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Monday, June 25, 2012
I Went to a Play Last Night
By that, I mean, I actually drove to the theatre, parked the car, got out, and went into the building instead of speeding past in a panic and driving around for two hours before going back home and pretending to have seen a play.
I figured out the way to conquer my performance anxiety might be to ask someone to accompany me: The obligation of pleasing another person would thus far outweigh any fears I might be harboring of personal humiliation and psychic oblivion, and I could finally begin to get over it.
So that's what I did. I asked my friend Winston to come with me, and when Winston comes with you, you do what Winston says. So there was no backing out. Uh-uh.
And—would you believe it?—I enjoyed myself. I even laughed. Out loud. Something I don't always do, even when I'm enjoying myself and finding something funny.
Maybe sitting on the first row, because that's where Winston said we had to sit, helped. I wouldn't have wanted the actors to see me not laughing and thinking to themselves that it was because I wasn't enjoying myself. If that had happened, they might have become unnerved and thought they weren't doing a good job. Or they might have begun to get irritated with me for not appreciating their hard work. They might even have begun to actively dislike me, a dislike that might have grown into a roiling hatred so intense it would have caused them to say unspeakable things about me behind my back backstage. I know how actors can be.
But the play was funny, and it made me laugh.
It's called An Alien Home Companion & the Titanic Comedy Hour and is being presented through next weekend by the Running with Scissors troupe at the Allways Lounge and Theatre.
Running with Scissors is an established comedy company here in New Orleans that needs no recommendation from me (and, God knows, I'm no critic—I'd prefer to be loved, please and thank you very much); but if they made me laugh, they'll be sure to make you pee in your pants. And if that's not what theatre is all about, then I don't know what it is.
This production also boasts a rare appearance by the troupe's leader, Richard Read. Richard should consider performing more often. As he prepares to enter his middle years, he is still in possession of one of the better-looking asses in the city. And if that's not also what theatre is all about, well, ...
As Kenny Tynan once was wont to gush over his chum, little Larry Olivier, "Talent is cheap, but a great piece of ass is a work of art, and it's art that puts butts in the seats."