Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Pump Up The Miracle (Or, Fingerspell This Bitch)

Last night I saw a preview of the Broadway revival of The Miracle Worker thanks to my friend Pattesia.

Or, rather than say "saw" I should say, as thoroughly inappropriate as is it is to say, I was deafened by it.

You see, despite the plainly drawn earnestness of the play, the actors in this production read their lines and delivered their emotions something like this:

"WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT OUR DAUGHTER!! SHE'S DEAF AND BLIND AND MUTE!! WE CAN'T PUT HER IN AN ASYLUM!! NO WE CAN'T!! WE JUST CAN'T!! THIS TEACHER BITCH FROM BOSTON DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING!! NO!! SHE DOESN'T!! OH WAIT, SHE DOES!! A MIRACLE!! WHEE!!!!"

Stretch that bitch out over two hours and you have the show in its entirety.

That everyone was screaming their lines in a play about the triumphs of a deaf-blind-mute woman was just too much unintentional comedy to bear.

What hurt even more (even more than my still-pounding- head), is that the climactic "waa-waa"-water-from-the-well scene was a dud (or maybe it was a little dramatic, but after two hours of crazy-pants screaming, the definition of drama was hard to grasp). As the final scene rolled out, and Helen Keller (Abigail Breslin) finally communicates on her own to Annie Sullivan (Alison Pill), I figured she was fingerspelling something other than W-A-T-E-R...something more like:

W-H-Y I-S E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E Y-E-L-L-I-N-G?

or - my best possible fantasy:

S-H-U-T T-H-E F-U-C-K U-P.

And after all that wailing and drama and commotion, once the finger spelling happens - and Miss Pill is finally allowed to cut loose and chew some scenery with the play's big line, she just shrugged her shoulders and whimpered:

"She knows."

You go, girl. Way to subvert the text and make it your own.

Needlesstosay, I didn't jump up when the crowd got all hot and bothered in the now-obligatory-on-Broadway standing ovation. Someone next to me said:

"You're so bitter! You should stand up!"

I wanted to say: "I'm not bitter. I've just been paying attention."

When did sitting in your seat to clap after a completely mediocre production become an act of civil disobedience?

Above: Anne Bancroft. Don't fuck with the original.

2 comments:

Jessica Halem said...

Ummm...I can't believe you didn't reference my late 80s Helen Keller. Not to be fucked with.

T$ said...

I know it was your star turn...but I'm still bitter about that shit. I was "Off Stage Voice".

Fuck that job.