November 01, 2007

Free Donuts

So, like, I took Rachel to school this morning, and then I wanted some donuts for breakfast. Well, I noticed a Daylight Donuts not far from my house the other day, so I decided to swing by on the way back and pick up a few. I walk in and head up to the counter and start perusing the merchandise, and the lady behind the counter walks over.

"We're not actually open yet, but we're letting people come in and get some of the samples. Were you just wanting a few donuts for yourself?"


"Okay, well, we've got whatever you see out on display."

"Ummm . . . okay. I'll have a couple of those glazed twisty donuts."

*donuts are bagged and handed to me* "Alright, here you go. We'll be officially opened for business tomorrow! Have a nice day."

*my hand is in my pocket, on my wallet* "Wait, so . . . I don't have to . . . That's it?"

"Yeah. They're free. Enjoy your donuts."

"Sweet! Thanks." Gotta go back there once they're open . . . Rock on.

Anyway, Rachel and I visited Longview this weekend and went to the Shreveport Opera with Becca, Randy, Daniel Gallagher and Daniel Gullman. By the way, that's Little Danny G. and Big Danny G., in case conversations get confusing . . . I mean we could just go with Gallagher and Daniel, but then Becca of course calls them both Daniel, and then people aren't sure that you aren't doing the same thing and . . . bad mojo.

Back on topic. The Shreveport Opera was doing "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" which is actually a Stephen Sondheim musical. Sondheim was responsible for "West Side Story," which I hate, but he also wrote "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," which is awesome. "Sweeney Todd" was somewhere in-between, at least as performed in Shreveport.

The musical is based on a character that originated in British "penny dreadfuls" of the 19th century. A barber named Benjamin Barker is packed off to Australia by a crooked judge so that said judge can steal his wife. He escapes and returns 15 years later, now under the name Sweeney Todd, to find that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge and his daughter (an infant at the time) has become the judge's ward. He sets up shop as a barber in his old digs above a meat pie shop owned by Mrs. Lovett (worst meat pies in London) and begins to plot his revenge. Before long, however, he pretty much loses his mind and slits the throat of anyone who comes in for a shave. Mrs. Lovett has fallen for him, and she is the brains behind the body disposal: They bake the victims into her meat pies, which suddenly become very popular.

It's very dark comedy at its lightest (but also quite funny), and at its darkest you might feel like throwing yourself off the balcony. Everyone goes crazy or kills someone else or both, and everyone dies. The lighter moments included Sweeney trying out his sweet chair set-up: He slits the throat (they had blood spurting and everything), swivels the chair sideways, and pulls a crank. This slides the body out of the chair and through a trapdoor in the floor, where it goes down a chute and comes out in the bakehouse.

I thought the lead was poorly cast . . . his voice was too deep, and it often seemed melodramatic when it should have just been dramatic. Mrs. Lovett was awesome, though. The music was very discordant in places, but I felt that they were adding their own bits in here and there and they were also having a lot of trouble with the sound system. That probably contributed. Also, they went all "experimental" on us and tried to combine live stage performance with "cinematography," i.e. projecting backgrounds onto a screen behind the stage for extra effect. It worked in places, but overall I found it extremely distracting and a bit cheesy. And, last but not least, the supertitles pretty much sucked.

Nevertheless, I saw a lot of potential there for excitement about the forthcoming movie version directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter. That'll be sweet. Meanwhile, check out this clip from a production that had Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett. This song is rather long, but also extremely funny. It's the first act finale. Enjoy.

Posted by Jared at November 1, 2007 02:20 PM | TrackBack