This morning I was a real writer. I had a review to write for the show we saw on Sunday and a review to finish for the show we saw on Friday. I also then had to write a shorter review for both shows for the News and Review. I am learning that it is more difficult to write short than to write long, especially when you have a show like Echo Location which we saw on Sunday, which seems to need a lot of explaining.
The show is about a couple planning their upcoming nuptials, sitting in the back yard (beautiful set, filled with colorful flowers). The guy, Benjamin, is going through some angst because he had broken in to the home of his fiancee's former boyfriend in order to pack up her things which were still there.
In the process of the break-in, he scared the boyfriend's cat who leaped into the air and got caught in the circulating fan, which decapitated him. Benjamin has returned home with what remains of the cat, in a stained bag. (Have I mentioned this is supposed to be a comedy?)
Also important to the plot is the fact that Benjamin's fiancee is African American (Benjamin is not), as is her former boyfriend.
There are all sorts of problems with the plot, beginning with the fact that the fiancee was only with her ex for 3 months, yet here she is with Benjamin, before she has even removed her things from the other house, planning a wedding. We get no back story on how that all happened.
There are a lot of other things that enter into it, but eventually the boyfriend shows up. He's angry that Benjamin has stolen his girl and he's distraught over the death of his cat. He tells Benjamin that he needs to beat him up He seems to be suffering from a controlled rage, but they agree that a beating seems preferable to reporting the break-in to the police. He insists that it must be done before the wedding. Benjamin agrees, since he seems to feel he needs to be beaten to asuage him of his guilt.
So on the day of the wedding, the boyfriend shows up in his best dress, removes his shirt and delivers a punch to Benjamin's midsection. He then hits him so hard in the face that Benjamin is driven onto the porch of the house, where he disappears behind the potted plants, and is presumably beaten unmercifully
I had problems with the fact that the lighting for this scene cast a silhouette on the wall of the boyfriend, larger than life and it seemed to accentuate black on white violence.
When the beating is over, Benjamin, his face beaten in, returns to the yard and the wedding progresses, with the boyfriend sticking around for the celebration.
Now there are two things about this scene One is that while the beating seems to go on for an extraordinarily long time, I realized that it needed to because obviously behind those colorful plants, Benjamin was busy putting on his 'beaten face' makeup.
I was also impressed with how effectively the beating went on, and how realistic it looked and sounded.
It took me back the the days when our kids learned stage fighting and did it so well they convinced strangers that they really were beating each other up (you have to learn the timing of hitting your own hand to make the sound at the same time while your partner jerks his head in the direction that a punch would go if it landed, or the victim hits his own hand while he jerks his head and the punch misses him entirely. Looks VERY real!)
The most memorable experience we had with stage fighting was in Yellowstone park where I was waiting outside of the camp gift shop with 3 or 4 of the kids while Walt was inside with Paul. Because they were bored, two of the kids started fighting. They had a glorious punch out all over the parking lot while I stood by, watching them, and kind of smiling.
A woman standing near me was absolutely appalled that I, as their mother, was doing nothing to break up this terrible fight between the kids.
I don't remember if I ever told her what was really going on. I hope I didn't. If not, she had a great story to tell her family later.