My parents are in town this weekend for the first time since 2005 and I was looking for something different to do with them to try and keep them entertained during their visit. To do this I went over to vita.mn and checked out their listings for what was happening this weekend and gave them some options of possibilities that I figured might be interesting to all of us. One of the options was to see the opening night of the Lakeshore Players production of 70, Girls, 70. I really had no idea what the Lakeshore Players were, what this play was about (aside from the simple little blurb explaining it), or what we would be in store for after paying $20/ticket.
After spending the day running around with my parents to make some minor home repairs that my father is very good at, I made dinner and then we headed up to White Bear Lake to the venue which is located in an old church near downtown White Bear Lake. We parked along the side of the playhouse and walked in. I grabbed our tickets from the box office and we were seated. The place was absolutely packed for opening night and we looked forward to a live orchestra and a good play.
A short introduction and light dimming led to an opening number by the orchestra before the actors took the stage. I guess I could have had wax in my ears but was that seriously a squeeky reed on the clarinet and bad trumpet playing? Nah, no way, no one would put someone through that for an entire evening unless they were at a 4th grade band concert right? I looked over at Kim who was nearly in tears laughing because the music was so awful. A band geek and clarinet player herself I could only imagine what was going through her mind. Was this just a simple warm-up and not what we were to be subjected to for the entire play? I seriously hoped so.
Soon the actors, mostly involved in many other local productions around the Twin Cities, came on the stage and dragged out pieces of the set. I guess this production just wasn’t that important as it looked terrible — as if they begged for help from a 3rd grade art class. But the visual art isn’t what makes the play good right? I was happy to ignore that and pay attention to the actors. This particular show was a musical and some of those on stage were decent enough not to make me cringe but one of individuals was difficult to hear and understand especially way back in the second to last row.
While the actors were doing a halfway decent job for being complete amateurs, the music droned on with its uncomfortable squeeks, off-beat notes, and general 5th grade band-like horrendousness. With the temperature in the place so warm that sweat was pouring down my face, I really wondered if I was having a nightmare.
Finally there was intermission where the Lakeshore Players provide soft-drinks and cookies which are baked in four-dozen batches by two volunteers who get free admission to the show. Before going downstairs to get a drink to wet my dry throat, I went outside with Kim to get some fresh air and cool off. The first thing she said to me was, “terrible,” and then unexpectedly, “can we go now?” My mother soon joined us and mentioned that she disagreed with our assessment. My father also said it was fine but being that they slept through the majority of the first part I’m not quite sure they are the best ones to judge (they argue this fact telling me that their eyes hurt — I’ve known them for 29 years, they were sleeping).
Eventually Kim won out and we left after the intermission. I have made a lot of mistakes in picking places to eat with my parents, places to go, and things to do and this will be added to the list of things that I will never live down in all of my life. I’m sure the future comments will include red faced laughing, a stern, “I can’t believe we spent $80 to see something that resembled a middle-school production,” or, “well at least it wasn’t that fucking terrible steak house you took us to before your wedding.”
So, if you have any plans to go to see 70, Girls, 70 at the Lakeshore Players, you have been warned what your $20 tickets are going to get you. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you will never live the mistake down like I did.