Repo!ssession

Saturday night we made a road trip to Monterey to see a stage production of Repo! The Genetic Opera.

I didn’t know what to expect from the show. I expected it to be skirting the legal boundaries of what can be done with the “rights’ to Repo. I didn’t know how much skirting would be done though.

We found the theatre around 5, doors wouldn’t open til 7:30. We went to Recycled Records across the street and found an ad for Pelican Pizza. It was a block away. We had a medium whole wheat crusted bacon, chicken and garlic pizza. I really enjoyed the pizza. The sauce was good, the crust was good and the toppings were fresh and tasty.

After dinner, we had chocodiles in the car for dessert and then browsed the local Goodwill for a little while to kill time.

We got in line around 6:40 behind a small group of folks who knew one of the special effects guys for the production. I had thought doors were at 7 for a 7:30 show. I was wrong, doors were at 7:30 for an 8:00 show.

The guy behind us in line was cool. I talked with him for a while. He got a free ticket to see the show from a Craigslist ad. He recommended a Northern Italian restaurant in San Francisco that may or may not be Ristorante Milano. We may have to try it some time. He also brought up a good point. When he started seeing stage shows, voices weren’t amplified by microphones. It is a very different experience now. I noticed how different seeing Dial M for Murder last week was with no microphones from shows we’ve seen that do have microphone amplification. It was kind of jarring.

Seeing Repo! as a stage production when you’re so used to the movie is just as jarring.

We got in a little after 7:30 and I asked if video or photography was allowed. They said only after the show with the cast. So we didn’t shoot video or photos during the show.

The band did a jazzy jam number started at around 8. It was very not-Repo! I also noticed that the keyboard player, who is also the music director for the play, wasn’t very good.

The stageplay is an extremely well done production of the entire Repo! The Genetic Opera movie, with a couple of extra twists. They included the full versions of Bravi! and Blame Not My Cheeks. Otherwise, the songs are pretty much identical to the film.

After Act I, which closes with At The Opera Tonight, I remarked that the actors were trying really hard to be a carbon copy of the movie and it wasn’t really working. Act II, with the addition of Blame Not My Cheeks, at least showed their willingness to expand on the film’s scenes a bit. I felt like the characters were all portrayed well. The weakest actor/singer was Blind Mag in comparison to the movie, but that’s comparing a girl on stage with Sarah Brightman, probably a bit unfair comparison. The actors portraying Nathan and Rotti were spot on in their roles and great. Amber Sweet was outstanding and the star of the show, young Shilo Wallace was cast perfectly. Graverobber, a pretty small part, was still as much of a ham as the character in the film. Downside, no hot half naked Single Mother…

They stayed true to the source material and put on a fun, blood-splatter and fog filled show. A girl in the front row got most of the blood from one of Repo Man’s victims in her eye. Oops. The front two rows are the splatter zone and they did a good job getting that splatter over a lot of lucky audience members. (If you get to see a later performance, sit front row, center stage left for the best effect. Oh, and wear white…)

After the production, the cast and crew noticed our Repo! shirts and I talked with Lloyd (Nathan) and his girlfriend about their production. They put it on by obtaining the rights to show the movie. They “show the movie” by interspersing the comic book vignettes with their stage production. It is an ingenious move to skirt the legalities of putting on a Repo stage play.

They became interested when Lloyd’s son showed them the DVD. They met some people locally who could pull off the special effects and had the vocal talent in the area, so they put it together with just a copy of the DVD (which explains why they had tickets, supper tickets) and the lyrics and video of Blame Not My Cheeks from the internet.

That’s pretty impressive.

In comparison, folks put on simple productions and very elaborate productions of shadowcasting for Repo! all over the country. This just took it one step further. It removed the movie from the background or foreground and put the emphasis on the songs and the actors and cast. It was like seeing Repo! Unplugged.

The only real downside was the band. They did their best but were pretty distracting to me. Without the band and the seats that were slightly too small for my large frame, the show would have felt like an incredible couple of hours to me. Instead it was a fun road trip where I got to see some cool people pay tribute to a great movie with a small stage production. Said stage production ended up being quite good and if you have the opportunity to check it out, it runs for a couple more weekends, with two shows on Halloween.

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