. You can do this on the web nowadays.
This is as far as my research has gone. I still have no idea WHY PEOPLE GO TO PLAYS.
WHY PEOPLE GO TO PLAYS (Part Two)
Alright. I’ve got it all figured out. Give me a week and I can do anything. People go to plays because it irritates their husband. People go to plays because their husband did something, somewhere, somehow that upset them and now they are being sneaky about revenge and putting their husband through great suffering by requiring him to sit through what no normal person could possibly sit through. That was easy. Now I have to find a new resolution for the year.
Next Week: Ed feels like an expert on theater now, so Ed Liked It will become an advise column.
WHAT DO ACTORS EAT? (submitted by an anonymous subscriber)
Ed Says: Actors are sometimes really skinny and sometimes really fat, so I think they eat food. I could be wrong though because once I saw a show where they were eating ice cream, and I was backstage after the show and the ice cream was made out of wax. So maybe they just eat wax. I’m not sure.
WHY ARE ALL ACTRESSES SO PRETTY? (submitted by an anonymous subscriber)
Ed Says: Who paid you to ask that? No, really I know the answer to this one: “Those pants do NOT make you look fat”. Actually I saw a pretty actress once close up and I think “she” might have been a drag queen but the gobs of make-up worked real good.
WHERE DO ACTORS GET THEIR PROPS?
Ed Says: I didn’t know actors needed props, but I guess the background actors might be made out of cardboard, and that would require some propping up. I suppose the people who make the sets make the props for the cardboard actors.
WHAT IS THE BEST THEATER IN UTAH?
Ed says: The theater with “No one named Ed allowed” on the door.
WHAT KIND OF SHOES ARE BEST TO WEAR TO AN AUDITION?
Ed says: As a normal guy I would say shoes that go on your feet, but theater geeks are NOT normal, so I would say why don’t you try going with shoes on your ears or maybe elbows? The idea at an audition is to stand out, and I think that might help you.
HOW MANY PLAYS DO YOU SEE A MONTH?
Ed says: It depends. Last month I saw a guy make a play for my little sister and I threatened him with a crowbar. That was one. Other times it’s more. Other times less.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
Ed says: Blue. No, yel– auuuuuuuuughhh!! My theater friend said to say that. I don’t get it.