I watched a play tonight called “The Pain in the Neck”. It was a comedy, of course!
The two leading roles were held by seasoned actors. One of them was a depressed photographer whose wife had left him for her shrink. Joint through a communicating door, the other room is rented by a sniper (the other lead role) who had been hired to kill a snitch from a criminal gang. The rooms mirror one another and the communicating door separates the rooms at the back of the stage and front is open but the wall is not there. The mirroring rooms let us imagine the wall. Like most comedies, the situational humor, their body language, and the witty repartee make up most of the laugh triggers of the audience.
However, I am convinced they had not planned on two things tonight. A break and a lapse of awareness.
Indeed! The depressed photographer is played by a scrawny 62 year-old actor of average height who is quite agile for his age and the sniper is played by a buff 6-foot man who is easy 200 pounds.
At one point, the shrink shoots the sniper up with a tranquilizer and this beast of a man becomes quite limp and has trouble moving and standing up. In one scene, he throws himself (literally) on his own bed with a swing and we heard the unmistakable sound of wood breaking. Both actors kept their pose and did their best go on but it was obvious they struggle with not laughing out loud. The audience burst out laughing though.
As the sniper needed to control his body do so his job, the shrink comes back and shoots him with another substance that is supposed to counter the previous chemicals. His body reacts badly and he is now so wound up he shakes, his brain short-circuits and the actor is so busy with moving his body with jerks and shakes, he forgets what he is supposed to do and goes to his room through the imagined walls instead of the door. He stands still and looks at the audience, most likely thinking “how the heck am I going to save this one?”
He finally heads back to his pal’s room shaking and jerking as if nothing happened and the audience roars with laughter.
All of this to say I laughed so hard I cried. It was funny and the play did not disappoint! The audience liked it so much the cast got a standing ovation at the end of the play.
Although the play was well done and the acting, terrific, it was not the humorous elements that made me laugh the most. It was the unexpected moments that tickled my funny bone the hardest.
Maybe there is a lesson about life here… When life throws something unexpected your way… smile and go on, do the best you can, shake it off and keep going.