Home > Arts and Entertainment > THEATER REVIEW: GOOFY-DOES-IT AT FOUND THEATER’S HOPEFUL, DOPEFUL SATIRE OF MEDPOT–AND TELETHONS

THEATER REVIEW: GOOFY-DOES-IT AT FOUND THEATER’S HOPEFUL, DOPEFUL SATIRE OF MEDPOT–AND TELETHONS

BY GREGGORY MOORE

The Found Theatre does goofy. If you go there, you’re probably looking for a simple, good time. When the production is a satire, it’s going to be soft-hearted and silly.

Hope Dope Is on the Way:The Medical Marijuana Telethon is a sort of a double-satire—part on the medical marijuana movement, part on telethons. Each is an easy target, and writer/director Virginia DeMoss takes lots of pot shots (kind of like that) at both. You good-naturedly groan from time to time.

But satire works when it’s both true and recognizable, even if it’s not deep or nuanced.  That’s what happens here. Hey, if you’re involved in the medpot movement (or the pot decriminalization movement) and have any awareness of various themes (e.g., hemp as the great deliverer), you’re taking yourself way too seriously if you can’t see how much there is to poke fun at. Similarly, traditional telethons are hard to take seriously—even if the cause for which they’re raising money is a great and/or grave one.

And so the Found finds that easy humor.

Why it works as well as it does (at times) is not because it’s so clever on the page—though there are a few moments—but because the telethon is always played with enough authenticity (in the Found’s kitschy, lo-fi way).  When Ron Grigsby (for me, the star of the show) does a stand-up comedy routine as Buzz Freely (don’t feel bad for having a good groan here—you can’t avoid it) and later a song as aging rocker Axl Thorn, he does an entire routine and song—just as would happen at a real telethon. That’s just funny.

That’s also why it’s so easy to participate as an audience and clap for the telethon’s performers when they enter and exit: it’s a telethon—and that’s what the audience does at telethons.

This telethon includes commercials (of course) in the form of pre-made videos, and a few of those are rather amusing, although the audio was too loud for most of them. There were a few technical glitches on opening night, and it was too bad they weren’t acknowledged—like they would on a telethon—because everything going smoothly is hardly the point. They might actually loosen up a bit and make that kind of thing work for them as the run progresses. 

Actually, smoking some pot during one of the performances might work to that end, too.  I don’t recommend going expecting to see that, though. That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend going.  If you’d even think about going to this, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy yourself, high or otherwise.

HOPE DOPE IS ON THE WAY: THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA TELETHON AT THE FOUND THEATRE, 599 LONG BEACH BLVD., LONG BEACH, 90802. FRI-SAT, 8:30 PM THROUGH MAY 22 (PLUS A TUESDAY 4/20 SHOW). $12 FOR THOSE WITH NO HEALTH INSURANCE, $15 OTHERWISE.  THEFOUNDTHEATRE.ORG  (562) 533-3363

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  1. April 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    You don’t have to SMOKE the pot, you could just bring along some edibles to enjoy discreetly at intermission.

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