Smile Politely

Wow! Thangs are real diff’rent in the big city!

A’cause I wanna be a real good reviewer for y’all, I decided to take the advice of one Mr./Ms. The-Ater Expert and go to the big city to see a pro-fessional show. I wanted to go to Bloomington a’cause I hear they got real nice stuff there, but my editor said that it ain’t big city enough, so off to Chicago, I a’went.  Boy Howdy, did I get a’schoolin’. Mr./Ms. The-Ater Expert, you shore was ‘right, ‘cause the shows I seen there was nothin’ like we do here. Thank you fer your concern, and here’s what I learnt in the big city of Chicago!

My first task was a’gettin’ to Chicago. Now I am a’skeered of drivin’ in the big city because I hear tell of carjackin’s, gang violence, speed bumps, them super highways, and most scariest of all, parkin’ garages, ‘cause whenever anyone goes in one in a movie or TV show, death a’follows. A’cause of this, I decided to take the train. And WOW! What an amazin’ invention! All sorts of people ride it, and they got food cooked in a microwave by a guy in a fancy uniform, and toilets with blue water, and even seats with plug ins fer your telephone and footrests attached to ‘em. Golly that was luxurious, like bein’ in a Gloria Swanson movie or somethin’. It was the best 2 hour trip that took 3 and 1/2 hours I ever took! Hats off to Amtrak for their professionalism and creativity. Why, we only had to stop a couple of times fer cows in the tracks. After that, the conductor just runned over them critters and someone made burgers with the remains.

Now fer the big city. Hoo boy. Them buildings sure is tall! And the hotel was DE-luxe! Why the toilet seat wasn’t even covered in plastic or nothin’. After checkin’ in to the Red Roof Inn, I started looking fer shows to see. In my time there, I had jest enough time fer two shows, so I chose the classic revival of Peter Pan, starring Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory and the Steppenwolf production (See how I listened to ya, Mr./Ms. The-Ater Expert!!!) of  Richard Greenberg’s sequel to his hit Take Me Out, entitled Foos My Balls, about a gay foosball player and his comin’ out process. I called the front desked and asked if I could git a ticket fer each show, ‘cause I am an internet re-viewer, and they was kinda rude, sayin’ a nasty word and then addin’ “off” to it. Can’t blame ‘em though, ‘cause as I was a’venturin’ out to find tickets fer myself, I noticed they were a’busy with the police a’cause two people had had a knife fight in the lobby and one was a bleedin’ like a stuck pig. Big city livin’, as my mama always said when she was a cleanin’ up the blood from the kitchen floor from her last date. (She a’called ‘em tricks, though.) Oh mama, you was a card of a woman! Anyhoo, I found a Ticketmaster, got my tickets, and my theatrical adventure in the big city was a-startin’.

On my first night there, after eatin’ at Wendy’s, I went to see the magical children’s tale Peter Pan, starring Nathan Lane as Peter, Neil Patrick Harris as Tinker Bell, and Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory as Wendy. It was an “experimental interpretation,” which seems to mean they charge over 100 dollars a ticket, and there are no children in the audience, only men with real tight faces and clothing. They all say “fabulous” a lot and love to end words with the letter “S.”  Down here we might call ‘em “ho-mo-sexuals.” On Bravo TV they call them “Real Housewives of…,” so to each his own. In either case, they sure do laugh a lot when they see a play. 

Now the first thang I learnt from seeing a professional play was they got a big enough budget fer real nice costumes and special effects. They had real perdy clothes all made out of leather. I particularly liked Nathan Lane’s green elf outfit, even though it made him look like a Keebler elf that sampled too much product. I also think Neil Patrick Harris shoulda had some panties on before he started flying, but the crowd squealed, “I do belief in fairies,” every time he took off, so the child-like spirit of the piece was intact. I never knew Tinker Bell had such a big wand. The things you learn in the Big City!

As for the special effects, they actually used wires to fly the actors. Back home in Dog Patch, when I seen a production of Peter Pan, they cast a tiny 10-year-old girl, which made no sense to me, since the character’s name is Peter, and they just had two men disguised as trees fling the little tyke back and forth between ‘em like she was a basketball. It worked pretty good until one of the trees didn’t catch the kid playin’ John, and the poor little thang landed with a thump against the gym wall by the stage left curtain. He was okay though, and except for the part of his body that crumpled up after the head injury, he was a good little actor for years to come, later starrin’ in the musical version of My Left Foot. But in Chicago, Nathan Lane flew and flew on invisible wires. It was magical! Well, he couldn’t fly very high a’cause every time he took flight, you could hear the stage hands liftin’ him gruntin’ off stage. Fat people flyin’ is funny though, and the audience just laughed and laughed. One problem I noticed was on one flight when both Peter and Tinker Bell were airborne, Jim Parson of The Big Bang Theory got distracted by Tinker’s wand and Peter done kicked him in the head, sendin’ his bouffant wig a’flyin’. Jim laid there a real long time before getting’ up, and I’m perdy sure he lost a tooth, which just makes him look more like my second cousins so that’s cool.

The next night was just as “fabulous” (Who says I cain’t learn?) when I went to the Steppenwolf Theatre to see Foos My Balls. I ate some wieners from a street vendor, in the spirit of the play. I had seen Take Me Out there years ago, and I remember they showered a lot. They talked, too, but as my mama always said, “It’s hard to listen when there are more than three naked men in a room.” It’s why she always did three-ways, but never orgies. That, and she was a lady and not trash, like Aunt Helen, my favorite aunt. She was a wise woman, my mama. She also said, “Penises are like snowflakes; no two are alike,” which seemed true in both of the Greenberg plays a’cause he sure liked showin’ ‘em every chance he got. It was a magical night of theatre, though I did faint the first time all six actors decided to shower in front of the audience. That water must’a been real warm a’cause all them boys was smilin’ a lot while they lathered up. When I came to, the plot seems real similar to his first play, where it was no big deal for a national sports figure to come out until some young player joined the team and realized they were contractually obliged to shower together. Mean words were spoke in both plays, and the poor young player had to rassle the gay player on the foosball table during their championship game. The poor young player was a’cryin’ when he left, so I don’t think he liked it, but I plan to take up foosball real soon! I am a big fan of this play! If it didn’t cost seventy-five dollars a ticket, I would go back again!

In summarization, I learnt a lot about Big City actors, since both casts liked me so much that I was invited to both cast parties. It was fun, but weird because none of the actors in the Big City are ho-mo-sexual, meanin’ I had to do all the work. At home, every actor is gay-gay-gay. The costumer spends most of his or her time tellin’ the boys to put down the sparkly things and the girls to leave the flannel alone. (Or so I hear.) It’s annoying, but the cast parties are a lot more fun a’cause ever’body does their fair share. In Chicago, they are all real straight. Neil Patrick Harris is even married and has twins! His wife dresses kinda like a boy and has more of a five o’clock shadow than my Aunt Helen, but Mrs. Patrick Harris was real nice and the twins are so cute. Still all those straight actors was confusin’ to a small town boy, and like my mama says, “You can only hear, ‘Take it all, bitch’ so many times before the words lose their romance.” Still, I am glad I went to the Big City to see some real theatre! Thank you Mr./Ms. The-Ater Expert for your constructive criticism! I am a better reviewer for it! Now, I’m off to find a foosball game! Kisses!

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