Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review of The Neo-Futurists' 44 Plays for 44 Presidents

Three questions to ask yourself before you read this review. (The answers will be at the end of this review.) 1.) Did Grover Cleveland discover Cleveland? 2.) Did John Wilkes Booth actually say "Sic semper tyrannis"? 3.) Was Millard Fillmore actually a loaf of bread?

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. It was about presidents and what happened during their existence in being president in different funny ways and in different scary ways. I think the writers (Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg) wanted to write it because they must really like history. It was history that went all the way back to 1789. It was not like reading a history book; it was much better because it was more fun and what I mean by fun is that you weren't just looking at a page that told you when he was born, when he got elected, when he got married and a picture of his wife. You are looking at people, actual people, that you are actually present with and you can actually interact with. People should see this show because it is educational but also the funnest play ever.

There was this really cool sketch about Barack Obama (played by Rani Waterman) where he came on stage and he came over to two boys and started jump-roping crazily with a long one and a shorter one. And then she got two jump ropes and jumped them. It seemed hard to do it and at the end she says "Can't you guys help me?" because Barack Obama is doing a lot of hard work but not enough people are helping him.

And if the president got elected twice a little bit apart from each other, like Grover Cleveland (Joe Dempsey), the actors would do kind of the same piece again only they would leave some of the parts out of it so they wouldn't waste your time. The first Grover Cleveland piece was all of the guests, which was everybody in the play, clinking their glasses together and dancing. But the next time they clinked their glasses together and started dancing and then were like, "Oh, come on!" and then they leave. Grover Cleveland and Grover Cleveland's wife (Rani Waterman) were the same both times.

In the Chester Arthur sketch I played Chester Arthur. I am not always going to play Chester Arthur. A different person will get to play him each time. You have to recite the oath of office and after you recite to oath of office then they put the coat on you and you have to try to get on to the desk. I could not, because I am too short, so they had to lift me up. And after that, they asked me a quiz. I think they wanted to say that Chester Arthur was made president very very quickly because the president before him was assassinated. He used to just be vice-president but then he was president. I felt like I was just an audience member at first, and then suddenly I was president! Do you know that I was actually elected president when I was 4 years old in 2008. Look it up in a history book. I will be there. No, I actually won't. The 2008 president was actually Barack Obama.

My favorite scene was about Millard Fillmore who was played by a loaf of bread. (This is also in your quiz at the beginning of the review.) And when Dina Marie Walters was eating bread when she started speaking her mouth was still full and so it sounded like this:"ummmmmmmmmummmmmummmm."See nobody could understand you if you were talking like that. It was hilarious because she was saying something historical but at the same time you could not understand what she was saying. Everybody else also had their mouths full when they were speaking, so they were also sounding like "mmmummmummmu," but I mentioned Dina first because I laughed the most at her because she had her mouth very very full so she sounded the most ridiculous. I thought it was fuh-larious.

One of my favorite scenes was the scene when Joe Dempsey as Tilden was reaching for the coat and Ryan Walters as Rutherford B. Hayes stepped in and it was a tug-of-war and then it turned into a wrestling match. They were trying to show us that they both really wanted the coat but they couldn't get the coat. They really wanted to be president and the coat meant you were president. And the coat would poke out from the door, and then a happy face with the coat would poke out. I liked it because I thought it was funny because I like slapstick comedy sometimes--but just some slapstick comedy; some slapstick comedy can be too violent.

One of the creepiest scenes was about William McKinley (Dina Marie Walters). He was shaking hands and they were getting pictures taken. Then this assassin (Bilal Dardai) shoots at him. McKinley held out his hand after he'd been shot once by the assassin, but he held out his hand and kept smiling in this creepy way. It made me think about Coraline, because Coraline has these creepy parents who are always smiling even though they are being hurt or something because they are made out of clay.

There was this scene where William Howard Taft (Rawson Vint) was a baby because he was such a baby when he was president. He didn't know if he wanted to be president or he didn't want to be president. He is dressed in this big fat costume. It was basically a beanbag with armholes and a place to put your legs. And it had a way to see where you were going. And when he was in the fat suit there was a woman (Dina Marie Walters) and Teddy Roosevelt (Ryan Walters) and they were trying to feed him applesauce but he wouldn't eat. They both say "Be my president, Billy" and try to put the coat on him, but he won't put it on, so then they have to force it on him. And then Roosevelt says if you don't want it, give it back, and Taft says, "now I want it." And they have a fight. It indicated that Teddy Roosevelt would not be a very good father.

People that would like this show are people who like Presidents, history, and bread. I think this is a good show to take kids to because it is about presidents. There were also some sad scenes and there are also mentions of children dying, but other than that it is fine for kids. Grownups will also enjoy watching it. I really liked this play because it had a lot of substance to the story, meaning that it had something going on and it wasn't just a bunch of hoo-ha that wasted your time. It taught me about the 44 presidents because I haven't learned about every single president yet. I liked that everybody was having a good time doing the show and that they knew what they were doing in how they could express the different presidents even if they hadn't been alive during their time.

Answers: 1.) No. Grover Cleveland did not actually discover Cleveland. They are spelled the same way though. 2.) Yes. John Wilkes Booth did actually say "Sic simper tyrannis" when he shot Abraham Lincoln. It means "Thus always to tyrants." A tyrant is somebody who wants to control the world but he actually can't. Abraham Lincoln was also not a tyrant. If it was anybody who was a tyrant it was Mr. Booth. 3.) No white breads have been elected for presidents. Not one. Ok. There was one: Bill Clinton. Wait. Let me look that up. Yep.

Photos: Maggie Fullilove Nugent


evandebacle said...

I am the photographer who was sitting next to you guys at the show. I have a couple of shots of Ada-as-Arthur, if you'd like me to send them to you.

Ada & Mom said...

We'd love to see them! If you send them to Christa (who is our Neos press contact) or Ryan from the show, either could send them on to us. I don't want either of us to leave our e-mail addresses in the comments section, but I suspect we have mutual acquaintances!. Thanks!

evandebacle said...

I'll get them to Ryan tonight.

Ada & Mom said...

Thanks so much!