When a troupe embarks upon a spoof, the expectation from day one is that the project will be fun. After all, the source material has already been presented and proven to work in some fashion. The task at hand is only to twist it in a way to amuse the audience even more than the original. Such is true for WideStance Productions Fairies with Children, The Yes on Hate Episode currently running at the Meta Theatre.
After, our great success with The Golden Gays last year, we decided we love doing spoofs as the process and the sound of laughter in the house are both very rewarding. The premise of this one is that a group of gay activists seeks to infiltrate the suburbs as straight people to win the hearts and minds of the conservatives who vote against them all the time.
We wanted to see if we could throw actual substance into a silly over the top spoof and so we decided to tackle some biggies like Marriage Equality, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, The Battle Between Fox and MSNBC and even Immigration Reform. Who would have guessed we could get away with informing the public through the likenesses of Peg and Al Bundy about the injustices of our world?
From day one of our rehearsal process we realized this was the right thing to do as the issues presented are the very headlines we see on the newsstands daily. Our cast members were attracted to the project because they read it would be a vehicle that was working towards Marriage Equality. The tiny details didn’t matter to them; they were simply passionate about the issue.
However, we learn with each passing day a detail or two that might not seem relevant is very relevant. For example, when the script was completed months ago, the tea party was more or less a joke to most people. Now, after the midterm elections we’ve seen a total shake up of our political system created by this group.
Ken Mehlman had not come out of the closet when the show was written and he’s mentioned in the script. We kept it in just in case he’s even thinking about going back. We’re hoping we might have the same result with our own Congressman David Dreier who is jeerfully lampooned in one or two of our musical parodies.
The other benefit of including political commentary in a spoof is the audience can take or leave as much as they want and what is left to enjoy is the skeleton which is in itself enjoyable for just about anyone. There’s classic show tunes, witty sitcom character banter, outrageous settings and off color humor.
Some people are coming out to see a man dressed in Peg Bundy’ s (Guy Windsor) skimpy outfits and signature big red hair. Others are coming because they heard about Marcy Darcy’s (Dexter de Sah) parody of “Somewhere That’s Green” (from Little Shop of Horrors) which is penned as “Somewhere That’s Gay,” most of which is too off color for this column.
Diehard Married with Children fans are coming because they want to see Donna Pieroni, (an original fat woman from Al Bundy’s Shoe Store) as Fat Sandy who meets the now Republican Al Bundy at the Shoe Store where she belts out the song “Good Morning Fox and Friends” (“Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray).
Audiences and cast alike seem to be basking in the positive energy the ability to laugh at ones misfortunes creates but there are some short sweet moments where even the Bundys must admit the world is a painful place for many.
As in any production, the drama behind the scenes mirrors the drama on stage. During this production, we’ve had one of our creative team come out to his parents, another change party affiliation and another who nervously peeks into the audience each night to make sure no one from the network he works for by day is there to see him satirize his meal ticket by night.
Of course we’ve already had our Noises Off moment when the power went out during the show’s climax. The cast adlibbed for about five minutes in the dark in character and jumped right back on script the minute the lights came on. The cast is remarkably close and dedicated to this project as they have believed it was their call to help make a difference.
Kelly Bundy (Erin Muir) reveals in the show during one of her smarter moments “she believes in chaos theory.” So does this cast. We think even if only a few people learn from this show the injustice served when treating any group as second class then we’ve done good work. The icing on the cake is getting to spoof one of the most over the top sitcoms in television history.
Fairies with Children, The Yes on Hate Episode, presented by WideStance Productions, plays Fri.-Sat., 8 pm; through Dec. 4. Tickets: $30. Meta Theatre, 7801 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 424.298.0100, 323.960.7770, plays411.com/fairies or fairieswithchildren.com.