Broad Comedy: An all female sketch comedy show with music, song, and dance
Created and written by Katie Goodman
Written and directed by Katie Goodman and Soren Kisiel
Stuart Street Playhouse, 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA
Saturdays, 8 PM
Every so often, the leggy actress singing and dancing on stage morphed into a little kid in overalls practicing a skit she’d half imagined and half written with her fourth grade friends. A nine year old girl in thirty seven year old body or a thirty seven year old woman in the body of a nine year old? It’s not often a spectator has those dueling visions in his head as he watches a talented, sexy actress strut her stuff onstage. But OshKosh B’gosh to spandex, there was my former student Katie Goodman singing, dancing, and acting in front of a packed house at the Stuart Street Theater in Boston last Saturday.
I sat the fourth row as Katie wowed the house with her smart writing and directing talent. Katie’s been doing plays since grade school. Made’em up herself, took part in school plays, and wasn’t above creating drama in her social life just to keep things interesting. Were the comic sketches between married women on the park bench extensions of the pre-adolescent dialogues she had with her friends or antagonists on the playground?
Broad Comedy is a good old-fashioned cabaret style revue featuring five other talented actresses who were some other fourth grade teacher’s former students. Parts of our lives, sides of ourselves we may not even be in touch with, live in the minds and memories of others. George W. Bush (the target of some of Katie’s pointed political broadsides), 50 Cent, and Yo Yo Ma all have places in the memory banks of their former teachers. We remember them as children, see who they’ve become, and wonder about the maze of roads taken that propelled them to the present.
For that matter, how have the rest of us arrived at our current stations in life? Unless you’re a strict adherent of predestination, pt at large guesses it was forced marches through college, graduate or trade schools, or the universally famous School of Hard Knocks. Robert Frost would have a field day with our map of Roads Not Taken. Choices made by action or default. Opportunities taken or rejected. And the kick of it is that most of us are still works in progress.
We make choices every day - and I’m not talking about cabernet vs. pinot noir. Say something to the parent of the kid who’s using a Fenway Park voice in the coffee shop you’re sitting at for your afternoon “cuppa”, tell a business associate that a racist joke makes you uncomfortable, acknowledge a sticky problem with a significant other?
We’ve all grown up but I wonder how much we’ve changed since we’ve been in fourth grade. Katie harnessed her talent with the desire to entertain and make a point, and a difference. There’s a part of Katie the girl that’s still emerging as Katie the writer. When the Bard said, “All the world’s a stage,” he didn’t specify the size or capacity of the venue. Our own kitchens will suffice. If we’re lucky, our lives are extended engagements. And it’s probably helpful to keep in touch with the kid inside all of us.
I had all I could do to restrain myself from proudly shouting, “Hey, Katie’s my former student!” and wishing for some of her stardust to rub off on my gray tweed sport coat.
I know that when Katie said, “I’m so honored that you came to see the show,” the words were right from her heart. As I talk with her after the performance, I wonder if in her eyes I morph into an enthusiastic young man with burnished brown hair who liked to take his class to the museum, show them how to make clay float, and write cinquaines.
Nearly thirty years ago, I created some of my own stardust by being a knowledgeable, supportive, and occasionally entertaining teacher for Katie. Neither of us is done with dispensing or gathering stardust.
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