Sunday, July 24, 2022

lord of the rings, not

Somebody is performing a condensed dramatization of The Lord of the Rings around various local parks this summer, so I decided to go.

For a venue I picked Pleasanton this Saturday. Bad choice. The park was right next to a busy street, and about a block away a crew was noisily trimming eucalyptus all morning, not that it was easy to hear half the actors anyway. I had no folding chair and I am not equipped to sit on the ground, so I learned against a tree, which only slightly mitigated the limits on my patience.

The cast of eight were the kind of perspiring thespians I remember from high school, frantically mugging in a desperate attempt at sincerity. The show was supposed to be a satire, but it was only occasionally amusing. When Gandalf described how Sauron let much of his power flow into the Ring, Frodo asked, "You mean like a horcrux?" which was a good point. The funniest part was the Nazg├╗l, amazingly enough. Wearing opaque black veils down to their waists over street clothes, with black hats to keep the veils on, they looked sinister, but they kept walking into things, and they'd sing silly songs like "Mr. Sauron" to the tune of "Mr. Sandman."

The script made some nods to the book, even giving Bombadil a brief appearance for the Old Man Willow scene. (His song was to the tune of "Margaritaville.") But it was mostly the movies. Elrond was grumpy movie-Elrond, Pippin had a hideous fake Scottish accent next to which Billy Boyd would sound RP, the hobbits' songs were to the movie themes, and when they reproduced the movie's "wizard-fu" scene, I gave up and left. Walking back past the park towards my car after picking up some Vallejo tamales at the farmers' market down the street, I could hear the actors yelling about how many orcs they had to fight, so I knew I'd done the right thing in leaving.

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