Friday, August 12, 2005

10 for 10: TAMALALIA 10 at IBP

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Tamalalia 10, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, August 11, 2005

I woke up in a dead, dark funk, unable to focus, unsure of my future. Nightmares of bacon wearing red tights and my mother with a pad of butter on her head flooded my thoughts. No more TAMALALIAS? Is there a purpose to go on? Will summer ever be the same in Houston? Should we all just block out July 07’ in mourning?

I finally learned how to pronounce it and zippo---it’s gone. OK, OK so I didn’t bother to see TAMALALIA 1-9. (I’m from Buffalo-we hibernate in the summer.) I never watched Friends either and then missed the final episode. No way was I going let that happen to TAMALALIA 10. It could be career suicide. Besides Tamarie Cooper, the originator and subject of this musical extravaganza is a Houston legend, an institution, a walking Greta Garbo Lucille Ball hybrid.

Why make a musical about a flying car when you can use your own life for material? Cooper finds a song and dance number for just about every aspect in her life, from her pathetic love life (so that’s what happened to sensitive, depressed artist guy after I dumped him) to her troubled years in gym class. No subject is off limits. Drugs, drinking, it’s all there, wearing fabulous outfits. Can cocaine-man (Jeff Miller) dance or what? Food, also dancing, makes a strong statement. I too, prefer my bacon (Richard Jason Lyders-Gustafson) to have a little ballet training.

As a musical adventure, TAMALALIA is an effort to explore what happens when you take over the top, over the top. Even the wigs are worth a visit. With a snazzy band, a cast of a hundred of Cooper’s closest friends, it’s just a feast for the ADD-minded. If you remembered to take your medication you can just hone in on Cooper’s face. She makes Jim Carrey look like a slacker. Hell, you can be entertained by her left eyebrow. The girl has face extraordinaire. Cooper ends her 10-year triumph with a cosmic bang. After this, no one will dare make a musical about themselves.

The cast and band are all terrific but it’s Cooper that provides the glue that holds her madcap show together. When it’s over even straight girls want to take her home to meet mom.

There’s still time. Go see what all the fuss has been about. Don’t be one of the few Houstonians that has never seen a TAMALALIA. Consider your future. It almost happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

Performances continue until September 3 at the Axiom, 2524 McKinney.