The best thing about City Under Siege!, certainly, was its perfect cast -- my brilliant friends Amanda Sisk, Kim Moscaritolo, Corey Moosa, and Brian Hoffman. And me. It was a big hit with the audience. When Amanda and I got home, we watched the videotape. Then we watched it again. And again. Sometimes, after a show, you can't bear to watch the video. It's agony. But I've really enjoyed watching City Under Siege! I'm really proud of it, and of everyone involved. I think it turned out great.
A few random highlights and favorite moments which come to mind:
- In the very first scene, a parody of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" TV spots, Brian and I have both made statements beginning with the line "I served with John Kerry." Then, Corey: "I served John Kerry. I was a counterman at the commissary." It was the first joke of the evening, and it got the first nice laugh.
- In a scene entitled "Documents," the Constitution (Amanda) and the Geneva Convention (Kim) are hiding in fear of an unknown Republican adversary, who turns out to be the Patriot Act (Arnold Schwarzenegger, channelled by Brian). There is a knock at the door, and then a drunken voice -- Corey's -- shouts from offstage: "BILL O' RIIIIGHTS!"
- Amanda, as Laura Bush ("as you know, my passion is education"), playing the guitar and sublimely singing her alphabet song. ("A is for America / B is for beautiful / C is for sea to shining sea in America the beautiful.")
- As advertised, Santorum spontaneously combusts.
- Brian, wearing a suit and a tie and a Dick Cheney mask, prancing around the stage as we all sang "The Creature."
- The smile of beatific calm on Kim's face as she zapped people with the Republigun, a stun gun which only works on conservatives. In the same scene, Brian's joyous right-wing chortle: "I believe in a woman's right to choose -- spit or swallow! Ho ho ho ho ho!" And the audience's satisfaction when Kim nonchalantly pulled the trigger. And Brian's twitching throes on the floor. And the button, Kim: "The Republigun. Now available without a license."
- Corey's inspired performance as Reggie Fellish, a vexed but philosophical janitor. His whole face changes. His every muscle morphs into Reggie Fellish. Kim: "When you signed on for this, you probably never expected to be mopping up Santorum." Corey: "No, that’s why I quit my old job at the St. Marks Hotel."
- In the first of the "Republican Roundup" news sections, I posit that because John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani gave such similar speeches, you could probably edit them together into a continuous narrative. We then play a sound clip which does just that. The audience laughs, and Amanda, eyes wide with whadaya-know, says, "You're right, Noah, it is absolutely possible to edit those speeches together!"
- The transitions. Corey is playing an intensely neurotic man named Mr. Finger. Amanda's character is a sharp woman in the unenviable position of being Mr. Finger's therapist. In the middle of their session, the NYPD (Brian and me) barges in and arrests them for being innocent bystanders. Then we all freeze and Kim comes on as a reporter: "And yet, despite claims by police commissioner Raymond Kelly..." and works her way around to "a group of ordinary New Yorkers, living in terror." Which cues the first song ("The Creature"). It was seamless.
I could go on for a long time, I think, detailing my favorite moments until I've detailed the entire show. I was so happy with it, and I think everyone else was too. City Under Siege! will be beautifully obsolete in a couple of days, as we prepare for the Kerry years, but the video is good and we may make some of it available online sometime soon.
To those who were in it, helped out with it, or came to see it -- thank you so much for being part of it. Let's do it again sometime!