Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Ham of Dogpatch, USA

You may recall that a while back I mentioned that Brown-Eyed Girl had been cast as one of the Dogpatch wives in the Denton Community Theater's productin of Li'l Abner. What I haven't mentioned is that a few weeks before the show opened she sent an email out asking for "muscular guys" to volunteer to help out as sort of background characters; three guesses which of my best buds answered the call.

Yup, that's right, The Lovable PigPen was kind enough to offer up his body for the good of the theater. When he came home the night of his first rehearsal he told me that he actually got a featured, if non-speaking, part. You see, part of the plot of the play is that there is this special tonic which will transform any guy drinking it into the picture of perfect masculinity. The big reveal of this is when a government agent drinks the potion,

stumbles off stage, and returns a changed man*.

In essence, PigPen's role consisted of him wearing a tattered shirt, ripping it off, flexing and calling attention to his physique while all the women oooed and ahhhed over him; in other words, the part of his dreams.

Unfortunately, he only got to appear in the one scene, although he did show back up at the end to do the curtain call. Of course, as a minor non-speaking role he got to stand up on the "hill" in the back with the other minor non-speaking role: a guy in a bear costume. Seeing PigPen standing on the hill waving at the crowd next to the bear gave Li'l Random the giggles because, and I quote "It's like something from an Adam Sandler movie." Personally, I was flashing more on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law which would have the bear show up randomly for no reason at all, but the point was well taken.

Outside of enjoying getting to watch PigPen in his element -- you know, hamming it up** -- my other favorite parts of the production were the guy playing Evil-Eye Fleegle, who stole every scene he was in, and watching Brown-Eyed Girl really get into her part as a wife mourning her husband's loss of libido during the big Dogpatch Wives number "Put 'Em Back."

My favorite moment after the production, however, happened when we found PigPen and Brown-Eyed Girl after the show was over to congratulate them. We were standing there talking and some girl came up with a camera and asked PigPen if he could take a picture; PigPen, once again clad in the tattered and torn shirt of his costume, said "Sure, shirt on or shirt off?" The girl, looking mildly embarrassed for him, clarified that she wanted him to take a picture of her and someone else; put a big ol' smile on my face.

*There was a part of me that wanted to yell out "Sure, he's got muscles now, but what happened to his hairline?" when he came out, but I knew that such an act would have been my death warrant. But oh, what a glorious death it would have been . . .
**I would make a crack about how he was such a big ham he should have played Salomey, but I'm about the only one who would get the joke, so I won't.