July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmies; awards by any other name, all reflect the values of our celebrity-worshiping culture in which we prize, above all else, entertainment. Award shows are the Olympic games of the entertainment industry, or perhaps its Wrestlemania®, where the players show up in costume for the crowning ceremony of the best-of-the-best, all the while seeming to offer a chance at a rare glimpse of ordinary humans behind the façade of glamour. Whether we are drooling at the prospect of Kanye West pulling yet another Kanye at the next award show, or we are just aching for a glimpse of our favorite deified incarnation of celebrity-marketing as he or she graciously receives richly deserved recognition, we are glued to the TV (or social media) because we want to feel some connection, however far removed, to the lives of our fabled heroes in the fabricated fantasy world of the entertainment industry we imagine as real.
However, the rare occasions when true talent is discovered and recognized occur in places beyond the reach of the long, money-grubbing arms of the corporate marketing machines that manufacture A-list celebrities.
It occurs in places such as MF Bar, in Daegu, Korea.
That was the venue for the Daegu Theater Troupe’s 24 hour event, which kicks off on Friday night with a meeting of writers and actors, who are then split up into groups of 3 -4, with the writers putting together a brand new original script on a pre-selected theme overnight, and the actors receiving and practicing lines from the following morning until show time on Saturday evening. To add yet another level of complexity, a mystery line is provided, which must be read on the spot while performing the play, at any location in the script where the writers have inserted a designated “?” just for this purpose. The result of all this craziness is a series of uniquely creative short plays, a certain amount of necessary improvisation, and a guaranteed night of hilarious performances for the audience.
We at The Chronicles know of these shenanigans through first-hand experience. You guessed it;our trusty international correspondent was there.
Not only was he there, he participated.
Not only did he participate, he won ‘best male actor.’
So without further ado, we hereby re-christen this Chronicle to “How I won best male actor on my first attempt at acting,” or something to that effect. Not that the Chronicles are written to simply satisfy one man’s ego… wait, that IS the chief motivation behind the publication of The Chronicles. So, here is a brief account of the glorious deeds and events that yielded the fruitful result of “best male actor,” as told by your loyal international correspondent for Christian’s Chronicles.
There is a community of expats in Korea, mostly composed of English teachers, who revolve in networks of overlapping social circles. Eventually, through the channels of these networks, I found out about the 24 hour event, which would provide me with an opportunity to perhaps write and act in a play – both things I had never done before. The magic of social media connected me with the right people and meetings, and before you know it I was at MF Bar on Friday night, sharing a drink with a diverse group of young men and women of various shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, and national origins, all eagerly awaiting the time to split into groups of writers and actors, and launch the 24 hours of madness. The overall theme was “once upon another time,” meaning that the plays were to be re-imagined fairy-tales where familiar children’s stories take different turns. I ended up in a group with 2 other fellows, with a third to join us later, and our theme was ‘Peter Pan.’ I opted for sleep instead of overnight writing, so my responsibilities would not resume until the next morning, when the script was turned in. I would then see what my lines would be, and start rehearsing. So after exchanging contact information and arranging for meeting the next morning, I went home and got some sleep. The next day, we met up at a location designated for that purpose, along with all the other groups, and the scripts were handed out. The other members of my team were not yet there. The two gentlemen I had met the night before were both co-writers and had worked all night on the script, so it is understandable that they were a bit late. I later learned that the other gentleman who was supposed to join us had declined – so we ended up being a man down. For this reason, we eventually had to double-up on some roles. At the time when I received the scrip on behalf of my team, I was the only one there. This gave me an opportunity to review it on my own.
A lot had changed in Neverland…
The play starts with Captain Hook with a dialogue that highlights some domestic difficulties Hook has with his partner, a crocodile. We had fashioned a hook for one hand of the brave actor who played the Captain, and in his other hand he held something like a hand-puppet with a crocodile head. Hook’s lines are answered by grunts and roars, produced by me off-stage, simulating the dialogue with Hook’s reptilian lover (or was it just an imaginary friend in the style of Mr. Hat?) but the message is clearly conveyed: Hook is dissatisfied with their relationship, and he looks forward to seeing Peter again, who has returned from college (Neverland University). Peter dropped out, and he now works as a bartender with some great drink specials at a nearby location. Hook wants to go see him, rebuffing the crocodiles grunting protestations with lines such as: “I do NOT look like a slut! This is just normal makeup.” Eventually he storms out, yelling (in response to a curt, loud grunt) “FINE! I never want to see you again! Go to hell!” as he throws the hand-puppet to the floor and slams the door behind him, on his way to see Peter.
The bar where Peter serves drinks has an eclectic clientele. One just happens to be a rather large man (you guessed it, me…) wearing a short skirt and wings, requesting a ‘pixie dust glass slipper’ cocktail. Apparently the bartender’s efforts come short of meeting his demand, so the winged patron offers to add the pixie dust himself. This was simulated by a pull-string party popper launching confetti toward the rear from between my legs. The first of many ‘pops’ that night… It is Tinkerbell, who almost immediately recognizes Peter, but for his part, Peter does not recognize ‘Tink’ until he reverts to a childlike, effeminate voice asking: “Don’t you recognize my voice?”
Tinkerbell has had some work done in Korea, and he (she?) lauds the fantastic results which are “WAY better than what I tried in Thailand…” Tinker still has the hots for Peter, but Peter seems to be distracted by every other female who walks into his bar, including Wendy. Tinkerbell continues to try to disrupt the advances of Wendy, Captain Hook, and everyone else, who all seem to be after the lovable loser college-drop-out, Peter. The pressure of having to compete with all the others, to whom Peter seems to be drawn in various degrees, but always more than to Tinkerbell, is too much. Tinker copes by doing lots of drugs in the background, and feigning phone conversations so that Peter can overhear her say things like “I could have any man I want in this bar, but I only want one man…” All for naught. Peter does not even recognize Tinker’s advances; he barely even realizes that Hook tried to kiss him.
Eventually, Tinker slips a roofie into Hook’s drink, trying to get rid of him so that Peter can finally pay attention to Tinkerbell. But Wendy, to whom Peter is very much attracted, ends up drinking it and passing out, possibly ruining what would surely be an epic and long awaited night of lust and pleasure for Peter, who had struck out with all the other ladies (thanks to Tinkerbell’s intervention). When Peter sees Wendy practically falling off the barstool, he asks his friend Tinker, still oblivious to Tinker’s advances, to help him by taking Wendy to the bathroom in an effort to sober her up and keep her around until the end of Peter’s shift, so as to preserve Peter’s last remaining hope for getting laid that night. Tinkerbell happily obliges, but her intentions are far from what Peter imagined.
In the bathroom, seeing Wendy as the last rival, and fueled by jealousy, drugs, and frustration, Tinkerbell loses it. The childlike, charming voice is replaced by a manly baritone as Tinkerbell delivers a tirade against the mostly unconscious Wendy. Tinkerbell then slits Wendy’s throat and leaves her to die on the bathroom floor. A maniacal laugh reveling in the bloodlust of revenge slowly transforms into a childlike giggle as Tinkerbell states: “Peter is all mine now!”
Emerging from the bathroom, Peter sees Tinker by herself. He asks about Wendy, and Tinker reassures him that Wendy will be right out, but meanwhile, she wanted Peter to finish her drink so that Peter can ‘get in the mood’ before they head home to have a good time. Peter is eventually convinced, and he downs Wendy’s roofied drink. He soon begins to pass out himself. Tinker grabs a hold of him, lays him down on the floor, and begins to twerk above him, singing in a mad, childlike voice “you are all mine now, Peter!”
At this point, the audience thought the play was over. But no, there was one last scene to complete the circle.
Captain Hook is seen walking home, slowly, dejected, demoralized. He knocks on the door, then walks in with his head hung low. His pride, along with his love for Peter, were left at the bar. He slowly, reluctantly, picks up the crocodile head. The crocodile looks at him, and lets out a soft growl. Hook looks away, with a tear in his eye. The crock leans in to kiss him, but hook turns away. Eventually, he turns back to the crocodile, and they start kissing, more and more passionately, until they get carried away and the reptile starts to undress him as they begin to make love. Hook had returned to his lover, his love for Peter Pan now but a dream of the past.
That was the version of Peter Pan performed at MF Bar on Saturday night. My performance as Tinkerbell earned me the ‘best male actor’ title (or something to that effect). It was the first time I had acted in a play. That is, if we do not count the ‘McDeath’ movie a few friends and I made back in high school, where we adapted Shakespeare’s MacBeth to a futuristic theme where the witches were time travelers from the future who disrupted the space-time continuum through time-travel-while-intoxicated (TTWI) and wreaked havoc complete with cuts to scenes from various movies we had dubbed over with our own dialogue, and other shenanigans.
But that, as they say, is a story for another Chronicle.
For now, the important point remains that I won. I was the best male actor, and considering I had never acted in a play, I say it is quite an achievement. I feel doubly validated in that Kanye West did NOT storm on stage to steal my glory; which means that even Kanye approves of my performance. Otherwise, he surely would have stolen my spotlight. And say what you will about Kanye, he has plenty of awards himself, so he ought to know who deserves one. Therefore, due to his complete absence from the award ceremony that followed the plays this past Saturday at MF Bar for the Dageu Theater Troup’s 24 Hour production, I feel confident in saying:
Kanye loved my performance.