A NIGHT OF SHITTY THEATRE
nytheatre.com review by Leslie Bramm
Special Productions brings us A Night of Shitty Theatre.
The premise is simple: seven actor/comedians parody badly
written fictitious plays by fictitious playwrights. They ask the
question, “What is shitty theatre?” and then answer it, “I don’t
know I just know when I see it.” From there, they’re off. The
evening is light and entertaining enough, supported by an
extremely talented ensemble of actors, including Channon Booth,
Dina Drew, Tim McMurray, Tony Misiano, John Schiebler (the
group’s anchor), Jennifer True and Joe Wack (who wrote all the
pieces and directed the evening). They are all well rehearsed
and tight like a good rock band. This kind of evening is a
double-edged coin, however (to use a shitty metaphor). One has
to question the overall purpose. And since this is my shitty
review, here I go:
August 15, 2002
Heads: Aristotle defines entertainment as being able to lift an audience out of itself. Out of their everyday lives and for that space of theatrical time transport them to the universe of the play(s). A near sold-out house, a hundred degree theatre, a bladder full of Brooklyn Lager, and yes, I was transported. That seems a noble enough purpose. And surely we in the downtown, experimental, theatre scene need to laugh at our own pretensions. My play, your play, the play we saw last week, with good bad acting almost anything can qualify as shitty theatre.
Tails: We obviously crave shitty theatre. (Judging by a very enthusiastic audience response.) We also use it to distract us, to replace the television when the television’s not available. What we need more is theatre of substance. That too can be a simple enough premise. The balance between shitty theatre and theatre that’s meaningful is way out of whack. (Shitty is winning the race hands down.) So my question to Special Productions is, what would happen if you took an ensemble as talented and passionate as yours, then took on material equally funny, but more meaty and substantive? I don’t know, but I bet I’d know it when I saw it.