A Hairspray Rapprochement With RebeccaSunday, May 22, 2011
What follows is a very personal and roundabout review of the Arts Club Theatre Company production of Hairspray playing at the Stanley until July 10.
A month ago I took Rebecca to see the Arts Club Theatre production of The Graduate. She saw the poster for Hairspray and told me,” I want to really see that!”
About three weeks ago I watched her gorge on bread, butter and jam and I mentioned that if she continued gravity would increase its hold on her. In fact, I was much more blatant and I used the antonym to thin. Rebecca became quite furious and hours later I received a sermon from her mother telling me that this was none of my business and I was to shut up. Then came the painful clincher. I was informed that Rebecca did not want to come over to our house anymore. The punishment was a double one as this would mean that Rosemary would not get to enjoy the company of our ever changing 13 year old.
A day before the opening performance (May 7) of Hairspray (directed by Bill Millerd) I asked my daughter if Rebecca was still game to go to Hairspray. Rebecca had a terrible cough and cold so I knew what the excuse for the negative reply was going to be. I was surprised as I was told that Rebecca was still willing.
I went to pick her up determined to keep my mouth shut and not to mention anything related to food and the gaining of body mass. She came into the car and she said, “What do you think if I told that I want to visit you this coming Saturday?” My answer (I sort of hid my delight) was,” Well you have picked a good day as they are going to have the British car show at VanDusen which you like so much."
We went to Hairspray. We sat down and a man next to Rebecca asked her, “Are you going to cough through this show? If that is the case fell free. I have a North Van cold but no cough yet. You can pass it on to me in solidarity.” Rebecca did cough a bit but it could not be heard with all the powerful singing on stage.
At this point I want to reiterate that this Buenos Aires born man likes his salty food salty and his sweet food sweet. I don’t like the sweet anywhere near the salty and for many years I could not abide with the concept of sweet and sour. What this translates to is that when people talk on stage I expect them to talk and not sing. When I go to opera I cannot stand the ones where singers talk. It has to be separate! And the less I say about Canadian hockey and that awful Hammond organ the better.
Well not really as thanks to the many excellent musical plays that I have attended at the Arts Club Theatre I am beginning to warm up to the concept of actors suddenly singing.
Hairspray was enjoyed by Rebecca and she kept asking me if I was having fun. I was. Her favourite moment, and mine, too was Motormouth Maybelle (played and sung by Alana Hibbert) powerful belting song in the second act. The whole cast was competent in every way but those of Afro/American heritage where especially so.
During the intermission I told my friend and lawyer Christopher Dafoe of my faux pas with Rebecca. I mentione her reaction. Dafoe (to my chagrin!) said, “Good for her!” We also discussed the imbroglio of the libel suit that our mutual friend, the Vancouver Sun's David Baines had recently lost.
I took Rebecca home happy that thanks to Hairspray we were friends again and I will no longer complain when actors after some silly pause suddenly begin to sing. After all, if they do so, it must be another excellent musical at my Arts Club Theatre.