I’ve seen some pretty shitty theater in my day. So when Zoe asked Big Chris and me to attend some show her San Francisco State Masters Class was putting on, we shrugged and agreed. I mean, how bad could it be?
Uh, let me tell you.
Chris and I entered the Marsh Theater, and I shuddered at the memory of my last experience there, known internationally as “The Worst Date of all Time.” Forced to pool our cash and cough up $14, we found seats in the last row and settled in with the other 15 audience members, all of whom appeared breathless with anticipation.
“How long’s this thing supposed to last?”
“Beats me. Zoe said it wouldn’t be more than an hour. She’s buying us drinks after. Relax.”
Waiting for the show to start, we perused the program and realized the show consisted of 5 pairs of students, each pair presenting a “Personal Narrative Exploring Relationships, Obsessions, and How We Live With or Without Them.”
Oh shit. This is going to be a long hour.
The lights dim, and the first pair entered. Consisting of 2 young twenty-something girls, they began a Def Poetry Slam along the lines of, “This is me being real! This is me being a woman! This is me in my tank top and toenails and tears I cry when you don’t return my fucking phone calls!”
Sometimes, when laughter isn’t appropriate, everything becomes funnier. As I sat in the middle of the Mission, in a tiny theater filled with 15 people watching 2 girls pretending to write in faux diaries and cook imaginary food while rhyming about how much men suck, I got the giggles. So much so, Big Chris actually looked over and ‘Shhh-ed’ me. I simply couldn’t help it. It was so ridiculous, I thought I was being Punk’d.
Worse, I looked across the theater and found Richard who looked right back at me, shrugged and nodded. I mean, seriously. Pair Number One actually chose to butcher the timeless Bonnie Raitt classic, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” while rapping about gender based societal pressure.
Pair Number Two was only slightly better, creating some skit in which 2 people meet in, what else, a coffee shop and fall in love via MySpace, but can’t give up their addictions to cocaine and diet pills. This skit also involved an original song, which prompted Big Chris to lean over and whisper, “I’m missing Sports Center for this crap?”
Zoe and her partner came on third and while I’m totally biased, they were hilarious. And wonderfully brief. That’s the kicker. Some of these folks went on for decades, particularly the woman who felt the need to fully and profoundly express his distaste for men who share her skin color but not her struggle.
This is when Chris announces, “I can’t sit any more!” and actually stands up, justifying this by pointing out that we’re in the last row.
Just kill me now.
Oh, and lest I forget, we had two leotard clad women performing individual monologues about lesbianism and alcohol abuse. Just when I thought it was finally over, European house music starts and one of the leotard-clad woman begins to perform an bizarre interpretive dance (complete with the clichéd rolling around on the ground) while the other dramatically reads from Rapunzel.
Don’t ask. I have no idea.
Hell froze over and the show ended. Chris and I attended the “reception” afterwards, enjoying the Two Buck Chuck and Gummi Bears while we waited for Zoe and Richard. As we wandered around trying not to make eye contact with anyone that was noticeably bothered by my giggles, Chris discovered his highlight of the evening.
“Sweet!” He screamed. “Mini Sprite!”
You know, you’ve got to love Big Chris. Not only will he miss Sports Center to attend Zoe’s bizarre and incomprehensible final project performance, it takes so little to make him happy. In fact, if Big Chris had to perform a personal narrative on relationships, obsession and how he lives with or without them, it would be entitled “Tail, Sports and Miniature Cans of Soda. A Man Defined.”