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Part of me wants to think that because the play is cleverly written and has catchy songs, it could survive without the site’s popularity fueling interest. But who knows. Certainly I’m not concerned for K&K’s prospects. Having a show at the Fringe Festival, and being commissioned to write another one, represents a level of success that many playwrights will never reach. For first-time playwrights it is astonishing, and even more remarkable when you learn how little technical musical experience the pair has, an obstacle that would seem insurmountable.
Mike Gilliespie, an arranger who shares a mutual friend with Pomranz, helped construct the score though a process that involved the pair singing melodies to him, which he then translated into notes.
“Kristyn and Kate, in spite of not having much technical musical training, have very sharp musical ears,” Gilliespie said. “I remember one song in which I was listening to the recording and heard what I assumed was a mistake in the melody line, so I smoothed it out in the arrangement. K&K picked up on it right away — the original was indeed what they’d intended. It was a slight chromatic difference, and when I looked at it again, I saw that it made the song a little more interesting and complex.”
Hearing him talk, a question kept coming to mind. It returned when I spoke to Liz Ervey, who played the accountant “Sumz” in the show’s Beyond the Wall incarnation, and to Nicole Born Crow, that version’s director and producer. “This is about LOLCats,” I would think. “How can they possibly be taking it this seriously?” The only person who seemed to view the site with the same skepticism as me was Ben Huh, the CEO.
But then I reflected that if Huh was right that you couldn’t regulate memes, here was an example of people owning one by giving it artistic merit and relative depth. In my eyes it stands as a rebuttal to the fact that memes are given more attention than more serious works of art, as well as to the idea of memes being shallow.
“I hear from a lot of people who say, ‘I didn’t realize I was funny until I started posting on LOLCats.’” Huh told me. “People say they make new friends online because they share a sense of humor this way.”
This is another rebuttal. It may be a shame that memes have so saturated our culture, but they can be fun, people get to be creative, and sometimes they can lead to things like “The MusicLOL,” which convinced me that user-generated content can be worthy of critical appraisal. Plus, those pictures are ridiculous.
For details on the show, including ticket information, visit: http://icanhascheezburgerthemusiclol.wordpress.com/