Gianna Palmer is a guest blogger for Betabeat.
The digital and the theatrical got cozy with one another on Monday night at Blogologues: Come Here Often?, a comedy show about new media at Under St. Marks. The program brought to life assorted Internet relics related to dating, the theme for the evening. For the duration of the hour-long show, a cast of five kept the audience laughing at the sorts of cultural relics typically enjoyed while sitting alone at a laptop: Craigslist’s Missed Connections, personal blog entries, Texts from Last Night, etc.
Blogologues co-creators Allison Goldberg, 27, and Jen Jamula, 28, who met as undergrads in Yale’s theater department, told Beatabeat that Blogologues feeds into their interest in what the new media world means for theater and storytelling. The idea for the show came one day while the two were reading “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” on McSweeney’s.
“We were supposed to be working on something else and I was like ‘Jen, you have to read this post, its so funny,'” said Ms. Goldberg, a tiny, spritely young woman whose mass of blond curls bounce wildly whenever she gesticulates (which is a lot). While reading the post, Ms. Goldberg suddenly realized it would work well on a stage.
“I was like ‘Here’s a monologue!” Ms. Goldberg recalled. “And Jen said, ‘blogologue!'”
The first iteration of the show went up in May, sans theme. It was a success and Blogologues was invited back for a monthly run at Under St. Marks starting in September. Since then, the Blogologues cast (which includes Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Jamula) has performed a new show every month, each with a different theme. This amounts to two weeks to put together a script, and two weeks to rehearse. The result is a scrappy, no-frills show that relies almost entirely on the performers— not their costumes or a set or a snazzy score— for laughs.
Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Jamula don’t exactly write each script, however.
“All of the material is verbatim from the Internet,” said Ms. Jamula, a statuesque brunette who comports herself rather regally onstage. “We compile a script and piece it together.”
“We’ll edit for length, but that’s it,” added Ms. Goldberg.
The material for Monday’s show was sourced from various corners of the online universe and included an infamous— and apparently real!— 1,615 word email written by a man furious with a woman for ignoring him after their first date. (Blogologues snagged the email from a post on the Daily Mail’s website. We first saw it on Reddit.)
The man is enraged by the supposedly mixed signals that the now-MIA woman sent him during their date.
“It’s bad to play with your hair so much and make so much eye contact if you’re not interested in going out with me again!” fumed Danny Gardner, an actor with dirty blond hair and an insanely expressive face. Gardner, who performed the email as a monologue, pretty much nailed it.
In between each bit, a projector displayed screenshots from websites like damnyouautocorrect.com. Outside of the occasional serious monologue, the other scenes were also met with lots of laughs.
Sure, the actors, though all talented, were a little schmaltzy at times — this is the thee-ah-tuh after all. Then again, the source material was so absurd, you couldn’t really blame them. In one scene, a worried late bloomer (played by Ms. Goldberg) writes to an advice columnist about her boyfriend’s propensity to snap his fingers uncontrollably when he ejaculates.
“Is this weird?” she asks.
Later in the show, in a scene drawn from a Craigslist personal ad, Andrea Biggs deftly played a Bay Area mom calling for someone to deflower her 20-year-old son.
“He’s a great kid, attractive and well-liked, but he’s also never had a girlfriend,” Andrea Biggs explained with sweet sincerity, adopting a thick Midwestern accent for the role. “I think he’d have more confidence if he could lose his virginity by getting wild with an older woman.”
Like we said, absurd stuff. Absurd, real stuff.
The cover of Monday’s program informed audience members that they could expect to see blogs performed as monologues and “other wacky material that probably shouldn’t be read out loud.” But judging from the unrelenting laughter at the 7:30 show, theatergoers had no problem with what they heard. This must have come as a relief for Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Jamula, though not for the reasons you might think.
“We had most of the bloggers attend,” Ms. Goldberg said.
“Both of us had people we’re dating in the audience,” Ms. Jamula admitted.