I’ll begin this blog with a confession. This past Sunday I left Stage Kiss at Intermission and didn’t come back. The comedy felt forced, the actors seemed awful and I kept thinking “Geez louise, why is everyone laughing?” I would still have stayed, though, except that it was Sunday night — with a ridiculously busy week at work looming ahead — and I felt under the weather. (This may be why I was so grim and humorless.)
My roommate pointed out that it was a great way to waste three hours (train to midtown, show, train home) and $30 (TDF). Fair point. Now I can’t even really assess the show very well.
Anyway I wanted to bring this up because I later read that the actors were supposed to be dreadful. I mean, clearly they were pretending to be pretty terrible in the show-within-a-show (I caught that much). But it seemed to me like they were bad throughout. I suppose they (especially Jessica Hecht) were trying to portray a loopy, a-few-screws-loose quality and it read as “bad acting” to me. Apparently Ms. Hecht is a wonderful actress. (I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her in anything else.) I wish I’d stayed to gauge what they were really doing there. My guess is that that brand of comedy just doesn’t quite speak to me.
In any case, it brings to mind this whole concept of lousy show-within-a-show tropes. I’m tired of them and don’t think I ever liked them too much to begin with (Noises Off and other shows of its ilk notwithstanding!). Who wants to see actors pretend to be bad? I see enough bad theater as it is. I want to see GOOD show-within-a-show material. Like for example, the musical Taming of the Shrew in Kiss Me Kate. Or the Murder of Gonzago. Or The Small House of Uncle Thomas. More of that, please.