Saturday, December 10, 2016

Penny Arcade Is My Spirit Animal

I just came from seeing Penny Arcade’s new show, Longing Lasts Longer, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. If you’re a fan of this blog, Jeremiah Moss’s blog “Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York” or, needless to say, Penny Arcade, you must see this show tomorrow before it closes!
Longing Lasts Longer is what you would get if you took the spirit of stand-up comedy, mixed it with theater and rock and roll and allowed it to delve more deeply into subjects like gentrification, political correctness and the spiritual vacuum in which we find ourselves in 2016.
For Penny Arcade, a cupcake is not just a cupcake. It’s a metaphor for the spiritual emptiness of today’s generation of twentysomethings, who are so afraid of reality, they’re trying to lull themselves into a sugar-based coma.
Penny takes common pet peeves like tourists walking four-people-across á la Sex and the City and turns it into a statement about the death of New York City. People who move to the city now, she says, aren’t looking for adventure, to lose themselves in the city’s anonymity; they’re trying to recreate the suburbs.
Today’s political correctness on college campuses is creating a generation of defenseless, life-long adolescents who don’t know how to adapt to life’s inevitable disappointments.
Arcade paints a vivid picture of a generation that’s strapped into a tank-sized stroller at birth and, by the time they’re released at the age of 14, they have so much pent-up energy, they shoot up their schools!
Not only does she skewer the younger generation, but she creates space for those of us not born yesterday to take ownership of our lives.
She does this with the help of a pop music soundtrack ably deejayed by her co-author, Steve Zehentner. The lighting design by Justin Townsend creates an otherworldly atmosphere and the theater itself is stunningly beautiful.
Ms. Arcade moves in time to the music throughout her monologue and occasionally breaks the fourth wall to engage in small, improvised observations about the audience or her performance. (Before the show, she mingles with the audience to give them a sense of “the real Penny Arcade” so they don’t “hate her” after they’ve seen “the work.”)
All I can say is, if you’ve never seen her before, or even if you have, go see this show tomorrow before it closes!

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