Have you ever seen something (heard something, read something) that is hailed as sheer brilliance that you found to be...um....not good? Well, of course you have. And if that thing was Titanic we should be friends. Why do people love that movie so much? Why? It is the worst casting and possibly the worst dialogue in memory. (And while that would seem a weirdly out-of-date example, apparently it so beloved that it is being re-released. Nooooo!) However, that's not the bad thing we're here to discuss. We are here to discuss a play I saw recently. A play that shall remain nameless because I don't want anyone to say "See? Plays. Blech." On the contrary, I have a great love of theatre and I want more people to go see plays, so do that. However, I keep getting email that tells me this play is "shocking," "engrossing," and "not to be missed." When, sadly, it is none of these things.
Let's just say that a major plot point hinges on a Greek tragedy style recognition (think: "I too have half an amulet. Lo! You must be my brother"). Only, in this case the critical object is a clown nose. A clown nose that was tucked into a infant's blanket as he was carried off to an orphanage within, like, twenty minutes of his being born. In the Middle East. Through a war zone. A clown nose that we are meant to believe he somehow still has--in pristine condition--about 30 years later, despite having been moved around constantly his whole life to avoid slaughter. I have trouble even believing that bright red, foam clown noses are likely to be available in remote rubble-y Middle Eastern villages to begin with, let alone that the orphanage personnel would be all, "Do we have all the babies that would otherwise die in a fiery explosion? Great. Oh! Do we have the clown nose that came with that one baby? All right then. We're good to go." This is not, alas, the only problem with the play, but it is a major one. When you hit the big gasp-inducing climax of your very serious drama, you don't want anyone to think, "Are you kidding me? Is there a dramaturg in the house?"
But then, when the lights came up, I saw people in tears and a bunch of people gave it a standing ovation. So what do I know? Thank you, audience, for supporting live theatre and making it satisfying for the artists to perform and for generally being nicer than I am.
Also,we should definitely let those people know about the Titanic 3D re-release. They'll probably be super excited.