Friday, September 30, 2011
My Name Is Mudd (Jackalope Theatre Company)
Gang, as some of you know, I am a MAJOR history buff, and Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite subjects. In fact, the amount of historical fiction written about this dude is only beaten by two other men, Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler.
3 ruthless dictators.
Let me tell you what Historical Fiction is. Historical fiction is a medium of art that shows our greatest heroes of History in a new, fake light.
For example, I just read: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
This was a biography of Lincoln, hitting all the major points of his life, except in this version, everything he did to free the slaves, bury his children, etc. was all motivated by his deep-seated hatred of Vampires.
There is also a medium called Historical Erotica. That is where you take a figure like Ghandi and write a porno where he goes to Argentina and rails a bunch of Ex-Nazis. I love this kind of fiction because I like to hear about chicks in the past getting plowed by my heroes.
THEN, there is a genre called "Actual History" where you tell the story of someone's life correctly using all factual information. This way is sort of cool, but there aren't ever really any surprises because you know how it ends. You usually have to find a new angle that may or may not be interesting, because if you are telling a story about, say, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, we have heard this story about 10 million ways and cannot possibly tell me anything new.
This was my attitude when I went to see "My Name Is Mudd" at the Viaduct Theater last week. A play centered around the doctor Richard Mudd who treated John Wilkes Booth after he broke his leg, or treated Lincoln... he treated somebody for something, it wasn't totally clear.
Jackalope Theatre Company has a long and storied history of doing plays, I think. I haven't ever seen a Jackalope play before, so I don't wanna speak for their body of work, but they must have done SOMETHING good before because they have some pretty big names in the cast!
There is John Ross Wilson, Esteban Andres Cruz, a couple different Samuels and another Mexican fella named Roy Gonzalez!
So far, this play has 2 more Mexicans than Lincoln ever met in his life.
The set is an old R.E.M. video set from the early 90's, so immediately I was intrigued.
The premise is simple: A group of Vaudeville actors are going to sort of tell us about the events leading up to, and surrounding the famous assassination. Sprinkled throughout the show are pieces of factual evidence that is both eye opening and sort of crazy sounding.
The performers are first rate. The jokes are funny. The story is, like, the most famous American story there is, so what's not to like?
NOTHING! Parking is sort of hard over there, actually.
Esteban Andres Cruz steals the show, as usual as this wig maker who is working on Booth's show. Cruz has this way of being serious and goofy at the same time. How does he do it?
Anyway, listen. I am rambling on a bit, but you should make it out to see this show. This young company is going to start taking leaps and you could stand to learn a thing or two.
Sic Semper Tyrannis to Everyone!
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach