Friday, November 6, 2015

Suburban Motel - first impressions

Edit: I am withdrawing this recommendation and boycotting Ryerson.  I will explain in a follow-up post.

I mentioned this on a previous post, but it is worth its own post.  Ryerson is doing 5/6 of the Suburban Motel plays, plus Filthy Rich, which is sort of a spoof on The Big Sleep, but here the "detective" is working out of run-down motel.  If you go tonight through Sunday, you can still make the whole series.  I am going tonight, and I think is should be quite a bit of fun.  Details here.  Somehow they didn't have my name down on the list Wed., but I managed to pay the rush ticket price ($5), so that was an extra bonus for an entertaining evening.

I tend to forget just how outlandish most of Walker's plots are, particularly when you start paying attention to what the semi-incompetent criminals are up to.  (It is a good reminder that, with some exceptions, most criminals are in fact pretty thick or they would find a path through life less likely to end with jail time.)  Risk Everything is no exception.  Now there is one major change to this play, which I assume Walker approved -- the gambler is not Denise's older sister, it is Denise's mom (since the actors are all at about the same age).  This switch makes some of the action in the original much creepier, like when Denise's husband R.J. is quasi-seduced by the mom character.  On the other hand, it would have tied together a bit better with Problem Child, where Denise lays much of the blame on her inadequacies as a mother on her own mother.  I'm not going to see Problem Child again, but it is an interesting book end where Denise is by far the most "together" person in Risk Everything, whereas she is totally losing it throughout Problem Child, even at the end.

I thought all the actors were quite good, with a bit of haminess in Filthy Rich, though that seemed to be called for in the script.  I'm looking forward to tonight, which is Adult Entertainment & Criminal Genius.

After this, I will have seen X 2 of the 6.  I am still secretly hoping that Triple Bypass remounts The End of Civilization, though I don't see why they would.  In general, I am hoping that some Toronto company in 2 or 3 years will tackle the whole sequence, and I will see it straight through again.

What I am taking from Walker is that I can be a bit more audacious and outrageous in my plots.  I tend to write such genteel things and that just doesn't translate all that well to the stage.  It is probably because I am also tied to realism (with some exceptions in my shorter pieces), and in my life I would shun those too-large characters who are always veering between hilarity and violence.  Still, I think the immigration inspector might serve that kind of role.  I'm imagining her as a slightly overdone Inspector Javert character, who hounds Jonathan, partly out of duty, but really out of a sense that she has not had her fair share of sexual conquests that seem to fall to her male colleagues. (Yeah, she is more than a little "bent" -- not that I think this is actually representative of Canada's immigration officer!)  The biggest problem is arranging for her to keep showing up in the apartment, whereas it would be easier in the novel for her to keep following Jonathan.  Still, I have basically conceptualized how I can cover the key themes in the novel all while keeping it to one set.  I just have to finish writing it...

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