A Delightful Little Bomb

No, they are not talking about the play we saw Friday night, which although delightful, was no bomb. Rather, there was a bomb in the play. No, make that three bombs.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. Last night we saw The Beastly Bombing (A Terrible Tale of Terrorists Tamed by the Tangles of True Love). This is a play about two White Supremacists who plan to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. The only problem is, they’re not the only ones. You see, this is also a play about two Al Quaeda members, who plan to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s also a play about these two ditzy blonds, who like their mushrooms, along with other hallucinogens. When the Supremacists meet the Al Quada members at the bridge, they each toss each other’s bombs in the water. To escape the police when the bombs explode, they need to hide. First, however, they discover they have something in common: they hate the Jews. To hide from the police, they run into a clothing store… owned by a Hassidic Jew… who also hates the (secular) Jews. Then the Supremecists and the Muslims, dressed as Jews, run into the girls, and get arrested for drugs. Then the Brooklyn Bridge is really blown up (by someone else). The President is called in, but his bravado is a bluff, especially when he learns that his two blond daughter have escaped from drug rehab. That’s just the first act. In the second act, you add Jesus appearing to the President in real life in an extremely sexual number; a priest singing about about man-boy love; a President who decides to bomb Chad for blowing up the bridge after picking it out on a spinning globe (because he didn’t want to bomb his friends in the house of Saud); a love story where two of the bombers fall for the girls (and marry them), and two bomber leaders fall for each other (and get married), and … and… well, you’ll just have to see it, but trust that love conquers all. If you want the full synopsis, look here.

Now, I should point out that this wasn’t just a play. Rather, it was an operetta, with a score reminiscent of Gilbert and Sullivan. Songs in the score included (links are to MP3) samples) “A Delightful Little Bomb“, “We Like Mushrooms“, “Our Ideology“, “Song of the Secular Jew”, “Song of the Sensitive White Supremacist“, “Forgiveness is Nice“, “I Am The Bravest President“, “My Savior Did Appear”, “People Who Love Like Us”, “The Morals of Society“, “House of Saud“, “Drop The Bomb on Chad”, “With Drugs We Did Experiment”, “Back in 1944”, “Drop the Bomb on Japan”, “Zog Has Lost”, There Still is Love“. Here’s an idea of the lyrics (from the House of Saud):

(advisor) But sir, they’ve got no Democracy
(president) What’s so bad about Theocracy?
(advisor) But they observe no human rights.
(president) If I could do that too, I just might.

Sound like any President we know? Do give the samples a listen.

At this point, you’re likely wondering: How could you stomach this show? After all, you’re Jewish, and there are songs where people sing about hating the Jews, and fighting the Zionist Occupational Government. Actually, this show skewers everything and everyone: Supremacists, Arabs, Jews, Catholics, Christians, Christ, idiotic Presidents,… you name it. Most theatres wouldn’t even go near this. This is something that could only be done at the Steve Allen Theatre¤ at the Center for Free Inquiry-West. CFI is an interesting organization: they’re the folks that publish Free Inquiry and focus on critical thinking. The theatre is appropriately named after Steve Allen (one of my favorite actors), who was well known as a free thinker (I suggest you read his book Dumbth). My point is that CFI thinks nothing is sacred: you need to be able to be free to look at everything with a critical eye. This play does that.

Back to the play. The play was produced by the Secret Order of Revolutionary Operetteists, it was written and directed by Julien Nitzberg¤, with music composed by Roger Neill. It was produced by Rorry Daniels and Amit Itelman¤. It was spectacular. I’d recommend you go see it, but it closes next week. It will be back in January, though.

The cast was great (full credits here). The production starred Jacob Sidney* (Patrick), and Aaron Matijasic (Frank) as the Supremacists; Katie Coleman¤ (Elyssa) [subbing for Heather Marie Marsden*¤, who had a hand injury], and Darrin Revitz*¤ (Clarissa) as the President’s daughters; Andrew Abelson¤ (Abdul) and Russell Steinberg* (Khalid) as the Al Quaeda terrorists; and Jesse Merlin¤ [the excellent mistermerlin] (President). Others in the cast, playing multiple roles, were Matt Cornell, Norge Yip, Natalie Salins*, Joel Bennett*, Michael Stuart, Curt Bonnem*, and Kevin Remington. Standouts in the production were mistermerlin, who has a remarkable singing voice and stage presence; Katie Coleman and Darrin Revitz… hell, all the leads were great. There were one or two sound glitches, but otherwise the technical aspects were also well done. The show could use with a slightly larger stage, with stronger sets (the sets were light due to the need to share the space with a different show). The show does have a MySpace page.

Here are some other reviews: Frontiers Magazine, Variety, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times.

As always, the upcoming theatre calendar: Sister Act, The Musical, 11/18 @ 9pm; Dirk, 11/19 @ 2pm; and A Light in the Piazza, 12/3 @ 2pm; Santaland Diaries/Seasons Greetings, 12/23 @ 8pm …plus I’m still working on tickets for 13 (12/30). As for this weekend… come out to Orange Empire Railway Museum and spend A Day Out With Thomas (he’s a really useful engine). My schedule is posted here.

*: Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, SAG, AGMA, or AFTRA.
¤: Myspace Page.