The Gray Bunny (graybunny) wrote,
The Gray Bunny

Internet-related disability

The thing about living on the Net is that it destroys your ability to detect satire. Satire is based around the concept of taking a situation and turning up the ridiculous aspects until the audience can't take it seriously even though it is pretending to be serious. Compare this to the Internet, where every day one encounters foaming loony statements which are absolutely sincere. You pretty much have to treat everthing as serious unless it is either marked as a joke or you know the poster well enough. There's a reason the smiley was invented: it's your last-ditch defense, a little flag waving which says "I don't actually mean this! I'm not crazy!"

I raise this point because last night I went to see 'Twas an Evening of Shitty Theater at the Open Circle Theater in Seattle. It was billed as readings from their slush pile, the worst Christmas-related scripts they'd received over the years. In the spirit of the infamous Eye of Argon, it was both funny and so bad in places that you wanted to stab yourself to make it stop.

After the show, I got a chance to speak to the narrator briefly, which wasn't hard because the cast outnumbered the audience. I asked if they were really all real, and judging by his reaction I'd missed part of the joke, that they were so bad they had to be fake. I think. I refer you to the first paragraph — on the Net, virtually all of the viewpoints they presented I have seen held sincerely by one person or another. White supremacists? Check. Pagans who think Christians are retarded apes? Check. Angst over gay issues? Check. Clueless privileged rich types? Check. I have also seen more than enough bad fiction that the painful nature of much of the writing just makes it more convincing. And the bit about The Klaus, who is "beautiful but deadly" and shoots children with a raygun which "satisfies their gift desires"? I know the person who could have written that. (Hi!)

I guess my summary is: badly-written crazy stuff meant seriously makes up a large part of the environment on the Net. Given that, you can't expect to show me badly-written crazy stuff on stage and not have me take it seriously.
Tags: event report
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