Sunday, February 22, 2009

In which Szygny is Attained

On the road o discovery, many conversations led to:

Millicent. A Millicent is formidable. A Millicent is always right. A Millicent knows the world is divided into Our Kind and Not Our Kind, Dear. A Millicent's Kind is limited to a small circle of perhaps one. Not Our Kind persons' rightful job is to serve Our Kind, and be quick about it.

Millicent explains things to people who are too dull to grasp the true meaning of it all, with patrician grace and marginally clenched teeth.

Millicent is not Zany. Don't know how we're going to resolve this, but Millicents are not Zany. Marthas are Zany. Maybe the Zany stuff goes on around Millicent, and she doesn't acknowledge it.

Millicent is above it all. Millicent is not connected to the movie. Millicent is not connected to the show. There's tension between Millicent and everything around her, which Millicent controls by explaining away.

This seems to be leading us to lots of words, but not much action: how is Millicent going to become an Actor (in the sense of doing things that shape and direct things, as opposed to passing judgment on what happens)?

We puzzle on this through two short stops prior to a few days in Boston. Rambles in Boylston take us into various funky stores that are completely self-contained and disconnected: a bookstore blaring Little Richard, where we pick up a Psychotronic Encyclopedia, a joke shop where we pick up a bagful of Cheap Laffs, a toy shop where we pick up another bagful of windup toys and noisy clattering things. Somehow, stuff is going to have to run amok throughout this show and Millicent is going to approve of it. Control it? Mmmmmmaybe -- a cool n collected Presence Overseeing It All, and the Complicated Plans Themselves provide the heat for the show.

We have tickets for Forbidden Broadway; it's the only live show in town, and while it's not what we would prefer (zany actors making fun of serious thee-ayter), it's the only live show in town. We're seated at a table with Cindy and the other Steve, from Minneapolis. They want to know everything about everything, as well as passing opinions on everything about everything. For our part, we're tired of working The Millicent Problem and let go of it for the night. And it would seem that zany actors making fun of serious thee-ayter by going for the soft pompous underbellies that only insiders know about ... that's interesting. It's easy to make fun of Les Miz. It's smart to make fun of Les Miz by singing about how easy it is to manipulate an audience into cheering by taking a bunch of Noble College Stoonts singing this particular progression of notes, putting this particular group of types here and that particular group of types there, moving impossibly heavy scenic stuff this way n that, and then waving a flag -- a red flag, mind you -- to top it all. And here's a table full of people who get the joke upon joke upon joke.

Post show, we're talking about this n that, what they do, what we do, where we're all going in life, comfortable conversation, and Barb talks about acting. The other Steve n Cindy are fascinated by this -- she's an attorney, he's an engineer -- and it leads naturally to what are you doing next? They think it's the best that she's doing a teevee monster movie show next, and they have all kinds of ideas about things that they wished monster movie shows did. We're listening, letting it wash over us mostly because they're on a roll and we couldn't get a word in edgewise anyway, and the conversation turns to Count Floyd, Joe Flaherty's SCTV monster movie host. Count Floyd's shtick is that he's trying to sell scary movies that he knows aren't scary, and he grows more and more desparate in trying to drum up enthusiasm from a cold audience. So we're watching a character who knows that his show is collapsing around him and can't do anything to stop it because the movie is a fixed commodity; and our Algonquin Table begins deconstructing the character. It doesn't work as an ongoing bit because panic is not inherently empathic: we're laughing at the character, and after the third go-round or so who cares? But then why does Wile E. Coyote work and Count Floyd doesn't? Aren't they the same thing? No, because Wile E. Coyote is a Genius who is bound and determined to outsmart calamity and won't accept that calamity is a Super-Genius.

And then somebody says, What if the host knows how bad the movies are and spends the whole program working against the movie? What if the host knows how the whole thing is supposed to work -- the movie, teevee, everything -- and goes through the whole program undercutting everything so that it doesn't work?

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for the next installment. Please keep them coming!