…and it was funny.
But let me back up. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I love Twin Peaks. I was introduce to it in college, I introduced other people to it, I’ve been to Snoqualmie Falls multiple times, and I’m even a graduate of Twin Peaks High School (a.k.a. Snohomish High School, a.k.a. the school they used when filming Fire Walk With Me). You may also know that I like improv comedy. So when I heard about Seattle improv comedy theater Unexpected Productions putting on a show celebrating Twin Peaks, I grabbed a ticket faster than a one-eyed lady can put up silent drape-runners.
It’s called The Black Lodge, and I caught the show on Saturday. The stage was fittingly draped in red curtains, and the show opened on the Log Lady, who introduced three new locales to Twin Peaks taken earlier from audience suggestions. (As it turned out, tonight we had a chicken ranch, a wishing well, and a cowboy whorehouse. I guess One-Eyed Jack’s was closed for remodeling.) We were assured that we did not need to have watched Twin Peaks to enjoy their show, and then, with one more needed suggestion from the audience–an actual secret from an audience member–they began.
I raised my hand to volunteer my own secret (I once set fire to a bathroom by accident on a summer job when I was nineteen), but alas, the Log Lady did not call on me.
I think I was grinning the entire time, from the opening video credits sequence (the only time video was used in the show, by the way) to the very end where the ghosts of Leo Johnson, Deputy Andy, and a new character stood around a wishing well shouting, “GRATIS!!”. A lot of that was just seeing people parody the show’s characters and feeling that I was in the presence of actors who enjoyed Twin Peaks as much as I did.
Characters performed by six or seven actors were Agent Cooper (of course), Audrey, Lucy, Nadine, Bobby, BOB, Albert, Dr. Jacoby, and the aforementioned Leo, Andy, and the Log Lady. This was in addition to a few other new characters, including Anne Rice, the cross-dressing madam of the cowboy whorehouse who also happened to be BOB. Strangely, no Giant or Little Man from Another Place. Every time a single spotlight illuminated the stage I expected to see the Giant–how could you not?–but it was not to be. I’ve seen pictures with other characters from previous nights, however, so I suppose it just depends on what the actors decide to improvise.
The best character imitation was Andy. The guy did an excellent job with his body language and the sound of his voice. (Poor Andy accidentally broke up with Lucy when he told her he wanted to see other people, but he was just talking about the people they watched on TV each night.) Bobby and Dr. Jacoby had some excellent banter while Bobby was helping the doctor with his chicken farm and infiltrating the whorehouse.
So I enjoyed it. I was with a couple of others who had never seen the show, and while they did find it amusing, they didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. But that’s not surprising. While there is fun to be had purely from the improv, getting to know the characters, and watching the improvised plot (such as it is) unfold, much of my enjoyment came from being familiar with what it parodied. Those of us familiar with the show picked up on little nuances and throwaway gags that others missed.
That’s why I’m recommending that if you’re in Seattle and you like Twin Peaks, you should definitely go see it. If you’re among the uninitiated, you’re better off going to see another show at Unexpected Productions like Theater Sports, which is pure, hilarious improv without the red curtains, cherry pie, and strobe-lit guys with dirty stringy hair and stubble cackling in denim.
The Black Lodge runs now through March 7th at Unexpected Productions in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.