Saturday, March 29, 2008

Terry Fator

Stuck in my novel again. This time I'm trying to figure out the logistics of two women lowering a 150-200 lb frog out a window that is at least 3 storys up, with only a rope, a four-poster bed, a stool, and a fabric bag. I know in theory how it might work, but having never dealt with anything that small and yet that dense, I don't know the realities of it. Of course, it isn't real at all--it's fiction--so the "realities" of it are not real, but it needs to feel authentic. To complicate things, the frog is actually a prince who is married to one of the women, so they can't hurt him, and the women have been up all night, so they're tired.

I never thought that I would be using my mental gifts to solve impossible problems that could never exist in real life that I just made up in the first place.

So last night we went to see Terry Fator's show at the Hilton Showroom. Terry is the guy who won America's Got Talent. He said the Hilton Showroom is the same stage that Elvis was on last time he was in Vegas (he himself, not Trent Carlini or one of the other impersonators). We got comped in because Terry's agent is also the agent who got moosebutter on tour to all those state fairs, and he and Tim have kept in touch and intend to work together more on future projects. And the agent is LDS, so we have a lot in common on those grounds. Nice guy, too.

As usual with comps for friends and family of the performers, we got VIP tickets. This always makes me laugh. Our seats were right on the stage, off to Stage Right in an extended part of the stage, not really in front but not on the side either. VIP tickets are almost always the worst seats in the house, and this was no different. We could see Terry fold up his puppets and chuck them into the cabinet after each "visit". We could see the puppets some, but not full-on without watching the screen, which was right in front of us. Up close, but bad view. Even the V-Theater has terrible seats reserved as "VIP" seats. Real VIPs, though, get put in the best seats in the house. I think mostly those VIP tickets with bad seats are for people who want to pay more to feel important. And, to the agent's credit, he tried to get us the best seats in the house but they were already sold out. (It ended up okay--the VIP section was mostly empty, so it was okay that Caleb kept jumping up and sitting back down and Anda was real squirmy--the babies were perfectly behaved, though).

It was a great show. Really really fun. I loved the puppet impersonations, and was fairly impressed with the speed of his banter. He had some great jokes, told well, so that even I laughed, and I rarely do at shows. The show wasn't perfect by any means. It was about an hour too long, and I really didn't like his Michael Jackson impersonation. REALLY didn't like it--to the point that I found it embarrassing that he was doing it and kept thinking that Paul Sperrazza, in Toxic Audio, is SO much better at Michael Jackson that Terry couldn't even compete at all. At ALL. The band leader in the background was so dynamic that his motions drew my eye away from the action, but that was probably because I could see him better than Terry and the Puppets. He did have a live band, though, and that was cool. I thought he chose his material (except for MJ) perfectly. The things that he did best were the old standard ventriloquist jokes (setting it up, for example, for the dummy to call the puppeteer a dummy), which didn't feel old or tired when he did them. His very best bits were when the puppets were doing impersonations. That was cool. Overall, I liked the show. It should have been a more standard Vegas 70 minutes, but the audience seemed to truly love it.

Terry is all over YouTube, but this video is one that had none of the "America's Got Talent" human interest stuff tacked on. It's just the puppet, so you'll have an idea of what we saw. Very cool. Two hours of it was bum-numbing.

It was cool to try to wrap my brain around the fact that I knew--and he made it clear--that he was doing the voices for himself and for the puppet, but I still believed it when they had an argument--even when the argument was about whether or not the puppet could do something Terry couldn't, and if the puppet was real or not. He was arguing with himself about whether or not his puppet was a real person. It was interesting because it forced the audience to come face to face with the fact that characters are real to us even though we know they aren't real. As Tim put it, it's one of the few times we get to simultaneously believe and not believe something, and that is part of the humor of the experience.

Oh, and this was the first time I've seen real live showgirls in action. They really do wear feathers on their heads. And one of the eight was actually a good dancer, although she hardly had a chance to dance--they all looked worried that if they tipped their heads, the feathers would tumble off. And only one didn't have "rolls" on her sides and back when she moved. So I guess they were mostly real girls in stupid costumes and too much makeup. Hope they got paid well for their two minutes on stage, cuz I doubt it was furthering anyone's careers much to have them there. What a weird city!

We had to walk through the casino to get to the showroom. I told Tim that if his show was in that kind of theater, I wouldn't go or recommend it to my friends because of the casino. He said he wouldn't have taken the job if he hadn't known the V Theater was in a mall, not a casino, and I was glad. It would be hard to rest easy at night if part of your job was to use your God-given talents to draw people in to gamble. As it is, Tim's job now is to help create a little edifying oasis in the middle of a pretty anti-spiritual place.


Brooke said...

"Don't you know math?" "NO!"


Oh, that made my day.

Really enjoying the descriptions of the nutty town you live in, Becca! Have you heard that Brian and I are going back to SLC for residency? We should be there by June, hurrah!

Brooke said...

Oh -- regarding the giant frog in the tower -- I read this article last week or so:
It doesn't answer your question, but it sure made me think of you and this story. Good luck!

Lori said...

Can anyone who has seen the show pls tell me if you would advise bringing a 4-yr-old or not? Thank you. ~L

Lori said...

Can anyone who has seen the show pls tell me if you advise taking a 4-yr-old or not? Thank you ~L

Becca said...

My 4-year-old liked it, but got a little bored 3/4 way through. It was clean enough for her, though. Hope that helps.