The only times I ride in a car when I’m not paying the driver is when Jon is tooling us around in his little metal beast of a 1970s (1980s??) sporty cockmobile. Cockmobile as in, the Mercedes that, when it came out, burned shit hot with old spice and dude investment bankers picking up their anchorwoman girlfs, prob, but now it’s some sort of retroactive definition of class, all high-low-high-high with Jon driving one-handed and fire in the BBC jacket. One time, long ago, I remember a man ordered us to roll down the window at a stoplight and hollered, appreciatively, for us to drop the top. This we could not do—logistically—but he proved a point. However, those were simpler times, before gas was $4.25 in Brooklyn (as last night, and a steal at that), before we’d lost our innocence, last night lamented during an all 1990s jam fest some dj on power 105 was dropping: “Iesha,” C&C Music Factory, “Set it off,” the heavily underrated Tag Team.
Parking outside Flea Theater was whatever, cause I wasn’t in the car. We sat in the second row, ten feet from the actors—Gaius “my underage husband” Charles aka Smash from Friday Night LIghts; Gbenga Akinnagbe aka Chris Partlow from teh Wire aka Wale’s cousin; this older man playing the dad whose work I did not know. The set was a roof. The play was Lower Ninth, a drama about a family stuck atop their home after the levees broke. Katrina. The acting was great between Gbenga and Gaius, not so much between Gaius and the Man who played Dad. The script, a bit too obvious: a disaster leaves its citizens questioning God; good and evil are debated among a dubiously cast drug dealer; a boy wants to be hard but, is ultimately, a boy. I’m glad I saw it, but I hope in the future the playwright sticks to writing what he knows. It was the closing night—closing five days earlier than it was supposed to. There was as much audience drama as stage drama. There was the yuppie couple who thought it appropirate to bring along their seven and four year old boys, the latter of which kept shouting aloud about needing to pee. Question to all child-bearers: Would you take your four year old to a play about hurricane katrina, wherein the main prop is a body under a trash bag? Second, while there were ten minutes left in the play, a man in the audience passed out, dehydrated. A surreal moment between the cast — dehydration obviously a major part of the script —and the audience, who all rose at once behind us, so much that I thought we were part of it suddenly, or that the risers were moving for effect, so much like the Stargate Atlantis ride at some Vegas amusement park that once made me sick. The cast became the audience. Gaius broke character and hollered for the stage hands. The audience fled into the lobby; the ambulance came. The fainting man walked out on his own, his companion apologizing. We filed back in. It ended.
Throughout the play, we heard ghost music: Erykah Badu was the most discernable, and I thought it was the amplifiers picking up radio waves, maybe blasting out Hot 97. It was distracting. They will have to fix that. Only later, at dinner [Bubby’s, obviously], I realized I had been the culprit. Somehow my iPod was on the whole time. I played Erykah and Outkast and Trill Fam and probably like, Mia [German Band] through the entire play, from my headphones.
Tony Kushner was in the audience and I hope he gives them all roles, forever.

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  1. Rachael says:

    hey girl, per recommendation from julie and another theater friend I saw this play as part of the summer play festival (www.spfnyc.com) last summer (think I told you when I saw it?)! Smash wasn’t in it in that version, though, and Lowboy wasn’t played by Chris Partlow, but was instead played by Marlo Stanfield. Ha. I thought it had potential back then — needed a bit more development, but there was something there. I thought the distance between James McDaniel and E-Z (Smash for you) was intentional, too – just my take. anyway, I second your call for Tony Kushner to keep them all employed forever.

  2. Kiala says:

    Teh Wire.
    I don’t…you just…FUNNY.
    Why haven’t I known about this blog?!!

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