Saturday, November 15, 2014

a farce to be reckoned with (sorry!)

Ever since the boys were quite young, I've taken them to theater events. (Okay, I realize that sounds totally snooty, but I'm not talking about opera, here, so bear with me.) We started with little puppet shows, including ones at the historic Glen Echo park and the local Olney Theater Center. Honestly, although I don't recall a conscious thought process about it at the time, it probably had equally as much to do with teaching them about how to behave in a civilized way during a production...and grooming companions who could eventually accompany me to performances that I could appreciate when they got a bit older.

When Derek had proven himself ready for the next baby step, I took him to the Strathmore Concert Hall in Bethesda for a locally-produced version of Peter and the Wolf (which we both thoroughly enjoyed--WIN). Then came an opportunity I found impossible to pass up: The Lion the Kennedy Center. Derek was only 7, but his mother had A) never been to that particular venue and B) always yearned to see Simba and company "live". Of course, it was utterly spellbinding, and a magical evening in every way. (Well...until it came time to navigate our way home from downtown D.C...that was more "nightmare" than anything else...but still...)

A few years later, when the OTC presented their annual Shakespeare on the Lawn, Husband and I decided it was high time to expose the boys to a taste of the Bard. (Yeah, having attended these events in the past, we knew it was all about "picnic on the grass while watching a FREE play", so even if the kids had protested, they would have been firmly voted down...) It turned out to be Romeo and Juliet with a totally modern interpretation--the party invites, for example, were sent by text message and posted on Social Media...hilarious. And finally, as we were fortunate enough to live only a few minutes away from our district's Drama Magnet High School, I dragged--um "offered the unique opportunity to"--my children to...High School Musical...I AND the early, experimental days of their staging, before they became available nationwide for any old Drama Department to tackle.

Why the extended lead-in to today's tale? (Or...the ramblings of a writer without a point? Wait, I'm getting there, I promise!) Here it is: a friend of mine told me her daughter--who goes to that OTHER school across town--had a part in the Fall play...which was called...A Very Potter Musical. (Absolutely NOT making that could I? It's...100% ridiculous!) When she casually mentioned this during conversation, I'm afraid I just sat there, gaping at her. Meanwhile, the internal monologue went something like this: "I'm sorry, what was that? Someone converted the beloved, iconic Harry Potter books into a play...and added...singing? How is something like that even allowed to transpire?" But although somewhat horrified on principle, I also found myself intrigued...against my better judgment. Therefore in the interest of supporting my pal's daughter--and satisfying my curiosity--I recruited my captive theater buddies once more.

And oh, the inspired silliness...the creative nonsense...the laugh-out-loud hysteria that ensued. Let's see, how to sum up such an adventure? Well, there was an incredibly big-headed, self-centered Harry, for starters. There was Albus Dumbledore portrayed as an aged, somewhat loopy hippie-type (not that hard to imagine, actually, although it had never occurred to me before...) Then, moving right along to the truly bizarre: a Draco Malfoy who spent a great deal of time throwing himself around on the floor, while pining over an unrequited crush on Hermione Granger, and oh yeah, blathering on about "that other, BETTER wizarding school I shall be transferring to next year...Pigfarts!" (Which is located, evidently, on Mars...just...I don't know...go with it...) Next imagine if you will (or...if you even CAN) Professor Quirrell and Voldemort as two actors back-to-back under one large robe...conversing...and duet-ing...and even tap dancing with each other. Oh. My. Goodness.

But my absolute personal favorite had to be Severus Snape--he who minced around the stage on tiptoes, constantly using his wand to flick his straight black hair out of his eyes, flamboyantly waving his arms about as he delivered his lines in a totally affected fake British accent. It was like...Monty Python-esque comic genius, I tell ya. Oh, and what about the PLOT, you ask? Seriously, you don't even want to get me started. The only thing I'll mention is that there was a recurring joke throughout the action about everyone being Zac Efron super-fans. In Dumbledore's office there was even a painting of said heartthrob...which as it happened, turned out to be the final Horcrux. So picture a dramatic scene, Harry and his friends in a tense standoff against Death Eaters--and Voldemort's face bursting through the canvas, cackling maniacally and threatening everyone's impending doom. Twisted, sure...absurd, definitely...but also kind of...freakin' brilliant.

Well, there you have it. Although the boys gave me a hard time beforehand for "forcing them to go", they agreed that it was soooooo very worth it in the end. After all, we had valuable Mother/Son Bonding a free performance...which we enjoyed immensely. I'd have to call Operation Friday Night an unvarnished success! Now if you'll excuse me, I could use a refreshment...can anyone tell me where to get a Butterbeer?

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