Is Tarzan A Methodist?
AS YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT BY NOW, if you have been reading this blog for more than a week, I am a guy whose roots are firmly in the ground of live theater. My education and training and forty years of stage work have made me into a theater geek of sorts. And I’m fine with that.
I don’t keep up with the theater as I used to. When I was living in Cleveland I would fly to New York about every six weeks for the weekend and cram in four shows before heading home. My move to California put a stop to that, but it increased my stage time by a factor of 1000.
Now that I am here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Downwind of Upstage is no place to be), and finding that my ability to maneuver across a stage is more limited, my awareness of the Theater World has faltered. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me. Such as the following:
There is an active community theater here in town that stages only musicals. My wife, the lovely and artistic Dawn, and I have gone to several of their productions.
I’m a fan of Community Theater because they are DOING SOMETHING rather than just talking about it. Some of the best stage work I’ve ever seen has been done in a Middle School gym and some of the worst has been on a Broadway stage.
This morning one of the habitués at St. Arbucks came in and handed me the poster pictured above. The theater group is staging a musical production of “Tarzan.” I’ve never even heard of this show. I am really out of the loop.
I was soon informed that “Tarzan” had been on Broadway a few years ago. The music was written by Phil Collins of Genesis fame.
The person who gave me the poster also gave me her assurance that Tarzan would, indeed, be swinging from vines onstage. I know the space they are using and I don’t see how they can do this without taking out either the front two rows or the actor in the loincloth.
This group’s performing space is at a Methodist Church and this is going to be interesting staging.
I asked if the Tarzan yell had been perfected yet. She said that it was.
I asked if the actor in the lead role was in good shape. Nobody wants to see a Tarzan with “love handles.” “Six-pack Abs” would be good, I urged. Personally I don’t have a six-pack – it’s more like a keg, but I’m not the King of the Jungle.
I don’t know where in the Tarzan saga timeline this show falls, but I’m assuming that Jane makes an appearance.
This is being done at a church, Methodist to be sure, but I don’t think that they would like Jane to be in anything skimpier than a Wilma Flintstone sort of outfit.
Actually, my biggest concern is not Tarzan swooping through the lighting grid or Jane being the cause of the Church doing the Tarzan yell, it is – how are they going to do Cheetah the Chimpanzee?
Using a real chimp would not be a good idea. They are cute, but they have a tendency to “go ape” and try to eat someone’s face off. I know that it is a Dinner Theater, but I don’t think they’d be prepared for that.
If they are using a human to play Cheetah, ala the “Planet of the Apes Comes to Terre Haute” I can just imagine what the auditions must have been like. Strange noises and a lot of jumping around must have taken place, and then, unless the Director is a Primate Zoologist by day, picking the actor would still be pretty much of a crapshoot.
“OK, you’ve got the part. Just don’t shave for the next two months.”
I’m looking forward to seeing this show, but I’m going to sit in the back row. If things don’t work just right the folks in the front row are going to think they are at a Gallagher show.