Nick Peay

B-b-b-Burns! A Simpson’s Musical

photo 3February went by really fast! And there was a lot going on, as usual. But one of the really cool things that I got to be a part of last month, was Theatre 502’s production of Mr. Burns. It was a post-apocalyptic play that ended in a Simpson’s musical. Yes, a Simpson’s musical.

Do you remember the Cape Fear episode of the Simpson’s? How well do you remember it? That’s exactly how Mr. Burns begins. Well, I mean, in a way. I guess technically it began with an apocalyptic event.

So, as best as I can figure, the play is about the importance of culture. Not just television shows, or popular music, but how we share it, how we interact with it. How many times have you sat around with friends and discussed the latest episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead? Or better yet, how often have you avoided social media platforms because you missed the latest episode?

If you got to see the performance, I hope you enjoyed it! If you didn’t, well, you sure missed out! So the first two acts involved the main characters dealing with the post-apocalyptic event, banding together, and discussing the Cape Fear episode of The Simpsons. Eventually, over time, the new form of entertainment becomes performances of Simpson’s episodes by traveling troupes.

The last act was a musical performance of the aforementioned Cape Fear episode. This is where I came in. I got to be part of the “orchestra” and play the music that the actors and actresses sang to. I played guitar, glockenspiel and a toy piano (which you’ll be hearing more from soon!). The third act begins with the sound of thunder. That was my cue to begin playing notes on the glockenspiel. Once I began, that was the actors cue to come out on stage.

photo 2On the very last performance, as the lights dimmed and I went to put on my mask (oh yeah, we all wore masks) to begin the third act, somehow my mask slipped and it didn’t end up on my head. I rushed to put it on, and grab the mallets for the glockenspiel. In my rush, the mallets slipped from my hand and fell onto the glockenspiel, striking a note. In the panic that followed, only by me, and maybe the music director who whispered, “What are you doing?!” I feel like the mallet did actually strike the correct note.

Anyway, the actors also heard the note and began to enter. I had ruined the show. Not really. Only myself and the music director had any notion of what really happened. He laughed when I told him later why I started early.

It was a great experience, and it gave me a new perspective on sharing my music, or I guess any music for that matter. We make connections when we share culture. Do you do anything special to share your “culture?”