Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kevin Rice's Occupy Prez. Hall Rocks Prez. Hall

A talented group of Wellfleetians performed last night at Preservation Hall, during an evening of protest and satire, imagined by Kevin Rice and entitled Occupy Prez. Hall or “Tales of Woe from the Wealthy.” The room was packed, which is not surprising because word of this type of event spreads fast. The premise? Seven individuals, representing the 1%, were to compete for two tents set up outside. Each had a tale of woe to explain why he or she deserved a tent. Which rich person was the worst off? Contestants were to be judged on how far they had fallen. Each had a reversal-of-fortune sob story to tell. This may sound loony, and it was, but also hilarious, with puns and wit galore.

After the “Mayor of Wellfleetia” had welcomed the audience, Facilities Manager Fred Fiddle (Dick Morrill) Googled Heaven on his iPhone and actually got a number. The menu had changed, of course. Fiddle pressed 6 to speak to Jesus but reached the Wellfleet Transfer Station instead. “Oh, but I can transfer you,” announced a voice. “Hello, Jesus?” Fiddle said. “You might know me from the Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater …” “WHAT?!” replied Jesus. Yes, the sketches were pure Wellfleet. (On the left, Stephen Russell, as tipsy financial assistant/butler Manfred, manages to make even Kevin laugh.) These antics were interrupted from time to time by P-blasts and the occasional “I say tax the rich!” from Bob Costa in the audience. (Bob advocated for the 99% and eventually claimed a seat among the seven one-percenters.)

At the beginning of the second act, I read a short excerpt from Occupy My Heart, Seth Rolbrain (Rolbein) appeared as legal counsel, explaining his function in unintelligible legal- speak, and Irene Paine led a rousing version of Charlie and the Wall Street Riot, to the tune of Charlie on the MTA. Then it was back to the 1% and a talent contest to see who would win the coveted tents. My vote went to Nicholas Goldrush (Gulde) who performed a number from The Snowman in the Dunes, that is until Eden Applebottom (Paula Erickson) sang a very original “Santa Baby,” asking for Botox and stocks, among other gifts.

Still with me? As if this were not crazy enough, Bruce Bentley (Bierhans) took the stage to moderate a spelling bee, challenging the 1% with words such as "chinchilla," "portfolio" and "escargots." When Nicholas was eliminated because he had omitted the "s," Ed Miller protested, “This whole thing is rigged,” and occupied the rostrum, making the wealthy spell words like “oligarchy” and “uninsurable”.

Only in Wellfleet, known for its “bleeding-heart liberalism,” as the Mayor pointed out at the beginning of the show. David Money (Wright) ended the night with an amazing song. It was fun, such fun! Bravo to all the performers and especially to Kevin Rice whose final words were, “Power to the people!”