Sunday, May 3, 2009

American Theater

I like TV. I like theater. I like musicals. So when the opportunity presented itself to see all three in one, you might understand why I said, "Yes, please." Or at least why I said, "Sure, why not?" It all started last fall, when I was new and friendless in my new town. Some colleagues invited me to attend a production of Gilligan's Island: The Musical, which was playing at another local university way off in May. I agreed for the reasons mentioned at the start of this paragraph, plus the added fact that I wasn't about to turn down a social opportunity, even if it was more than six months away.

Finally, the night came. I admit that I had low expectations. The TV show was utter crap, but I like it for its open embrace of crapness. I figured the musical would feature little references to the show, little in-jokes and stuff like that. Plus songs...who knew what the songs would be like, but I was game to try. Low expectations for me does not equate to unpleasantness.

When I got there, I discovered via the playbill that an alien featured in the plot. Oh, dear. I had been duped into going to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and had been shat upon by a plot involving crystalline aliens. So that was warning bell one. The group of us discussed our growing apprehension with this development. Were they really going to mess with the 'integrity' of the show in such a ridiculous way??


So the second warning bell was the first song, where the characters meandered about the stage, each carrying a plywood section of the ship that was tossed about by the storm while they sang the theme song of the show. Finally, they were separated by the tides, and washed up on a plywood forested-island.

And then it went downhill from there. Honestly. That was the high point. The second warning bell was the high point.

The good news is that I laughed pretty much throughout the whole debacle. The bad news is that I laughed at it, not with it. I have low-brow tastes, but I'm dismayed that crap such as this passes for theater, and that its connection to a terrible TV show means we were suckered into going.

Though I should add, in our...oh, let's say in our defense...that our original draw-in to the show was the fact that Greg Brady (aka Barry Williams) was going to play the Professor, but he had to back out. The problem with this defense is that it still rests on our being lured in by crap TV. So we still come out pretty weak in this whole thing. But not quite as weak as the musical itself, so it evens out, I guess.

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