• Morgan Fagg

Backseat Driving at the Theatre

My first (Mis)Remembers the Movies night.

My friend Carlos invited me to see Mad Improv’s (Mis)Remembers the Movies in La Escalera de Jacob in Lavapies which is an improv theatre show where the actors take suggestions from the audience about films that they may have seen but that they might not remember very well.

Carlos asked me what film I had in mind to suggest but I had never been to one of the (Mis)Remembers the Movies nights in Lavapies and I couldn’t help but think of Jaws as Carlos was wearing a Jaws t-shirt and I knew I needed a little more time to think of a good film.

Carlos told me that his husband Alan had suggested Driving Miss Daisy even though Alan was in America. I bumped into Alana in Carlos a few days earlier and Alan was reluctant about flying to the U.S. as Europe had just announced an American-ban on flights that day.

I joked that Alan’s choice of going to America was like visiting Hanoi at the height of the Vietnam War which was a comment he didn’t really appreciate as we enjoyed a going away beer.

Arriving at La Escalera de Jacob, half the audience sat together in row 2 while I sat alone in row 3 and Carlos sat between me and a friend of his in row 5.

There were six of us in the audience and all of us wore masks. The last time I saw Steve Loader performing at that particular theatre, I remember a much fuller audience but in an age of Coronavirus, actors no longer wear the Greek theatre masks of Comedy and Tragedy but it is essential that the audience covers their mouths while enjoying a comedy during this tragic pandemic.

I however found myself more of a backseat driver shouting out suggestions.

Firstly the two actors on stage played a warm-up act where a screenwriter pitches ideas to a Hollywood executive with suggested locations and items from the audience.

Back to the Future was set in an elevator instead of a Delorean and the time-travelling scientist Doc Brown became a janitor.

Once they said Back to the Future, I thought of another lesser know Robert Zemeckis film called Contact which Jackie remembered quite well while Steve didn’t have a clue what the film was about.

Being John Malkovich was also suggested by the audience but Steve refused because it is one of his favourite films and Jackie and Steve then took Driving Miss Daisy in a very different direction than I remember.

Morgan Freeman took the wheel of a self-driving Tesla as his passenger took him to a remote location to kill him. Clearly going from zero to Se7en, too fast and too furiously and the audience was certainly taken down a different path than the Oscar-winning original.

Afterwards, I was introduced to Tess of the Lighting Booth but not everyone got the Tom Hardy Tess of the d'Urbervilles reference which was probably a good thing as Tom Hardy, (the writer not the actor) is not the most entertaining of storytellers. Thomas Hardy is hardly lighthearted reading and I would much prefer to be in the company of Tess of the Lighting Booth, Mad Improv actors Steve and Jackie, Carlos and an audience you could squeeze into a self-driving Tesla, and a time-travelling elevator than in a Thomas Hardy book which is the 2020 of books.

Now to think of some other films before the next Thursday's show. Maybe I will Contact Alan for another Driving Miss Daisy suggestion for (Mis)Remembers the Movies.

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