To everything there is a season. A time to be beneficent and magniloquent—as we will be in a few short weeks, when, once again, we host the OC Weekly Theater Awards (Feb. 12 at the Grove Theater Center in Garden Grove). At that time, we shall bestow laurels and accolades upon the best and brightest of local theater in 2000.
But that will be then. This be now. And now is the time to return, for just a moment, to a few productions from the past year that were memorable and remarkable for all the wrong reasons. They stank. They blew. They bored and irritated and prompted our reviewers to write bad things.
Call it our reverse Blurb-o-matic. And because this is such a cruel and callous thing to do, we're going to have even more fun with it. Just match the headline or quote from the top list (1-17) with the production you think it corresponds with on the bottom list (A-P). Then click HERE for the answers. If you get more than two correct, we're really, really sorry.
1) Love stinks, or am I just smelling this play?
2) Long before the 50th bedpan joke, this boorish piece of comedic malpractice should have been wheeled out on a stretcher.
3) [Play title] is being billed as the “Baptist Super Bowl.” If by that, the marketers mean overblown, tedious to watch and lacking excitement or intrigue, they've hit the nail on the cross.
4) An indigestible gruel of weird drama and stupid comedy.
5) [Play title] has 15 words in the title, which is exactly the number of words you'd need to describe the experience of watching this play: don't bother seeing it unless you want to be bored senseless for three grueling hours.
6) What's the problem with this play? It's stupid.
7) Now, normally one would want to exercise benevolence and encourage a budding theater company to realize its dream. But this production's sheer insipidness can't help but thwart such altruistic impulses. Painfully inexperienced acting; unrehearsed, even out-of-control stage combat; inconsistent and distracting attempts at accents; and an impoverished set that includes a “brick” wall that—I kid you not—flutters in the breeze created by passing actors.
8) Ostensibly about racial intolerance, this play brims with can't-we-all-just-get-along speechifying, ham-fisted acting, and characters so poorly drawn they aren't even good enough to be called clichs.
9) This show could easily be taken out of the “comedy” category and placed into “theater of cruelty.”
10) That smirking little weasel will never be my president.
11) Is Alzheimer's really this funny?
12) If, as Sartre suggested, hell is other people, here's hoping that there's an especially nasty place in hell reserved for people who produce good plays badly.
13) A wheezing wreck of a production.
14) The show meanders for two-plus hours through a twilight zone of artless pretension, lame storytelling and sheer goofiness.
15) “Baffled” isn't the word that should be used in describing this current revival. “Shocked,” “stunned,” “flabbergasted” and “positively thunderstruck” are far closer. If this production is to be trusted, [this play] is ponderous, inarticulate and as phony as the breasts on a Newport Beach trophy wife.
16) I walked out at intermission.
17) No. I'm serious. That smirking little weasel isn't my president!
A) The Celebration of the Lizard at San Diego Repertory Theatre
B) Knights of the Round Table by California Repertory Company
C) Look Back in Anger by Vanguard Theatre Ensemble
D) The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare—Abridged by Changing Masks Theater Company
E) Of Mice and Men by the Hunger Artists
F) Painting Churches at the Huntington Beach Playhouse
G) No Exit at the Empire Theatre
H) Lovers and Executionersby the Masters Repertory Company
I) Superheroesby the Berubians
J) George W. Bush
K) Volcano at the Ensemble Theater
L) Always . . . Patsy Cline at the Fullerton Civic Light Opera
M) God's Man in Texas at the Old Globe Theatre
N) Gun-Shy at the Laguna Playhouse
O) The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union at the La Jolla Playhouse
P) Stitches at Stages