Two-Headed

Last night we went to see Gan-e-meed Theatre Project’s inaugural production of the play Two-Headed by Julie Jensen. Here’s a good review from some production a few years ago, which includes the following explanation from the author (the link is mine)

We were two-headed about a lot of things, meaning that we kept secrets. We had public heads and private heads. Sometimes I was two-headed about the Mormon Church. I just didn’t want to talk about it. Most of us from long-established families were also two-headed about the Mountain Meadow Massacre. It had happened in 1857. No one alive remembered the events. But our families had been involved, or else they knew families who were…And so we knew and didn’t know. We imagined and didn’t talk about it. The same was true of polygamy. Many of us had polygamous grandparents, great grandparents. Many of us were distantly related because of it. And yet we didn’t talk about it. We knew and we didn’t.

Kara Manson and SerahRose Roth did a fine job with the play’s vignettes from the intertwined lives of two pioneer Mormon women. The play’s emotions are restrained, and so the audience left dry-eyed. That made an interesting comparison to the production of Doubt that we saw a few weeks ago, where it was all right there on stage and the entire house was teary by the end. Appropriate, though… it seems to me that being a good pioneer wife required keeping it bottled up, especially in public.

Afterwards there was a Q&A with the actors and director, and the quality and tone of the questions was as interesting as the answers. Echoing a current controversy, the troupe was asked if they felt that a play written by a man could have moved them the same way. Yes, they replied, we’re actors… a good answer. Another audience member had been a VISTA volunteer in Southern Utah and shared her remembrances of the area, and we had been in Utah more recently and Lee shared her thoughts about the duality of Mormon life for women that persists even today. All in all, a nice discussion to cap off a nice evening.

The show was held at the New England Youth Theater, where we’ve been several time. Ms. Manson is an NEYT alum, having answered the very first audition there, according to the nice article that came out in the Reformer and alerted us to the show’s being in town.

We’ll always have Waterworld

This weekend, we attended the 4th annual Spell Check, a fundraiser for LatchisArts, with our dear friend Janet who visited from Pennsylvania. It was a great evening’s entertainment… where the Harry Potter-themed team actually got to use their wands with the word ‘stupefy’ and zap the other team into stupificity.

The show was emcee’d by Tom Bodett, of Motel 6 commercial and NPR fame (not to mention the author of a whole bunch of books). Unfortunately, caught up in the moment, the bright lights, the roars of the crowd, he made humorous, even deprecating, reference to a certain movie, and I felt compelled to contact him and voice my displeasure. I mean, people are constantly spouting off to someone about something that bothers them, whether it be nuclear waste or Ann Romney’s career choices. This is my issue, and now it’s my time, and Tom Bodett is my gateway public figure.

Our e-mail exchange follows.

Me:

Hello Mr. Bodett,
My name is John Carter. Really, it is.
My wife and I have listened to you on Wait, Wait, for years, and we really enjoyed your performance at the Spelling Bee last night… but I did want to write and ask you to reconsider the John Carter movie jokes.
I’ve loved those John Carter of Mars books more or less forever, even though they are terrible. Now the movie comes along, and finally, in the full flower of my middle age, I get this big-budget moment. Disney invited me to a special screening and gave me t-shirts and trading cards. My consulting clients all got a kick out of it… “oh, yeah, like the movie.” My moldy old comic books jumped up in value. Life was good in ways that only a very very large marketing campaign can make it good. As a famous person yourself, of course you’re used to this kind of thing, but I’ll tell you as a newbie to the whole name recognition thing: it was fun. Then the movie came out, and the pre-release hype turned to tepid endorsements, then the reviews got downright hostile (disaster, fiasco, epic fail), and all of a sudden my namesake is being blamed for hundreds of millions of lost dollars. Imagine the disappointment, if you can.
On behalf of the hundreds of John Carters currently hanging their heads in embarrassed shame, please retire the references to “us” even sooner than you otherwise might. I’m confident that won’d be difficult, as there are soooo many other stiff, humorless, overacted space epics out there. 
With warm regards, and looking forward to next year’s Spelling Bee,
John Carter
 Him:

John,

Just so you know, that was my first John Carter movie joke, and it will be my last, I promise.   I never even saw the thing, anyway.
I know – a little bit – how you feel.  I was hanging around in Hawaii quite a bit while they were making Waterworld with Kevin Costner.  Some friends of mine got into the film as extras and stunt guys and were hanging around with Costner off set, so I had all this great buzz-by-association and was really looking forward to the movie – which turned out to be the John Carter of the 90’s and replaced Heaven’s Gate as the most expensive and critically abused film of all time.   Sorry you had to get your turn in that barrel.   And sorry I piled on.  But don’t worry, another 20 or 30 years and people will forget all about it.   I feel worst for Taylor Kitsch, who I thought was brilliant in Friday Night Lights.  He deserved a better film debut, for sure.  So did all you John Carters.
Thanks for the kind words about SpellCheck.  We’ll see how the reviews are…
My best,
Tom

The very fact that Tom Bodett lives close enough to host this thing is pretty awesome… just exactly the right kind of celebrity for the right kind of town. The generosity of his response to my feigned offense and his empathy with my unfeigned disappointment are blessings of the kind we are coming to expect around here. Thank you, Tom, and I’ll rest easier knowing that we’ll always have Waterworld.

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