POST: 'Who Mourns for Bob the Goon?' - I felt this weight in my chest

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What's it about?

Veterans with PTSD attend a therapy group for people who believe they're third tier comic book characters. Bob believes that he’s Bob The Goon, The Joker’s Henchman from the 1989 Batman film. The group gets shaken up when Langly, a woman who believes she's a character from an anime, joins the group.

What'd I experience?

I can’t lie. I was super excited for this show. With Suicide Squad coming out the same day and this show involving characters from Batman, that I adored, I was over the moon. I walked into the theater, and as I got my ticket, I read a sign about the show that warned me about fog, strobe lights, and gunshot sounds. It sounded SO COOL. I might even take my sister to see it again.

I surprisingly found myself focusing more on the show and less on taking notes to remember. I felt engrossed by its world. I was entranced and making face reactions to just about everything. Tie that in with the vintage, black and white theme and I was like a kid in a candy store.

I sat all the way in the front because there was no way I was going to miss a single moment. The show opens with Bob waking up to loud neighbors, only to learn that The Joker, his old boss, was at his front door. After much hesitation, he allows him in, but we only see a Freddy Kruger hand stick out of the door to shoot Bob, followed by his iconic laughter. Chilling, but...

It’s clear from the group that Bob has made the least progress, holding on to the belief that he is in fact Bob The Goon. It flashes to a scene where he’s at work with another veteran from the group, Jim. They enter the stage dressed in what looked like Elmo and Cookie Monster onesies. Could this GET any better? Spoiler: It does. The two have an argument because Jim is an insane hardass about the rules. The argument gets heated, but his boss orders them to stay in character, and they begin tickling each other and laughing. I was laughing. Complete shift in the atmosphere. It was so adorable. Two grown men in Sesame Street outfits laughing, like their characters, and tickling each other. So much yas!  

Then, Bob has a drama therapy session with his psychologist, Jonathan, who’s dressed as the scarecrow. They attempt to act out Bob’s imaginary death by the hands of The Joker. Then, out of nowhere, a flying monkey puppet and a robot have a fight. They both looked POPPIN’. Imagine when you were a kid, and you wanted to build a robot or a kickass puppet or both because you were a weird kid, like me. The robot kills the monkey and slowly drags its body off stage. Definitely unexpected, and it was barely half way through the show.

Bob reveals to the group that he isn’t the same since he’s been shot and that “seeing [Jonathan] is supposed to give [him] hope… help.” As I looked at him, I felt this weight in my chest. In his eyes, it looked like he was defeated and barely holding on. That and I thought he was kinda cute. He had that vintage old school look. My favorite. Black hair to one side. A fedora. That leather jacket type of style with a grey t-shirt. Black skinny jeans. Shoes to match. He was dressed to perfection and looked like a sad, damaged puppy. Totally my type… I digress. His demons were haunting him, and it only made me wonder what triggered it all. What REALLY happened to Bob?

Langly, a woman who believed she was in an anime, joins the group. Jim was strongly against it, saying that her beliefs didn't correlate with their's. That manga/anime were not comics, which at that point I was all Say wahhhhh? They totally are. Anyways, I adored her since the second she stepped on stage. Dyed hair. A green army jacket. Striped tee. Leather tights and combat boots. Outfit ON POINT. She was your rebel with a cause, and she wasn't afraid to speak her mind. Pretty much a reflection of who I'll be in the future.

Bob attends another drama therapy, and at this session, he is supposed to role play getting shot. The Joker, however, finds his way into the therapy, and this puppet was MESMERIZING. It looked creepy, and I understood immediately that it was him. His snarky comments and laughter was just the best. That laughter. It was everything I expected and more. Like seriously. Just look at that mask. Isn't it AWEEEESSSOOOMMMEEE? Creepy, but AWEEESSSOOOMMMMEEE. 

Langly convinces Bob that Jonathan has manipulated him into suppressing his memories of being a soldier. Long story short, they confront Jonathan, which leads to a confrontation between Jim and Bob. SPOILER: Bob ends up dying. Which shouldn't have been as shocking to me as it was, but I totally forgot the title of the performance, and I was all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The way his death is even described is heartbreaking. Langly describes how he didn't want to die and begged for his mother but only had her in his dying moment. They hold a funeral for him, and Langly says he deserved better before storming out, You know what? He did deserve better. He REALLY deserved better. 


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Who Mourns Bob The Goon?
HERE Arts
thru Aug. 13