For those who think that the Internet and theater can never co-exist, you need to get your asses down to New York City’s East Village and check out Blogologues, the hilarious monthly theater show where a troupe of actors reenacts posts from your favorite blogs. Lively Productions helms this ongoing project, where each month sees a new theme and their inventive interpretations of confessions and posts from McSweeneys, Regretsy, Cracked, and many more.
Co-artistic directors Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula created Lively Productions last summer to investigate how “new technologies could inspire face-to-face interaction and rejuvenate live theater,” according to their press kit. They’re doing something right, because Blogologues is incredibly spirited; whether it’s Jen channeling a woman terrified of Steven Spielberg‘s alien movies, or taking on the roles of psychiatrists lecturing parents on scarring kids’ Halloween costumes, the pieces break the fourth wall to the audience without being obnoxious.
The performance I got to see last Monday was Rocktober Blogologues: It’s Freaking Fall! The five-actor ensemble worked tirelessly to bring to life countless blog posts, from confessionals to crafting tips to interviews. I appreciated their loose definition of fall; though there was Halloween content aplenty, there were also odes to apple picking and a fun segment called #TrickorTweet, where they read off what could have been 140-character messages or jokes, and you had to decide which was which.
To say that an actor embodies the words on a page isn’t news; it’s theater. But when you consider that the words are a blog post — a rambling rant or an image-heavy column — it takes on a more impressive quality. Having not read most of these posts in their original form and knowing little about the bloggers who wrote them, I can’t say if the Lively crew’s interpretations entirely matched up to the writers. But they pull such vibrant costumes and unique affectations that their characters are just as valid as the original posters.
For instance, I never would have imagined that you could perform a Regretsy post about people wearing terrifying knit body stockings. But the “knit fetish gear” fashion show that closed out the show hit just the right notes of irreverent and fascinating.
One of the show’s strongest suits is that you don’t have to be an expert in blogging to follow along. All you have to be aware of is the general culture of blogs; if anything, even this seasoned blogger learned about quite a few new sites. The content ranges from lifestyle and advice columns to snarky lists to pop culture-centered sites. When Samuel Gaines came out onstage wearing a Snuggie and pantyhose over his face, we immediately knew he was Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort—which made it even more of a treat when he opened his mouth and had the hissing voice down.
There are one or two monologues that might make you wonder if the bloggers knew they’re being featured; the pieces don’t read less as self-mocking and more as poking fun on unsuspecting targets. But Jen and Allison assure me that they’ve gotten permission from all of the blogs, so if there are any missteps it’s a matter of the post’s tone, not the actors’ performances.
Rocktober is over, and not just because today is November 1; each month has only two performances. November’s theme hasn’t yet been announced, but you won’t want to miss the show on November 28th at UNDER St. Marks (94 Saint Marks Pl). Tickets are on sale now—$15 gets you admission and a beer. Blogologues runs through January 2012.
Photos: Julienne Jones