Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mary Kay LeTourneau: The Musical

My friend Beth is fascinated by the Mary Kay LeTourneau story, and wanted to see a musical at the Gorilla Tango Theater that is based on it. (MKL is the 32-year-old Seattle elementary-school teacher who went to jail for having sex with a 12-year-old student. She had two children as a result of the affair. When she got out of prison she and the boy, who was now 21, were married. They remain married and are raising their kids.)

The musical is based on this story -- with much artistic license and embellishment of peripheral characters. We fully expected trash theater. I picked Beth up and we met a couple she knows at Earwax in Wicker Park, where we ate dinner before heading to the theater. On the way to the show, I made a wrong turn and decided to live on the edge by executing a highly illegal U-turn in a quiet section of Milwaukee. As I swung into the turn, I looked in my side mirror -- at the Chicago Cop car directly behind me.

"SHIT SHIT SHIT!" I said, because by now it was clear the turn was going to be a 3-pointer, and I was so screwed. I froze. The cop car turned on the overhead spot.

"DAMN! Beth," I said, turning to her. "You're sick, and I'm hurrying to get you home. Fake it."

"What? I can't do that!"

I made the turn and headed towards the theater. Miraculously, the cops didn't follow.

"Ah, it's too cold for them to leave the car for such a minor thing," I said. "And Beth, you call yourself an improvisor? What good is studying improvisation if you can't use it in these kinds of situations? You had place, character, and motivation. What the hell?"

"I am not lying to a cop."

"And you call yourself an American."

"If I recall, you've already been pulled over once--"


The show ended up being really very good. The set was minimal, with no props other than a few clothing pieces to signify characters. The object work was excellent, so it all worked very well. The actors were very strong, a couple of women in particular, whose characterizations had me laughing so hard I almost lost my dinner. The last line of the show had me sprawled across Beth's lap gasping for air. On the way home, I'd repeat the line and dissolve into another laughing fit so strong I had tears rolling down my face.

Twelve bucks. So worth it. BYOB, which many did, some to the dismay of their friends, who had to keep them from talking to the stage.

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