Congressman:Turn Off The Dark (or What a Wicked Web We Weave)


Note to the producers of Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark

How disheartening it must be for you to have put on a $65 million dollar musical and have the critics universally trash it. “As directed by Julie Taymor, who wrote the show’s book with Glen Berger, and featuring songs by U2’s Bono and the Edge, “Spider-Man” is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst,” wrote Ben Brantley.

I mean, the people responsible for the film versions managed to turn them into one of the most lucrative movie franchises of all time, but you came up with something which Peter Marks of  The Washington Post noted:

“The 8-year-old boys in the audience might be able to key on the Cirque du Soleil-style stunts on wires and video-game graphic elements, and probably not worry too much that Spider-Man is a tangle of disjointed concepts, scenes and musical sequences that suggests its more appropriate home would be off a highway in Orlando. Come to think of it, the optimal audience might be non-English-speaking.” 

It must also be disheartening to learn that for all the similar pre-production skepticism that accompanied  the premiere of “Anna Nicole”–yes, as in tabloid trainwreck Smith–  in London, “it proved a weirdly inspired work, an engrossing, outrageous, entertaining and, ultimately, deeply moving new opera,”  according to Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times. “This was an improbable triumph for Covent Garden.”

Clearly you need some help and I’m here to help. Scrap the incoherent everything and start from scratch. I propose to you:

CONGRESSMAN

Turn Off The Dark

It’s the story of New York congressman Chris Lee, a 46 year old married father( pictured, left)  and his  web alter ego lobbyist Chris Lee, a divorced  and buff 39 year old (pictured, right).

Lobbyist Chris fights his arch nemesis unprepossesing, mendacity prone CL Man by sending shirtless photos of himself to a woman  on Craigslist who implores in song: “Will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?”

By day congressman Chris is a family man and one of the 50 richest members of Congress. The lobbyist Chris fancies himself a “fit, fun and classy guy” who promises “not to disappoint.”  By night lobbyist Chris battles CL Man who frustrates his mission to meet only  the hot gullible women without access to Google  and who populate the  “women seeking men” ads on the web.  Cue the production number  “She was not as advertised,”  a lament in which lobbyist Chris details the pain caused him by dishonest damsels who got caught in his web.

Meanwhile, in a flashback sequence, congressman Chris, on the campaign trail, lectures teenagers against the dangers of using the web and social media inappropriately: “responding to what may seem like a friendly e-mail or an appealing marketing offer can have serious consequences. Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike.”

It turns out to be prescient advice. Cue the dancing algorithms which fly atop the audience in high tech harnesses.

Clearly, at the heart of the story is the  how  this man–and by implication all of us– can use social media to create  any number of new realities, the search for the meaning of it all– or just a cheap thrill–  just an engine search away. What is identity, authenticity and privacy in the vast darkness of the new frontier of the web?

The production will also feature the Queen of reality television Kim Kardashian, about whom Lynn Hirschberg has written “can’t sing, act, or dance but she’s found the role of a lifetime playing herself.” (Tony nomination anyone?)

Ms. Kardashian will appear in a parallel storyline in which she plays a vixen who  continuously complains that she doesn’t want to be famous for taking off her clothes but just can’t stop herself from doing exactly that at every opportunity. Her character will be known as “The Lying Queen.”

And since you still don’t have a showstopping number to end the show, no need to further humiliate Bono and The Edge to come up with yet another listless one. They’ve already written the perfect song long ago. It begins:

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

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