Monday, July 20, 2009

Mastermind 2: The Revenge

I've been pretty damn tired lately and Fridays are usually my stay home and watch TV and drink a beer night, but this Friday I promised I would check out Michael Sullivan's latest version of Mastermind which played as part of a series up in Valley Village. I saw the play once before when Michael cast and directed it, so this was an interesting opportunity to see what another director and actors could do with the same material.

I learned a few things, first being that a good script is a good script. People laughed in all the right places and it was still a sobering story and I still felt a little heat coming off the leads. I also learned just how much an actor can alter the perception of character by reading the same lines in a different way.

The play is about a guy with amnesia who thinks he may have been an evil villain before he woke up in the hospital as a John Doe.

In Michael's version, the lead played Mastermind as a genius with a point, if not an overabundance of ego, but he's level-headed enough that when he hovers over the hot female reporter, the audience can just feel the chemistry on stage, of course that might be because the actors were a couple in real life.

In this version, which was still good, the actor chose to play Mastermind as a real whack job, and kind of gay, so the chemistry the other two actors had was not nearly as strong here. I like some of his choices, though. As he gets closer to the memory, this guy starts acting more and more like his old self. I approve of this choice. And the girl in this version was terrific.

I'm a big fan of Michael, and not just because he's my friend. The boy is a born TV writer and I'm so excited that this play has gotten him some attention. That's why I keep writing about it.

Now here's what I didn't appreciate. The play that followed Mastermind was like a bad Renaissance fair act. Like someone who watched way too much Monty Python but had no idea why it was funny. I don't remember the name of the play, but the premise was that this girl leaves her home and wanders around to different towns where people act all crazy and then she discovers that if she just pretends none of the weird shit happened then somehow her life will be better. I don't know, it was weird.

The thing that perplexed the hell out of me was why people were laughing uproariously at this play. I chuckled twice, but the rest of the audience was in freaking hysterics. I leaned over to the Beefcake and whispered in my Homer Simpson voice, "Why are people laughing?" and he whispered "I don't know."

I was so bored we left before the third play. I'm really glad Michael's was first, and I really hope that next time it's performed, the producers pair it with something that doesn't suck.

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