Friday, March 18, 2011

#serials@TheFlea Week 2 Preview: Funeral-Crashing and Restoration Comedy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Recently deceased typographer Doyald Young, the pseudo-subject of one of this weekends sort plays at the Flea Theater.
  • Recently deceased typographer Doyald Young, the pseudo-subject of one of this weekend's sort plays at the Flea Theater.
Welcome back to The L’s virtual Algonquin Roundtable, where over digital eggs and e-muffins we hash out recent and future goings-on in the Flea’s serialized short play competition #serials@TheFlea. The second week of the show’s second cycle begins tonight at midnight, with two more performances Saturday at 11pm and 1am.

Returning this week will be episode three of the Hollywood screwball satire UnFuck Yourself, Rhys Bauer!, the record-tying fifth episode of neo-noir/exploitation hodgepodge The Connectors and the second installment of abstract-ish mood piece O’Hare (read our Q&A with O'Hare playwright Alena Smith here).

There will also be a pair of first episodes, including:

Too Soon, by Dylan Dawson.
In this play, a group of Bats (the Flea’s resident company, who produce and perform all the #serials plays) crash a man’s funeral and give what I’ll describe as an unconventional eulogy, where they instead talk about themselves and "misrepresent a whole chunk of a person's life because perhaps that person was a physicist and physics are fucking complicated."

Stray thoughts:
- The production notes that while the sketch will “definitely” ride the edge of bad taste at times, “the joke would be more on the storytellers” than the deceased. I’m curious to see how that plays out, given that the group opted to use a real person’s recent death as inspiration. A fictitious funeral would make this premise a solid one for comedy (didn’t the Marx Bros do something like this? They must have.), but using a real person raises some flags. It’ll be interesting to see how the group justifies using a real person, especially this specific person, Doyald Young, who died Feb 28. Young designed typefaces, which presumably has nothing to do with physics.
- We’ll see what happens, but this seems more like the premise for a single sketch. It’ll be interesting to see how it sets itself up for a potential second episode.

The Bachelor, by Patrick Barrett.
This is a period comedy about Alistair, a notorious womanizer who is hired by a judge to teach him the ways of the secular flesh. Unbeknownst to the judge, Alistair has been making moves on the man’s willing wife. Throwing the proverbial wrench into these saucy gears, the judge’s beautiful niece suddenly arrives on the scene.

Stray thoughts:
- The show claims to be “part-parody, part-exploration of the Restoration comedy style,” which should be interesting. I imagine that while the serialized format does present some limitations, it also allows the company to dabble in genres and micro-genres that are obscure but distinct and beloved (see also, The Connectors).
- Unsurprisingly, the premise and farcical style are nods to the great Oscar Wilde, one of my favorite writers (though more for Dorian Gray and his poetry than his plays). Referencing him is inevitable in this genre/period, but the man’s voice is so distinctive that attempts to ape it are tricky. Lightning v. lighting bug indeed.

So that’s it. Look back here early next week for a recap.

Click here for details about #serials@TheFlea.

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