Sunday, February 10, 2013

Theatre: Craigslist Cantana - Do You Want What I Have Got?

The musical "Do You Need What I Have Got? - A Craigslist Cantana" uses content from Craigslist as source material for its "plot" and lyrics.  For 80 minutes, the ensemble cast perform a series of vignettes, each based on real Craigslist ads.  Most of the stories revolve around weird and wacky items that people try to sell, exchange or give away for free, as well as the personal ads and missed connections, which range from sad or touching, to funny, to kinky and creepy.  There are multiple songs or stories that stretch the realm of believability and make you wonder .. "is this for real"?

Items offered included a "children's guillotine, only used once and has been cleaned afterwards", "a casket, airtight, once used to store vegetables", "an autographed copy of the bible", "headless dolls", and "pink flamingo lawn ornaments, one has a bullet hole through its head, will trade for liquor".

One of the most amusing songs was a duet where one man was trying to obtain a dead deer to "prove" to his his wife that he had been hunting when he actually was off on a 3-week tryst with his mistress.  The other man was trying to find a taker for a dead moose which died of natural causes on his propery and now its his responsibility to dispose of it.  The interweaving of the two stories was hilarious.

Personal ads were taken out to look for roommates possessing very specific criteria, to admonish neighbours for distasteful acts, and to find companionship.  One man offered to trade a big bowl of chili for some weed, but also craved for a male friend to have coffee with .. in their underwear - but this is not a gay thing!  Another ad offered to "pay $1 for someone to come over to his house, get into a bathtub full of cooked noodles while wearing a bathing suit, and stay there for at least 5 minutes .. but don't bring sauce".  I can't even begin to wonder why!

The funniest missed connection came from the snatch and grab thief who stole a woman's wallet, but thought they had a connection and got her name and number from her driver's license.  Other touching stories highlighted various sad and lonely people who just hoped that they had been noticed.

The cast changed costumes constantly as they moved from story to story, using minimal props such as chairs or umbrellas.  The most effective prop, used in recurring bus scenes, was the overhead rail that the passengers hang onto.  This was simulated by having the three taller actors hold up/hang onto a long metal bar while the shorter actor held a strap hanging down from the bar.

This is an entertaining musical with a clever concept that has contemporary relevance by  taking advantage of the social media craze.  It was also quite eye-opening for me.  Up to now, I have only used Craigslist to try to purchase a few innocuous items such as electronics.  I will have to investigate this site much more closely.  

Factory Theatre
125 Bathurst St.
Jan 30-Mar 3, 2013

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