Saturday evening, the El family ventured forth from the Fortress of Ineptitude to go see a production of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum at Wake Forest University. My wife Andrea and I have seen a live performance of Forum before but it was my daughter Miranda's first time seeing this musical comedy.
However, Miranda has one up on us by actually seeing professional live theater on Broadway in New York which she was perfectly willing to remind us of. Frequently.
In case you're not familiar with it, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum features music by the great theater composer Stephen Sondheim with a book co-written by Larry Gelbart who would go on to adapt MASH as a TV show for CBS. The story is set in Rome in the year 200 BC and it involves a slave named Pseudolus who seeks to gain his freedom by pairing up his master Hero with the girl of his dreams, Ophilia. Except Ophilia has been promised to another. What ensues are a series of cons on top of cons with identities mistaken and misappropriated as hilarity unfolds from the resulting chaos.
|Wake Forest senior Jay Buchanan (Hysterium), |
junior Eli Bradley (Pseudolus) and
sophomore Abby Bowman (Ophilia)
Forum is a production that doesn't just break the 4th wall, it pulverizes it with a sledgehammer and taps dances on the rubble. For example, Pseudolus finds escape from a certain death situation at the end of Act One by calling for an intermission. During a parade sequence, Pseudolus is beating on a drum with the Wake Forest University logo clearly emblazoned on the side.
The students at Wake Forest put on a great show that was full of fun and energetic performances. The role of Pseudolus has to do a lot of heavy lifting through out A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum and the actor in this production gave a most remarkable performance. There were a couple of glitches with the sound system and at one point, Ophilia's wig comes loose (just for a couple of seconds) but that's part of the charm of live theater. Overall, this was a well put together production and my family enjoyed it immensely.
Once we got there, that is.
Going to Wake Forest University means going to Winston-Salem and how can I put this politely?
Yeah, I freakin' HATE driving in Winston-Salem!
In addition to not being able to figure out if they should name the city Winston OR Salem, apparently there was also some trouble deciding where all the roads should go. Well, it seems that way to me. Almost every excursion I have ever made to W-S has resulted in me getting lost at least once, either coming into the city or leaving.
So this trip was no different. I was almost completely across to the other side of the city and had to turn around to try again to get where I was going. If there was a sign anywhere that said, "Hey! Wake Forest University is this way, you big dummy!", I never saw it. With help from Miranda and Google Maps in the role of navigator, we finally made our way to Wake Forest and after that to the Elizabeth's Pizza where we were going to have dinner before the show.
Yes, we drove all the way to another city just to eat at the same pizza place we eat at in Greensboro. As I have said before here and here, we are creatures of habit with it comes to our culinary preferences.
After dinner, we made our to the Wake Forest campus easily enough. Except I missed the turn that led to the theater so I had to once more turn around and try again. OK, got it this time. But as we walked from the car, we got lost trying to figure out how to get into the building. Well, a good walk did us good after eating all that pizza at Elizabeth's. Even though the weather was bitterly cold. Yes, Saturday, the 9th day of April and the temperature at that time was 44 degrees. With a "feels like" of 38. The good news from that was I got to wear my Sherlock coat. I think I looked pretty damn good as it flapped about me in the late evening breeze.
Our tickets were waiting for us at the Will Call ticket window which was being worked by a young boy of maybe 12. Nothing wrong with that but it bothers me that a 12 year old boy has a position of responsibility to give tickets to a 52 year old man who can barely figure out how to get here.
Overall, our dinner and our evening at the theater and yes, even the misadventures of getting lost along the way, all made for a fun evening out for the El family. It's good to get out of the Fortress of Ineptitude once in a while.
Tomorrow here on the blog, I look at what's going on here in my home state in the wake of House Bill 2 which has legitimized discrimination against LGTB people and cast the state in a bad light. How bad? Bruce Springsteen decided against performing here, that's how bad it's gotten. More on that tomorrow.
Until then, remember to be good to one another.