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Arts & Entertainment

Spirited Away

A little lubrication could aid in the enjoyment of Saturday’s Voyeur 2007.

By Rob Tennant
Posted // June 22,2007 -

Salt Lake Acting Company’s perennial Saturday’s Voyeur isn’t so much a piece of musical theater as it is a party, and I’m the guy who forgot to bring booze. The front page of SaltLakeActingCompany.org clearly read “BYO food and drink.” I just didn’t listen. I blame myself.

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There is evidence of fun everywhere. Bottles of local beer are hoisted. Stemmed fishbowls containing colorful concoctions are clutched and sipped. The section of cabaret-style tables just in front of the stage is a miniature skyline of wine bottles and glasses, populated by a jovial citizenry. A guy down the row from me has a full-size red Coleman cooler. I don’t know what was in it, but I know I wanted some.

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I thought it would be good enough to have a few drinks with dinner beforehand, but now I realize that I’m not prepared, not in the spirit of the event. It is my first time at Voyeur, and I’m surrounded by apparent veterans putting me to shame.

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The show’s why we’re really here, though, right? We are patrons of the arts, and that is serious business. It would be uncouth of me to focus on my already-waning buzz while I am about to be presented with a sophisticated and well-balanced analysis of Utah culture and the clashes inherent therein, wouldn’t it?

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The mayor'or at least Kevin Doyle with similarly coiffed silver hair'is in his full boxing “Rocky” regalia, with circus-tent shorts and an appropriately masculine satin robe. He is accompanied by Cardozo (Alexis Baigue), his man-size parrot who will eventually make fart jokes, with sound effects, through an entire scene.

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The familiar theme from the Stallone film is played while Rocky pumps his fists in the air. This is his victory lap; his last hurrah. “The Rocky Show” is going off the air, and he’s here to say farewell. He’s going to do it by singing us songs about the previous year’s issues and controversies set to familiar tunes'Weird Al does local politics.

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We also get program interruptions from the sponsor, “Choose the Right Wipes.” A box of baby wipes emblazoned with the familiar CTR logo is used by various local conservative politicians and public figures to cleanse their bodies and spirits after the difficult business of dealing with Salt Lake City liberals. Enid Greene (Arika Schockmel) uses them. So does Gayle Ruzicka (Jeanette Puhich). So does the entire Salt Lake City Council.

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Just when I start to think that this is all a little over-the-top, one-sided and crass, Doug Capezzio (Christopher Glade) and Mary Vixen (Brenda Sue Cowley) interrupt in public-broadcasting-telethon style to put me in my place. They are asking for our support to help SLAC continue to “Not Bridge the Divide.” They proudly proclaim that my misgivings are exactly the point of the show. They also imply that any spoilsports should silence their internal critics and go with the flow. To underscore the point, the characters themselves will get drunk as the show goes on.

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They are right, of course. Voyeur is a cathartic, nearly 30-year-old institution where like-minded people gather in the dark and laugh at things they can’t bring up in polite, religiously mixed company. The cast members bring great energy to their tongue-in-cheek performances with a messing-around-while-the-strict-parents-are-out-of-town quality. They might get caught at any moment, so they’re having fun while they can. Interpret that as a metaphor if you like.

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I continue to sober up while I am presented with more of Gayle Ruzicka depicted with an exaggerated fat-suit, three sequential songs about Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and a spot-on but otherwise unmotivated Borat impression. It’s all good lighthearted fun. The jokes are broad and the songs are silly and predictable, but the laughs from the audience are hearty and real. Everybody, on stage and off, is having a good time. Next year, I’ll be sure to bring a couple of bottles of wine.

nn

SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2007
nSalt Lake Acting Company
n168 W. 500 North
nJune 6?Aug. 12
n363-SLAC

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