Friday, October 17, 2003

The post about the play about the baby

So yesterday morning at 10:00 I found out I had to make a speech at our 4:00 staff meeting about a successful client presentation we'd just done. We call these monthly speeches our "creative showcase," and there's increasing pressure to make them, well, really creative. My first instinct was to write alternate lyrics to "We Will Rock You" and chant my presentation to a clapping-colleague drumbeat, but that seemed like a lot of work. My second plan was to write everything in a cheesy Dr. Seuss cadence -- and it actually turned out kinda cute. Observe:

Oh, we are the bankers
with a product that's slow.
It should be a winner
in our PORT-fo-li-O.

The poem was a hit when I showed it to the creative team a few hours before the staff meeting. And when I mentioned my earlier "We Will Rock You" idea, we discovered that Dr. Seuss and Queen's thump-thump-CLAP go surprisingly well together. (Go ahead -- try it.)

And this is how "We Will POP You" was born. (For those of you not in the biz, POP is short for Point of Purchase. We were showing the staff some POP signage and support materials we'd developed for a very happy client.) Everyone in the company seemed to love the song, but it didn't hurt that everyone was well-lubricated on champagne to celebrate the fact that we won two new clients in the last few weeks.

After work I met Bob for a great Star of Siam dinner. Then we headed to the Goodman Theatre for a fascinating production of The Play About the Baby, which is part of the Goodman's Edward Albee Festival.

I fell in love with Albee when I first read Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in college, and I've tried to read or see everything of his since then. He's such a master of language and of exploring reality (and imagined reality) through absurdity and logic. And beneath the highbrow facade of his work lies a wickedly twisted, angry mind. The Play About the Baby employs devices like the unnamed and ultimately destructive visitors from his The Lady from Dubuque and characters like the outwardly strong but inwardly helpless Honey (and the never-seen child) from Virginia Woolf, but it breaks new ground exploring the use of distraction (how close can you pay attention when a stunning naked man runs across the stage during the high point of a monologue?) in the search for truth.

Enough exegesis. The play is fascinating, engaging and pleasantly disturbing. And if you get nothing out of the play, the hot naked man (with his tiny little waist and his perfect nipples) is worth the price of admission alone. But isn't he always?

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