Flag on the Plays.
We are a company that celebrates honesty, and so this week we’re being honest with ourselves. Strange as it may seem to us, more people enjoy watching grown adults play football than they do watching grown adults perform 30 plays or less in 60 minutes or less. As a result, every year when the NFL season ends with the Super Bowl, we know that our usually mighty throng of enthusiastic Sunday audience members dwindles to a much smaller mighty throng for the championship weekend.
(No lie: One of the few times we canceled a TML performance in the past ten years was when the Chicago Bears made it all the way to the big game in order to be sacrificed to Peyton Manning. One of the other times was when it became clear that Barack Obama was going to be elected to the presidency in 2008, and we axed our Election Night show because many of us wanted to be in Grant Park when it happened.)
We are also a company that thrives on experimentation, so this year we’re going to perform an experiment. Instead of competing with and being regularly trounced by the Super Bowl, this year we’re going to celebrate that many of our fans might enjoy watching the spectacle of modern-day gladiators punishing each other as well as the smaller spectacle of several performance artists racing a clock.
THIS YEAR YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE.
Show up on Sunday at 5 pm and you can watch the game and all of its clever commercials in our State Park, projected against the wall, along with an array of snacks and beverages. Stick around once the game is over–probably around 9:30 pm–and we’ll perform this weekend’s slate of 30 plays for you. (Alternately, you can still come for just the show–but be aware that TML is at 9:30 this Sunday.) More information, as well as pre-sale tickets for the whole event, can be found here.
You might be wondering if a troupe of avant-garde writer/performers really feels any real connection to this game at all. We collectively asked ourselves the same question. So here’s a list of things the ensemble and staff had to say about their relationship to football, either team, Boston, Seattle, hawks, or patriotism:
- Trevor has the Seahawks at a -1 spread with an over/under of 48.5.
- Bilal knows it’s cool to hate New England quarterback Tom Brady, what with his ridiculous chiseled jaw and lingerie model wife and overall generic paradigm of the all-American jock, but he’s always been a fan because Brady was picked 199th in the draft, as an afterthought, a sort of consolation pick, and Bilal loves stories of people who have been woefully underestimated.
- Ryan: The Patriot was a dinner item served at the now defunct Lincoln Lodge located at the six corner intersection of Lincoln, Damen, and Irving Park in Chicago. The Patriot consisted of mostly cheese. You could also order the Iron Patriot, which was the same thing as the Patriot, but with hot sauce.
- At 8AM on Sunday, Lily’s unforgiving ringtone dragged her out of deep, beautiful REM sleep. She picked up and heard the voice of her Greek-Bostonian Aunt Dimples. “SOPHIA?” asked Dimples. “No,” Lily said. “OH. LILY?” “Yes,” Lily said. “OH. IT’S DIMPLES. I MEANT TO CALL SOPHIA.” “Oh.” “DID SHE TELL YOU SHE WANTS TO HAVE HER WEDDING IN A BAHN?” “Where?” “A BAHN. SHE WAS GONNA DO IT IN THE BACKYAHD BUT NOW THEY WANT A BAHN.” “I hadn’t heard about the barn.” “WELL ANYWAYS. SHE WAS LOOKIN AT A BAHN BUT THERE WERE NONE CLOSE BY AND THEN SHE SAYS OK MAYBE WE CAN’T DO IT IN A BAHN. YOU KNOW LILY WE DON’T HAVE A LOT OF BAHNS HEAH.” “Right.” “BUT I WAS TALKING, TO MY FRIEND BONNIE? FROM NAHWOOD? AND BONNIE SAYS THAT HER DAUGHTAH GOT MARRIED IN A BAHN IN NEW HAMPSHA BUT THEY HAD TO DRIVE FOUR HOUAHS JUST TO GET UP THEYAH BUT SOME PEOPLE CAN’T TRAVEL THAT FAR JUST FOR A GAWDAM BAHN.” “Right.” “SO ANYWAYS. THIS MORNING I SAWR IN THE PAYPA AN AD FOR A BAHN IN PEABODY!” “Oh.” “PEABODY.” “Peabody.” “PEABODY. RIGHT HEAH ON THE NAWTH SHAW. SO I SAYS I GOTTA CALL SOPHIA AND TELL HER I FOUND A BAHN. BUT I PICKED THE WRONG NUMBAH.” “Yes.” “HOWAYA? YOUR MOTHAH TOLD ME THEY TOOK SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR UTERUS.” “I’m good.” “I HAD THAT. I WAS BLEEDING EVERYWHEAH ALL THE TIME AND THEN THEY TOOK SOMETHING OUT AND IT ALL CLEARED UP. BUT I HAD THAT. I WAS BLEEDING EVERYWHEAH. I’M GLAD YOU’RE ALL RIGHT. I REMEMBAH I WAS BLEEDING EVERYWHEAH.” “Thanks.” “SO ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE PATRIOTS GAME?”
- Malic was captain of the pom squad in junior high. Their half-time routine to Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” was banned halfway through football season due to “suggestive content.
- Jeewon grew up playing NFL Blitz on his Nintendo64, but he didn’t understand football, so he picked plays based on how pretty the names sounded. “Hail Mary” was his favorite.
- Kurt played one season of football when he was in sixth grade. Another kid on the team bullied him for unknown reasons. At one practice, Kurt and the other kid squared up to do blocking drills, which involved simply ramming into each other, hands up, in a fundamental lineman position. The bully was playing dirty, though, leading with his helmet into Kurt’s chest, throwing him to the ground, continuing play after the whistle had blown. Finally, after Kurt had had enough of the abuse, and the bully charged him once again, Kurt quickly moved to the left and kicked his shin, sending that fuck sailing into the air and face first into the dirt. Kurt stuck with baseball from then on.
- Ida knows someone whose brother is playing in the Super Bowl! She wonders how this person feels about that. Like if she’s worried about her brother. Ida thinks that if her brother was in the super bowl she’d be really worried because she has heard that football players get a lot of head injuries! Ida doesn’t have a brother. She has a sister. Her sister teaches dance. Because Ida has never heard of dance teachers getting any head injuries, she isn’t worried. (Ida just realized: what if one of the dance moves involves spinning on her head? Now she’s a little worried.)
- Taylor: My stepfather was the athletic director of my school from the time I was in the 1st grade. This meant that, despite my desire to be nowhere near sports, I was always very near sports. Football, in particular, frightened me. But to show my support for my stepdad (what?) I was put in as a waterboy on the high school football team when I was 10 years old and in the 4th grade. I was terrified to be around all that brutish, aggressive energy from the teenage boys my stepfather coached. And then I went into the locker room. And I spent as much time as I could in the locker room. And from the chair in the corner I always had a great vantage point of the locker room. And now I am gay.
- Nick: The Seattle Seahawks have a live mascot named Taima that is an Auger Hawk. She leads the players and fly’s through a tunnel and out into the field before every game. The football team, the Miami Dolphins used to have a live dolphin mascot named Flipper that was in a fish tank at the end of the stadium. It would jump up whenever a field goal or touchdown was made by said Miami Dolphins. This practice was stopped in 1968 to cut expenses. Remember “Ace Venture: Pet Detective”? Snowflake the dolphin? You remember Snowflake? That shit was a lie. There is no Snowflake. There is only Taima. Nick likes animals. Celebratory supportive animals. The absurdity of the grandeur and audacity of but a a small lone bird at the forefront, at the helm, captaining, leading the modern day pudgy man gladiators makes me want to cry out of joy. God bless America.
- Once when Kirsten was 8 and her brother was 6, they were playing in the backyard while their father raked leaves into a pile. While the Eastern Gray Squirrel is a commonly found mammal in those parts, the three were surprised to encounter one that was willing to play with them! The children named the squirrel Alvin and their father let them take turns holding the rake while Alvin happily climbed it like a tree. “Look at him climb! What a joy this is, Father!” Suddenly, like a rabid bat from hell, a screeching hawk swooped down and snatched Alvin with its talons taking him up and away into the distance. Squinting into the horizon, Kirsten wondered if Alvin died instantly of suffocation within the hawk’s grip; or if maybe, just before his final moments, he knew what it felt like to fly.
- Leah was a Flag Corps member in high school, and would perform at halftime with the marching band. On her first game day, she came running down the fifty yard line and fell down. When she stood up, her pants were around her ankles, and she fell again. She was mortified and turned to a life of hard core drug use to escape the trauma and eventually got over it. That last part isn’t true, but the first part is.
- Brenda went to college in Seattle. She briefly considered auditioning for the Coyote Ugly style bar near the Seahawks stadium, but the line was too long so she had a sandwich at that place run by Mario Battali’s brother instead. It was really good. It had fig jam and goat cheese.
- Tif’s mom has a Patriots tattoo above her right breast.