The Nobel Prize
My personal favorite was a 6 foot tall woman named "Velvet" who came loping on stage about a third of the way through. She handed over her head shot, which included several "character" shots where she had mostly just put on slightly different tacky outfits. In one of the shots, she was wearing a wife beater and a trucker hat a la Roadside Crack-Ho, which seemed the most realistic casting possibility for Miss Velvet.
She proceeded to make awkward and odd small talk with us while setting up a stool onstage, upon which she carefully placed a stack of papers and an upside down plastic cup she had gotten from the lobby. Around the cup was stretched a gold lame hair tie. She told us she would be giving us a monologue from an ORIGINAL PLAY (emphasis hers) about the life of Madame Curie, which was created from ACTUAL EXCERPTS (again with the emphasis) from Madame Curie's own writings.
Then she goes behind the curtain in the back, twisting her hair up into a bun- you know, for DRAMATIC EFFECT, and comes back out, completely tranformed. Ok, well, her hair was up at least. She begins speaking in what I think she thought was French, expertly shifting into what was possibly English delivered in just the most terrible French accent EVER. Turns out the stool is her Podium as she is accepting her Nobel Peace Prize, which is, yes, you guessed it, the plastic cup with the golden scrunchie, which she actually picked up as means of demonstrating for us that it was indeed the Prize of which she spoke, not once, not twice, but three times in 2 minutes.
Oh, yeah. I did not hear a word she said, because my brain was shocked, absolutely frozen in perplexity.
Velvet was not the only monstrosity, far from it, just the most memorable. There was talent, for sure, and it was all entertaining, if sometimes painful. There was a woman who had understudied Uta Hagen, and had trained with everyone who was anyone for the last 20 years, who was just dull as toast. There were people who clearly had turned to acting to be able to express an inner rage, who you wouldn't want to meet in a crowded alley, and wished would just get a therapist instead. The black actors were almost to the person more vital, more edgy, and more honest than the white actors.
There were soap actors and commercial talents, young girls from Portland and 75 year old men who struggled to remember who and where they were, let alone the lines. In the words of our Artistic Director, who we threw a big anniversary party for on Monday, and who is 70 next year, "They don't want to stop. No one ever wants to stop."