With Bootleg Shakespeare, you gotta want it.
Meaning, you gotta be willing to eat a late lunch (3:45 at Garnett's, where I run into the guy who recently gave me a mix tape and thank him for his mix making) and stand in line for a good, long while.
Say, from 4:45 to 6:10 when my friend and I finally procure tickets and are free until the 7:30 curtain time.
Waiting for tickets, the head usher comes out in an ensemble that could stop traffic: leather lace-up pants, a vest, heels and a red, white and blue stars and stripes shirt he bought for his first concert back in the '70s.
Naturally, I had to inquire what that show was and was told it was the Fifth Dimension at Franklin Street gym. He came *this* close to dancing with Marilyn McCoo, he said.
Another usher is dressed in silver lame pants with silver boots and lots of bling. It's a magnificently '70s ensemble.
The man in line ahead of me eventually joins our conversation about the people butting in front of the line and later gives me a quizzical look and says, "You're the one who writes the blog, right?"
How the hell did you know that? "I figured it out," he claims.
Leaving the ticket line to kill time, we pass the waiting line, now well past Staples, and I hear someone call out to me, "Hey, beautiful!"
As Friend and I discussed, those are words no woman ever tires of hearing.
Back inside, director James Ricks explains that the beauty of doing a play like "Pericles, Prince of Tyre" is that it's infrequently produced, thus there are no expectations.
No ghosts of Richard Burton, as he explains it.
Just 17 actors, no rehearsals and absolute fun.
The bootleg production has a band and they begin the play by playing Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" with the entire cast dancing like Charlie Brown characters in the Christmas special.
Nick Aliff is immediately awesome as Antiochus, complete with Brando-like mumbled vowels and an incestuous relationship with his daughter, played by the lollipop-sucking, knee sock-wearing McLean Jesse.
John Mincks' character is at once getting laughs as he continually loses a lens to his glasses.
Fittingly for bootleg, sailing ships are depicted with paper cut outs and sticks bobbing behind the backdrop.
When Pericles lands on famine-starved Tarsus, he saves them with candy corn and bags of Cookout burgers.
Because of the lack of rehearsals and time to study lines, the evening is filled with actors calling, "Line!" as well as creative ways to bring dialog onstage: inside a breastplate, written on a palm, using a phone, reading off a "letter."
The French get skewered by Adam Mincks wearing a turtleneck, smoking a cigarette, saying "merdre!" and dancing like a '50s beatnik. Hysterical.
Led Zep is played between scenes, songs like "Black Dog," "Rock and Roll," and, for a moment, "Stairway to Heaven," before the cast revolts and shouts, "No 'Stairway to Heaven'!"
Thaisa's suitors do a dance-off to determine who will win her hand while she (Grey Garrett) sips a juice box.
One of the most charming scenes involved baby Marina, held in the arms of the nurse and following Evan/Pericles side to side, watching him everywhere he moved.
During intermission, one lucky attendee won the raffle to play a pirate in the second act, hook, parrot and all.
Late in the play when John Mincks' character is trying to make a deal with McLean Jesse's, his shorts around his ankles, he repeatedly asked for his line until eventually letting prompter Kerrigan Sullivan read the entire passage.
"All of that!" Mincks shouted with a flourish and walked off stage.
Yet again, the beauty of the bootleg.
He wasn't the only one feeling the fatigue of a long play and little rehearsal; eventually during Pericles' rough period, Evan said, "I am great with wine," when the line was really, "I am great with woe."
Wine, woe, potato, potah-to.
Because I'd never read or seen "Pericles" produced, it was a pleasure to watch the story unfold, never quite sure what might happen.
Who knew there'd be so many presumed dead still alive? So much incest? So much attempted prostitution?
Few love to hear the sins they love to act.
I love to hear whatever the participants of bootleg Shakespeare want to act.
I am great with bawdy appreciation.