by 99 Seats
A few years back, Cats was going to close and it was kind of a big deal (For you youngsters out there, there used to be a Broadway show about singing cats. No, I'm not talking about The Lion King.) I hadn't seen it and neither had my roommate, a big musical theatre fan, and he was pushing me to go see it before it closed. I refused. My argument then was: "I missed Angels in America when it ran on Broadway, so I can't justify making an effort to see Cats." All of which was true. But it wasn't quite the truth.
Anyone who knows me, or has seen my DVD collection, knows I like bad movies. Jeez, last year I saw Legion. In the theatre. And I nearly went to see Orphan. I like me some bad, terrible, trainwreck movies. Some, I even wind up loving, like Joe Vs. The Volcano or Bubba Ho-Tep. Others...well...they're just a good time. Spending two hours watching Nic Cage in a ridiculous wig? My idea of fun.
But bad theatre? Nope. I hate it. I hate the very concept of it. Not so-bad-it's-good theatre or tongue-in-cheek cheese, like Toxic Avenger (which I had a blast at), but clanking failures? I can't do it. A theatre teacher I had in college told me that theatre must justify its theft of time. Theatre, he argued, was a time-intensive, not at all convenient, required dressing up (back in the day, anyways). It asked a lot of its audience and needed to repay that with worth. This has stuck with me and leaves me irrationally angry at bad theatre. It smacks of disrespect to me. So I don't like to seek out flops or trainwrecks or even popular eyesores. I understand the fascination. But I hold back. A couple of seasons back, I saw a absolute horror of a trainwreck of a disaster. I never walk out and I did. Mostly because the actors seemed so embarassed and I was embarassed for them and couldn't stand the idea of sitting there while they took their bows to an unhappy house. That's how I deal with theatrical failures.
Now my several parts are in total conflict. I'm a comic book geek, so I want to check it out. It sounds like a technical mess/marvel, and the tech geek wants to check it out. I feel like there is still a chance for it to be transcendently good. (The comic book geek wants that, too.) And the cranky theatre guy wants to see it...so that he may rag on it more eloquently. But mostly...I kind of just feel sorry for it. For the folks involved. For the folks who do see it. As much as I like schadenfreude, it's not a justification for the theft of time. Somewhere, deep in me, is still a bit of reverence for what we do, a desire for it to be taken seriously. Things like this work against that.
So...I don't know. If someone offered me a free ticket, would I go? Would you? Would you pay for it? On TDF? Pop quiz, kid: What. Would. You. Do?