By Kyle Francis
What do Michael Moore, reality TV, big shiny trucks and zombies all have in common? Somewhere within the Big Secret Theatre, the Obscene but Not Heard sketch- comedy troupe wait with the answer in their new production Fahrenheit 7-11.
Having already taken shots at Canadian politics and Cirque De Soleil in their previous plays Cirque Du So Lame and This Budget Has 22 Minutes, the group is ready to take on bigger dogs with what they’re calling a sketch comedy experience.
“It’s got the flavor of a lot of things in it,” says Tony Binns, a writer and actor in the troupe, about the play’s admittedly broad range of topics. “But it does have a sort of ‘through line’. It’s about us trying to get back from New Zealand in order to do the show, but it’s done in a stream of consciousness sort of way that really lends itself to the sketches.”
As its title suggests, some of the content in Fahrenheit 7-11 picks on Moore’s latest documentary. But it’s not right-wing propaganda by any means, the troupe throws the odd right hook at the Bush administration as well as the infamous “big guy in a ball cap.”
“We take no prisoners, we hate everyone,” jokes Binns. “We take a couple of jabs at Michael Moore, but we also take some jabs at people who drive big shiny trucks. Whatever needs poking.”
Whether you agree with Moore’s views on the American politics or not, Fahrenheit 7-11 will definitely still appeal to your political appetite, regardless of which way you vote. It could be a low blow to President Bush’s foreign policy or an equally debilitating strike on Moore’s habit of warping the truth, but either way the boys at Obscene But Not Heard promise to pull no punches.
But it’s not all politics. Although the production does take pot shots within the political arena, it certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. One particularly irreverent skit has an undead comedian, drooling like a sedated junkie, while delivering his lines.
“The zombie comedian’s punch lines are usually something along the lines of, ‘BRAAAAINS!’” says Binns, putting the entire cast of Dawn of the Dead to shame. “The skit’s agonizing [to watch], yet hilarious at the same time”
Just like any Obscene but not Heard production, Fahrenheit 7-11 promises to be funny and twisted, but Binns also insists it’s how the troupe attacks the material that makes for a unique experience.
“As convenient as it is to do ‘lights-up, lights down’ production, where’s the fun in that? We favor a more creative approach,” says Binns in tackling their latest production. “We basically did about twelve short films on top of what we’re doing on stage, and hopefully the two will integrate seamlessly to make a giant multimedia experience”
If you haven’t heard of a reality TV show where Moore commits autocide on zombies, you should count yourself lucky. However, if you have an interest in seeing politics, media’s obsession with reality and zombies, wrapped in a hilarious two hours, then Fahrenheit 7-11 is the play for you. The opportunity to see how Obscene but not Heard pulls this off alone should be enough for anyone in their right mind to be absolutely foaming at the mouth with anticipation… Braaaaaaaains!