This week Will takes a look at the forging bond that theatre has on male friendship and 22 Jump Street, of course.
We theatre folk are a motley lot. It takes a certain kind to fall into the pseudo social catch-all that is the performing arts. Sure “theatre people” have some common characteristics: loud, expressive, emotive, prone to drama…or so they say. That being said, over the years I’ve worked with a vast eclectic crowd who have enormous varying interests. People from divergent clicks, social standing, races, gender and backgrounds. I’ve played the stage with short order cooks, cheerleaders, software engineers, jocks, military, loners, drama queens, beauty queens, prom queens, class clowns, teachers and day labor field technicians. I’m constantly surprised by the day jobs of actors and theatre creators. From outside observations, I don’t always guess that “he does Shakespeare” or “she performs poetry” or “they are a theatre people”. Yes, yes certain types are more likely to be involved with theatre (upper middle class white men) but first of all this is evolving and second of all that’s beside the point I’m working towards. I’m working toward a description of the uncommon thread that pulls on theatre people and connects through seemingly disparate space. Regardless of the box that we often get put in (or put ourselves in) by our jobs or social labels, the arts allow us to poke a hole in the cardboard, run a string across social spaces and hear one another without limitation. These thoughts strung across my mind for two reasons: First, during my recent wedding (4-days-ago-recent!), I took a look at my groomsmen alongside other close male friends and was struck at how strong the bonds of friendship were with these old companions. We are all very different people but our mutual participation in the grand social art of theatre bridged the gap somewhere along the way. The second thing to tug my mind along the lines of male friendship was, none other than, 22 Jump Street. It’s a bromance! Need I say more?
I’ll keep this brief for if you know the perils of wedding planning, you’ll know that even after the big day there is still much to do. SO…As for the film, 22 Jump Street, starts Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill (as if you didn’t know) and it excels where many sequels fail. It takes itself seriously as a comedy sequel. Meaning, it seriously takes the piss out of itself. Half of the running joke is that they spent more money for no reason to do the exact same thing as the first movie. This smartly elevates the comedy. And if you laughed at the first, you’ll laugh here too. More importantly, (and getting back to the point) Jump Street takes the time to again investigates the central male friendship. These two unlikely brothers enhance each other (dare I say, complete each other) even though they are very different people. Regardless of the differences within the central friends the bond is the same. Whether are bros, or theatre geeks, or techies, or cops, or “fill in the diversity here” the bond is the same. I first learned this in high school theatre warm-ups somehow it applies now. “Whether the weather be cold / whether the weather be hot / We’ll be together / Whatever the weather / Whether we like it or not.” Warm-up for theatre, Warm-up for life. Yes, this film buddy trope can be cliché but when done right, it reminds me of the very best of my friends.
Speaking of which… I wanted to take the time to say a few things of the groomsmen. The first two, I’ve known since grade school, Brinton Gaines & Chris Fjell. I discovered high school theatre alongside Chris. We danced the shit out of Guys and Dolls in ’97. Another, Spencer Dooley, I met in said high school theatre. He might have been a year behind me but that didn’t stop him from getting all the bigger parts I wanted. That douche. (love/hate relationships are often intrinsic to bromances…duh) I tried to hold this against him but his hair is just too pretty to stay mad at. It’s like trying to be mad at Derek Zoolander! You just can’t. I fell in with Steve Cruz at Northern Arizona University and without his help I never would have memorized the abundant lines of Prospero for The Tempest or had fresh homemade tacos to eat at 3 in the morning. 😉 Sorry Stevie. They were delicious. Kevin Cowan is my wonderful bride’s brother. I met her through a production helmed by Stuart Bousel, the lone speaker within my wedding ceremony. All this personal rambling is leading to the fact that throwing myself into theatre has forged connections that are the most importantly in my life. And never would I ever give that up.
Wilson, Glen. Still of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street (2014). 2014. Photograph. http://www.imdb.com, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Web. 24 Jun 2014.