Notes was first up and Jenn Harris, Philip Taratula, Jack Ferver, Christian Coulson, Matthew Wilkas and Randy were straddling chairs with their backs to the audience and muttering and repeating comments even during their introduction by Kate Maguire, Artistic Director of the BTG.
Randy played the role of Sheba’s husband and one of the teachers along with various narrations. Sheba and Barbara, the Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench roles, were played by Jack and Philip and one of Jenn’s roles was that of Barbara’s cat, Portia. She has a long dying scene wearing a little cat face mask in which she propels herself across the first two rows of the audience to finally succumb in the aisle in front of the third row. Her cast mates were cracking up and hiding their laughter behind their scripts.
After intermission, the actors took the stage to prance and pirouette as a warm up. Jenn wore a ballerina costume and Randy wore tights and ballerina slippers. I was impressed with Jenn’s full split and Randy’s bubble butt in his tights which he made sure to display to the admiring audience.
There aren't enough words to describe the hilarity of this parody of The Black Swan, a movie I didn’t particularly like. Jenn played Natalie Portman’s role of Nina and Randy’s main role was the Barbara Hershey role of her mother. At one point, Randy force feeds her a cupcake which she turns and spits out after each bite. He scotch tapes his face until he looks like a little piggy but the tape kept coming loose so he kept reapplying it. When all the actors dropped trou to impress the choreographer, Randy wore a lovely pair of striped briefs.
The chairs that the cast used for Notes had been moved further back on the stage so that a plastic runner could be positioned in front of them. This was so that Nina could toss her cookies all over it. It was chunky and after a bit it even began to smell like puke. I was sitting in the front row which was below the stage and at one point she came over and leaned right over me with puffed cheeks and began heaving as though she was going to spew all over me. I was cowering and putting my hands up over my head but I knew she was just having fun with me. Later she did a full puke using a can of Progresso chunky soup pantomiming it coming from both ends before tossing the can which rolled over to the edge of the stage right under my nose where I could smell it for the rest of the performance. Did I mention it started to smell like puke? Later Jack as Lily, Mila Kunis’ role, had a mouthful of red stuff and traversed the stage spewing it as blood after being stabbed. Other highlights were Nina’s masturbation scene as she was perched on a chair with her back to the audience and a couple of sexual encounters with the director Thomas played by Christian. All during the play, Winona Ryder was used as the name of Winona Ryder’s character and much sport was made of her. It’s hard to put into words just how funny and outrageous it was. You sort of had to be there to appreciate all the fun the cast was having along with the audience. Finally, after the death scene, Jenn gave Natalie’s Oscar speech holding a gold statue while the others pondered on what the heck the whole movie was about. I wondered too.
The audience was quite small for the large theatre and only the front section was full so there weren’t many in the theatre lounge waiting afterward for the cast. Mostly they were the fans I was with and others that I knew from many years of Randy performances. Randy came out for a short period and got his requisite show tee shirt from his #1 fan and then toddled back into the theatre. The rest of the cast was mingling and then he returned and a few got pictures and autographs. I enjoyed chatting for a few minutes with each of the cast members and two of our group presented them with copies of a caricature of the cast in their Notes and Swan roles before giving Randy his framed copy.
Since we had a free day on Tuesday and some of our friends were going to see Tara Franklin, Randy’s frequent co-star, in Brace Yourself at the Main Stage in Stockbridge, we decided to get tickets. The surprise was that it starred the husband and wife team of Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker of L.A Law fame. The play was just a lightweight comedy which wasn’t much to write home about but I enjoyed meeting Jill and Michael afterward who haven’t changed much in the years since L.A. Law and were very nice. As it happened, Randy was still in the Berkshires and came to see Tara too. We didn’t get a chance to talk with her as they were chatting but it was nice to see them together.
Though this was a short trip compared to previous years, it was good to be back there and among friends. I hope Randy continues to work there each summer and gets another big role like Tommy next year.