Chaos Attraction

Lots Of Plays Today

2020-08-02, 10:28 p.m.

I found out from Mom this morning that my great uncle Tony died. Three years ago. And nobody mentioned it. Of course, he's from Dad's side of the family, which explains why. We liked Uncle Tony. Admittedly, he was very old, but y'know, still, might have been nice to be informed or whatever.

Today was another driving day. Not much happened. I saw a heart bumper sticker and some heart graffiti at the gas station. I tried to get the car washed, but the car wash card swiper wasn't working, which I guess explains the lack of line. I drove partly to Winters and back. I tried to park my car in a nice shady spot and read a book to try to enjoy outdoors "safely" but it just... didn't work. I gave up and went back in.

On a brighter note than that, I sent my monologue out to Shanna and Kelly last night; Shanna's response: "It’s so good babes ! Always play 3 characters at once! Does anyone have a drunk horse monologue? I need something weird!"

Kelly's: "OMG I loved it! So much more fitting for George, then I thought when just reading the monologue. I love how Tassie thinks she's the shit and the person holding the audition is like...ah wtf? LOL, that is pretty much George's entire existence LOL." So I did.

Shanna, despite her busy schedule, decided to write her own drunk cat abstract monologue and film it for hers. We shall see how it all goes!

Later in the day we all got together on Zoom (though it took Shanna like an hour, so Kelly and I talked about theater stuff) to discuss Kelly's rewrite of the suffragette play, version 2. That went well. Over text last night Shanna and I were having reservations about character developments, I think she was spelling that out better than I was. Anyway, we managed to come up with some good points and hopefully version 3 will course correct things. Kelly is also going to meet with a suffragette expert tomorrow, which is cool.

This morning I watched an online Zoom (ish) play called "In These Uncertain Times." This is the review that sold me on watching it, but I did not end up loving it. It's not so much a play as an artsy feelingsdump. We see six actors in want of a show, in between phone shots of quarantine memes off and one, one person going to the beach, a monologue in the dark about grief, etc. The action, such as it is, involves one of the actresses having a big ol' crying breakdown. One actor coughs for what feels like five minutes at the start and it's horrible and everyone else stares at the screen. Another actress chows down incessantly on various snacks. A third actress puts on her graduation gear and cuddles up with a 2020 sign at one point. The other actor randomly shows up with a bloody nose.

Reviews of it are here, here, here and here.

Honestly, I can't say I liked it, mostly because I have a thing about how plots should exist and be a thing and this one doesn't. I don't get to know people. We have Nervous Breakdown Lady, Nosebleed Guy, The Graduate, The Girl Who Eats Snacks, The Cougher, and...I can't even categorize the last one. I enjoyed the drunk party section, mind you, but for some reason the best part of the show is shown entirely over chat text (see below):

"Do you think love will be able to exist in the new world?" "I think it's gonna have to." "How?" "It'll be more exposed. You'll talk to a person for a long time. Until you realize they're worth taking off your mask for. So then you will. And you'll hope they will too. The first step into the six feet is gonna be freaky. And then when it ends, you'll sit all alone for two weeks."

That's great, but why wasn't this done by live people? Why wasn't there more of this?

By comparison, I think the Apple Family pandemic plays (most recent one: And So We Come Forth) worked better, but also there's a lot of history and character development going on.

If I get back to working on my play, it's got to be better than that. At least it'll be more fun.

Shanna's comment on this afterwards: "If you don't have a play with breakdowns, nobody's gonna watch it!"

Somebody put the musical Six online today, so I ran to watch it. It's a good bootleg too, other than it's from the side a bit you get to see things pretty well. Hey, I would have paid to watch it, but.... It does seem like it'd be a good one to do in quarantine since it's a few actresses on a small stage in punk outfits and doesn't have to be a touching (physically) show. I've certainly listened to the soundtrack several times. I'm not sure why the punk outfits/sensibility. I like it, mind you, but it's odd. The vague conceit of the show is to figure out who's queen of queens by each one singing her story. There's some prose talk in between the songs--it's not like Hamilton and not sung all the way--but not a lot. It's also so short...Not that you could make it longer given the conceit of the whole thing, they're not acting out life with Henry, it's all song monologues....

Catherine of Aragon does "No Way, " about her refusal to be dumped, which is great and forceful. It reminds me of a shorter version of 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Which sadly wasn't successful either....

I've always thought Anne Boleyn was an interesting character, but I don't like what they do with her here. I don't think the queens were bimbos--well, I'll be honest, Howard was a teenager, if anyone's a "bimbo" it would have heard because she's what, fifteen?--but Anne gets the total bimbo treatment of anyone here. She's not into politics, she's scheming because daddy said so, sorry not sorry I didn't mean to hurt anyone... "Don't Lose Your Head!" Uck. This is the one I don't like too much. "Like I had a daughter and he chopped my head off." -Anne Boleyn.

My favorite of the songs is "Heart of Stone" by Jane Seymour, the blonde/innocent-ish one who knows darned well that the only reason she's best beloved is because she produced a boy and died for it anyway. How do you handle that situation? Best you can, I guess. Most of these songs are VERY situational, as per the whole conceit of the play, but I can picture this being one you could hear on the radio because it's more of a less specific song.

The Haus of Holbein song involves neon collars and seems very.... silly. Well, of course it is. It's kind of odd that all the girls get a song apiece but Anne of Cleves, of all people, kinda gets two because of the portrait drama that went down with her. Poor lady, got to move into a resplendent palace and didn't have to sleep with Henry and his gaping leg tragic! I do like how Anne of Cleves definitely has the winning attitude of the bunch. Independence, yay! For someone who doesn't have much plot in the whole Henry's Marital Drama story, she got a lot here, if mostly bragging. "Get Down" is a boring song name--it should have been "Queen of the Castle" though! Anne of Cleves won't win because she put up with the least amount of shit from Henry, but she's fine with that! Who wouldn't be?

After that, the show takes a break to have Catherine of Aragon brag that she won, Anne Boleyn to go on about her head, Jane to say that she couldn't even hold her son because she died (nice chew off), etc. "Your lives sounded terrible. And your songs," says Katherine Howard, who also notices her own head came off....

Most of the ladies look like they are dressed like sexy space aliens (especially Catherine of Aragon) but Katherine Howard looks the most like a cheerleader.

Even though I said "Heart of Stone" is my favorite, "All You Wanna Do" starts out like it's going to be a bimbo song, and is about young Katherine's seduction by various older men throughout her life. She thinks she's hot stuff ("13 going on 30") and keeps thinking each one is a special connection ("I get him and he gets me...He says we have a connection...I thought this time was different....but it's never, ever different"), and...well....they're a bunch of jerks over and over again. And you're all "Oh, this poor girl." I feel like Anne Boleyn could have used some of that depth in hers as well. This has hidden depth, which is why it's my second favorite. Also, all the girls have been there with that shit.

So after that Katherine thinks she won, and Jane is all "hey, remember that when your son was left alone, OH WAIT THAT WAS ME, nobody cared if you died." (I'm paraphrasing.) Catherine of Aragon is all "hey, he had three mistresses" and Anne Boleyn is all "I had three miscarriages" and Catherine of Aragon is all "I had FIVE miscarriages" and Catherine Parr is all "My turn now, please." Actually no, it's more like, is this a competition? And everyone else is all "we've literally been doing it for the last hour." If it's a sob story you wan't, I'll give you one," Catherine Parr says.

I'm gonna note that Catherine Parr is the only one wearing pants in this show. Hmmm.

Catherine mentioned that she was a widow a few times over, so she and Henry had marriages in common. "I did manage to get through them without decapitating anyone." But Catherine Parr already had somebody she loved when Henry had his eye on her. Her song starts out as a sad goodbye to her love, Thomas. "I Don't Need Your Love." That's heartbreaking.

The only reason anyone cares about them is because of their husband. We just compare ourselves, they say. Anne Boleyn finally gets an intellectual line. Maybe we could like, reclaim our lives! Like, as a song! Nobody needs your love, Henry! We can't change how our lives went, but we can end however we like.... and they pretend they had better endings and do some reprising. Lots of that.

Anyway...I like it, it's pretty cool, albeit surreal in its own way. A fun show. Lotta energy to it. I'm amused that the filmer is filming everyone sideways and approaching the stage at the end!

I also watched the first episode of A Killer Party: A Murder Mystery Musical, which may be the first musical I'm seeing online so far? The Broadway San Jose theater is putting it on, with people like Jeremy Jordan and Alex Newell in it, so that's awesome. It's a fun first number of everyone being invited to be in a play, at a dinner, and then the director dies. Very cheesy. Cool beans!

Robin Hood rehearsal: All of Act 1 tonight. Sorta had costumes tonight. Sorta dealt with sound.

"Thank goodness we're recording this." -Linda
"Jennifer's right, the townspeople should come on." -Linda
"He could come on, give a thumbs up and leave?" -me on King Richard.
"And the Sheriff could come in and start axeing." -Bridget
"Just assume I performed with depth and brilliance." -Cameron
"My music just stopped but we're just going to go with it." -Cameron
"I have this vision thing and you're making it real." -Brunette Sarah
"I like that you have a DIY forest." -me to Morgan, who put some plants in her house as background.
"Now we smack each other." -Cameron. "Choreography." -Morgan
"I'm trying not to hit anything, including the trees." -Morgan
"It's a problem." -Linda "It's a melodrama." -Morgan and Linda
"Do you have enough room to move?" "Not tonight. " -Linda and Morgan
"There is a small forest creature meowing for dinner. I shall return shortly." -Morgan
"Every Stout replaced with a Lion." -Brunette Sarah
"I'm sorry, it was going good until the music stopped." -Alexis. "TECHNOLOGYYYYYYYYY." -Linda

I'm still trying to figure out why "Walk Like an Egyptian" dancing is A Thing in this show? I feel like the "Cat-Like Tread" song is the hammiest in this whole thing. Like DAAAAAAMN. Bridget is having an awesome time waving a sword around. I still think it's weird to see John being that bouncy. I get the feeling that Bridget is playing the sheriff as a medieval pirate.

"We're going to have a video of SOMETHING for a caravan.... this video, whatever it is." (So who knows on the copyright issue.)

Linda did find a few artistic drawings of suffering Saxons.

"Nice! Very classy." -me on a beheading photo
"Very grim medieval slideshow." -Cameron
"I feel this should be the screen share portion of the evening." -me
"My signature date where I show her the horrors of the world." -Cameron
"It's like Aladdin in reverse: I can show you the world and it's completely shitty." -me "God, that's a horrible background." -Linda on the beheading photo

I love the adorable calligraphy "Robin Hood" letter Elizabeth made.

Yes, Cameron has a brown Covid mask on this evening.
'Hi, Alexis's dad!" -he comes in and kisses her.

"I've done target shooting!" -Cameron
"Be wary of her." -Linda

Next week: act 2. I need to get some girly stuff together for "Tuck Be A Lady." I also attempted to film some reaction shots for the tournament, since I can't exactly fake a bow and arrow in here.

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