Welcome to “Drama Talk and Drinks”, a new feature here on Mission Mission. Our friends Katie Cruz and Brittany Janis go see a local show, then they go to a bar, get drinks, and talk about it. For the first installment they saw The Happy Ones at the Magic Theatre and then had drinks at Royal Cuckoo. Here’s their report:
We braved the wild coastal lands of Fort Mason to see opening night of The Happy Ones at Magic Theatre, directed by Jonathan Moscone. We made it back to the Mission and went to Royal Cuckoo to debrief. This is a transcript of our drama talk.
B: What should we get to drink? I feel like we should drink something that they drank during the show…They drink so many bloody mary’s and martinis and gin…
K: And sangria.
(orders gin and tonic)
B: What do you think the name of this review should be?
(orders a martini)
K: Oh sweet Jesus…How about “Slow start but ends with a bang”? At first I was like “Whaaat is this?” But their acting actually got better as it went on. Those first few scenes they were trying so hard to be happy 70’s Americans.
B: RIGHT! So, I would have called it “The Incredibly WAY too Happy Ones”. When they actually let themselves get serious the play had some really lovely moments.
K: Once the pain and suffering set in, I was way into the main actor, Walter (played by Liam Craig), and then the Vietnamese character, Boa (played by Jomar Tagatac).
B: I really liked Boa too, I thought you could feel him, and see him as a real person, even from the beginning.
K: I thought Boa really nailed that. Walter, the main character, at first took me out of it, but once he was overcome with grief, I was in it, I cared.
B: Maybe we just both like pain and suffering too much. Because when they were suffering we were into it.
K: I really enjoyed the Walter and Boa relationship. I thought it was bizarre, it was complicated, but there are a lot of relationships that are that way. I thought it was a really interesting and theatrical choice, and those two characters really went on a journey.
B: Whereas the other two supporting actors, I had a hard time seeing them as anything but actors, I didn’t feel like they grew that much. Although when the woman, Mary-Ellen (played by Marcia Pizzo), let her guard down she seemed real.
K: Yeah and she was gorgeous!
B: Right, beautiful! Fun, energetic, and didn’t look at ALL old. Which is why I didn’t understand why she was insecure, but I guess people are.
K: Her hair was AMAZING!
B: I was looking at it and wondering how long it took her to put all those curls in the back, because they were perfect, absolutely perfect.
Sooo the one other thing that bothered me, was the set changes.
K: Hmm mmm – Thank you!
B: Especially because in the first one the stagehands danced off, and then they never did that again. Then sometimes it was stagehands, and sometimes it was the actors, and sometimes it was in character and sometimes not. And sometimes it was really messy, which, whatever, that happens, it was opening.
K: I thought the sound design was really good, so well orchestrated.
B: Yeah, and whoever was calling the show was so on point.
K: The only other thing that got to me at first, and I guess this was just the writing, even if you’re married to someone beautiful, and have two beautiful kids, your life is NEVER perfect. Nothing is ever PERFECT.
B: Yeah it was very stark, very black and white. Which is what made it so easy for them to over-act in the beginning. They were just SO HAPPY, they were living the suburban dream. What was interesting, if you read the interview with the playwright in the program, she says you can’t have the perfect suburban dream-life, and there are some monologues about that. But what was weird, was in the play they had attained the perfect suburban life, except for the terrible accident. Which, you’re right, is so unrealistic because you don’t ever achieve that, and it doesn’t take a tragic event to shatter that, it just takes life.
K: Yeah, and “My kids are perfect, my wife is perfect”, “Yep everything is perfect” and then BOOM they’re dead.
B: It was a little heavy handed on the playwright’s part.
K: This drink is soo good!
B: This is one of the best dirty martinis I’ve ever had!
K: This is the BEST gin and tonic I’ve ever had.
B: Our life is perfect Katie.
K: Oh my God, isn’t our life perfect! Umm, I love the cucumber and the lime, it reminds me how perfect and fresh my life is.
B: I love the saltiness of the olives, it reminds me of the salty tears of everyone else, because their lives aren’t as perfect as ours.
K: So yeah, that kind of threw me off at the beginning. But I got INTO it, I really liked the end. To see those two characters, how they develop, and the end of that show, it’s worth working through the rocky beginning. The lack of depth and relativeness . . . wow, I love how I make up words now, what’s the word for that?
B: Ummmmm, relatability.
K: Yes, relatability.
B: Relatability . . . is that even a word? I may have made that up too.
K: Either way, the second act is worth it all, for sure.
Go see it! It’s worth the trek all the way to Magic in Fort Mason.
The Drama Talk
Don’t be dismayed by the That 70s Show beginning, this show has soul.
The Place to Drink
Royal Cuckoo has that 70s fern bar feel to keep the vibe going.
So much imbibing happens during the play, it’s a little hard to pick just one cocktail. We went with a classic dirty martini and Royal Cuckoo’s updated version of the classic gin and tonic, the Cuckoo G&T.