This one's short but sweet.

I was stage managing an evening of short plays by the playwright I hate more than any other, John Patrick Shanley. How do I hate him? Let me count the ways:

1. Except for portions of Moonstruck and the one brilliant line in Joe vs. the Volcano, "The lights! They're sucking out my eyeballs!" his writing sucks. It is cheap, pat, phony, overly slick and mannered, and twee.

2. His plays exemplify the "Nice Guy" phenomenon, in which a certain type of man always complains that women reject him because he's a nice guy and they want abusive assholes, when the real reason they reject him is because he's whiny, passive-aggressive, smug, self-righteous, and sexist. Similarly, many of his plays give lip service to feminism while portraying women as brainless bimbos who secretly long to be dominated.

The worst example of this was in some play of his in which a woman shows up with a black eye, and tells her female friends that she and her husband got in a huge fight, she deliberately pissed on the bed, and he punched her. But that cleared the air, and now they love each other more than ever! The friends are horrified and say that she should leave him. She retorts that if feminism is really about letting women make their own choices, then it shouldn't deny her true and meaningful experience. BAAARRRRRRFFFF.

3. In college, some of my friends and I got tickets to see his four-person play, Four Dogs and A Bone. Every minute was torture. A few days later, we were at a restaurant when we overheard a man at another table saying, "The actors were good, but the script was so bad, it was like watching four guys trying to lift a Mack truck."

I said, "Excuse me, but are you talking about Four Dogs and a Bone?"

He was.

Anyway, there I was, stage managing his abominable play. The lighting designer had over-designed given the electrical capacity of the theatre, so I constantly had to unplug and re-plug plugs at the patch bay to get it to work. The patch bay was under the lighting board in a very small space, so if I managed to not stick my finger in the socket, I'd bang my head instead. It was torture.

The only bright spot was the hot light board op with whom I shared the very small booth. He was a tall skinny black guy with a shaved head and the sort of banked intensity which romance novels often describe as "smoldering." We didn't have much time to talk, as we both came to the production late, but we worked well together and our brief conversations had been quite congenial. I decided to cunningly sound him out to see if he had a girlfriend (or boyfriend.)

"Soooo," I said one night, "You ever go get a drink after a show?"

"I don't drink," he said.

"Ah," I replied. "Hmm." I was about to suggest a snack instead, but he was already on a roll:

"I don't drink," he repeated. "I don't go to bars. I don't go to clubs. I don't dance. I don't take caffeine. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't eat meat. I don't have casual sex. I don't get piercings. I don't party. And I don't do small talk."

"Really, no small talk..." I mused. "How does that work when you go on dates?"

Even before he spoke, I knew what his reply would be: "I don't date."

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com


I do not know who John Patrick Shanley is and THANK GOD FOR THAT, altho I think I saw about half of Moonstruck on cable a while ago.

In college, some of my friends and I got tickets to see his four-person play, Four Dogs and A Bone. Every minute was torture. A few days later, we were at a restaurant when we overheard a man at another table saying, "The actors were good, but the script was so bad, it was like watching four guys trying to lift a Mack truck."
I said, "Excuse me, but are you talking about Four Dogs and a Bone?"
He was.


//fucking dies I love your punchlines. "It was that sort of play." "He was."

"I don't drink," he repeated. "I don't go to bars. I don't go to clubs. I don't dance. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't eat meat. I don't get piercings. I don't party. And I don't do small talk."

o.0 ....omg and I like people to think _I'm_ intense. omg. And he wasn't being....funny? No god of course he wasn't.

So uh how was it working with him after that?

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com


....and you were not me, so you did not crack something like "What do you do for fun? Oh wait, you don't do that either -- " out of pique.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


No, I actually did ask him that! But not sarcastically, more in sheer wonderment. I think he said he read and listened to music.

The irony is, I actually don't do most of the things on his verboten list either. But the way he phrased it made me want to have a steak with whiskey and a joint and coffee to follow, then go dancing at a club and have casual sex followed by a commemorative tattoo.

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com


I think he said he read and listened to music.

....presumably not music or books in which people danced or drank or ate red meat or ingested caffeine or went to clubs or smoked or....

From: [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com


You know, that guy could totally get laid in Berkeley. If only he did casual sex, I mean. (:

I actually love Joe vs. the Volcano until the disturbingly racist and colonialist third act. But now I'm thinking I should stay away from his other work.

From: [identity profile] sophia-helix.livejournal.com


Hm, if the guy had big black Xs anywhere on his person I'd say he sounds like he was straight edge. Did he like punk music, by any chance?

(Also, GAWD I hate that Nice Guy. He is everywhere. One of my favorite things about the Office is that while Jim is genuinely a nice guy, he also messes up his life by never taking chances and daydreaming a lot and that's definitely portrayed as a major flaw which has led to him being miserable.)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I don't remember any Xs and he definitely didn't dress punk, but since I only ever saw him on the job, he could have dressed up for it. That would explain a lot.

From: [identity profile] andyleggett.livejournal.com


So what was he, a monk? XP

You shoulda bent that ascetic over your knee and showed him what the kind of penance the Mother Church demands of naughty little schoolboys who say no!

*ahem*

I mean, uh, so, stage manager, huh? Sounds like, um, a pretty exciting career, right?

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com


Oh my gosh--the guy who wrote Moonstruck and Joe vs. the Volcano is the same guy?!?! That would explain why I hate them with an equal passion.

Also, I am adoring these stories. I would totally buy a book of these.

From: [identity profile] tharain.livejournal.com


lso, I am adoring these stories. I would totally buy a book of these.

In a hot new york minute.
ext_2414: Brunette in glasses looking at viewer with books behind her (Default)

From: [identity profile] re-weird.livejournal.com


Thirded! They're so funny, especially the timing of it.
ext_6382: Blue-toned picture of cow with inquisitive expression (Default)

From: [identity profile] bravecows.livejournal.com


"I don't drink," he repeated. "I don't go to bars. I don't go to clubs. I don't dance. I don't take caffeine. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't eat meat. I don't have casual sex. I don't get piercings. I don't party. And I don't do small talk."

"Really, no small talk..." I mused. "How does that work when you go on dates?"

Even before he spoke, I knew what his reply would be: "I don't date."


Heeee! Sounds like my boyfriend!

From: [identity profile] blistermyeye.livejournal.com

But Joe vs. the Volcano was great!


I'm aware that not a lot of people agree with me about that.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Yeah, I can make it after 7:00. What time would be good? Shall I bring something?

From: [identity profile] branna.livejournal.com


7:30-ish should be fine.

Either an appetizer or dessert would be wonderful; take your pick :)

From: [identity profile] madam-silvertip.livejournal.com


The poor guy. Not to minimize the disappointment you must have felt, but the poor guy. One wonders what was going on there. I tend to concur with the person who suggested Straight Edge, or some such (could have just been born again, but usually they're more cheerful).

Some people go on to try to get blood out of a stone, so your wisdom is commendable.

From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


I think we all are grateful that his intensity stayed banked.

From: [identity profile] free-the-goats.livejournal.com


Just randomly... when I was five, I begged my mom to rent for me Joe Versus the Volcano because I thought that it was about a superhero who fought a volcano.

I watched five minutes and was bored to tears.

Best part is actually remembered the other two movies I rented it with. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands.
.

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