November 16, 2004

The Delightfully Ridiculous Irma Vep

It has been a few days since I’ve updated. I worked on Saturday and Monday. It’s been busy. Today I’m relaxing a bit. I had breakfast with my friend this morning. We are trying to do it once a month. I used to see her at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), but now she goes to another class that meets in the day.

The family friend that had cancer had her second operation last Friday, a full mastectomy. Things are looking good. They got everything and all the tests have come back clean, so she shouldn’t need any radiation or chemo. She is recovering at home and Mom and I went to see her today, just for a little bit. We didn’t want to wear her out. She seems to be recovering well. She is looking forward to being able to get out of the house and drive again. Hopefully when she has her follow-up visit on Friday the doctor will say that she can drive and do whatever she wants.

I got my first paycheck from Lane Bryant. There were only a few hours on it, so it was pretty small. But it will pay for the alteration to the sleeves of the jacket that I bought three weeks ago. (Being short, I always have trouble with pant-legs and sleeves). It will also pay for the stuff that I took to the drycleaner’s. I can’t wait to have the jacket to wear to work.

On Saturday I went to a play with my parents. They have season tickets at a local theatre company. This time the couple that they usually go with couldn’t attend, so I got to use one of the extra tickets. The play was The Mystery of Irma Vep, written by Charles Ludlam. The program said that he was one of the leaders in the Theatre of the Ridiculous movement. An example of a movie director that follows in the Ridiculous vein is John Waters (Hairspray, Cry Baby, Female Trouble, Pink Flamingos). Stylistically they use lots of pop culture references and have an earthy, silly humor. Here is a great Ludlam quote from the program. "I hate minimal art. I am for maximal art." The play was so hilarious. It was a horror farce that took a little bit from a lot of old horror movies. The basic structure of the plot was taken from Rebecca, which was directed by Hitchcock. That is a wonderful movie, by the way. It’s a mystery/drama about a woman who marries a widower and comes to live at his estate, but finds she is under the shadow of the previous mistress of the manor who died under suspicious circumstances. Well this play had werewolves, vampires, a trip to Egypt to uncover a mummy, and a homicidal maniac. Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink all mixed up in a hilarious stew. The performances were stylistic and highly mannered, like the old movies. The lighting and sound design were especially good and gave some feeling of old movies. Did I forget to tell you that two men play all the characters in the story? Impossibly quick changes, cross-dressing and stuff like that added to the fun. One of the characters said, "The mummy princess reminded me so much of you. I felt I was with you". The new mistress of the manor, who was feigning madness at the time, said, "Sometimes I think I am the gardener. We are the same person". Not highly intellectual or even totally unexpected jokes, just funny. I hope that my description gives you some glimmer of the performance and makes you smile just a bit.

A note about John Waters. I have personally seen Hairspray and Cry Baby. I love Hairspray and have seen it many times. Cry Baby was fun, but not nearly as delightful to me. I have only seen it once. They are the tamest of his works. From what I have read, I don’t want to see the others. He does get way out there as far as sex jokes and subject matter. If you are squeamish about that sort of thing, I don’t recommend his other movies.

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