Sunday, July 23, 2006

There's nothing like bad acting.

One of my favorite movie comedies is Waiting for Guffman, a short, improvised "documentary" about the world of Community Theater. One of the tag lines advertising the film is "There's a reason why some talent goes undiscovered."

It's hot, it's humid, and it's Sunday. But what did I do? I went with 18 of my friends to see another friend in a Community Theater production of the musical "Oliver." My friend is a decent actor. He's a good singer. But he was surrounded by people who just, well, shouldn't quit their day jobs. Just as Dr. Allen Pearl did in Guffman, and Ron & Sheila Albertson did. Dr. Pearl gives up his dental practice to move to Miami and gets unpaid jobs singing in nursing homes; Ron & Sheila are travel agents in the fictional town of Blaine, travel agents who've never left Blaine. They quit and move to Hollywood. Big mistake.

There's that singsongy voice bad actors use. There's the repetition of lines - like "Ma said ye just don't care, son. Ma said ye just don't care." The mugging, the shuffling of feet, the mouthing of the other person's dialogue so you don't lose your place. All of this was present in the show today. All of it. If you've ever done Community Theater, you know what I mean. Rent the DVD of Guffman, it's hilarious. Much more so than this show was today - and it was so hot, I thought half the cast was going to die on stage.

Could I be demonstrating a bad attitude? I think so.


Alicia said...

Pah! (as E. Prickley would say...) I worked as a vocal director and sound person on a community theatre thing at the beginning of the year, as a favor to a friend. 'Guffman' was all I could think of. It was very surreal in that respect. It was so much like it - even my son Sam, who attended a rehearsal or two, remarked upon it (independently of me).

DivaJood said...

Alicia, I had to speak to my friend after the show, and all I could think of was Linda Kash (she played Dr. Pearl's wife) saying "His dramaaatical work" - I bit my tongue and said, "Wow. You really sing well!" I can just picture your son commenting - too funny.

Tina said...

Best line EVER in Guffman: "I hate you and I hate your ass face."

DivaJood said...

Tina, I love Corky! "I'm going to go home and bite my pillow." But you know that fake beard Eugene Levy wears in the play? Well. In this production I just sat through, someone walked out on stage wearing A MOUSTACHE JUST AS FAKE. I'm in the front row, on the aisle. He walks up to where I'm sitting. I nearly peed.

Alicia said...

'Bastard people!'

DivaJood said...

Ah, Corky. He had his cake and ate it too. I want a "Remains of the Day" Lunch Box.

Helen Wheels said...

I almost peed my pants when I saw "Guffman" on the big screen. It was like reliving my childhood seeing play after play by the Kankakee Valley Theater. My parents were in some, I was in "The Music Man" as a chorus kid, but there was this woman named Pat Gould who ALWAYS played the engenue, even well into her 40's. I think Maureen O'Hara is the funniest thing in that movie next to Corky. Also Fred Willard kills me.

My favorite thing was how Corky always talked about his "wife." Uh huh. I grew up in Kankakee, where being gay was not allowed, but you could be as flamboyant as you wanted if you were a Kankakee Valley Theater person. Maybe that's where my love of gay men started.

I own "Waiting for Guffman" and thanks to you, maybe i'll watch it AGAIn this evening.

The only movie that makes me laugh as hard is "Young Frankenstein".

And Alicia, I absolutely ADORED SCTV! Esp. the "Solid Gold Telethon" I think it was called - where John Candy promised to stay drunk until the money was raised, and Steve 'n' Edie sang ("I hate your guts/and you made my life a nightmare") as well as a performance by Lorna Minelli. PRICELESS!

DivaJood said...

Helen, I own Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. I'm waiting patiently for their new one, For Your Consideration. I also own all the SCTV boxed sets that are out. SCTV is the funniest television ever - remember Woody Tobias, Jr? Still laughing over Towering Inferno - Dr. Tongue to Woody: "Don't talk to me for a whole week."

Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, and the ORIGINAL The Producers also do it to me. "I'm not a madam, I'm a Con-see-urge-uh."