Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called We're Gonna Die. It was by Young Jean Lee, and it was directed by Josh Sobel. The music director was Spencer Meeks. It was a compilation of stories about life from childhood to adulthood and songs performed by the storyteller/singer (Isa Arciniegas) and her band (Sarah Giovannetti, Jordan Harris, Meeks, and Elle Walker). It is about life, death, and how we should savor what we have. I thought this was a really moving and fun show. The songs were really catchy and I thought all the performers were great and, even though the singer was the one telling the stories, all the performers were really present. I really liked it.
The first story was really sweet. It was about the singer's friends she had as a child. It was about them playing a game on their bikes: basically two of them were murderers and had killed the other's husband and she wanted to get revenge. But it grew sad because eventually they all grew apart from each other and her friends started being mean to her and running away whenever she came up to them. I identified with the strange games that you would play as a child and also the rejection that you can get from other kids. The later stories were mostly about things that haven't happened to me yet. I think it was good that they put in something that even younger people could relate to, even though the show is not specifically for kids.
There was a song that was an impersonation of the singer's mother's impersonation of her own grandmother. It was basically about how crappy it is to be old. She would shift back and forth between creepy old grandma and her own voice. I thought that was funny. She is hobbling around the stage and creeping out her fellow band members with the lecture about how everything will suck when you are old that she is singing. She also had another strange family member who was her uncle. He turned out not to be weird but human, and he just didn't know how to express himself. He was a bachelor and everyone thought that he was weird. And one night, the singer snuck into his room to play a joke on him. And she was going to grab his ankles when he went to bed, but he just ended up falling asleep at his desk while yelling at himself, which is really sad. I think if I had been under the bed at that time, I would have been terrified because seeing someone that is an adult breaking down is just scary because you think they are the people that are supposed to make everything better.
Now for the title song, "We're Gonna Die." I have never heard such a catchy song about the inevitability of death. It was kind of comforting in saying that it would all be ok if you were dead. But it was kind of not comforting because it was saying that it is still going to hurt a bunch of people. I think you want to make a good impression on the world before you die, so it is good if people are sad, but you still want them to get over it. They released balloons, even though it was a song about death, and it actually was a lot of fun throwing around balloons with the rest of the audience. It reminds you that life is too short to spend thinking about death all the time, and it is better just to have fun with everyone when you can.
People who would like this show are people who like murderous bike games, catchy songs about death, and mortality balloons. I think people should go see this show. It is a fun, sad, and epiphanic experience. I loved it.
Photos: Austin D. Oie