So here we are.
Last year, in honor of the Tony Awards, I wrote “web...blah...log: the musical!” (After that, I addressed its flaws in “notes session” and created an edited final version.) This year, with the Tonys less than a week away, I’m going to go back in time for a almost-as-meta dramatic moment.
Long ago (and yet not really that long ago), the Tony Awards used to feature performances from nominated plays alongside the requisite musical numbers. These moments were often quite electric, even if they were blamed for falling ratings and ultimately excised in favor of... well, no one has yet to figure out how to deal with the non-musical plays at Tony time other than to have a celebrity (whether or not he or she is actually in the play) stand awkwardly in front of the teleprompter and read a summation.
For example, if web...blah...log was nominated for Best Play in 2012 (and if it was, in fact, a play), my guess would be that its star, Mary-Louise Parker, would walk out delicately in a white tissue gown, put on a pair of Tina Fey glasses and read the following like a deer in headlights:
Life. Things. Crap. These are some of the topics that I explore eight times a week as the heroine of “web...blah...log,” the sometimes riveting and always ridiculous new play by Stephanie D’Abruzzo. In a sugar-addled swirl of hallucination, my character speaks to an unseen audience about nothing in particular, but as the three-hour evening unfolds, we learn that a single shout into the thick night can simultaneously be heard and not heard.
(If the show has already closed and Ms. Parker is off shooting a series, maybe they’ll get Angela Lansbury or John Leguizamo to read a slightly revised version of that speech.)
But if web...blah...log was nominated for Best Play in 1990 (and if blogs were prevalent in 1990), well, you’d probably be treated to the following final monologue, introduced by Elaine May and performed by its star, Linda Lavin:
You know what, Internet? You vex me. You really do. You vex me. No one uses that word: vex. It’s a good word. It sounds like hex. I suppose you hex me, too.
I’m tired, Internet. I don’t want to call you Internet anymore - it seems so formal. And it doesn’t trip off the tongue well. I don’t like Web, either, or ‘Net. Yes, I know I seem grouchy. Just let me say what I have to say. Just sit down and let me speak. Let me open this Fresca first.
Netty. That’s it. I’m calling you Netty.
Netty, why are you so hungry? You take everything I say and just instantly devour it in your huge, gaping maw. Not just what I say; what everyone says, or writes. You’re not content with a profound tweet or a thought-provoking blog or an excellent article... you just gulp it down whole and stare back at me, at us, waiting for more. It’s not gone, but it’s gone.
It’s like feeding a bacon bit to a starving lion.
What will satisfy you, Netty? What will give you pause? I need to know Netty because I’m tired. I’m so tired.
I know, no, I think I know. Maybe I know it’s fruitless and hopeless to think that you’re going to slow down to a level of thoughtfulness, but I need you, Netty. I do. Who else is going to cradle me in self-indulgence and misinformation? Where else will I be slathered in opinions? And without you, how would I acquire discount fashions and accessories? I need you almost as much as I need ice cream, Netty. Almost as much as I inexplicably need to share the fact that I need ice cream in a self-deprecating way. But Netty, this is a ridiculous relationship.
Netty. Help me, Netty... (she chokes on her Fresca)
And then the stage lights would go out and the orchestra would play Put On Your Sunday Clothes and Tommy Tune would be introduced to present Best Choreographer.
I guess my point is that while last year’s web...blah...log: the musical! was somewhat successful, web...blah...log would be the worst play ever, and not just because of the poor adaptation from blog to stage. That’s what happens when you have pressure from producers and the artistic director of the nonprofit theatre company that’s staging it to create false drama and an actual storyline where there was none to begin with. So it probably wouldn’t be nominated for Best Play in 1990 or any other year anyway, unless it was a particularly slim year for new plays. (And forget about the Pulitzer.)
Plus, none of this is real, anyway. Enjoy the Tonys, Sunday night on CBS!
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.
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