618 Words About 14 Bad Plays

Briefly, the least of local theater in 2005



This year, local theater gave us variety, if not always quality. We sat through plays about Hitler, Pliny the Elder, transvestites, transgendered rock divas, smack-shooting punk rockers, Black Death victims, child-violating Santas and storm troopers armed with hockey sticks. God was in there somewhere. Probably. There was even reindeer rape.

And in a few weeks, the Weekly will lavish love on all those great plays and performances as part of the 2006 OC WeeklyTheater Awards. So this week, rather than tip our hand, we'd like to take a moment to, once again, piss on the weak and the wretched. We had to endure these plays, think about them, write about them and live with them for a small part of our sad, hopeless lives. You should—nay, you must—share our pain. It will make you a stronger man. Unless you're a woman. Maybe even then. Let's test your memory—and no fair rolling up your sleeve to see what you scribbled on your arm with a Sharpie back in July.

Below, in the left-hand column, are some of the ramblings of our reviewers. On the right are the plays and theaters that spawned their venom. Or their praise. You call yourself a thespian, you Eve Harrington wannabe? Prove it. Match them up. The answers are at the bottom.

1. "A manipulative, self-righteous, blathering mess of deception, contradiction and hypocrisy."

2. "Amateurish, unintentionally silly and confusing."

3. "Really, for a play that takes place in present-day New York, she should be able to tell immediately that Sam is just a really lousy actor trying to get into her snatch."

4. "Comes off like a theatrical thong: barely there one moment, completely gone the next."

5. "A steamy loaf of theatrical turd . . . even Jesus would think [this play] is dreadful."

6. "In this play, our friends and neighbors live in a far simpler time: when gays were grotesque caricatures and cross-dressing pansies content to hide in the closet, suck each other off in silence and leave the rest of us God-fearing, tax-paying white people alone."

7. "Add a third sibling, a bisexual whiner who's secretly in love with brother and sister; a crotchety neighbor who keeps calling her daughter "you dumb bitch!"; some late lame revelations about lesbianism; and a predictable we're-just-one-happy-family ending, and you've got everything you need to throw up."

8. "This play, and this production, stinks."

9. ". . . my date and I turned to each other in disbelief at the nutty goings-on up onstage. And we whispered, simultaneously, 'What the fuck is this?' (me) and 'Maybe we should be on acid' (her)."

10. "A sketchy, ragged, meandering mess of a play."

11. "Feels like Dallas dry-humping Apollo 13 . . . [an] ungainly, unsatisfying construct that makes you wish [the playwright] had hit the delete key on every scene not set in space."

12. "Reeks of the unsubtle, here's-what-you-should-be-feeling-at-every-turn mentality that plagues the film."

13. "It feels as cluttered as the bedroom of a 16-year-old Mensa member with ADD."

14. "Then there's the egregious, sexist stereotyping, such as how men are just big babies who want to be held and fed—visit the websites we've bookmarked, honey, and we'll show you that men also like to be spanked and diapered."

A. Run for Your Wife, Stages

B. Stalag 17, Maverick Theater

C. On the Mountain, South Coast Repertory

D. Blake . . . Da Musical! (which we actually really, really liked), Grove Theater Center

E. Closer Than Ever, Chance Theater

F. Rossum's Universal Robots, Garage Theatre

G. Mr. 80%,Garden Grove Playhouse

H. Hitler in Love, Found Theater

I. The Caucasian Chalk Circle, South Coast Repertory

J. The Clean House, South Coast Repertory

K. Darkside, Rude Guerrilla

L. The Underpants,Laguna Beach Playhouse

M. Evita, Orange County Performing Arts Center

N. A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, South Coast Repertory

Answers: 1) C; 2) H; 3) G; 4) L; 5) J; 6) A; 7) N; 8) F; 9) M; 10) D; 11) K; 12) B; 13) I; 14) E

 
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