Indianopolisalyssa 1985: a happy marriage

INOLA ON THE AISLE @ MITF: FALL
Jewel Box Theatre @ Workshop Theatre Company
312 West 36th Street, 4nd Floor, New York, NY
On Monday, November 02, 2015

indianapolis “Indianopolisalyssa 1985 Is Getting Married” by Beth Hyland and Gracie Gardner, directed by Kate Moore Heaney, musical director Alex Ratner; and starring Zina Ellis and Gracie Gardner.

The stage setting complements the musical comedy. The audience sees the first actress, Alyssa, when she enters the stage and she goes to her computer in a wedding dress. She complains about her life living with her live-in boyfriend, Todd. She refers to the TV show Mad Man in her dialogue. She vents on the computer, the message board of a wedding website, about her life and the wedding dress.

Another female, Courtney, enters the stage and she begins to share her experience on the message board of a wedding website. She plays her guitar. On the other end of the stage, Alyssa plays her guitar and she sings along with Courtney. They repeat their refrain, “Let’s make our own pack.” It’s a girl power experience!

Alyssa lives with her boyfriend, she’s shacking up with him; and she wants to be married to him. He’s not speaking her language where marriage is concerned. Courtney tries to put Alyssa in the same boat with her, and she refuses to accept the stereo type or box. Both of them have different circumstances to worry about on the message board. Courtney wants to rush into motherhood, and Alyssa plays her piano and she sings. Her songs touch on her boyfriend’s talking about having a wife. She refers to sexism as bad! Her boyfriend, Todd, gets angry when she talks about some women and their physiques. Courtney sings that she doesn’t feel discriminated against.

Alyssa talks about Todd’s pad lock on his private stuff. She mentions her picking of the lock, and her searching of the contents. She sees a ring! She hopes the ring is in the house for her. Next, she plays music on a smaller guitar; and she sings, too. Courtney joins Alyssa in the singing. She sings and plays her guitar. In her song, Courtney makes reference of Cinderella and other Disney characters. At the end, she concedes that we, women, don’t get it exactly right!

There is another question that allows Alyssa to talk about herself. She states that she isn’t a high maintenance woman. She tells the audience about her sitting on the couch with Todd and looking at a TV show, The Bachelor. Todd’s disposition towards the show and his choice of non-traditional places to buy a ring forces her to cry for a substantial period of time. Todd is a cheapskate, and he doesn’t like to splurge on his live-in girlfriend, Alyssa. She dresses to make a statement that she is his property. However, she makes an important point. She tells Courtney that an engagement means different things to different people. She has to know!

Alyssa rants on the Message Board with a Bridal magazine in her hand. Courtney demonstrates her histrionics and she refers to the TV show, Third Rock. She reflects on the words Alyssa communicates to her on the message board. She thinks about her life and how the repression of her emotions hinders her in many ways. Courtney questions herself about her sexual orientation. She speaks openly about her deeds and naming a few of them to the audience. She heightens the audience imagination when she talks about her use of different prescription drugs prescribed to her by her physician. She speaks about her so-called boyfriend, Jeremey. His encouragement or the lack of it, sends her into the paths of pills-pushing doctors who supplied quick fixes for people with emotional problems.

Alyssa gives Courtney some sound advice about relationship between couples. She needs to sample the grapes before she buys them. Another female with relationship problems will surely appreciate someone saying to him or her that he or she needs to initiate a demonstration drive on a BMW. This is not just restricted to one type of cars. There are other models or types of cars that can be taken into consideration before a purchase. It’s expedient to test drive the vehicle. One can’t afford not to test drive whatever vehicle of choice a young woman may select. The purchase of a car is a metaphor for marriage or a long-term and meaningful relationship between two people.

In this society, each person wants to know what he or she gets out of every relationship. Yet, restrictions in society and religious issues have created stigmas for people concerning carnal activities. The ladies inform the audience with music and singing. Alyssa plays the piano and Courtney sings about wanting to have sex in a very suggestive manner. She wants to explore the man’s body. The audience looks on with great appreciation for what is being said about being sensual in a mature manner.

Alyssa talks about sex to her message board compadre in her ear. The audience is unable to hear what is being said to Courtney. It can only surmise the details of this conversation; and the listener takes up a pack of Oreo cookies and she open it. She eats one of the cookies. She reacts to what she hears with a comment for the audience to understand. Her counterpart encounters a disgusted sexual act with her live-in lover, Todd. She suggests to the audience that the man she wants to marry is gross. At one point, Alyssa leaves the stage.

Rhetorically speaking, Courtney admits to her counterpart that she lost her virginity to one Jeremey. He broke up with her soon after their one-time encounter! Perhaps she did not listen to the warning of her mother, if advice was given to her. Other close relatives and friends usually give advice, pep talk, to girls about men. If a woman gives in to a man’s sexual advances, to have sexual intercourse with him, there is never a guarantee that he is going to stay with her. Courtney lets the audience know in song. She sings to the audience that she never wants to see a penis again, and she may be attracted to women. The lady returns to the stage to voice her opinion to the audience.

Alyssa lets the cat out of the bag, she talks about her life. She informs the audience that Todd took back the ring after she told him about his gross and sexual act. In Todd’s mind, Alyssa has to deal with him as is. He’s who he is, but she lets the audience know in song that she is a queen. She repeats the refrain! Take it back! Take it back! Take it back! Why this young woman should subjects herself to be used up by such a slime bucket by the name of Todd. In the audience’s mind, Todd doesn’t deserve the young lady! Alyssa deserves better!

The writers surely get their message across to the audience. It is not wise for young women to play house with men without being in a committed relationship or married to the man. A man may never buy the cow if he can get the milk for free. In these times, financial factors may force couples to live together in order to pay the rent for an apartment. The writers want the audience to realize that having a sexual relationship with someone doesn’t guarantee that person staying with you. It’s best to stay away from getting involved sexually with the opposite sex too quickly. It doesn’t worth it to test the goods or what other terms are used to bring home the point to young people.

I recommend this musical comedy to theatre goers. It will be a great performance for young men and women to see in order for them to form their own opinions about living together, shacking up, or having sexual relationship with people you don’t really care about. Sexual relationship was intended to be a special thing between two people. Now, it has become an assembly-line performance among people.

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