You know you’re about 14 1/2 minutes into your allotted 15.
My husband and I are part of a theater group in our town; he sings with them, I do their posters, promotion and ushering. Our group just finished performing The Pirates of Penzance, one of the few Gilbert & Sullivan operettas you may have heard of. We had a huge opening night audience, even bigger Saturday, and filled to the rafters on Sunday, we were scrambling to seat everyone.
People loved it. We have received dozens of emails from audience members saying how delightful it was, how they never expected a 140-year old show to be so funny, how gorgeous the music and orchestrations were. One woman just sent us a $100 donation, saying it was the first time she saw us and she looks forward to “more glorious productions.”
During the same weekend another popular local theater group did a drama about a man ‘in arrested development, under the bitter watch of an overbearing mother, doomed to repeat the cycle he’s been caught in since he was a child.’ I heard from friends that they had scant audiences.
You may guess the reason for the difference in attendance between these two plays. Our show was – happy. It has happy music, and very human silliness in the characters, and it takes itself in no way seriously.
And to top it all off – and I really think this was the key – it had no message.
There was not a wisp of politics in it, nor advice for what ails you, nor preaching about what you should learn from it. You learned absolutely nothing from our show. You got bathed in goofiness, and then serenaded in lush and lyrical music, then back to the goofiness. People are obviously craving that right now, and yet so many contemporary playwrights ironically think they are helping people by tearing the bandage off raw emotional wounds and shining a limelight on it.
What the fellow with the overbearing mother needed to turn his life around was to come and laugh for two hours at The Pirates of Penzance.
A cow, an ant and an old fart are debating on who is the greatest of the three of them.
The cow said, “I give 20 quarts of milk every day and that’s why I am the greatest!”·
The ant said, “I work day and night, summer and winter, I can carry 52 times my own weight and that’s why I am the greatest!”
Continue reading “The Cow, the Ant and the Old Fart”