Mar 162019

Every winter, I get on this kick where I am determined to do more culture-y (oh wait, there’s a real word for that – cultural) things to get me out of the house, but it almost never pans out. Usually there’s one trip to the Mattress Factory and then my internal cultural quota quietly considers itself met, I guess. This year, I waited until winter was almost over before texting Janna about how we should start going to, you know, like, plays or something. But like, small ones that aren’t playing anywhere downtown or whatever. There was this one time in 2009 when I went to see some small, bare-bones local production of Alice in Wonderland at some theater in Carnegie with some whack broad who got cut from the friends list shortly after much to the angelic rejoicing on high from other friends, and I remembered that it was really cool, but maybe the seats were uncomfortable?

(Oh shit, I guess I did go see Hamilton in January so yay, one cultural thing!)

Anyway, Janna was like, “Yes let’s do this” and then sent me a link asking if it was the theater in Carnegie I was talking about. The one she sent me was actually a DIFFERENT one called Carnegie Stage, but the first thing I saw when I clicked on the link was the poster for their upcoming Off the Wall production called MUMBURGER, billed as “a surreal new play about grief, parenting, and alternative meat.”

I quickly texted back, “LET’S GO SEE THIS” and Janna was like “OK” because she never says no to me. I found two good seats up front for Friday March 15th and told her “HURRY AND BUY YOUR TICKET BEFORE IT SELLS OUT” while Henry was sitting next to me on the couch, mumbling about he doubted it was going to sell out.

YOU NEVER KNOW! The theater looked super small with only like 50 seats! I was in panic-mode, OK?! And I could tell that Janna hadn’t read my latest KakaoTalk messages so I just kept texting HELLO and then finally she was like OK GOT IT and then I was like, ok good now I will buy mine, but the site kept crashing on me and then I finally got to the payment page and I didn’t have my wallet near me and Henry started lecturing me about how YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO NEED YOUR WALLET WHY DID YOU WAIT UNTIL NOW and I was like STFU AND GO GET YOURS and it was just a real scene OK maybe it can be the next Off the Wall Production.

Meanwhile, Chooch found out that Janna and I were going to be doing something without him, god forbid, and he was royally pissed, especially after he started reading about Mumburger.

“That looks actually really cool, thanks for inviting me,” he moodily texted me later that night from his room. LOL.

After a nice dinner at the nearby Bakn (I was pleasantly surprised at the veg-options that a place billed as a bacon haven actually had and now I am sorry that I purposely avoided it all these years, A+ veggie sandwich, will return, but will pass on the tasteless coleslaw next time and just get fries because Janna let me have some of hers and they were THE KINDS I LIKE, THE GOOD KINDS), we made it to the Carnegie Stage and everyone there was so friendly! And the ticket lady who showed us our seats (which made me laugh because the room only had two rows of seats) reminded me of BARB so I was really loving this joint and considered becoming a board member at one point and I don’t even know what that involves but who cares.

Our seats were right there, practically on the floor! Janna almost got hit by a frozen veggie burger when one of the characters hurled it across the room! I was a little nervous though because I wasn’t sure if there would be any audience interaction, which is like my biggest fear and also why I almost never go to comedy shows and by almost never I mean that I have only been to two ever in my whole life, and neither were by choice.

All I knew about this play is that it was about a vegan mom who gets killed by a truck and sends herself to her daughter and husband in the form of burger patties – this isn’t a spoiler.

Lauren actually emailed our group earlier in the week to see if anyone could take her Friday late shift, and after Glenn replied that he would do it, I responded with, “Good, now I don’t have to sell my ticket to a play about a vegan mom who dies and sends herself to her grieving family as hamburgers.”

Glenn asked, “Is this a Disney production?” and Todd was like, “Was your email missing some words, or…?” but then I sent them the link and they were like, “Why does this not surprise us that you have tickets for this.”

Anyway, the even cooler thing about this play is that it was written by a Pittsburgh(ish) native, Sarah Kosar. She moved to London in 2009 to pursue playwriting and eventually received an Exceptional Promise in Playwriting visa and I think I know what that means and it sounds pretty good! I felt pretty good about supporting someone from here — too bad we didn’t get tickets for the premiere weekend though – we could have met her! But alas, she’s back in London now.

Briefly, I’ll tell you that this play was 75 minutes of intense emotions, brilliant wordplay, manic movement between the sole two characters, and unexpected moments of humor. It’s set over the span of a week in the shared home of the daughter (in her 20s) and husband of the recently deceased vegan, and illustrates the bi-polar-esque grief cycle they experience individually, and together, and it was HASHTAG RELATABLE (minus the “digestible memorial” aspect). There is a scene that shows both of them, simultaneously, distracting themselves from the inevitable funeral arrangements–the dad is watching scenes from Father of the Bride to try and teach himself how to verbalize affection for his daughter, and the daughter replays a video of a rollercoaster disaster in China 25 times–and it is so raw and real, and you’re fighting back tears, but then they come together in the next scene and their dysfunctional banter has you laughing out loud.

It was GENIUS. I’m obsessed with Sarah Kosar now.

Afterward, I was waiting for Janna to come back from the bathroom and opened my purse to get my car keys out. With it came a lone piece of confetti from Patty’s birthday dinner last week. THAT FUCKING CONFETTI MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO CARNEGIE.

Anyway, that was fun and now we want to go and see more local plays. Maybe we’ll just start hitting up all the high schools. Or wait for Chooch’s first play – he just signed up for theater club at the Teen Center, so this should be excellent.

  2 Responses to “Culture Quest with Erin & Janna”

  1. I have it on good authority that there is an elementary school in the North Side doing a production of Willy Wonka Jr. if you guys are desperate for something to do!

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