I played the role of the caterer, Vinnie Black, tonight. One detail of Vinnie’s character bio that most of the audience never hears is that he is a failed standup comic who married into the catering business. That icon at the top of this post is me as Vinnie, if that helps – hair slicked back, electric blue shirt with matching tie, a real wise-ass much of the time.
Tonight, I heard myself saying something that Chuck would probably never say in normal life, but which Vinnie may reel off quite blithely. Allow me to set the scene: There is a point during the reception when DJ Monty plays a slow dance song. As it started up tonight, a woman sauntered over to me, took my hand, and led me to the dance floor. She was probably old enough to be my mother (now THAT’S old folks!), but she hadn’t forgotten how to party and I’m sure she had a few drinks in her. As we danced to the strains of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” she pressed herself close to me and began to tell me how wonderful I was and how she wanted to come back and book a party at my hall, but only if I would promise that I would be there, socializing with her and her guests. When I asked if she were married, she smiled mischievously and said, “Yes, but he won’t be there!” When the dance was over, she motioned towards a somewhat raucous group that had come to our show as part of a bachelorette party and said, “I’m the mother of the bride-to-be!”
I smiled at her and said in a low voice, “Well, it looks like she inherited her mother’s knockers!” You’d have thought I had just given this woman a diamond brooch! She jumped up and down in glee and trotted over to relate this line to her daughter and her daughter’s friends. They all practically collapsed in giddy hysterics.
It’s a curious thing – I suspect it would be very difficult for a real person to get away with saying a line like that but somehow, putting it in the context of this heightened reality environment of participatory theater makes it OK. It’s as if all of us, performer and audience alike, have given ourselves permission to be outrageous for a few hours with the understanding that we will return to “normal” once it is over. Such points are interesting to ponder from time to time, but y’know . . . I don’t want to overanalyze this stuff. Bottom line – it’s just good clean (and sometimes not so clean) fun!