Thursday, September 08, 2011

Welcome to Mr. G's World!

Today my daughter The Spare is trying out for her high school's autumn production of "Romeo and Juliet."

There's just one problem. The play is garbage.

Mind you, The Spare attends a "Blue Ribbon School," which I guess is supposed to mean that the school pursues intellectual rigor. Trust me, the only rigor in that school is mortis.

For the third year in a row, the school's drama teacher has enlisted the assistance of a savage butcher ... clueless playwright wannabe ... bored kept woman with delusions of grandeur ... local mom to create a fall production that puts the "f" in FAIL. Not FALL. FAIL.

This time, the hapless target is The Bard.

The local mom (described above with acute precision, if you ask me) took the text of "Romeo and Juliet" and re-told the story from the point of view of the Nurse as she's sitting in a nursing home with dementia.


No, readers, I kid you not! I swear by all the Confederate Dead in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, Maryland! I swear by every single drop of rain that has fallen on the Delaware Valley in the past two weeks! I swear by the best and brightest bored gods! I did not make this up.

Just imagine taking a wonderful play like "Romeo and Juliet," paring it down to a stinking two acts, axing all but seven characters, and wielding a mighty mean machete over the dialogue. Oh yeah, and then there's the whole point-of-view thing. The Nurse is trying to remember. Or thinks she remembers. Or ... but soft! There's Will Shakespeare moaning from his tomb!

It seems to me that a "Blue Ribbon School" with dance classes, a madrigal choir that has performed at the White House (resplendent in Renaissance costumes), and 100 kids clamoring for roles in a play, could actually put on the real "Romeo and Juliet," First Folio. We are six miles from Philadelphia. Don't tell me you couldn't find a sword-fight coach!


I have just returned from picking Spare up at the audition. She is downstairs crying. The drama coach called her up on stage first ("Let's do this fairly, in reverse alphabetical order, seniors first!) and did not call her for a second reading. She was the only senior who was not given the opportunity to do a second reading.

I'm no stage mom, trying to get my kid into Pampers commercials. To me, this thing is bigger than the Spare. It's about a despot in a small high school who takes good plays and makes them bad  (or writes worse plays himself). It's about a school full of kids who want to be in productions, and the school only offers two productions a year. With a cast of seven.

The only thing more tragic than "Romeo and Juliet" is "Romeo and Juliet" re-written by some fluff-brained Snobville mom. If that school deserves a blue ribbon, I've seen some Angus beeves that should be encased in platinum. Don't tell The Spare, but I'm glad she laid an egg at the tryout. Better to not perform at all than to perform in The Great Shakespeare Chainsaw Massacre.

Ah, but art imitates life, right? Look at the darling clip below! It's Mr. G's world! Might as well have been shot at Snobville Blue Ribbon High, it's that close to the real thing. Welcome to a new sub-plot at "The Gods Are Bored!" It's the small-school drama coach who thinks he can improve upon the Bard!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I feel for The Spare. I've known that sting too. We all have.

PaigeKate said...

Poor Spare, but it sounds like a blessing in disguise. The two coolest teachers in my high school decided to organize a separate troupe of students to put on Shakespeare's plays but instead of costumes, they performed in their regular clothes. It was a lot of fun, but what you're describing sounds like a horror story worthy of Stephen King and Wes Craven.

BellaDonna said...

There are just no words for this, but see my comments on the previous post (the one with the horrible drama teacher, if that's really the word for him).

Madam Lost said...

Gee, this is so wrong on so many levels. I'm not an expert with dementia, but from my personal observations, if the nurse is indeed telling the story as she sits in a dementia care facility, it would be the entire play as written by the Bard. Memory of the distant past are often far more accurate than memories of the recent past. Sounds to me like seven students are easier to control than a full cast.

Maebius said...


Though this particular travesty may be all sound and fury, it does not signify anything against The Spare.

Have you looked at any local community theatre leagues?

I know I tried out for Drama in my own high-school, but the shows were more well-rounded. howeve,r since I was a nerd and thus not in "The Drama Clique", I never got more than "extra", and resigned myself to Stage Crew most years, just to save my feelings on "not getting a part".

Still, some of the actual casting? *shudders* I'll agree with your gut feeling that this probably is not about Talent or anything more than a corrupt play, in all facets.

Sorry to hear it though. Remind The Spare that she's always "The Princess" to at least one young man. ;)

Flame said...

Snobville mom should be called out on her plagiarism, since she ripped her POV idea directly from 1984's Amadeus.