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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Onstage Play-by-Play: Oklahoma!

Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!Good afternoon, theatre fans of the airwaves! This is Dick Cox bringing you all the news, up to the minute, immediately as it happens, here at the Goodspeed Opera House, where the much-anticipated opening night performance of Oklahoma! is about to hit the starting block!

And there’s the curtain! Aunt Eller is sitting on her front porch, churning up some butter! That butter churn is really going to town in her capable hands!

And now here comes Curly down the stage left stretch, trailing that big fancy surrey behind him! Laurie is coming around from stage right! And BAM! He’s asking her, he’s asking her … something… yes, he’s asking her to the big box social this evening! He’s singing … he’s singing about the surrey! The surrey, folks, with the fringe on the top! That’s right!

But here comes hired hand Jud Fry from upstage center! He’s vindictive! He’s morose! He’s insisting that he will take Laurie to the social … and, yes, yes, Laurie appears intimidated! Curly’s trying to put up a defense, but he’s outflanked! She’s giving in! Jud Fry will apparently be taking Laurie to the box social this evening! Curly is out of the game for now!

The stage is being cleared, and it looks like we’re in for a little subplot action!

Ado Annie is riding in a wagon with Ali Hakim! And here comes young Will Parker, newly traded in from Kansas City! He’s circling around, waving his arms—and here comes Ado Annie’s father, storming onto the stage from stage left! They’re talking about something, about money, about fifty dollars that Will earned in Kansas City, that he needs to marry Ado Annie!

But wait! He doesn’t have the money, folks, I confirm, he does NOT have the money! He has spent it all on … wedding presents for Ado Annie! Oh, the irony!

And now Ado Annie’s father is raising his shoulder-mounted rifle, and aiming it at … Ali Hakim! Ali Hakim has made a forward pass earlier in the day, and now is being forced to marry Ado Annie! He’s hemmed in! There’s no escape now for Ali Hakim!

Now the stage is being cleared again, and Jud is hanging around the smokehouse! Curly is entering! There’s a lot of gesturing and dialogue, folks, a lot of gesturing, threatening gesturing on the stage! Curly suggests that Jud would be better off … dead? Yes, folks, it’s a mention of death! Not a threat, exactly, not a threat at all, radio listeners, but surely a significant blow to Jud’s self-esteem! Curley is exiting stage right, and Jud is looking down! Down and morose! He’s singing … singing about his own funeral! He’s going on about how poor Jud is dead! Poor Jud is dead! But he’s not dead, folks! He’s not dead at all! He’s just singing about it!

And the stage is cleared again! What an exciting and unpredictable evening of theatre this is turning out to be!

Laurie is talking to her teammates, some of the other girls from the community! They’re offering her advice, homespun advice, and she’s looking confused and agitated!

And now from the pit the orchestra is playing! But nobody’s singing! And Laurie appears to be … yes, she’s dreaming! She’s dancing a story, dancing a dream story, I presume! It’s about marrying Curly! But wait! There’s Jud as well!

And… she’s slipped! Laurie is down! There appears to be a pool of liquid, yellow liquid, it’s butter, folks, butter on the stage! Aunt Eller’s churn has sprung a leak! I repeat, Eller’s churn has sprung a leak earlier in the performance, and Laurie is down! Oh, that’s a bad fall!

She’s trying to get up—but she’s down! She’s down! Laurie’s ankle cannot bear her weight! Her ankle appears to be sprained! She will not be dancing anymore this evening, possibly this season, and the ballet is interrupted!

I think… yes, the stage manager is signaling for the curtain to come down! The show, I repeat, the show itself is cancelled on account of injury, just shy of the end of Act I! What a crushing blow for these enthusiastic performers here tonight!

And that’s tonight’s Onstage Play-By-Play!

Dale Dobson writes, animates, and acts in the metropolitan Detroit area, and occasionally gets around to updating