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View Full Version : Play discussion - Suburbia (spoilers)


tiny ham
08-31-2001, 09:01 AM
Anyone seen it? read it? (I haven't seen it performed and I haven't seen the movie, so I'm going by text alone) I finished it last night and of course I loved it, but as I put the script down I said...what have we learned?

I mean Jeff essentially gets the shaft from everyone even though he's the only one who semi has his head on straight. Good guys always lose? Is that what I should take away? What was the significance of Bee Bee dying at the end? And I'm not sure if Pony is sincere in his "downplaying of fame" or if he's just the smarmiest guy on the planet. Does he REALLY think that The Four Season is just "hot water and a bed?"

And why in the world would Erica be attracted to Tim at the end of Act Two? I mean, I like a 'bad boy' as much as anyone else, but cripes, he's a racist, mysoginist, homophobic bad boy. weird.

jarbaby

Fiver
08-31-2001, 10:39 AM
It was produced in Atlanta several years ago by Dad's Garage Theater, the place where I've done my improv. All the roles were cast perfectly to type.

I disliked it hugely and thought it had very little to say. Bogosian has a poor understanding of "Generation X" (which was all the rage in the media at the time he wrote it) and "slackers."

But if it had a theme, I'd guess it would be that the universe is random and sometimes brutal in who it rewards and punishes. Jeff was possibly the most deserving of fame and fortune, but will not get it. Pony is shallow and untalented (the actor who played Pony down here did his own singing and guitar playing, although he's neither a singer nor a guitar player), but gets to stay at the Four Seasons and ride in a limo. I don't know exactly why Bebe died, but her death was surely in accordance with this theme.

Did you catch the Whoopi Goldberg reference?

tiny ham
08-31-2001, 10:43 AM
No, I didn't. I'm sure I'll read it again. I do think it's odd that Bogosian tries to identify with a generation AFTER his, but I think he does a good job of slacker 'conversation'. My favorite quick exchange is

Pony: whatever.

Jeff: hey.

Pony: hey, you know.

I mean. People DO really talk that way and it makes not one single lick of sense.

jarbaby

tiny ham
08-31-2001, 11:36 AM
And upon further thought, my last post was very vague in its approval of the dialogue.

What I mean is that the main reason I hate shows like Dawson's Creek and Buffy (don't hit me Fiver) and whatever is because young adults simply don't talk in that sophisticated a fashion. I remember watching one episode of Dawsons' where someone was "considering the consequences of her life and the implications it would have on her relationship" SIXTEEN YEARS OLD and you're talking like that? No. Throw some you knows and oks and whatevers and were talking real young people.

Not to say they aren't smart or thoughtful. The kids in Suburbia have some deep, philosophical ideas, but they lack the vocabulary to express it, and I think that makes it more realistic.

jarbaby

Fiver
09-03-2001, 08:33 AM
I would never hit you, but I won't rule out spankings.

Realism is an overrated virtue in entertainment. It's not appropriate in every work of art. I've never seen Dawson's Creek, but of course the kids on Buffy don't talk like regular kids their age. Nor do the adults on Buffy talk like regular adults.

But you don't always want "realistic" dialogue, especially on stage; would you have urged Shakespeare to chuck the iambic pentameter? As long as the characters' speech is in character, and their relationships with each other ring true, I don't see cause to complain about the dialogue being too clever or snappy. Buffy is a seriocomic fantasy, not a Mike Leigh film.

But if you're looking for realism in Suburbia, I would ask when any coed group of teenagers ever has spent all its evenings hanging out at a convenience store. Arnold's soda fountain in Happy Days made more sense than that.

And Suz's "meat manifesto" at the beginning seemed totally contrived to me.

And Bogosian's Big-City-guy-picking-on-the-suburbs schtick was already played out when the Monkees recorded "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Memo to Eric: find a generation you know something about, and a target worth shooting at.

And BTW Whoopi Goldberg is one of Bogosian's best friends and he drops a hidden reference to her in all his work.

tiny ham
09-03-2001, 08:57 AM
I understand that realism isn't always in order, but sometimes when a play is trying to be 'just about normal people', non-normal talking drives me batty, and this is why I hate David Mamet. NOBODY in the world talks like David Mamet's characters, and if they do, I like to kick them and poke them with sticks.

That's interesting about the Whoopi Goldberg reference. I'm going to go glance through all my Bogosian stuff and see what pops up.

you're a sweetie Fiver. Big kisses your way, even though we must agree to disagree about Suburbia.

Fiver
09-03-2001, 06:35 PM
jarbabyj:That's interesting about the Whoopi Goldberg reference. I'm going to go glance through all my Bogosian stuff and see what pops up.If you can't find the reference in Suburbia, ask and I'll tell you what it is.

you're a sweetie Fiver. Big kisses your way, even though we must agree to disagree about Suburbia.Ain't no thang, sugar; some friction is helpful to any relationship.