Sunday, September 30, 2012

Upstairs at the Duplex

The overhead light in one of the only two bathrooms at the Duplex was out.  A woman stepped forward and said, “Wait!  I have an app for that!”  She pulled her boyfriend into the small bathroom to hold the smartphone “flashlight” for her. 

This was an apt prelude to the Duplex cabaret’s offering of Social Intercourse, which — as creator/director Lisa Moss instructed us — is not about what you think.  Social media, and some forms of technology, have fostered a lack of face to face contact.  Social Intercourse talks about cellphones, voicemail, email, and, of course, Facebook.  You see it yourself — even a couple walking down a street together aren’t in touch:  One’s talking on the cellphone, the other’s texting as they just miss walking in front of a bus.  Got a technology gripe?  Social Intercourse has it covered with music and laughter.

Creator Lisa Moss put her time  in corporate purgatory to good use, collecting the funny emails that have made the rounds of the Internet over the past 15 years.  With jokes, skits, and appropriate songs collected for the purpose, she compiled Social Intercourse, then cast some talented singer/actors to offer it to the cabaret crowd. 

Friday night was the second time I’d seen the program, and the cast was even tighter than before.  SI” includes group songs, solos and duets, with some non-musical skits and jokes interspersed.  For an hour, the audience laughed over the next lines, applauded the sad sacks, the lovers, the anxious, the angry, the needy, and the negligent.  Once that delightful hour was done the director’s voice introduced her cast, so I could tell you that:  Tim Marriott did a terrific job with the sole ballad in the play, a wistful country style song called “Austin” which dealt with the oldest technology of the evening — an answering machine.  Remember them?  Facebook got a lot of play with an early song called “My Simple Request,” another song in the middle of the show called “The Facebook Song” (hilariously performed by Katie Mack, who does a great misery face); another angry song called “Facebook” sung with power and emotion by the delicious Rebecca Geggatt.  Facebook even got the closing number, performed by the entire cast.  We all laughed immoderately. 

The perpetually dizzy Jillene Johnson sang about her Gambian boyfriend in “He’s For Real,” and we watched her possibly “Breaking Up” with her boyfriend — sung by Mr. Marriott — over cellphones that kept hitting dead spots.  Miss Johnson’s acting made up for the moments her singing voice wasn’t quite up to the task of these complex songs.  Charles Marleau’s powerful voice and comic timing serve the audience in a song about how one’s “Online” personality may differ from reality, and another song about the perils of internet theft.  The non-musical skits are just hilarious.

Producer Thomas Honeck made a guest appearance as an über-frustrated hotel guest, and Musical Director David Sotomayor accompanied his charges beautifully.  Social Intercourse fills the small cabaret space with priceless laughter and song, and therefore needs more performances so more people can enjoy it.  Listen up, Duplex!  Book more shows!

Here’s my program, scribbled on so I could put the names with the voices, faces, and songs:
~ Molly Matera, signing off — and turning off the technology for a while....

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