July 04, 2008

Let me be entertained: Snog Marry Avoid? & the Chester Mystery Plays

I saw a fascinating television program here in England, I forget which channel, pretty late at night. Called "SNOG MARRY AVOID?", it claimed to be the world's first make-under show, taking girls with outrageous style or hideously too-much make-up & revealing their "natural beauty." Ironically, the show's host, Jenny Frost, was wearing a ton of make-up & her hair looks like every other TV presenter. There is a computer-generated red eye, ala HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which analyzes the monsters before "deep cleansing" them. It often gives them a choice of which "celebrity style" to be made-under by, & I shouldn't need to tell you that none of these celebrities are "natural beauties". And when the make-under is complete - (the robot does it instantaneously with a magic line across the screen) - they are still wearing a lot of make-up, just dressed more conservatively. For instance, one of the girls, who was originally wearing a cake of face, couldn't stop talking about what a hippie she looked like when it was done - (She was about as hippie-like as Jennifer Anniston). Then they followed up three months later to see if she had kept the new style - which she had... except that she had also gotten breast implants. She claimed that the implants made her more confident so that she is more comfortable putting "less" make-up on her face - again, the host & the robot kept referring to her new look as natural beauty.

Yesterday, I went down to Chester to see the ancient Mystery Plays, they date back to the 1300s. They're done every five years on the green outside the magnificent Chester Cathedral. Last night was Part Two, basically Gospel thru Rapture, & the actors speak in rhymed couplets which I assume are apapted or descendent from the original. There was about a hundred people in the cast & a hundred in the audience. It had the feel of big-budget community musical theater; it was essentially Jesus the Musical without the angst or subtlety of Jesus Christ Superstar, & MIDI Anglican music. The actor playing Jesus was black, every other cast member was white. He did in fact ride into Jerusalem on a live donkey, who was on stage for only two minutes, but whom I could vaguely smell the whole time. I assume there must be an ancient tradition of having Pilate be less bad than the Jews, who are rarely more than a screaming mob & conniving middle managers, whereas the Romans seem curiously intrigued by Jesus's divinity. The kids in the cast seemed to be having a little too much fun with the "everyone-gets-to-whip-Jesus" scene. Anyway, it was great entertainment, & after the Resurrection, just when you think it's over... there's a half-hour Revelation Song-&-Dance with devils, zombies, smoke, fireworks, flaming swords, god in a wheel-chair, a female clown-antichrist on a spinning cross(!), & fifty chorus members being dragged screaming into hell.

1 comment:

Brains said...

Strange coincidence, last weekened I was playing "shag, wed, toss" at a bar with Kristin T.