Friday, September 3, 2010
The Donaldson's are sorta hard-up for cash. That's probbably the reason they made their family reunion into a stage show. Curtain:
Open on cousins Anita and Rufus, performing their conceptual play "The Re-Birth of Dexter Fishbourne." It features meticulous reconstructions of mid-century furniture and clothing, a moody color scheme, and impeccable make-up to make the two young, earnest art students appear middle aged. It is mind-numbingly boring. Nobody invited them onstage in the first place. Anita and Rufus were supposed to be watching Granny. They weren't. She is now getting her Dave Grohl on.
The family rallies itself, and the lights go up, cleverly shifting the focus from the pretentious drivel to the REAL show. Cousin Mikey and his Teutonic Trumpeters provide a rousing accompaniment for Crazy Aunt Loretta's Necromantic Chorus. She's been working to gather the ancestors for weeks. They have Donaldsons going back to the civil war. MCing are perennial favorites Uncle Walter and Grandpa Albert.
Little Tommy (Who ain't so little any more) has graciously volunteered to be psychoanalyzed onstage. Mostly so he doesn't have to be the ventriloquist dummy again. His brother Frank makes due with a coconut. Adopted twims Andre and Rahshaad (who are actually six years old, though the gladular disorder would have you think different.) amuse themselves with cowboy costumes and kazoos.
Anita's mother Lucy has attempted to teach Ned the family donkey a rhythmic gymnastics routine. Ned never really took to it. He's really more of an unever-bars kind of guy. He turns his back as Lucy attempts to carry the act. She is seriously reconsidering their artistic relationship.
It turns out Loretta went a little crazy. Uninvited ancestors begin to manifest themselves. Some of them not completely. They debate politics, and have conversations about parotts that have been out of context for generations. Aspiring actresses Leda and Linda mercilessly self-promote. Cousin Andy does the finances. He is not pleased about doing them onstage. The tickets havent sold well and it's hard to contain his displeasure. Also the chair makes his butt look big. Marcus attemps to help, hynotizing the crowd into buying over-priced concessions.
Abducted years ago, Ronald makes his big return. He is the most popular DJ on Orion 7 and thinks maybe Now his father will be proud of him. The pets are out of control. Backstage, there's a pool going: Will the monkey eat the bird or vice versa? Nope. Dance off. The curtain is hasitly closed when Ulf and his band of seven Mariachi-playing husbands return from Oxaca. Nobody really talks about Ulf anymore. But ever loyal, Ulf encourages the audience to buy his family's record.
All the while wry commentary is provided by Ignatius, who really developed quite the sense of humor after that incident in the Galapagos with the turtle.
Bonnie Tyler is a Catholic school teacher. She has just terminated an affair with a student, due to the immense guilt it caused her. She stands in her room, staring at the full moon through heavily lined eyes as she remembers. This was about the time he would come to her when they were seeing each other, his eyes glowing as he opened the door. (No. Literally.)
In a fit of EMOTION she flees the bright comfort of her well appointed home for the school she teaches at, hoping to find closure. She expects it to be dark and empty, but no! Her tortured psyche fills every room with manifestations of her lust. She is mocked by images of the lovely young boys she must work with every day but remain distant from. Boys in swimsuits, football gear, at desks, fencing. Her other sexual fantasies begin to seep in: leather jacketed gangs, angry secret societies at fancy dinners, ninjas. She tries to run from her inappropriate feelings but at the end of the hallway, she finds them staring her in the face. An entire choir of boys, their eyes alight with the Almighty's holy judgement. She tries to run again, but she is cut off, surrounded by her lustful imaginings, dancing, twisting, bending, teasing her. She gives up and collapses.
The next day she meets her new class for the year, which includes-collective gasp!- her old paramour. They share a heated, uncomfortable moment. Nothing good will come of this.
The doves we see throughout symbolize the purity she is struggling to retain, that keeps on flying away from her. The little boy sitting in the winged chair is a young, precocious student, and also an angel, attempting to help her become more virtuous and failing.
Our girl Allison Goldfrapp is here an aspect of Aphrodite/Venus/Ishtar/Isis/Astarte or whatever other Goddess of Fertility and Feminine Lady-ness you prefer. Men (Represented by the goths) worship her (With dance!). The goth makeup and clothing is an exaggerated indicator of masculinity, its aggressiveness as well as its tendency to peacock. She comes to earth in the form of an aerobics instructor, having gathered that us humans would be more comfortable with Olivia Newton-John than Her full celestial awesomeness. The Goth dudes keep Her imprisoned in Her temple so as to bask in her heavenly neon light. She remains impassive, allowing them to worship
Our Goddess then calls Her female acolytes (preistesses/nymphs/attendents/worshippers) to Her temple to "reward" the dudes for their prayers. This is represented by the dancing, with its copious gyrating and thrusting. At the right moment, the Goddess endows her femal acolytes with Vampire powers! They feast on the men's multicolored belief and life force, and celebrate. They pour their Goddess a glass of life force, She exposes her golden fangs, showing us that even the highest life forms succumb to the pressures of the Id.
The pentagram on the floor is a Wiccan symbol representing the Goddess, and thus appropriate in a temple. The women's workout gear represents their closeness to their Goddess. She is an aerobics instructor in the first place because She wishes to associate herself with self-improvement, and the fight to become our higher selves, as well as the cult of beauty and appearance to which we all belong. The circle dance at the end recalls Roman Bacchanals of old. The late 70s motifs are in place as they represent a time noted for its excess and hedonism, satisfaction of baser instincts.