Coma Community Players’ Latest Production is a Cat-tastrophe
by Michael Mason McMiller
Before you plunk down your hard-earned $15 on the Coma Community Player’s latest disaster, an anemic and misguided adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, you might want to take a few precautions. First, claw your eyes out so to won’t have to see the tortured sets, sloppy costumes and ugly, ugly actor’s stupid faces. Don’t forget to stick long needles down into your ears far enough to perforate your eardrums so you won’t have to hear any of the stilted, insipid dialogue or off-key warbling that passes for singing in this production. You might also want to drink a big bottle of poison and drown your children so the miserable stink of this total abortion cannot haunt your dreams or those of your loved ones.
In case it isn’t clear, I did not like this play. I do not like the director. I have nothing but disdain for the cast. Every single member of the Coma Community Players should be dragged into the street and shot in the back of the head. Cecily Applebaum’s Skimbleshanks is as garish and ridiculous as those hideous quilts she sells online. Tommy Lincomb seems even more lost here as Rum Tum Tugger than he does feebly trying to deliver my morning paper. Let’s be frank. 27 is too old to be a paperboy. Can’t they make him a paperman or something? It’s unsettling.
At this point, I must disclose that between March of 2008 and December of 2013, I was the director-in-residence at the Coma Community Players Gang-Up Improv and Comedy Sportz Arena. If you saw a play, ballet, opera, skit, sketch, puppet show or a traditional Japanese kabuki dance-drama in the last six years, what you saw on stage was me, baring my soul.
The stage is my life. Or at least it was until last winter when I was struck by a drunk driver. I was in the hospital for six weeks with a shattered pelvis. They put sixteen pins into my hip and replaced part of my tailbone with a titanium rod. Four painful surgeries later, I still have not recovered full mobility. Doctors say I may never be able to do high kicks again.
The Coma Community Players decided to replace me as director against my wishes. In their infinite wisdom, they chose as my successor the drunken derelict whose wanton recklessness cost me my livelihood and the use of my pelvis.
This maniac, this Shane Darvish, has committed quite the rare feat, a unique achievement on the American stage. He has taken a classic work of whimsy and enchantment and turned it into a piece of stagecraft that is literally less interesting to watch for two and a half hours than a bowl of human shit. Yes, this play lacks the nuance of a shit bowl. If one had to, for whatever reason, sit in a room and stare at a bowl of shit for two and a half hours, one may find oneself marginally interested, if for a mere moment, at the shapes, contours or colors of the shit. One may, in fact, muse momentarily on how a shit of these precise dimensions may have come to rest in such a bowl. Questions may dance through one’s head, however ephemeral. Whose shit is this? What had they been eating? Are those bits of carrots I see? Darvish’s Cats fails to inspire even a fraction of this level of engagement from its audience.
If you happen to find yourself at the theatre, and you suspect that they may be about to begin a performance of Shane Darvish’ Cats at the George K. Sieghard Memorial Theatre and Yoga Studio, run, do not walk to the nearest exit. Leave behind any valuables you may have brought with you into the theatre. They will only slow you down. If you inadvertently witness even a moment of this performance, if you hear even a single note of the overture, if you happen to hear one of the actors backstage clearing their throat, you must immediately set fire to your own head and fling yourself from the highest structure you can gain access to. This should help ease the anguish of experiencing this show as an audience member.
Cats is playing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8 PM at the George K. Sieghard Memorial Theatre and Yoga Studio. 632 S Pine Blvd. Street parking available after 7 PM.