Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Rubber Chicken

A friend of mine is a high school music teacher and he invited me to his students' play "Once Upon a Mattress." I had never heard of it, and actually didn't even know what the play was, but I agreed to take the kiddos. It was a 7PM start.

So, the kids went down for a nap around 4 and I woke them at 6 and off we went. The premise of this musical is simple: Queen doesn't want her son to marry anyone so she put all the potential princesses through one rigamarole or another to disqualify them from being good enough for her son. And I was well entertained - as were the kids.

In this production, there's this rubber chicken that makes its appearance throughout the play, in a seemingly innocuous nuance - at one point a chracter holds it while he sings (at one point singing that he's bad at romance and looks longingly into the rubber chicken's eyes) and at another point just being held (not choked!) for posterity's sake. I don't know if there's a rubber chicken in the original broadway musical or in the '03 Disney version ... but these high schoolers sure made it work.

When the prince tries to sprout balls and not let his mom run all over him, he swings the chicken at another character and THUD - he like seriously and for real, for real smacked this guy across the face with that chicken. Now, the play is riddled with humor (the good kind that had the entire audience in stitches and it was still ok to be sitting between my 6 and 4 year old) but at this point ... we lost it.

The entire cast on stage is aghast, some asking their classmate if he's ok ... and there I was in the first row ... between my kids ... laughing my fucking ass off. I seriously had tears. My kids were no better, falling all over me unable to suppor their own weight amidst laughters of their own. And it dawns on me - we're not the only ones. The entire place is crackin up ... while others still ask him if he's ok, his face already looking nearly bruised.

The cast just stood in their places, waiting. Waiting for us to stop laughing ... and they waited, and waited and waited. It was AWESOME. Purple cheek stepped off stage and the audience started clapping ... and when the applause died down, the play went on.

Only I wasn't ready - now I had to suppress my laughter right there in the front row. And it doesn't help when my four year old son looks at me and whispers (as loudly as you would expect a four year old to "whisper") through his own stifled laughter, "he smacked him in the face with the chicken."

I don't know what happened for the next few scenes and it was closing night. So, i can't go back - but now I'm dying to see the Disney version, especially since learning that it's a cast of well knowns, including Carol Burnett (who I have always thought was hysterical - the classic scene where she's wearing the drapes, curtain rod and all, is enough proof in my book).

In the end - my friend tells me that the rubber chicken was staged ... because the student actually told his classmate "hit me for real" and my friend (THE TEACHER) shrugged and said, "ok." So, for all three shows, this boy took a rubber chicken to the face, on PURPOSE - just for the laugh of it.

Look, if you're willing to be smacked across the face with a rubber chicken three nights in a row to the point where your cheek is bruised ... you're ready for life, young man ...

Except - maybe that analogy is too deep for you right now. Let's just go with - "you funny as fuck."



The Jaded NYer said...

remind me not to take you OR your kids anywhere serious... how y'all gonna keep laughing after the joke was over?? LMAO... so freakin inappropriate!

I guess that's why we're friends LMAO!!!

JACK said...

Did I mention that at the start of the play, the main character is carrying this guitar or oboe or whatever-laylee and my 4 year old leans over midway through his opening song and says, "is he gonna play that thing or what?"