Monday, July 23, 2007

Why We Come Here

Last weekend my wife and I went to the area of Madison where a lot of "alternative" lifestyle people tend to hang out, Williamson Street. Locals here call it Willy Street. It is an eclectic combination of hippies, gays, lesbians, transgenders, stoners, bums, you name it, Willy St. has it. Along with this comes interesting diversions.

We had an absolutely fabulous dinner sitting outside at Jolly Bob's. It is a Caribbean theme restaurant that has been around for a long time here in Madison. We each had two of the "banana-tini's", an excellent martini with OJ, vodka and creme de banana.

My wife and I agreed that the dinner was some of the best food we had partaken in over the last several months. Spicy, but not burning - full flavored and fresh. There was a bachelorette party in there. Pretty early to start that crap at 7.30pm I would think, but then again, those ladies looked like they were in it for the long haul.

Afterword we sauntered a block to the Broom Street Theater. Which isn't on Broom Street, it's on Willy Street. $8 got us into the play they had running, called "Why We Come Here". Before I get to the play, a bit about the theater.

BST is known for over the top productions featuring mostly mind-bending themes. The plays there are written to test the audience's minds and they always do. BST is a non-profit theater and nobody there gets paid. The actors, lighting personnel, director, playwright - it is all art for art's sake. I like that.

As for my taste in theater, I prefer modern plays with modern themes. In fact, I like modern American plays. I don't mind a little of the abstract, but I don't want to think too hard. I want to be able to be entertained and laugh a bit, as I did this last Saturday.

Why We Come Here is a play written by a local named Megan McGlone. She came up at the beginning of the show (in front of all 20 patrons...literally) to talk about herself and how she came up with the idea. They "played church" as they always do at BST and passed donation baskets around. I dropped a fiver in there.

The play centers around two young women who meet in a bar and discuss...everything...over drinks. The only other characters are two other bar patrons and a bartender. There are many scenes (each scene lasted typically 5 minutes or less), and they are filled with dialogue. In between the scenes all of the players changed costumes. So while the two women discussed their lives the other two patrons were constantly changing their characters. In the bar were everything from couples to a person doing yoga to college students. My favorite random patron was a person who had passed out on the bar and had to be removed by the bartender.

One of the main characters was a lesbian and one was straight. It was apparent that they had been friends for quite some time. The topic of boyfriends and girlfriends came up a lot. I think my favorite part featuring the lesbian was when she was discussing her relationship with an eight month pregnant woman and how she was so proud to be a mom...or the case was. The straight woman had me laughing out loud when she was boasting of a new boyfriend who she called the "porno star". She noted that he had folded her up like origami the night before - that line was delivered with a wonderful tone. That joke was funny enough, but then the lesbian asked her if the guy was Asian...and the whole place erupted.

Between the scenes they played interesting music, about half of which I recognized. In some of the scenes they kept the music playing, but pulled it down so you could hear it in the background to give you the illusion of being in a night club with the women.

The "F" word was dropped liberally and reminded me of just exactly what they were trying to remind me of...drunk people talking. Me included. Anyone who has seen me even slightly inebriated knows that my language quickly descends into the gutter. I have gotten better with this since having kids.

Why We Come Here was short, only 75 minutes or so - and it went by quickly. It had been a long time since I had been to a play but I really enjoyed it. It was modern, snappy and fast paced. I was surprised that the straight girl and the bartender didn't hook up as at one time they made googly eyes at each other. But then again, he had heard all the stories about all of her boyfriends too.

I don't feel too bad about revealing any spoilers in this review as the play ended on Sunday and the chances of it coming to your town are pretty remote.

This evening was truly a Madison original from the dinner to the play to the stroll down Willy St. It was a good night to be alive - and here.


jti said...

Welcome to Lakewood - you basically described it perfectly, except for us it's the whole city...

Megan McGlone said...

Hi, I'm Megan McGlone, the person who wrote the play... a friend of mine sent me your blog.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, however, it was not I who came out at the beginning of the show, that was the director. :)

Dan from Madison said...

Ah.. sorry about the misidentification! I must have had one too many at Jolly Bobs before the play.