I was raised watching musicals. I could sing along with every song in Oklahoma, Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music, The King and I, Meet Me in St. Louis, Gigi, My Fair Lady… the list goes on, and I love them all. Point proven. Moving on.
One of the events I’ve been planning for over a month went well today; a reception before a musical performance of On the Town by the university students. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and after intermission, the play finally seemed to hit its stride, but I wouldn’t see this play if it were performed by professionals. Nothing about a jazzy, WWII era New York filled with sailors and sassy women belting out verse after verse about taxis and contemporary landmarks appeals to me, especially when they spend 80% of their time gazing appealingly over the heads of the audience as if to say, “Hey, what’s that?! Oh never mind, it’s nothing… Hey, what’s that?!”
As I noted first in this, and then this post, getting caught at an event in which I’d rather not participate requires some kind of self-created entertainment/distraction. Hence, the Bitter Haiku was born.
You’d think the dean of
theater would memorize
The dean of theater was basically reading from a prepared statement. Of all the people in the university from whom I don’t expect this… it’s her.
Really? Not even
one gesundheit? In a full
theater?! My word!
I sneezed during the dean’s intro, no one said a word. Unbelievable. I’m already annoyed.
The play opens with
film footage. Seriously?
Ugh, bad idea.
Ok, who’s fuckin’ idea was this? It’s a play, people. That’s like opening a sculpture exhibit with a painting. That’s like asking for a manicure, and getting a haircut. That’s like paying for apples, and getting fuckin’ oranges. They’re not the same thing.
Everyone is so
excited. Maybe that’s why
they can’t hit a note.
Ask anyone in the dating world; first impressions are pretty important. So when the play opens with a few solid minutes of film footage, then the three main actors deliver minutes of dull dialog, followed by butchering the main musical number… let’s just find the silver lining, and call it lots of material for Bitter Haikus.
The museum scene
was always gonna be the
It’s the Museum of Natural History! Of course it’s gonna be a good scene. Who doesn’t love jokes about dinosaur skeletons? This was the highlight of the production for me.
Ninety minutes in,
and I’ve smiled exactly twice.
Is it over yet?
This is a play about some nice guys falling in love with some hilarious women. There are loads of opportunities for comedy and that “awww” moment. The guy behind me was laughing his ass off, but I couldn’t find much reason to grin, let alone laugh. I felt disappointed and left behind at the same time.
They bullfight with a
tablecloth, and stacked people
There were at least half a dozen very specific examples of choreography throughout the play that were basically stolen from Singin’ in the Rain. Two of these examples were ripped straight out of the scene where Gene Kelley, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds sing “Good Mornin” (in which two characters try to cheer up their glum friend), and were used in a scene in today’s production (in which two characters try to cheer up their glum friend). The similarities are… depressing.
Don’t hire a male lead
who can dance! When would he find
time to run around?
The one guy we spend the majority of the play following around spends the majority of his time looking confused, and speed-walking around the stage, trailing after extras with more purpose in one stride than the male lead had during the entire four-hour production. When he finally broke into dance within the last twenty minutes of the play, I was shocked–shocked. “Was he supposed to be dancing this whole time,” I thought, “or did they really hire him because of his amazing voice, despite his complete lack of dancing talent?” Then I remembered: none of the other two male leads did any dancing at any point in the play. None of them. No wonder I was so much more impressed with the women. They sang and danced, often at the same time (once while in a handstand), and still managed to hit every note.
If there was just one fewer dance number in which the cast coordinated pumping their dancing spirit fingers in the air to the beat of the live orchestra, I think I would have enjoyed it a little more. At least I got paid.