The Jap Chronicles

9780385512862_1During college, I spend a semester in London.  One of the best classes I sat in on was an off-Broadway theater class.  Each week we’d go see something new and off the beaten track.  That type of theater is very hit or miss.  Once in a blue moon you’d get something so great you left the theater walking on air.  Other times you wanted to crawl out the back door when no one was looking.  The experience made me really appreciate the little gems that can be found in the world of theater.

In NYC, there is always a production going on somewhere.  On and off and off 0ff Broadway.  In order for productions to actually make any money or break even, they need to promote early on.  The key would obviously be selling out in advance before anyone has every seen the production.  The problem being the ticket buyer is that you are taking a risk because you know nothing but the name of the play and the actors associated with the production.  A low cost risk some would say.  If you were quick enough to buy tickets in advance to The Odd Couple starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, they were probably the going rate.  Once it comes to stage and the reviews start pouring in are fantastic, the prices go up and the tickets are really hard to come by.  If the reviews suck, then you are stuck with tickets to something that could be torturous to sit through such as The Odd Couple proved to be.  Alas, one of the problems of theater.

I had read the Jap Chronicles 2 summers ago.  Total trashy summer book.  Quick moving, dumb but as a Jewish girl who went to camp, I got the characters.  I happened to be at the theater one night and saw a full page ad in the playbook for the play of the Jap Chronicles.  I also get an email from Broadway Offers giving me the option to buy tickets.  So, I went with it.  Thought it would be a fun thing to do with my campers, Jessica and Emily and my sister and my friend and her sister.  We were all campers.  Also, my friend was the one who recommended the book to me.

The Jap Chronicles was written by Isabel Rose.  She also produced, wrote and starred in the one woman musical play.  She is obviously a talented individual.  That is the one area I must give her credit.  The play however is probably the absolutely worst thing I have ever seen in a live performance in my entire life.  Hands down.  The play was performed at the Perry Street Theater.  The minute she opened her mouth, I knew it, it was going to be really bad.  Unfortunately there was no intermission.  Also, the theater is small and  it would be really tough to walk out on.  Emily begged.  Jessica moaned.  I considered it but instead counted the songs down that we had to listen to.  Where was the stage manager who should have told her "hey honey, this should not be performed in public.  you will completely embarrass yourself".  It could have saved us a tremendous amount of agony.  I mean true agony. 

We all left the theater just speechless.  We didn’t know exactly what to say.  Just awful, awful.  I can’t help but see some silver lining from the entire experience.  We will talk about this in family lore forever and roar.  Jessica and Emily have certainly learned what I did living in London about good and bad theater.  Theater is a risk.  It is completely subjective. Someone else might have liked it..highly doubt it on this number but you never know.  I enjoyed the evening with the 5 other campers. 

If you have tickets.  Do yourself a favor and toss them.  Chalk up the purchase to one that just can’t be returned.  Whatever you do, don’t go.  Believe me, on this one, I’m right on the money.