It took only seconds to realize we had made a terrible mistake. My brother Jimmy and I looked at each other as the lights went down in the basement theatre off Union Square …. “this ain’t right” we said to each other without speaking.
The night started out promising, Jimmy and I both happy to head to the city for some dinner and theatre. We quickly scanned the last minute half-price tickets. Sam Sheppard? No, not in the mood for depressing. No musicals, on this Jimmy and I agreed. So we ended up with some obscure little six-acts, two actors, two chairs, one-door and no intermission-thingy. Could be interesting. But it was off Union Square…not the Mission. We should have known.
We showered, dressed, jumped in the Mini and zipped to the city. Before the show we stumbled into some fancy steak house bar and had oysters and salads and talked movies and conjectured as to why a beautiful woman dining next to us (with two well dressed fags) kept staring at us. Who knows.
Soon enough we were sitting in our theatre seats reading the program which bragged that the six acts were written targeting “general audiences everywhere” and had “no profanity.” They had this in the program…as a selling point! Shit-fuck-damn! They aren’t gonna cuss? They’re targeting middle-America? Eighty-five minutes long? No intermission? Jimmy and I look at each other…a mild panic rising. I chastise Jimmy for picking seats far from the door complicating our escape. Fuck.
Then the lights went down and it was just awful. Really really awful! Jimmy and I looking at each other in the dark whispering “When should we leave? Can we slip out after the first act? I don’t know, maybe we should stay for two acts?” More awfulness unfolds on stage. Mercifully, the first act ends then the lights go out for the “set” change. Shit, we can’t see a thing. How are we gonna get outta here? Lights go back on and we are into act two. Jimmy can’t stand it anymore…he leans into me and unambiguously asserts, “We ARE leaving after act two.” Ok Jimmy, I am with ya buddy. We are in the front row and we study the landscape so we know where to go when the theatre goes dark again.
Act two ends and the lights go out. We jump up and shuffle blindly across the theatre to what we think is the exit….shit, the door is locked! My god! They’ve locked us in this basement! Wait, that’s not the door we came in…we can’t see a damn thing. There are four doors, I grope for another one. Nope, locked. Jimmy tries a third door…it opens. We start to go through…wait! It’s an elevator! Shit. Now the stage lights are on…act three is starting….we’ve become a spectacle banging around trying to free ourselves from this maze of a theatre. I push through the last door…the lobby! Thank god! We quickly climb the stairs…we get to the top and open the door. Behind it there is a closed gate! My god, they have truly locked us in here! I push on the gate. It gives. Jimmy and I walk briskly down the hall and onto Sutter Street and start laughing.
Now this has been a mildly entertaining evening so far, but it is early and Jimmy and I ponder what to do. How about a movie? We grab a Guardian and look at our options. Gonzo, a Hunter S. Thompson documentary, or Savage Grace? Both are dark and debauched. Fitting we thought since the awful play had no cussing….lets swing the pendulum real wide. We agree on Savage Grace. We get to the theatre early, pick the best seats and wait. An older couple comes in right after the movie starts and sits directly behind us. The old man keeps talking and loudly hacking up phlegm. Again, Jimmy and I look at each other in the dark…are you fucking kidding me people? We move, stretch out in the handicap seats in the last row…much roomier.
We then proceed to watch the true story (spoiler alert if you wanna see this one) of a really rich family where the father leaves the mother for the gay sons young girlfriend and then the mother fucks the son’s male lover and the son at the same time…then the mother fucks just the son and then she tries to kill herself but the son saves her…mother and son continue to fuck until the son stabs and kills the mother. But wait. He’s not done yet. The son spends years in a mental institution for the criminally insane but then gets out and goes to live with his murdered mother’s mother whom he also stabs within one week of his arrival. But wait, it’s still not over. He goes to prison and then kills himself. Now it’s over. We swung the pendulum wide indeed. There was definitely cussing…and much, much more. Too much more.
After the movie we head towards the parking garage. Confused, we stand in front of a non-responsive elevator for some time before figuring out it doesn’t go down to our floor. Seems we are still struggling with exists. We both resist the urge to go to the 500 Club and have a drink. We go home and Jimmy has one beer and goes to bed. I sit down and start writing.