A buddy of mine is currently in a community theatre production of David Auburn’s Proof. Dennis, Robert and I trekked over thirty miles last night to see the play. It was a surprisingly good show, and my buddy did a great job as the father. That being said, each of the four actors on stage had some competition among the twenty or thirty member audience.
As with most community theatre productions, the audience was full of blue hairs. And white hairs. And no hairs. Though my group’s median age was probably somewhere around 33, we were feeling young and spritely by comparison. While waiting for the show to start, I was thinking about how cool it was that so many older folks were out for a fairly modern play on a Thursday night in a small town.
Okay, so not to ruin it or anything, but the father who appears in scene 1 is dead. He even says so at the end of the scene. Somewhere in scene 3, the daughter mentions that they have to go to her father’s funeral the next day, and the man next to me says, in a very normal speaking voice, “when did the dad die?” His wife thinks this is the height of hilarity, so she starts snorting and giggling. I look over, half laughing and half horrified, and the man does the shoulder-shrug/hands-in-the-air oopsy-daisy move. This, by the way, is the guy who was having a hard time getting to his seat before the show began, and he mentioned – to the room at large – that he has a metal knee. Coincidentally, the man in front of him ALSO has a metal knee. Of course he does. They then discussed which doctor they used and how it’s hard to move the knee side-to-side but front-to-back works just fine. Hhhmmmm. I have an organic knee, and mine doesn’t move side-to-side either.
Anyway, so the play goes on. The daughter asks her potential love interest about sex. The man with the metal knee says, “What did she say about sex?” His wife explains to him, in the same non sotto voce, what the woman on stage said. Literally five minutes later, a voice from the other side of the theatre says, quite plainly, one word. Very loudly. SEX. I don’t know if that person has Tourette’s or was a little slow on the uptake or what, but I’m about to lose my shit at this point. I’m laughing (silently, I might add) so hard that I have tears streaming down my face. THEN, one of the actors on stage comes out in the most horrible pleated skirt suit I’ve seen in a couple of decades. She is also wearing an extremely large, extremely 80s belt. This is not a retro play, so I don’t know what’s up with that. AND her high heel shoes were too big for her, so when she walked they slapped her feet like flip-flops. Like she was a little girl in mommie’s heels. When she appears in a different outfit in act II, she has on Betty Boop-esque platform 50s shoes, which are also so big that her pants keep sticking in the back of the shoes. Man, this shit is funny. Did the costume designer ever actually SEE the actress in these clothes, or did she just pick them out and leave town or something? I don’t know.
The play goes on. People in the audience keep talking. We vacillate between disgust and delight. At the end of the play, the lights go down. Of course a man says, “Well guess that’s the end.” Yup, guess so.