Sunday, July 29, 2018

Returning Favorite - Tom Reed - Gunplay, and Couple Fight: The Musical (as part of Weggel-Reed Productions)

Gun Play - Set in the absurd alternate reality of America in 2018, this satire follows an attempt to stage a gun lobby group’s “hip, fun!” musical active shooter drill with high school theater students. - Mixed Blood

Couple Fight: The Musical - Real couples reenacting their real fights as a fully-fledged musical review. Enjoy new couples and returning favorites perform never-before-seen fights made palatable by clever writing and inspiring music. - Rarig Thrust

Tom Reed and his equally funny and talented wife Anna Weggel-Reed are serving up another round of Couple Fight - this time a musical version - but personally I’m more intrigued this year by Tom’s foray into a different kind of comedic playwriting.

Honestly, if anyone else was associated with a Fringe show that had the word gun in the title, I’d probably just skip on by (in fact, there is another one this year - Gunfighting: An American Story - I had to make myself go look at it just now - doesn’t sound bad - again, just not my thing).  I kept skipping past Gunplay, too.  Same reason.

And I agree with Alyssa DiVirgilio, who hosted the second round of Fringe previews alongside Duck Washington, it’s weird to be laughing about guns.

(Side note: Can we have Alyssa and Duck host everything from now on?  They were hilarious [and ever so slightly shady about some of the content], but never mean.  It was like getting a whole extra show.  Fantastic.)

I should probably have the same attitude to comedy about guns that I do to plays about Bush or Trump - it’s not funny, they’re killing people.  Shows in that category aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.  They’re preaching to the converted.  They’re allowing us to pat ourselves on the back and feel smug that we’re on the right side of an issue - unlike those “other people.”

So why am I giving this one a chance?  Reed’s stretching himself.

He’s not doing another musical parody of a pop culture phenomenon (Harry Potter, Twilight, Disney Princesses, Hunger Games, etc.) or doing his crooner improv act Lounge-asaurus Rex.  He’s writing a play with characters actually played by other people (and it’s a great ensemble he’s gathered for this one).

There’s still satire, still laughs, still original music, but there’s also a plot not based on someone else’s story for a change.  So I’m super-curious to see how it plays out.  The whole thing could flame out.  The whole thing could fall into that “aren’t non-liberal people silly?” self-congratulatory theater category.

But Reed chose the subject for a reason.  He’s trying a kind of playwriting I haven’t seen from him before.

He’s up to something.  I want to find out what it is.

Here's some handy links to the full Top 10, Top 11-20 and Returning Favorites lists.

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