America Is Hard To See
Now through February 24 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $35-45
Do you ever have an idea and sort of less-than-halfway execute that idea, and then spend a really long time procrastinating doing any more work on it and then find out that someone has beat you to the punch but in a way that seems really interesting and cool so you can’t help but appreciate it? Whether you have or you haven’t, that very thing happened to me with this new play. In college, I started writing a play about a trailer park community of sex offenders with nowhere else to live, based on the real manifestations of this phenomenon. I never finished it, or even came close, because writing plot is hard. Life Jacket Theater Company did, and they even traveled to Florida’s Miracle Village and interviewed its residents to create their show. Add in a helping of methodist hymns and theatricality, and you’ve got the recipe for a play that seems truly nuanced and exciting, particularly in today’s tumultuous time of #metoo reckonings.
Thursday, February 1 at Caveat, 9 pm: $8
As it turns out, “comedy” and “cults” both start with the letter C. Perhaps you have a grand theory that those comedy schools people pay lots of money for are actually cults, or people sleeping on the street to see SNL live tapings are really just in line for their indoctrination. Who knows, these things could be true. But that’s not what Cult Following is about. Hosted by Harris Mayersohn of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and, for the local crowd, Just A Show at Sunnyvale, Cult Following does combine cult and comedy, but in a more educational way. Each time, the show will focus on a different cult from history and ask comedians and others to make presentations about their origins and appeal. The cult of the hour will be Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, who you may remember as the group that was convinced to partake in a mass suicide in 1978. Casual! Delivering their findings on this curious and morbid event will be comedians Mitra Jouhari and Blythe Robertson, actual historian Colin Dickey, and Jessy Morner-Ritt playing Jones himself.
Frizzled: Seat Belts, Everyone!
February 2-3 at The PIT, 8 pm: $12
Let me start with this: Miss Frizzle was, and remains, a style icon. Her affinity for bold patterns and wacky accessories is quite frankly inspiring, and she must’ve subconsciously inspired my own fashion aesthetic today, for which I am grateful. Plus, her passion for educating the youths also is pretty cool. Whether you share these warm feelings towards the matriarch of The Magic School Bus or not, you can take a trip (on the bus, maybe, depending on how you prefer to commute to the PIT) down memory lane with this parody musical. The kids from the celebrated TV show are now Teens on their glorious last day of high school, and prepare to go on one last adventure with their quirky teacher. Predictably, things don’t go as planned.
Hook Line Sinker
Saturday, February 3 at Dixon Place, 7:30 pm: $15 advance, $18 doors, $12 students/seniors
You Wouldn’t Believe What This Play Is About! 72 Reasons This Piece Of Theater Reflects The #RelatableContent Of The Millennial Experience. Amazing: This Play Really Goes There; Two Minutes In I Was Crying! I’ll spare your eyes any more of this, just know that Hook Line Sinker is a play that is, more or less, about clickbait. Written by Jacob Grover, it centers around a website specifically for content aggregation and stuff that goes viral, an entity that makes me cringe just thinking about it. Some of the employees like it, some of them hate it, and predictably, the CEO is quite a character. In an effort to inspire his workers (who, I assume, he probably doesn’t pay or treat very well, but maybe I’m just projecting) the CEO delivers a lecture on “the flexible morality of the internet and the absolute importance of site traffic,” which has a curious effect on some.