Ahoy sailors! TJ here. Just thought I’d check in and see how you’re doing. How ARE you doing? You look great.
Sam and I participated in the Portland 48-hour Film Project a couple weeks back. Mostly Sam. I’d love to take credit for it, but really I barely chipped in during the initial brainstorming session. Friends of the show Amarette Gregor, Josh Winegarner, Mychael Foster, and others did a heckuva job. The film is called “Racer in the Void,” and you can see it here:
Click here to learn more about Bath Night, an absurdly good sketch comedy show featuring Scott Engdahl and written by Sean McGrath. It’s at Shaking the Tree Studio, located at SE 14th and Stark. It ends on August 30, so get your tix now! Seriously, it’s a whole lot of fun. I think movie buffs will especially get a kick out of it. Also, it’s a great excuse to support PDX theater!
Be sure to check out the Brody Theater website for information about improv shows and classes. I just took an improv class there, and sweet lord is it worth it. It is a ton of fun and not scary AT ALL. You should check it out if you’re even a tiny bit interested.
Thanks for listening, watching, reading, masticating, gesticulating, prognosticating, and other verbs-ing. Give us a shout if you have any comments or questions!
As a broke person, I don’t get that many opportunities to see Broadway plays, or really any plays. I’m fairly certain that the only time I go to plays is when one of my parents takes me. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it still is, even though I’m technically a grown-ass man. However, it shouldn’t be that way; plays and musicals are, as Gandhi would say, “The tits.”
Monday, I had the privilege of seeing The Book of Mormon on the first night of its swing through Portland. And yup, the only reason I went is because my Ma paid for the tickets (Thanks Ma!). Oh, and also I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANTED TO GO.
My lady bought me the soundtrack to the musical as soon it was available in 2011, and I must have listened to it a couple dozen times. Still, it’s crazy how much the lighting, sets, costumes, and choreography add to the production. It’s almost as if seeing a live musical is better than listening to it on a CD. Huh.
The choreography deserves a special nod. The wholesome, gee-whiz dance moves of the Mormon missionaries contrast nicely with the faux-African, scatological dance moves of the Ugandans. There are so many gags hidden within the choreography. I was especially tickled by “Turn It Off,” in which the classic, over-the-top, Broadway chorus line moves clash with the lyrics to create an amusing stew of repressed homosexuality.
Yes, it’s true—The Book of Mormon is hilarious. It’s almost pointless to talk about how hilarious it is, but I will mention one of my favorite gags. Throughout the musical, ne’er-do-well Elder Cunningham constantly mispronounces the female lead’s name; instead of “Nabulungi,” he calls her “Neutrogena,” “Neosporin,” and, in a nod to the Portland crowd, “LaMarcus Aldridge.”
It’s especially amusing to step back and think of the audience’s participation in the musical. There’s something surreal about hearing nearly three thousand people cheer after a song in which the phrase “Fuck you God in the ass, mouth, and cunt” is repeated a few dozen times. When I sing it, I get kicked out of Applebee’s.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about the Mormons. The real Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought no fewer than three whole-page ads in the playbill with phrases like “You’ve seen the play . . . now read the book” and “The book is always better.” I must say, I’m pretty impressed with the Mormons’ savvy marketing strategy here. They also had a regiment of honest-to-goodness, white-shirt, black-tie Mormons in front of the Keller Auditorium after the play, handing out copies of The Book of Mormon. You know, the source material.
If you take anything from this media diary entry, take it as a recommendation of The Book of Mormon in particular and of theater in general. Or is it theatre? The music, the dancing, the lyrics, the lighting, the set design, the costumes, the stage action exploding into the audience; it’s all great. Even from the very back row of the second balcony—literally the furthest one can be from the stage. I think I enjoyed the theater-going experience at least as much as the play itself. There are many theaters in Portland that have plenty of charming, enjoyable productions at a much lower cost. So, freaking, I don’t know. Just go out and see a play. I ‘spect I will.