BEFORE THE SHOW
My friend Fazeel had never been to a Broadway show.
He had, for the most part, written them off as pretentious and unnecessary.
When we first got to the Booth Theatre, I was happy to discover that we had orchestra seats.
It would be a good first experience for him.
I remember looking around the theatre and saying to him, "Isn't it beautiful?"
He looked around and replied, "Hmm..Yeah. It reminds me of my high school auditorium."
I gave him the most incredulous look, "Did you just compare a broadway theatre to your high school's auditorium?"
AFTER THE SHOW
I decided that the best (and most productive) way to talk about this show would be through an interview with my friend (with commentary from yours truly).
Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you, Fazeel Sarmad.
Q: What did you expect from the show?
A: I expected some high-minded thing. A bunch of ideas that philosophers tell, not down-to-earth —not relatable. Something abstract and not applicable to real life. That’s what I expected.
Q: So what did you find?
A: What I didn't expect was to find myself in the show. I thought I would see someone else’s perspective in the show. But I saw myself.
I would now like to take a moment and describe how I felt about that statement:
BECAUSE THAT IS THE POINT OF SHOWS. OF ART.
Or at least that's what it is for me. I love theatre because it allows me to see pieces of myself, even though sometimes it's in the most microscopic way. And I guess it makes me happy to see someone who had absolutely no interest in theatre realize that.
Q: What was your favorite part of the show?
A: My favorite part? The puppets. But I guess that’s the obvious answer. It could have been…cheesy. You know how sometimes there’s a cheesy way of doing puppets where it’s cute but a bit overdone?
Q: But you don’t think it was?
A: Yeah, no. I don’t think so. I think they did a very good job with this.
But I feel like some of it was very cheesy
A: I didn’t see it was cheesy at all. It was all great
But there were some parts that were overly dramatized…
A: But I think it was on obviously purpose…and that’s the difference. You could tell that's what the writers wanted.
Q: Funniest part?
A: My biggest laugh was when you realize the puppet has a life of its own.
[ *** Spoilers Below *** ]
Q: Most surprising part?
A: How far everything went. Things got so messed up SO quickly. It was like how—I don’t think any of the demented things. The ripping the kids ear off, the satanic drawings and the upside down cross; I don't know if any of that actually happened. That may just have been symbolic messages. Still it was shocking to see how far everything went.
Q: What did you think about the set?
A: The set!! I was so surprised. I was so shocked. Things moved around and it changed. A car came out. They had so many different rooms. It was so cool. I didn't expect that, I’d never seen anything like that before. It was clear they put a lot of time and money into it.
Q: Favorite character?
A: I think it might have been the mom...
I hated the mom.
Not that I... she was absolutely terrible. Maybe hate is too strong of a word.
But she certainly wasn't my favorite character.
She's irresponsible, and in my opinion, the root cause of all the problems in the play.
I understand that she has issues too, but as the adult, I think she should have tried to take responsibility for her actions more. And if she couldn't because it was too much for her--that's fine, but she at least shouldn't try so hard to keep up a facade of being a perfectly noble person.
(Which--she dropped at the end, which is also when I started to like her more)
A: I thought she was so—she was a person, you know? When you watch shows—or at least television at the very least, there’s this base character you always come back to. When I started to watch this I expected that. I expected her to be that base-mom-character. The one who’s stable and does all the right things and follows the rules. When she didn't…I was surprised
I suppose she had a very human aspect to her.
Q: What do you think was wrong with the kid? Possession? schizophrenia ?
A: Part of me feels like that didn't even happen. We can’t take the show that literally. It didn't happen word for word—it’s all symbols for things that happened. And all the symbols were really extreme for the audience’s sake. When you’re trying to learn something, learning the extreme is a good illustration for the message overall. I think that’s what happened with the show, there was something else to take out of it.
Q: What do you think should have been taken out of it?
A: I think it was more like—that represented what the boy wanted to become and what the boy's idea was. It was a description of the boy's internal battle.
Q: So do you think the show was a good mix of funny and—
A: A PERFECT MIX. You were laughing and some of the more funny awkward things but still appreciate the serious moments. The only thing was that sometimes it was hard to distinguish the serious and funny moments.
So remember when Fazeel said the Booth Theatre reminded him of his high school's auditorium?
I decided to look up the Brooklyn Tech auditorium for a laugh. So. It turns out the Brooklyn Tech auditorium is actually really nice.
Above is the Brooklyn Tech Auditorium and below is the Booth Theatre. His comparison sort of makes sense.